9 December 2008
Audio interview with Andy Perry from Mansfield 103.2 here
Audio interview with Andy Perry from Radio Nottingham here
Takeover could help form - McEwan
Mansfield Town manager Billy McEwan is hoping the official takeover of the club will help to turn around the Stags' Blue Square Premier fortunes.
The paperwork for the takeover by Andy Perry, Andy Saunders and Steve Middleton was completed this week.
McEwan, whose side are 20th, told BBC Radio Nottingham: "It will settle things down with all the indecision that's been going on for a while now.
"Hopefully we can crack on and it might be the turning point for us."
McEwan added: "I'm just pleased that it's all sorted out and we can sit down and lay some plans and foundations down with the new people."
Stags chairman Andy Perry, who took control of the club with Saunders and Middleton in the summer but has had to wait for the paperwork to be finalised, said: "It's definitely a relief - I'm absolutely ecstatic as well.
"Keith Haslam no longer owns Mansfield Town Football Club, he's not a shareholder.
"We rent the ground [from Haslam] but we're going to be looking at that over the next couple of years and see what we can do."
Perry, Saunders and Middleton all have businesses in the town and are long-standing supporters.
Mansfield are just one point above the relegation zone after a 2-0 defeat at Kidderminster on Tuesday.
Mansfield Town Football Club takeover finally completed
CHAD.co.uk, 9 December 2008, By Tim Morriss
THE takeover at Mansfield Town FC has finally been completed more than five months after a consortium of local businessmen agreed a deal with controversial owner Keith Haslam.
Full story at CHAD.co.uk here
Tonight (Tuesday) 'The Three Musketeers', chairman Andy Perry and co-owners Andy Saunders and Steve Middleton, announced that they were in control of the football club - ending Mr Haslam's 15-year tenure at the Stags.
The three businessmen will initially rent Field Mill from the former owner, but do have an option to buy the stadium in the future.
The deal was finally signed and sealed at 6pm. Solicitors for Elliot Mather & Co confirmed to Chad: "Keith Haslam no longer has any interest in Mansfield Town FC, directly or indirectly.
"All the shares previously owned by Mr Haslam or his company have been acquired by the new owners."
Delighted Stags chairman Mr Perry told Chad: "It is fantastic news. We are now the majority shareholders. I hope this puts to bed some of the worries that fans were beginning to have.
"Now I hope we can all pull together and move this club forward."
Co-owner Andy Saunders added: "I am just relieved that the deal has been completed and hopefully we can now move the club forward."
And fellow lifelong fan and co-owner Steve Middleton told Chad: "I am glad it is all over . . . this is what I have dreamed of. I feel quite emotional tonight, I have yellow blood running through my veins.
"We have done this for the community. If we can get back into the Football League I will have achieved my first goal, but hopefully this only the beginning.
"But now we have all got to come together and work together. Everything is really positive and we have to push forward."
Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton was also thrilled by the news, telling Chad: "Now we have all got to get behind the new owners, the club and the team and help them rebuild Mansfield Town Football Club.
"This is the dawn of a new era and hopefully the thing thing to kick-start results on the field.
"Hopefully this will dispel the fears of the cynics and encourage people who were staying away to come back to Field Mill, support the team and the town.
"The new owners deserve our thanks. They have fulfilled their promise when a lot of people wouldn't take the club on and invested their own money and time."
Some details of the deal - to buy the football club and rent Field Mill - will be made public in the near future, and chairman Mr Perry has previously pointed out that some financial facts will become obvious at future AGMs.
However, Mr Perry did confirm on Tuesday evening that there is an option for the new owners to buy the Field Mill stadium in the future - and that Mr Haslam will not benefit from any commercial deals at the Stags (as has happened at other clubs), simply receiving just an annual rent for Field Mill
Questions fans have been asking over recent months include:
Has the consortium bought Mr Haslam's majority shareholding for £1, as widely reported in the summer?
