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Archived News from December 2008

TAKEOVER `IMMINENT`, PERRY OUTLINES VISION
11th December 2008 11:19


Chairman outlines vision for Stags
Evening Post, December 05, 2008

SWITCH on the television or take a look in any newspaper and discussion about the current economic turmoil and an impending recession is never far away.
Read full story here

It is an issue that is sure to affect every business over the coming months – and football is no different.
From that point of view, Mansfield Town chairman Andy Perry, together with Andy Saunders and Steve Middleton, could have hardly taken over the club at a more challenging time.
At a point when they are trying to turn around the club's fortunes, money is tighter than ever.
The problems clubs face at the Stags' level have already been illustrated. Salisbury have been forced to let their top earners leave, Weymouth are expected to cut their wage bill while Lewes are also said to be encountering problems.
They are surely not going to be the only clubs who need to tighten their belts before the end of the season.
But Perry believes Mansfield are well-equipped to navigate the universally choppy waters ahead.
"We have the same financial pressure as every other club is facing," he said.
"Football clubs are just as affected by the current financial trend as anyone else.
"It is easy to say we will drop prices to encourage more fans to come, but it is not that easy and we have to keep the club running.
"Where we are different from some other clubs is that we are going about things off the field in a different way.
"Commercially now, we are probably 100 per cent better than before we took over.
"Everything that comes into the club is staying within the club whether it is used to help the manager or goes on the facilities.
"In the first week in January we are hoping to set on a corporate events manager with experience, because things are going well on that side of things.
"Income at this level is not what it is in League Two but going forward we have to try to maximise it."
Mansfield have come under fire from some supporters for gate prices of up to £18 for home games.
Perry says the board are well aware of those concerns and are keen to try to lift some of the strain on the fans at a time when money is tight.
He said: "When the FA Cup came to Field Mill we gave away vouchers to 500 kids where they could come for free for the home game with Weymouth [December 20] with a paying adult – and they're going quite well.
"We also previously reduced the price of the FA Cup game at home to York.
"We're also aware that we have a few home games coming up in quick succession before Christmas.
"We want to try to get people coming along and backing the team rather than doing their Christmas shopping.
"It's a difficult one and catch 22 and we are not playing the teams we would like to be, the local derbies that really bring the fans out."
"We would love to make it £5 to come in and if we knew we could guarantee 3,500 coming to every game then we could do that.
"That way the fans would benefit as well as the team from the extra numbers getting behind them. But football doesn't work like that."
Perry is hoping the takeover completion is now imminent after weeks of frustration.
"We keep speaking [to Keith Haslam] and three weeks ago it seemed there was nothing more to sort out," he said.
"It has taken a long time because we wanted to get things put in place before the start of the season.
"It was better to sign a binding agreement with conditions rather than wait until everything was completed and then taking over after a few weeks into the season, which would have been messy.
"But now it means conditions have to be amended on that agreement rather than starting afresh with a new one.
"That can slow things down but it will be great when we can finally say soon that we have completion."
After Thursday's 3-1 defeat to Oxford, Mansfield remain 15 points off the play-offs.
Yet while that target seems a long way off, Perry and the rest of his staff are still optimistic it is achievable.
He said: "I think the goals now for this term are short term and medium term.
"The short term is the next four to six weeks when we want to move up the table and the medium term is to look at things again in the new year and hopefully still have a sniff of the play-offs.
"If you do the maths it is possible, so you can never say never, and we want to be positive.
"If you mope around expecting to finish in the bottom half of the table, that is going to get you nowhere.
"Billy is already looking at players for January and if they will strengthen us long-term then we will look at bringing those people in.
"We want to do better and we believe we can."

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Stags takeover 'imminent', insist new owners
CHAD.co.uk, 5 December 2008, By Tim Morriss
THE long-awaited completion of the takeover of Mansfield Town Football Club will have to be awaited a little longer!
Read full story here

New chairman Andy Perry had said three weeks ago that he hoped, together with co-owners and fellow Mansfield businessmen Andy Saunders and Steve Middleton, to finally be in control at Field Mill ahead of last night's match against Oxford United.

