ROUND-UP FROM THE COURT CASE
video round-up of the reaction to the court case --->
mansfieldtown.net, Thu 17 Feb 2011
Our legal dispute with Keith Haslam has been transferred to the High Court in Birmingham.
In a five minute hearing held at Mansfield County Court earlier today, Judge Wall said that he had 'no hesistation' in transferring the case (Stags Ltd v MTFC) to a higher court due to our defence containing issues regarding an alleged breach by Mr Haslam of The Companies Act.
At 10.30am, Mr Haslam's legal representatives briefly outlined their case to repossess Field Mill to a courtroom containing several members of the press and more than a dozen loyal supporters. Chairman John Radford, CEO Steve Barker and Mr Haslam were all also in attendance.
Following the Judge declaring that he intended to refer the case to a court in Birmingham, the two parties were left to negotiate amongst themselves in an effort to avoid the case going any further.
At 1.30pm, Mr Radford left the court and told the press that the case had been adjourned and that a further hearing will now take place at Birmingham High Court on the next available date after April 14th 2011. An agreement has also been stuck and rubber stamped by Judge Wall that Mr Haslam will not be able to make any further attempts to repossess Field Mill until a final determination has been reached in these proceedings.
Rent for this season and next will now be paid into an account jointly controlled by Mr Radford and Mr Haslam.
Mr Radford said: "I'm very happy because I know that we won't lose Field Mill. This is the first step on the road to making Field Mill owned by the fans.
"We cannot lose Field Mill for at least this season and next season. I am very confident that we will have Field Mill back for the fans.
"I have agreed to pay £95,000 into an escrow account by March 10th and another £95,000 by August 1st. Our counter claim will continue.
"I've had fantastic support from Mansfield Town fans. I have put alot of money into the club and it's very nice to see so many people showing me their support."
Chief Executive Officer Steve Barker added: "As John has said, it's gone pretty well - we are happy with the result. We have a hearing sometime after April 14th which gives us some breathing space."
Non-Executive Director and Fans Representative Darren Shaw, who is a qualified solicitor, was equally content with the outcome of today's hearing and told those gathered: "The football club has the right to remain at Field Mill until our claim against Keith Haslam is resolved.
"The reason it has been listed for the first available date after April 14th is to allow solicitors to investigate the case in more detail. The Judge will then make further directions in how proceedings should go from there.
"Patience is very much the key word here."
Mr Haslam added: "I am happy. I think we got what was expected from today."
Stay tuned for a comprehensive video report of all of today's events
Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Mansfield?
twohundredpercent.net, on February 18th, 2011 by Ian
It is probably a reflection on the autocratic way in which most football clubs are run that when a chairman actually seems to be acting in a way that is beneficial to his club and his supporters, it can almost feel counter-intuitive. What, one could be tempted to think, is his ulterior motive? In the case of John Radford, the chairman of Mansfield Town, the answer seems to be, “the good of his football club”, and both Radford and Mansfield had a decent result at their local County Court yesterday. Keith Haslam has already tried to repossess Field Mill from the Stags once this season and today saw the beginning of his second attempt to throw them out of their home. He has failed, for now.
After his previous antics, revised terms for a lease were agreed between Haslam and the club, but the club refused to sign it and now claim that Haslam attempted to change its terms. So it was that thirty or so supporters, Radford, Haslam, Chief Executive Steve Barker and supporter-director Darren Shaw all turned out at Mansfield County Court to try and thrash the matter out. The result was a good one for Mansfield. He decreed that the club must not be evicted from Field Mill until the end of next season and the case has been adjourned to the middle of April, when it will be heard at Birmingham Crown Court. A video detailing what happened yesterday can be seen here:
The video is self-explanatory, but it is worth taking a moment to ponder the actions and behaviour of Radford. We live, as football supporters, in difficult and troubling times and there seems to be no stemming of the flow of chancers, speculators and hucksters circling the game like vultures around carcasses. Radford's pledge on Field Mill, however, is notable – should Haslam's ownership of it be found to be illegal and the club's ground be returned to its ownership, he has stated that he is happy to put the ground into the name of Stages Fans United, the club's supporters trust, in order to ensure that this situation never happens again. Meanwhile, the examination of the club's accounts and Haslam's conduct during his time in charge of the club, which is being carried out on their behalf by the London-based law firm Pinsent Masons, will continue. There are no guarantees of any success from this ongoing work, but it feels as if a fog is lifting from over Mansfield Town FC.
