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Archived News from December 2010

FIELD MILL REPOSSESSED
7th December 2010 14:19


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Club statement
mansfieldtown.net, Thu 02 Dec 2010 7.15pm

Mansfield Town Football Club is extremely disappointed that Stags Limited has today taken steps to terminate the Club's lease of its Field Mill Ground.

http://www.mansfieldtown.net/page/NewsDetail/0,,10325~2235882,00.html

As the Club made clear in its press release dated 03 November 2010, it is investigating various transactions involving Stags Limited. Those transactions include the transaction whereby Stags Limited became the owner of the Field Mill Ground and therefore the landlord of the Club. The Club continues its investigations and has written to relevant parties asking for clarification and explanation with regards to that and other transactions. The Club has not yet received any substantive responses to its queries and therefore its investigations are ongoing.

As a result of its investigations to date, the Club made it clear to Stags Limited that it would not be paying rent directly but instead made an open offer to pay the outstanding rentals into an escrow account controlled by Stags Limited's solicitors. These monies would have been released upon the parties agreeing terms, the investigation being concluded or if a Court ordered that they should be.

This offer was made to demonstrate that the Club was not seeking to avoid its obligations but simply wanted to ensure that the right and proper investigations, in view of the Club's serious concerns, were concluded. This offer has been refused by Stags Limited and the Club is very disappointed that Stags Limited has today felt it necessary to take the extreme step of terminating the lease at the Field Mill ground.

We would like to reassure all fans that we will be making alternative arrangements for upcoming home fixtures, and ask for patience and support during this investigation and any ensuing legal proceedings, which we believe to be in the best interests of the Club.

We hope that the matter can be concluded quickly and that any monies removed from the Club either illegally or inappropriately are returned to the Club. If the matter cannot be resolved then the Club will not be held to ransom by any party and will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the right resolution to this matter.

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Haslam repossesses Field Mill from new owners
CHAD.co.uk, Thu Dec 02 2010 9.55am

MANSFIELD TOWN FC was thrown into new turmoil on Thursday when controversial Field Mill owner Keith Haslam locked new owner John Radford out of the ground - and terminated the club's lease of the stadium.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-fc/haslam_repossesses_field_mill_from_new_owners_1_2819092

Mr Haslam has leased the ground out since selling the football club in the summer of 2008 to three local businessmen Andy Perry, Andy Saunders and Steve Middleton. They sold the Stags recently to millionnaire businessman John Radford.

Chad understands that no rent has been paid for several months as the new club owner and landlord clashed over the financial details of the original sale of the Stags, with Mr Radford instructing solicitors to examine a dividend paid out to shareholders including the company Stags Ltd, owned by Mr Haslam.Mr Radford had also opened negotiations with Mr Haslam with a view to buying Field Mill last month,

But on Wednesday night bailiffs acting for Stags Ltd (Mr Haslam's company) changed the locks at the ground and posted a warning notice on the gates instructing people not to enter Field Mill.

The notice read:

'To whom it may concern

Take notice that Stags Limited as Landlord has this day re-entered these premises which are situated at and known as Field Mill Ground, Quarry Lane, Mansfield.

The Landlord is entitled to repossess and the Landlord has now exercised its right under law.

1. Any attempt to enter these premises without the express consent of the Landlords named above will render those responsible liable to civil and/or criminal proceedings being brought against them.

2. All communications in the first instance should be made to the following address;

Burlington Enforcement

Certified Bailiffs

14 New Burlington St

London. Dated this 30th November 2010

No-one has been available for comment from Mansfield Town so far. The Stags' match at home to Barrow this Saturday was already looking likely to be cancelled because of the week's heavy snow.

Later on Thursday morning Mr Haslam confirmed Chad's earlier reports that he had acted over non payement of rent.

In a statement bailiffs Burlington Enforcement said:

“Burlington Enforcement, acting on behalf of Stags Ltd (the owners of Mansfield Town Football Stadium) have today changed the locks and terminated the club's lease of the stadium.

“The club has failed to pay the rent that fell due under the lease in June and September 2010. Stags Ltd are extremely disappointed that it has been necessary to take this step.

“When the club's new owner, Mr John Radford, took over, it was understood that one of his primary aims was to resolve the future of the stadium.

“Indeed, an initial meeting was held with Mr Radford prior to which payment of the outstanding rent owed by the club was promised. The rent was, however, not paid thereby necessitating the action taken today.

