RADFORD ON GROUND
Stags chairman Radford focuses all his attention on Field Mill
Evening Post, 12 Apr 2011
WITH how much time they spend there this week, Field Mill will feel like home for loyal Mansfield Town supporters. If John Radford has his way it will soon be a place they can call home too.
The Stags' clash with Barrow tonight is the first of four games on the spin in the space of eight days in north Notts that also pitches them against Bath City (Thursday), Luton (Saturday) and Grimsby (a week today).
Those matches will see Duncan Russell's men attempt to improve a record that has seen them lose as many (seven) as they have won.
But, in the background, there is a bigger battle being waged – for the stadium itself.
Ever since taking over as the club's major shareholder and chairman in September, Radford has been determined to wrest back control of the Stags' long-term venue and one of the oldest football grounds in Britain.
Since then, he has taken legal action against current landlord Keith Haslam over the issue, claiming the former Stags owner acquired the venue illegally and that Mansfield should be handed it back.
Haslam, of course, strongly disputes that, meaning that a court case may be the only way to decide things one way or another.
Solicitors from the two sides are due to meet on Thursday to discuss where to go from here, including a possible date for a court hearing.
But Radford has already made one offer to buy Field Mill and, even though that was rejected, is still optimistic he can do a face-to-face deal without the seemingly endless legal wrangling.
Not only that, he is bullish that, sooner or later, he will be in a position of living up to his vow and giving the stadium back to the fans.
"I would like to have had it (the ground ownership) resolved a lot quicker, but that is the way things go," said Radford.
"I have made my offer to him (Haslam) and I am just waiting for us to get together and strike a deal.
"I understand he has been trying to make contact but I have been busy the last month or so.
"But I can't see us moving anywhere else as a club. We will be staying at Field Mill.
"How soon the next (court) hearing is depends on what dates are given to us on Thursday, but I will certainly be going to the next one.
"It could be as long as July next year before a decision is made, but I'm hoping it is settled well before that and I'm quite confident it will be.
"It may get resolved out of court, I don't mind either way. But if it is in court, it is going to cost a lot more money."
Radford knows that Mansfield are being held back because they neither own their ground or have a ten-year lease, one of which must be held to play in the Football League.
And he confirmed he holds the view there is little point throwing huge sums of cash at building a table-topping team if the club cannot actually take up a promotion.
"We don't have the required lease at the moment and we are obviously trying to get that situation sorted out, but it is then we can invest in the team," he said.
"Hopefully it could be resolved in the close season. That would then give us licence to have a really good go next season.
"Ownership of the ground is crucial if we are going to get out of the Conference."
Radford remained tight-lipped over boss Duncan Russell's future, who is in charge until the end of the season.
But he did reveal it will be league results, not just Mansfield's success or failure in the FA Trophy final against Darlington, that will influence his decision.
"We will not be talking contracts with the players or manager until the last few days of the season, when May comes around," said Radford.
"It doesn't matter whether we win the FA Trophy or not, that will not decide it for Duncan.
"He gets the full support from myself for the rest of this season and he knows what he has got to achieve. Results are always important for any manager in any job."
None more so that this upcoming quartet of fixtures, where Field Mill will be just as important for Russell in the immediate future as it is for Radford in the long-term
Radford 'confident' of an out-of-court settlement over Mill
CHAD.co.uk, Wednesday 13 April 2011
MANSFIELD TOWN's bid to regain Field Mill from landlord Keith Haslam continues with a meeting of solicitors today (Wednesday), but Stags chairman John Radford is confident of an out-of-court settlement before next season begins.
Stags have challenged the legality of the way Mr Haslam retained ownership of the ground when he sold the club and Mr Radford said: “It (today) is just a preliminary hearing to decide the way the case should proceed.
“There is no need for anyone to be there bar the solicitors. We will certainly be present for the next one once a date is set if it all lasts that long.
“It could be July next year before a decision is made (through the courts). But I think it should be settled well before then.
“It may be resolved out of court. I don't mind either way. If it goes to court it will cost Mr Haslam a lot more money.
“I would have liked things to have moved quicker than this. I have made my offer to him (Keith Haslam) and we are just waiting for him, though I understand he has phoned a few times while I have been away and busy.”
Mr Radford said he had no plans for a new ground, adding: “I can't see us moving anywhere else.
“But it is common knowledge that to get out of this league we need a 10-year lease or ownership of our ground which we don't have at the moment.
“Once we have that sorted I will invest in the team. This season is almost finished now and I think things will develop quite quickly in the next few months. There is no reason it won't be resolved before next season and then we can have a real go at getting out of the Conference.”
Mr Radford said no decision had yet been taken on who will be manager next season.
Although he has taken Stags to a Wembley final, current boss Duncan Russell's deal runs out in the summer and he has come under increasing fire from fans over poor league results.
“We won't be discussing contracts with the manager and players until the last 10 days of the season,” said Mr Radford.
“It's not about whether we win the Trophy. Duncan and Paul (Hall) have my full support until the end of the season.
“Duncan knows what he has got to achieve. I have sat and spoken to him. Results are always important for any manager as, unfortunately, it is a results-based business.”
Russell said: “I would like it sorted now, but the chairman has given me until the end of the season so I have to stick by that.
“If he wants me out the job I will just shake hands and wish this football club all the best. But if I am given the job I will endeavour to bring in the best players to give us the best opportunity of promotion.
“If I am still in a job next season I will bring in players of a high calibre and experience, better than what we have, and they want to come here.
“I want to build my own side if given the opportunity – a side more than capable of winning this league, not just going up through the play-offs.
“I spoke to the chairman last week and know that if I am here he will back me.”
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