Such forward thinking from a football club chairman will no doubt bring about considerable praise and doubtlessly some envious glances from the supporters of other clubs. It really isn't too much for all football supporters to ask for – a home ground for their club and an owner that seems to genuinely care for his club. After all, for all of the woe that you read on this site and others, it is occasionally healthy to step back and consider that this is a game. We are supposed to enjoy it. In return for gestures such as this and the placing of a supporter-director on the board of the club, Radford has received phenomenal support – both vocal and financial – from the supporters trust and from the club's broader support.
Mansfield aren't yet out of the woods, of course. Haslam could yet win his case to evict the club from Field Mill and both Football Conference and Football League rules stipulate minimum terms for leases for clubs at their home grounds. They could yet be forced into a ground-share or to seek a new ground within the town. Maybe, in the fullness of time, the supporters of Mansfield Town will have the opportunity to put all of this nonsense behind them and will be able to get on with just supporting their team. On the evidence of what we have seen so far, Radford is a steady hand on the tiller after years of mismanagement and being asset-stripped and we can be as sure as we can be, on the evidence of what we have seen, that he is acting in the very best interests of his club and the people of his town. If only we were all this lucky.
Follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter here.
post by Darren Shaw, SFU, on Stagsnet messageboard Friday February 18th, 2011
Just to clarify the agreement as discussed by John on the Mansfield Town website....
The agreement is that the football club will pay £95,000 per season into a joint account in the names of the football club's and Haslam's solicitors with the first payment being made on 10th March 2011 (for this season) and the second payment on 1st August 2011. This arrangement will continue until the legal proceedings are resolved.
The money in the joint account will not be released unless it is ordered by the court or until the parties reach an agreement.
Keith Haslam has also agreed that as long as the football club makes these payments into the joint account then he will not interfere with the football club's right to occupy Field Mill.
The costs of yesterday's hearing will be paid by the party who loses the case at the final hearing (costs in the case).
Thanks for everybody who came down to the court yesterday and supported John Radford and the football club. Don't forget, you can also make donations to the Free Field Mill Fund by donating online on the Stags Fans United website:
or by sending a cheque made payable to "Stags Fans United Society Limited" to Stags Fans United, 4 Yew Tree Close, Gamston, Retford, Notts, DN22 0PZ
The costs of fighting the legal case to date have been very substantial and John Radford greatly appreciates any financial contributions that are made by Mansfield Town fans. He is fighting this case on behalf of the club and the fans and he loves having the fans standing shoulder to shoulder with him in the legal battle against Keith Haslam. He has also repeatedly said that he wants the fans to own Field Mill in the future and this can be done by Field Mill being owned by Stags Fans United on trust for the fans. We have been advised by Supporters Direct that this is the best way of locking in Field Mill and keeping it out of the hands of property speculators. The ground can then be deveoped and used for the benefit of the football club and the local community and not for personal profit.
Stags Fans United
Stags set for court
mansfieldtown.net, Tue 15 Feb 2011
A reminder that the first chapter of our legal dispute with landlord Keith Haslam begins on Thursday 17th February at Mansfield County Court.
Supporters are welcome to show their support outside the courthouse prior to the case being heard at 10am but are advised that there will be no public access to the courtroom itself. Mansfieldtown.net will be covering proceedings, however, and will bring you updates as soon as they develop
Latest | February 2011