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Archived News from January 2007

4th January 2007 18:57

Audio interview with Richie Barker from BBC Radio Nottingham (RealPlayer needed)

Radio Nottingham drivetime, 4 Jan 2007, SSA comment about how Barker will be missed: Clip here

BBC Nottingham online, 04.01.07
The Mansfield Town chief executive, Keith Haslam, is expected to release a statement today on the sale of the club's leading goalscorer and captain, Richie Barker, to fellow League Two side Hartlepool United. Barker signed a two and a half year deal with the North East side last night. The fee's not been disclosed but is believed to be around £80,000. Barker's 31 and says he's made the move in the hope of winning honours. Meanwhile, the Stags supporters association have released a statement saying they're disgusted and appalled at the decision to sell Barker. They say it's putting the club's football league status at risk.

Evening Post, 04 January 2007

Mansfield boss Billy Dearden today described captain Richard Barker's departure as a big loss - but he insists he will not rush into finding a replacement.

Barker - who has scored 15 goals for the Stags this season after firing 23 last term - signed for Hartlepool yesterday for a fee believed to be in the region of £80,000.

Dearden knows that finding someone to fill the boots of the 31-year-old will not be easy.

But he said he will remain patient to ensure he gets the right player.

"Any team would feel that losing their leading goal-scorer is a big loss and we are no different," said Dearden. It was probably a deal that was always likely to be done once he had spoken to them five or six weeks ago."

He told Barker he wanted him to stay, "I knew that it was on the cards before I took over as manager. I will be disappointed if I don't get some of the money from the transfer to spend on a replacement.That's what I expect.

"I will only get someone who will do me a job, whether that be short or long term. We just have to see who is available within our financial constraints."

While Dearden knows only too well that top-notch strikers are hard to come by, he points to a similar situation in his last spell at Field Mill as reason for hope.

He said: "We sold Lee Peacock to Manchester City for £500,000 (in October, 1999) and that was a real blow to us then.

"But we got Chris Greenacre in on a free transfer from Manchester City, so it shows what is possible, though it is getting harder and harder to do that."

Out-of-favour Forest striker Neil Harris has been linked with a loan move to the Stags.

But City Ground boss Colin Calderwood expects the former Millwall man to return closer to his native Essex.

Meanwhile, the Stags are set to get £125,000 from former player Liam Lawrence's move from Sunderland to Stoke under a 25% sell-on clause. It could be more, depending on appearances.

The Stags' home match with Chester City is now on Tuesday, March 6, after being postponed because of a frozen pitch just before Christmas.

Evening Post, 04 January 2007

Richard Barker this morning confirmed to the Evening Post he is no longer a Mansfield player.

The Stags' captain and top scorer signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Hartlepool last night after more than six hours of negotiation.

The fee is as yet undisclosed but is thought to be in the region of the £80,000 that Pools offered for the striker in November.

Barker is expected to make his debut for Danny Wilson's side as they look to extend their club record number of wins to ten at Shrewsbury tomorrow.

"It was a long drawn-out process, but I have now signed for Hartlepool," said Barker.

"I would like to thank the Mansfield fans for their support but I cannot comment any further at this time until a joint statement between the clubs is released."

That statement is expected today.

Stags' new boss Billy Dearden said: "We have become resigned to losing Richie and it is a shame because he's a very good player.

"I wanted him to stay and told him that but, in the end, it was his decision."

Barker was brought to Mansfield by Carlton Palmer in November 2004 from Rotherham United.

He scored ten goals in 28 games during the 2004-2005 campaign and followed that up with a career-best 23 goals last season.

The Sheffield-born striker has again been among the goals this season, with 15 goals before Christmas.

Ironically, Barker's final appearance in a Stags shirt on New Year's Day was against new employers Hartlepool.

His departure is sure to anger the Mansfield fans, especially after he signed a new two-year contract extension to keep him at the club until the end of 2009.