And chairman Perry even wrote in Thursday's match programme: "The 'C' word. It really has becom a word that I do not ever want to hear again. And I really hopoe that you are reading in this excellent programme (that] we have completed."

But concluding their deal to buy the football club from controversial owner Keith Haslam and rent Field Mill - first announced at the beginning of July - is still dragging on.

After the final whistle at the end of Thursday's disappointing 3-1 home defeat in front of the live Setanta TV cameras, the 'Three Musketeers', as they have been dubbed, reassured sceptical Stags fans that the takeover would still happen soon.

Chairman Perry told Chad: "It is imminent, but it will not happen tomorrow! There is a timescale, but I don't want to name it and raise people's hopes again, only for them to be dashed.

"But we do want to reassure fans that this will still happen and that any delays have been for the benefit of the club."

The delay - which has seen the end of the saga put off on several occasions over recent weeks - has been put down to lawyers on both sides of the deal.

The new owners have already had a lot of success off the pitch, increasing sponsorship and commercial activity at Field Mill, but the slide down the BSP on the pitch has been hitting attendance figures and income.

So they are keen to complete the buyout, which would provide them with another boost.

The takeover was first revealed late on Thursday 3rd July by Chad.co.uk and Mansfield radio station 103.2.

New owners Perry, Saunders and Middleton announced a legally binding takeover agreement with Haslam and told a press conference that they hoped the deal would be concluded within a few weeks - but now, more than five months later, it has yet to be completed.

Their buyout shock in the summer came after speculation over the sale of the Stags for 18 months - and after Glapwell FC owner and local businessman Dr Colin Hancock had said he thought he had agreed a deal to step in at Field Mill.

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Fans group's questions for Stags owners over takeover delay
CHAD.co.uk, 05 December 2008 , By Tim Morriss
SUPPORTERS protest group Stags Fans For Change (SFFC) on Friday issued a lengthy list of questions to the new owners of Mansfield Town after the latest delay in their takeover of the football club.

Read full story here

The statement followed Chad's report overnight that the takeover saga at Field Mill was rumbling on past last night's deadline set by chairman Andy Perry.

The SFFC say it is reflecting 'the pessimism currently being felt by many fans over the ownership issue' - a position not helped by the club's slide down the BSP table to its lowest position in football following a run of just one win in nine matches.

The protest group played a leading role in the fans' vociferous protests against controversial owner Keith Haslam, who entered into a legally binding agreement - with Perry and fellow Mansfield businessmen Andy Saunders and Steve Middleton - to buy the Stags in July.

When the buyout was announced, the SFFC said it would support the consortium and be 'the critical friend, supportive but prepared to voice our opinions and concerns when necessary'.

This is the first time the group has spoken out since the proposed change in ownership at Field Mill. Chad tried to contact the Stags chairman on Friday for his response to the questions, but he was unavailable for comment.

The SFFC letter to chairman Perry reads:

'Dear Mr Perry

'As the latest publicised date for confirming that the deal to purchase the football club from Mr Haslam has now passed with no such announcement being made, the SFFC would like to take up your open offer of emailing you directly, with some questions concerning the club and the potential deal to purchase the club.

'The SFFC continues to support the SFU, the club and the consortium. Indeed 90% of our members have purchased season tickets and we have been encouraged by the "back of house" work that has been undertaken. However, serious concerns exist over the continued failure to complete the deal to purchase the club, the lack of openness about the deal and the long term future of Mansfield Town FC.

'As long suffering supporters and customers of the football club, we feel that the fans, whose support has been nothing short of extraordinary given our recent decline, deserve to be better informed. We would appreciate full and frank responses to the following questions to demonstrate that the consortium is committed to a new regime of openness and honesty.

·In your opinion is there any possibility that the deal will not be completed?

·Why has the deal not yet been signed, sealed and delivered? What unexpected complications have occurred in concluding the deal?

