BOOTH CRITICISES SSA
Second fans group hits out at Mansfield Town over Dagenham tickets
CHAD.CO.UK, 28 Apr 2008
MANSFIELD Town chief executive Stephen Booth has come under from the fans group he singled out as not being critical of his Dagenham tickets allocation decision.
Booth, writing in Saturday's match day programme, said: "Much has been said and written, particularly by certain members of fans groups (though interestingly not Ollerton Stags) about the ticket allocation for Dagenham."
He had been criticised by supporters for ignoring an agreement to give Stags Supporters Association (SSA) members second priority for all-ticket matches.
That, coupled with a decision to give season ticket holders upto two tickets of the 1,242 allocation, meant that just 101 tickets were left for SSA members to try to buy on general sale.
But a spokesman for the Ollerton Stags Supporters Club (OSSC) told Chad on Monday it 'would welcome a call from Mr Booth to tell him their official stance on this and other issues surrounding our troubled club right now'.
In a statement, the group added: "Despite the quote from Stephen Booth in Saturday's programme stating to the contrary, Ollerton Stags Supporters Club backed the SSA statement regarding Dagenham ticketing preferences 100%.
"We feel it was completely unfair that after paying for the players training facilities for the whole season (amongst other things), the committee and their members were snubbed in such a fashion that means some of their most loyal members will now not be able to get their hands on tickets for the last day of the season this weekend."
Mansfield Town chief exec criticises fans group
CHAD.CO.UK, 26 April 2008, By Tim Morriss
THE relationship between Mansfield Town owner Keith Haslam, chief executive Stephen Booth and official fans group the Stags Supporters Association (SSA) reached a new low on Saturday.
Booth - who had stressed for the past few weeks that all the talk and focus should be on the field and the relegation fight - used his matchday programme notes as an opportunity to criticise the SSA.
When asked by Chad on Saturday evening if he saw the timing of his statement as hypocritical, considering his earlier stance, he refused to comment further.
It is likely that the notes will be his last as chief executive. He came to the club in December and said his role would last three to six months while he tried to broker a takeover at Field Mill.
His programme column ahead of the last home match of the season against Rotherham - a match in which the Stags needed to avoid defeat to take their relegation fight to the last day of the campaign - said:
"As far as the SSA is concerned the club is appreciative of the contribution they have made, but it should be borne in mind that members are entitled to a 32 per member discount in the South Stand for all games.
"They are still holding the monies generated from the Wembley fundraiser - all of which arose from my generosity and was supposed to be used on players wages.
"A number of requests have been made to the SSA for financial assistance during my time here, all of which have been rejected.
"Anyway enough griping (I'm risking sounding like the small number of individuals I'm referring to) - the finishing line is now in sight - let's raise the roof and make sure we get those vital three points."
In his notes the chief executive also defended his handling of the ticket handling for the probable relegation decider at Dagenham next Saturday.
For the last two all-ticket matches Booth has ignored an agreement which should have seen the SSA get second priority on ticket sales, ahead of them going on general sale.
This included a snub for the crucial last match of the season at Dagenham, which provoked a furious response from fans.
The chief executive claimed no knowledge of the agreement - signed by ex-chairman James Derry and the SSA - even though committee members of the fans group say they have made him aware of the arrangement.
The supporters were also angry that season ticket holders were given the chance to buy two tickets - usually the allocation is one - meaning that there was little chance of any being left for other fans.
And they questioned why the club initially took the full 158 seats allocation for Dagenham for sponsors and players - though a few were later made available to pensioners and the disabled who are season ticket holders.
In the matchday programme Booth repeated his comments at Chad.co.uk earlier in the week, saying: "Much has been said and written, particularly by certain members of fans groups (though interestingly not Ollerton Stags) about the ticket allocation for Dagenham. It was only after much deliberation that I decided that season ticket holders would be entitled to a maximum of two tickets each.
"My rationale was, finally, very simple.
"Season ticket holders are the bedrock of any club as they pay for their tickets, thus providing vital cash flow for the club when it's most needed, without knowing what will happen during the season.
"There have been many requests from season ticket holders in the past to be allowed to buy extra tickets for crucial games and this is the club's way of saying thank you for their commitment.
"Whatever decision I had reached there would have been complaints - it was a classic case of you're damned if you do and damned if you don't."
Booth earlier in the year twice asked the fans group for cash help, but was turned down.
The SSA, which sponsors the players' training facilities at the John Fretwell Sporting Complex and also the youth side, says that the club should have enough money from its FA Cup windfall which brought an extra £0.5m plus to Field Mill this season.
The club had wanted the supporters group to help fund loan player deals and discounted admission to a recent match.
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