Whether Stags Ltd - a company of which Mr Haslam is the majority shareholder - has repaid the controversial outstanding £500,000 loan to the football club?
How the football club's land assets, including the Field Mill stadium and surrounding land, have been stripped out of the business and retained by Mr Haslam?
Whether minority shareholders in the club will benefit from a presumed dividend now that the football club's land assets have been taken away?
How long the Stags' lease of Field Mill is for and how much the annual rent will be? And if the rent has been fixed for the length of the lease and if it will alter depending on which League and division the club is in?
If the new owners have an option to buy Field Mill? And if the owners are considering moving away from Field Mill at some point in the future?
What held up the completion of the deal?
Examples of any 'skeletons found in the cupboard' during what was effectively a 'due diligence' period
If the new owners will now, as promised, look at giving fans group Stags Fans United (SFU) the chance to buy more shares in return for investing monies raised since the takeover was first announced?
If the new owners will consider, as promised, giving fans a representative on the board of directors?
If an average home attendance of 2,500 is still their aim, as first stated in the summer?
The new owners have already made great strides off the field since announcing their takeover in July, transforming commercial activity at the club despite a slide down the Blue Square Premier table in the club's first post-war season in non-league football.
Now fans will be eager to hear their plans for the future.
The takeover news follows several hints at a completion of the deal from the club in recent weeks - and then the release of a list of buyout questions from supporters protest group Stags Fans For Change (SFFC) on Friday.
The protest group played a leading role in the fans' vociferous protests against former controversial owner Mr Haslam, who entered into a legally binding agreement with 'The Three Musketeers' 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'. On Friday the fans group said: "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."
Some of that pessimisim will have been lifted for many supporters by news of the end of the takeover saga, however.
Stags Fans United (SFU), a new fans group formed in the summer, has so far raised between £50,000 and £60,000 (towards a £250,000 target), which it would invest in the club in return for the chance to buy more shares and be given a fans representative on the board of directors - and will benefit from an expected shareholders' dividend declared by the football club at the completition of the takeover.
In September new Stags co-owner Mr Saunders told a fans' forum: "(When the sale is complete) we will sit down with the SFU to discuss the way forward and talk to them about a fans representative and other issues like investment into the football club.
"It makes sense (for a fans director) to come from the SFU, but we will have to sit down and discuss his and formalise where we are going."
Now the SFU will be looking for the new owners to honour their pledge to the group - a group once led by Mr Saunders before he joined the consortium buying the club.
A SFU spokesman told Chad the group is 'delighted the long awaited sale of the football club has been completed'.
It added: "There has been a level of uncertainty amongst Stags fans regarding the completion of the proposed takeover which was announced in June.
"This has clearly contributed to the level of support the club has been getting on match days. However, the SFU has been aware that the new owners have been using their best endeavours to do what is right for the football club and its supporters.
"The Mansfield Town Supporters Trust, Stags Fans United (SFU), has now raised nearly £50,000 and is hopeful that the total raised will soon exceed £60,000.
"The trust remains committed to increasing its shareholding in Mansfield Town and to persuading the new owners of the football club of the advantages of having a supporter director at the club at the earliest opportunity."
A spokesperson for the trust went on: "Like the majority of Stags' fans, we are disappointed that the takeover has taken so long, but we hope that now the takeover has been completed we can sit down with the new owners and agree a way of moving things forward.
"If the football club and Supporters Trust can work together then this has to be a win/win situation for both parties and can help to provide much needed finance for the football club now and in the future.
"We are very pleased at raising well over £45,000, particularly bearing in mind the current economic climate, and we are now aiming to hit our next target of £60,000 as soon as possible.
"We are planning further fundraising events for 2009 including allowing fans to make donations to SFU by standing order".
The takeover was first revealed late on Thursday 3rd July by Chad.co.uk and Mansfield radio station 103.2.
At that time the new owners said they hoped the deal would be concluded within a few weeks - but now four months later it has finally been 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.
Earlier story here.
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