·Given the previous history of delays and your statement today, what would you consider a realistic timescale?

·Is there any possibility that Mr Haslam or any of the buying consortium would pull out of the deal because of the delays?

·Are either the seller or the potential buyers in a position to dictate when the deal must be completed by, or have the delays been mutually agreed?

·Are the delays in completing the deal down to the buyers, the seller, or both parties?

·Have any of the details of the deal changed since the original agreement?

·Is it correct that the club has been run using only monies received from the football authorities, season tickets, at the gate supporters and commercial activity and that any monies promised by the potential new owners cannot be made available until the deal has been formally signed? Was all of the money given by the football authorities received by the football club or was any of that money given to Mr Haslam (or a nominated representative of Mr Haslam)?

·Is the manager currently operating on a reduced budget because the deal has not been completed? Even though it has been reported that the manager is working within the current budgets, will additional funds be made available once the deal is complete? In your opinion, is the failure to complete the deal contributing to the current failures on the pitch?

·Is it correct that a recent game was in danger of being cancelled because of an unpaid bill?

·What involvement does or did Mr Haslam (or a nominated representative of Mr Haslam) have at the club since the date upon which the consortium assumed control of the club?

·Is it correct that Mr Haslam (or a nominated representative of Mr Haslam) is needed to countersign some or all of the payments made by the club? If so, what type of payments require Mr Haslam's (or a nominated representative of Mr Haslam) signature and does the club provide transport for Mr Haslam to and from the ground in order to facilitate this?

·Does Mr Haslam (or a nominated representative of Mr Haslam) have access to any monies at the football club without the prior permission of the potential new owners?

·As the deal has not been completed, has Mr Haslam (or a nominated representative of Mr Haslam) received any rent from the club or from the potential new owners in lieu of this?

·As the deal has not been completed, has Mr Haslam (or a nominated representative of Mr Haslam), received a salary or any other financial benefit from the club since the date at which the potential new owners took over the day to day running of the club? Is Mr Haslam (or his rep) to receive any salary or other financial benefit in the future other than directly from the sale ?

·Under the proposed deal, what level of rent has been fixed for the current season? Will it be increased year on year, if so, by how much?

·Under the proposed deal, does the rent increase should the club be promoted.

·Under the proposed deal, would Mr Haslam (or a nominated representative of Mr Haslam) benefit financially from any promotion, increased turnover from cup competitions or sale of players other than any agreed increase in rent?

·Did the club receive a parachute payment from the authorities after being relegated to the BSP? How much less will the club receive next year, assuming that the club is not promoted? How do you plan to reduce the impact of any such loss of income?

The SFFC believes that if you and your fellow consortium members are prepared to answer these questions fully, the pessimism currently being felt by many fans over the ownership issue, may be dispelled.

Ken Sharp
Chairman SFFC'

Stags chairman Perry had said three weeks ago that he hoped, together with co-owners and fellow Mansfield businessmen Andy Saunders and Steve Middleton, to finally be in control at Field Mill ahead of last night's match against Oxford United.

But after the match he admitted that the deal, first announced at the beginning of July - to buy the Stags and rent Field Mill from Keith Haslam - was still to be concluded.

Chairman Perry told Chad on Thursday night: "It is imminent, but it will not happen tomorrow! There is a timescale, but I don't want to name it and raise people's hopes again, only for them to be dashed.

"But we do want to reassure fans that this will still happen and that any delays have been for the benefit of the club."

The takeover was first revealed late on Thursday 3rd July by Chad.co.uk and Mansfield radio station 103.2, and a day later new owners Perry, Saunders and Middleton announced a legally binding takeover agreement with Haslam which they hoped would be concluded within a few weeks.

Since then chairman Perry has said the delay has been for the benefit of the club, writing in a matchday programme: "I can assure all supporters that the extra time that it has taken has been a benefit to us and given ourselves hands-on due diligence that we were not able to have prior to the start of the season."

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