“We are aware from various reports that Mr Radford is said to be in current negotiations to purchase the stadium. However, since the initial meeting, from which Mr Radford apparently 'took many positives'.

“Stags Ltd have had no communication with Mr Radford or the club concerning a sale of the stadium. Stags Ltd remain willing to engage in a constructive dialogue with the club regarding the future of the stadium.”


On Thursday afternoon the Football Conference said that it was waiting for information from Mansfield Town FC about the situation so could not comment.

Conference rules say that if a game has to be postponed, the Conference would look into the circumstances and could bring a charge of failing to fulfil a fixture. However, it is thought that the heavy snow at Field Mill would probably give the Stags some breathing space.

Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton said that after recently getting both Keith Haslam and John Radford to meet and talk about the future of Field Mill, he hoped that this development in circumstances would mean that the ground ownership issue could be moved on and see Mr Radford buying the ground from Mr Haslam and ensuring its future for the fans.

“All I am interested in is that I believe very, very strongly that the home of football should be at Field Mill,” he said.

“I remain positive and hopeful that this might speed up the process of things being resolved.”

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Mansfield Town locked out of ground by landlord
Evening Post, 2 Dec 2010

FORMER Stags owner Keith Haslam has today kicked Mansfield Town out of their Field Mill ground by changing the locks and terminating the lease.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/football/Mansfield-Town-locked-ground-landlord/article-2964436-detail/article.html?

Bailiffs acting for Mr Haslam's business said this morning that the lease had been terminated over a rent dispute with new club owner John Radford.

The statement also said there were concerns over the progress of talks between Mr Haslam's company Stags Limited, which owns the stadium itself, and Mr Radford, who bought the club in September, over the latter buying the ground.

The statement said: "Burlington Enforcement, acting on behalf of Stags Limited, have today changed the locks and terminated the club's lease of the stadium.

"Stags Limited are extremely disappointed that it has been necessary to take this step. Stags Limited will remain willing to engage in a constructive dialogue with the club regarding the future of the stadium."

Mansfield Town chief executive Steve Barker said the club were talking to lawyers and would be issuing a statement later.

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MP brands Stags lockout a disgrace
CHAD.co.uk, Fri Dec 03 2010

Mansfield MP Alan Meale has branded the move to lock the Stags out of Field Mill “a disgrace,” saying that fans have already had enough to worry about in recent times.

http://www.chad.co.uk/sport/football/mansfield-town-fc/mp_brands_stags_lockout_a_disgrace_1_2829503

“There's no reason whatsoever to lock the club out of the ground,” he said on Friday, after news a day earlier that stadium owner Keith Haslam had terminated the lease on the ground and locked out the club now owned by John Radford for non-payment of rent.

“The owner knows very well how football works and by locking the club out of the ground, he effectively ruins the business and risks putting the club out of business.”

Mr Radford, in a financial dispute with Mr Haslam over dividends paid out when the club was sold by Mr Haslam two years ago, said on Thursday that he had already told the stadium owner he was happy to place rent in a 'holding' account and that the Stags would not be held to ransom.

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Haslam Evicts Mansfield: Will Football Look The Other Way?
twohundredpercent.net, by Ian, December 2nd 2010
What to make, then, of Keith Van Hooghaslam, the Scumbag Millionaire landlord of Mansfield, and his most recent round of pantomime villainy? Anybody turning up at Mansfield Town's Field Mill ground this morning will have been met by a stark message pinned to the entrance. Haslam has evicted the club from the ground that he owns for non-payment of rent, an irony that is almost unbelievable when we consider the manner in which Haslam came to own it in the first place.

http://www.twohundredpercent.net/?p=10123

Haslam's tenure at Field Mill was characterised by a tendency for him to look after number one. Mansfield Town's accounts to June of 2003, published in September of that year, confirmed that a loan of £239,297 made by the club to Haslam, had been written off. The following year, the club's accounts confirmed that the club had loaned him a further £90,000, in apparent breach of an agreement reached between Haslam and TEAM Mansfield, a supporters group that had bought shares in the club. In total, over £1m found its way out of Mansfield – £585,142 in “interest-free loans”, along with £583,449 to his holding company, Stags Limited, to buy land for an academy which wasn't built and, in addition to this, he was also paying himself a salary of £60,000 per year. Keith Haslam, we should remind ourselves, bought Mansfield Town for £1 in 1993.

