HASLAM RESPONDS ON BARKER SAGA
Barker set to stay a Stag
CHAD website, 14 November 2006
SKIPPER Richie Barker looks set to stay a Stag after a week of intense transfer speculation.
That week ended with his goal shooting down Accrington Stanley on Saturday and earning a lucrative FA Cup second round home draw with League One neighbours Doncaster Rovers.
Barker had held talks with League Two rivals Hartlepool United who were keen to acquire his services.
But Barker opted to stay at Field Mill to the relief of manager Peter Shirtliff who had said he didn't want to lose his skipper.
And, with Barker also saying he didn't want to leave the club, supporters' fury on Saturday was turned firmly on chief executive Keith Haslam.
But Mr Haslam told Chad: "Peter and Richie have both commented on it and as far as I am concerned it is now dead and buried.
"Richie had the chance to speak to Hartlepool and he was made an offer.
"He chose to go up there and in the end he didn't want to leave the club and that was the end of the story.
"I don't know why there was all the 'hoo-ha' on Saturday when neither party wanted him to go in the end.
"Some people were just using this as a vehicle to have a go at me rather than the football club."
Barker, who recently signed a new two year deal, admitted he was suprised to be allowed to go to Hartlepool for talks.
"I don't know if it's over as, to be honest, I didn't know it had started in the first place," he said.
"There are things that go on we don't know about and chairmen speak all the time. I never said I wanted to leave and the gaffer doesn't want me to leave.
"But you have got to understand money talks in football. We are not a multi millionaire club and if money is needed then there is not a lot I can do about it.
"I appreciate the support I got and the way everyone got behind me. As for blaming Keith Haslam, maybe he just thought he was doing the right thing for the club at the time.
"But if people have a bugbear with him, maybe outside the 90 minutes would be better to voice it. I though we had got rid of all that stuff.
"If there are other clubs coming in for me then I must be doing something right. I just want to carry on scoring goals.
"I can't speculate on what other people will say or do or if any other offers are going to come in. I will just continue to do my best while I am here.
"I don't know if the Hartlepool thing is over. On Thursday night I thought I was going and then on Friday I wasn't.
"I have literally not heard a thing since then, though obviously both clubs had to concentrate on the FA Cup which I totally understand."
Manager Shirtliff added: "Every player in the country has his price.
"But I want to keep Richie here and he wants to stay here. That's the end of it as far as I am concerned.
"The enquiry was made but didn't work out as things were not suitable.
"If I want him to stay and Richie wants to stay then why should we sell our captain, top scorer, and a very important member of our squad?
"The bottom line is that if he was not playing well there wouldn't be enquiries into his availability.
"The fans had a go at Keith Haslam but he hadn't exactly shown Richie the door and fans can tend to quickly jump on a bandwagon."
On the 1-0 win over Accrington, he said: "I was very pleased with the players' effort and enthusiasm.
"We started very brightly but the wind was a major factor on the game.
"We camped in and around their box for the first 25 minutes so it was a bit disappointing we didn't score until the end of the half. But we were patient and we stuck at it.
"I was pleased to go in ahead as I knew it would be hard after the break against the wind which proved to be the case."
Keith Alexander's Peterborough United are at Field Mill this Saturday (3pm).
But Stags' fans are already looking forward to the FA Cup second round visit of Doncaster Rovers on Saturday, 2nd December (3pm).
Redditch United left back Asa Charlton should be signed on as a Stags player by today. And if he impresses in training couldforce his way into the reckoning for the Peterborough visit.
"We'll have to see how Asa shapes up," said Shirtliff.
"We know Peterborough have a lot of height and it will be a tough, physical game.
"We have to battle and watch out for their set pieces and long throw. But we must also play our game as that's what we are about and we can cause them problems."
He added: "The Cup draw is a good one, though we know how tough it will be.
"It's great to be at home and it should be packed here with it being local opposition."
The game will be all-ticket for Rovers fans and they will have 1,700 tickets for the North Stand.
Normal League prices apply for Stags fans and they can pay on the gate.
l The home Christmas Saturday game with Chester City has been brought forward to Friday, 22nd December (7.45pm).
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