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Archived News from May 2008

3rd May 2008 11:39

No major decisions yet after relegation, insists Mansfield Town chief executive
CHAD.co.uk, 30 April 2008, By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD Town chief executive Stephen Booth says that it is too early to make firm decisions ahead of the Stags' first season in non league football.
But Booth, still insisting that he is trying to broker a sale for owner Keith Haslam, added that now is the time for any would-be buyers to come forward.

Full story here

On Tuesday night the Stags were relegated to non league football after 77 years in the Football League - a decision which Booth said a few weeks ago would then signal the resumption of takeover talks with any interested parties.

He told Chad: "It is very clear to any bidders now where the club is. It is time for them to put their thinking caps

"Everything is final now and I am working on a revised business plan for Conference football.

"Obviously I am devastated . . . but we have now got to plan for life in the Conference. There are many things to think about, such as ticket pricing and so forth.

"But any major decisions, on players etc, are best left until things settle down and we can look at them in the cold light of day.

"Obviously we have got to prepare for life in the Conference and hopefully any takeover talks can run parallel to that.

"We have got to have plans in place come what may, but I am hopeful that our plans will provide the basis for potential bidders."

The chief executive added that he ultimately believed that just six home wins told its own story - and tha 'people with leisure pounds in their pockets want to pay to watch a winning team'.

He added: "Last Saturday and over 4,000 home supporters showed that there is a latent support out there for the club. But over the season we were 2,000 short of that. Thast support has got to be galvanised."


Relegation a chance to rebuild Mansfield Town FC, says mayor and Stags chairman
CHAD.co.uk, 30 April 2008, By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD Town chairman and town mayor Tony Egginton says the Stags' relegation to non league football is 'an opportunity to rebuild as a community club'.
He told Chad on Wednesday: "It seems like a disaster at the moment, but hopefully it will not be too long before we can bounce back into the League.

Full story here

"We have got to try to move the club forward now into new ownership, so that everyone knows where they are, very quickly.

"Hopefully relegation will have focussed some minds, we know there are people out there who are interested."

He added that he hoped the relegation to the Blue Square Premier would not hit the town too hard economically.

"Of course we will miss out having our name read out each week at 5pm on a Saturday when the results are given. The name Mansfield will not get these sort of automatic mentions and we have to make sure we don't allow people to forget that we are here.

"But with so few visiting fans for most matches this season, there is not a lot of money missed for the town and I hope that relegation will not make that much difference there. It is just, perhaps, a few pubs and fast food places that may miss a bit of trade.

"I would hope that the home support does not fall too much from this season's level. And perhaps if we are successful next season there will be larger crowds than this season."

And on his own position as chairman, announced as a temporary measure a few weeks ago, he added: "I get back from holiday on Friday and will be at the game on Saturday. No doubt there will be meetings with Stephen (Booth) and Keith (Haslam) to see where we are going now.

"My role was help bring in new owners. Let's hope we can do that very. very quickly and start building for next season. The manager, Paul Holland or whoever, needs to know what is available as soon as possible."


Batchelor expects Mansfield Town takeover in a matter of days
CHAD.co.uk, 29 April 2008

CONTROVERSIAL businessman John Batchelor said on Tuesday night he hoped to gain control of the Stags from Keith Haslam within a couple of a days.
And he revealed that he had been having takeover talks with chief executive Stephen Booth - but mainly with Haslam's accountant Chris Harrison.

Batchelor, speaking on radio station 103.2's special phone-in, said: "Stephen (Booth) and I have agreed to cease hostilities. He has been working on what the prospective budget would be in the Conference.

Full story here

"I would hope that the deal can be done within a couple of days . . . perhaps on Wednesday or by next Monday."

Two weeks ago both Keith Haslam and Stephen Booth said there would be no takeover talks until the club's League fate was known.

But on Tuesday night Mr Booth, who had made it clear that Mr Batchelor was not welcome at Field Mill and that he did not want to sell the club to him, dismissed the would-be Stags' owner's claims - and said he did not expect any deal to be concluded over the next few days.

He told Chad: "John Batchelor called me on Tuesday morning to talk about the incident at Field Mill on Saturday which is now a police matter.

"I told him I was working on alternate business plans for the benefit of any potential bidders. That's all there was to it."

However, Batchelor insisted to Chad later in the evening - when told of the chief executive's comments - that his takeover talks were well progressed.

He said: "I hope to be in control as early as tomorrow, who knows? I have plenty of plans and ideas already in place. I am just waiting to take control to start to implement them.

"I have a team lined up to come in - a manager who could still play, a dirtector of football and a coach - and they are already working on players they would like for next season."

When asked about the fans' dislike for him, what happened when he had to be escorted away from them at Macclesfield for his own safety, and the attack on the equally unpopular Keith Haslam on Saturday, he replied: "I am not in this to win friends.