This, however, was small beer in comparison with the move that he pulled off in December of 2008 when, with some sleight of hand of almost staggering audacity, a final dividend of £2,442,488 was paid to STAGS Ltd, £1.9m of which was used to buy Field Mill from the club, who have had to pay him rent to use it ever since. It is understood that it is because these rent payments have stopped (or, rather, that they have been missed) that the club, now under the ownership of millionaire John Radford, has now been evicted, even though Haslam used the club's money to purchase the ground for his own holding company.

If you're scratching your heads and wondering how this could possibly legal, there is an answer: it probably isn't. Section 330 of the Companies Act 1985 prevents companies from loaning more than £5,000 to their directors, and The Companies Act 2006 states that a company may only pay a cash dividend “out of profits available for the purpose”, which seems unlikely, given everything that we intuitively know about the finances of lower division football as well as the plight of Mansfield Town in recent years. In addition to this, as far back as 2005 the FA's Compliance Unit was said to be investigating Haslam's behaviour at Mansfield. It is perhaps unsurprising, considering the lack of official or legal sanction that he has ever faced, that his asset-stripping has become greater and greater over the years.

Today's events, however, do mark a new low. They may have come about in part because of the non-payment of the Field Mill rent, or perhaps because of Radford's interest in the £2,442,488 paid to STAGS Limited in December 2008. Since taking the club over, Radford has had to put in half a million pounds in order to ensure that the club can see its way through to the end of the season, so he could certainly be forgiven for being extremely troubled over why he was paying rent to someone that had acquired Field Mill in the manner that Haslam had. He had instructed Pinsent Masons, an international law firm, to investigate this further and, so far as we are aware, this investigation remains ongoing.

There seems no point in trying to appeal to the better nature of an individual who doesn't seem to possess any moral compass other than one with a needle pointing towards the bank accounts of him and his various companies. The only language that he could possibly understand is that of the law. Indeed, the standard eviction notice used was full of such jargon and a later public statement by the bailiffs concerned, Burlington Enforcement of London, stated that, “Stags Ltd remain willing to engage in a constructive dialogue with the club regarding the future of the stadium”. Well, we shall see, and we will also be interested to see if they issue another statement should Haslam's initial acquisition of Field Mill turn out to be unlawful or illegal.

Considering the lack of action by anybody in relation to Haslam's actions over the year, it is both ironic and arguably unsurprising that such a move as that made this morning should occur on a good day to bury bad news. While the rest of the world will be fretting over the eventual destination of two World Cups, the first of which will not see a ball kicked for seven and a half years, Keith Haslam has been busy today, apparently doing his utmost to bang nails into a coffin in which may lay the body of Mansfield Town Football Club. We may well wonder whether anybody at the Football Association, David Beckham, David Cameron or Prince William are even aware of this and whether they would care if they did. Civil laws can be enforced and the laws surrounding the governance of the game can tightened to ensure that people like Haslam are summarily drummed out of football for good, if the will is there. Supporters of Mansfield Town Football Club, watching the great and good in Zurich this afternoon, could well be forgiven for believing that it isn't.

(c) 2010 Twohundredpercent

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boza on Stagsnet messageboard, Sat 04 Dec 2010:

a very loyal bunch of Stags fans attended Field Mill today and retrieved the first team kit, the contents of the club shop and a considerable amount of money from the office, all passed on to the rightfull owners of the said goods. We had resistance from the Bailiffs but due to the shear persistance of the new Mansfield republican army and with, it has to be said help from the Mansfield old bill, the Bailiffs saw sense and let us completely take what was rightfully Mansfield's Town's property. The old bill even took our photos with our camera's as we left with our treasures.
... The club can now open a shop in Mansfield Town centre to sell their goods to the public so all the kids get what they want for Christmas. We got what we went for a sustantial amount of cash that was sat in the office under Haslam's nose. ... Anyway bye for now, all we know at this point is that all Stags games will be away from now on, but rest assured, John Radford, we support you 100% it's a great feeling to have, that we are finally going to end Haslams reign with any association with Mansfield.

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Steve Hymas on Stagsnet messageboard, Sun 05 Dec 2010:

The police were present but only to ensure there was no breach of the peace and to ensure only MTFC goods were removed.They were just carrying out there duties,no more,no less.All ended amicably and we now have our kits back and are back in business.Over to the legal experts to sort out the ground issues.

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