"If the fans don't like me, so be it. I tried that at York, and it didn't work.

"By now everyone knows what I want to do with the club. I have not tried to hide anything. If the club makes money, I make money.

"It is as simple as that really."


AUDIO: MP Meale warns over future of Mansfield Town FC
CHAD.co.uk, 29 April 2008

To listen to the interview in full, courtesy of 103.2, click here

MP Alan Meale has called for an immediate fresh start at Mansfield Town Football Club - before it is too late.
He has warned that a strategy has to be put in place for the club's future very quickly, 'otherwise there may be no Mansfield Town FC and no Field Mill stadium at all'.

The MP said that the stadium and surrounding land would be very attractive to people looking for business opportunities and there needed to be a plan to preserve the football club.

And he called for a new chairman, who did not have a conflict of interest, and a new board to be installed

Mr Meale spoke out in the aftermath of Saturday's chaos at Field Mill, which saw the club almost certainly relegated to non league football after a proud 77-year history in the Football League - and owner Keith Haslam attacked by fans.

Mansfield's MP told local radio station 103.2's Tony Delahunty that he had not been in contact with Stags owner Keith Haslam since mayor Tony Egginton was installed as chairman recently.

But he said he would do everything he could to keep the club alive - and that he would fight any plans to close the Stags by Mr Haslam, who says he has yet to be convinced any would-be buyers have the necessary funding in place for a takeover.

Mr Meale said: "We have to have a fresh start . . . there has to be a new tomorrow and it needs to happen very quickly, otherwise there may be no Mansfield Town Football Club and no Field Mill stadium at all.

"After Saturday you wouldn't blame him (Keith Haslam) for closing the club down.

"And people have to understand this is a site just off the town centre and there are people looking for business opportunities.

"We have to have a plan now that makes Mansfield Town continue as a football club, very very quickly.

"If we don't there is no future for the football club.

"But I would not support any attempt to close down the club . . . anything I can do to help keep the club running I will do.

"I have worked with the devil before to try to get things done for the benefits of my constituents."

Mr Meale said he was speaking out on behalf of the staff at the club, whose future appears uncertain.

He added: "What everyone forgets is that people are employed there other than footballers . . . there are many other people, cleaners, office workers and ground staff.

"They don't know where their future lies. I feel for them and the fans. Fans must be totally bewildered by the on and off the field activities at the moment.

"What's been happening at Mansfield for a long time now has affected all those people at the club.

"It now needs a strategy about where it goes from here.

"I deliberately took a backward step from the club . . . a section of fans blamed me for what had gone off and I understood their frustration.

"But I have a responsibility to people who work there to try to keep the business operative.

"I urged the then chief executive (Keith Haslam) to step aside and he did eventually, but all to no avail.

"We have to have a strategy, we all have to go that extra mile - there is no other way.

"Mansfield has to have a football club and get back in the League.

"People who work there have to have their futures guaranteed.

"It needs a new chairman and a new board, someone not tainted by this and who has a good grasp on business and a good business integrity.

"There has got to be money put into the club and there needs to be representatives from the fans and the business community on the board.

"People who have a conflict of interest - it is not for that, we have to have a fresh start."


Mansfield businesses fear Stags relegation could cost them £5m
CHAD, 02 May 2008, By Jonathan Schofield
BUSINESS leaders in Mansfield say the Stags' relegation from the Football League has come at the worst possible time and fear the knock-on effect for local firms could be massive.
It has been suggested that, with Mansfield Town facing non-league football for the first time in its history, local businesses could miss out on as much as £5m in lost revenue.

Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses Victor Bobo told Chad this week it was difficult to quantify the cost of relegation, but he added the situation was 'bound to have an adverse effect'.

"The teams Mansfield will now be playing are not the likes of Notts County or Chesterfield and all the neighbouring clubs will be in the leagues above," he said.

"In my personal view this will have a detrimental effect on businesses in Mansfield and Ashfield and the knock-on effect will be felt by the whole businesses community."

Mr Bobo said it was difficult to pinpoint which businesses would be hit hardest and it was important for the club to regain its Football League status as soon as possible.

"We had hoped to maintain our position in the Football League but now the best way forward is to sort out the ongoing problems with (the club's owner) Mr Haslam," he said.

"Hopefully after his departure the business community can get behind the club and its absence can be minimised to one or two seasons –– any longer and the business community will suffer a great loss."

Mr Bobo believes there will be less interest in the club generally and with fewer fans –– both home supporters and travelling fans –– through the turnstiles there will be fewer people spending money in the town.

Smaller crowds and a dwindling fan base will also mean firms who advertise at the club will see their adverts make a smaller impact.

Said Mr Bobo: "The exposure of the club will not be as great as when it was in the Football League and advertisers want maximum impact.

"This couldn't have come at a worse possible time for Mansfield, simply because of the economic slowdown."


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