Dearden begins search for Barker replacement
CHAD website, 4 Jan 2007

STAGS boss Billy Dearden today began the massive task of finding a replacement for club skipper and leading goalscorer Richie Barker after his controversial move to League Two rivals Hartlepool United yesterday.
Barker (32) signed a new two-year deal in the summer after his 23 goals last season and had already hit 15 this term before United swooped for him before Christmas.
They finally got their man at the second attempt yesterday after Barker initially refused a move, saying he was happy to stay at Mansfield.
Barker has signed a new two and a half year contract at Victoria Park after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee following a medical yesterday afternoon.
Even though Stags do not play again until Saturday, 13th January at Hereford, Dearden now faces a race against time to find his man as, with Barker gone, fellow striker Simon Brown is suspended for that game while Danny Reet turned an ankle in training yesterday.
The Barker move has been publicly condemned by the Stags' Supporters' Association.
Dearden said: "Richie will be a big loss. He was our leading scorer and, at the end of the day, it was all more or less done and dusted a few weeks ago before I came in.
"It was agreed and then it was just a case of waiting for the January window to open.
"I spoke to Richie to try to keep him here, but it was his decision to go in the end.
"It is a big blow for us but we have just got to get on with it, knuckle down, and get someone in to replace him.
"You don't just accept things but I knew it was going to be difficult to keep him here.
"Hartlepool made him a good offer and at his age it will see him all right. It is probably his last move and I wish him all the very best."
He added: "Richie was never a problem here and, even with all this going on, he just got on with his job. He is a tremendous professional.
"At the end of the day it was his decision, not mine.
"He is going to be very difficult to replace.But Richie had probably his best two seasons in football here.
"He came here with a record of scoring goals but nothing like he has had while he's been here. We will have to wait and see if he now carries that on.
"It is always difficult to replace goalscorers. I am just hoping I can get the right person in here.
"Supporters always love a goalscorer. They have taken to Richie and he has done very well for them.
"If we had sold a midfielder or a defender then it probably wouldn't have been seen as a such a blow. So I do feel a bit for the fans.
"But they have just got to forget Richie and we will go forward with whoever I bring in.
"I have been on the phone and I am just waiting on managers calling me back. But I will not panic, I won't bring someone in unless they are the right person.
"Everyone is chasing a goalscorer and it is much easier to get one pre-season rather than halfway through it when everyone is panicking at the bottom of the league or chasing promotion."
Dearden stressed that he is looking for two seasoned professionals and not just a new striker.
"I am not just looking for a goalscorer, though. I am looking for a couple of players with experience," he said.
"I need someone to come in and help me keep the lads together. When I came in I looked around the dressing room and could see they needed an old head in there and on the field of play."
And he insisted he would be given money to spend, despite the suspicion of supporters that he won't get a penny.
"I have not discussed the Richie Barker or Liam Lawrence money with the chairman, though I expect to be given a percentage of it to get players in with," he said.
"When I took the job I was told there would be some money available and that was before the money that has come in this week."
One player linked with a move to Stags before Christmas was Hartlepool striker Jon Daly who it was suggested would come as part of the Barker deal.
That didn't happen in the end and, ironically, Daly played a huge part in Hartlepool's winner at Field Mill on Monday."I have watched Jon Daly when he was at Stockport and he is a player that I might turn to," said Dearden.
"But that is not as part of any deal yesterday. I have not spoken to the player or the club."
Alex John-Baptiste and Giles Coke are rumoured to be attracting interest from Wycome Wanderers. But the new Stags manager said he does not expect to lose any more players in this transfer window.
"I know there are rumours about other players leaving which there are at every football club in the country," he said.
"But I can't see anyone else leaving here unless there is a ready-made replacement. Obviously if a massive offer came in for someone then it is a different kettle of fish.
"But I wouldn't like to lose any more players just now."
The SSA are seething over Barker's departure and issued a statement which read: "SSA are disgusted and appalled by the selling to Hartlepool of top scorer and captain Richie Barker, who had clearly expressed his desire to stay, and was happy at Mansfield Town.
"At a time when the club are one point from the Conference, we should have been recruiting a partner for Barker, yet Keith Haslam is prepared to risk our Football League status for cash.
"This move sums up Mr Haslam's reign and his complete lack of ambition and respect for the paying customers and loyal supporters of Mansfield Town."
Keith Haslam and Richie Barker are said to be compiling a joint statement over the move which will be released this afternoon.

Dearden -"It is a big blow to lose your leading striker"

Billy Dearden is disappointed at the loss of leading goalscorer and captain Richard Barker to Promotion chasing Hartlepool United but realises that what is best for the player is sometimes important.

The Pool have been chasing the Stags' hit man for some time now and a deal was reached yesterday evening seeing Barker leave Field Mill for Victoria Park in a move rumoured to be worth £80,000.

"It's a big loss to see Richie go to Hartlepool. He is our leading goalscorer but I believe the deal was pretty much done and dusted a few weeks ago before I came into the club. And it was just a matter of waiting for the January Transfer window to come around. I naturally spoke to him to try and keep him here but at the end of the day it was his decision and he decided to go.

"I won't pretend that I am not disappointed it is a big blow for us but we just have to get on with things and try and get somebody in to Replace him" Dearden told the official website this morning.

The Stags' boss will not be resting on his laurels in finding a replacement for Barker and recognises the need for a proven goalscorer in the squad:

"I did try and talk him out of going but as I said at the end of the day it was his decision and he was offered a deal that he couldn't refuse. Maybe at his age he sees this as his last move, I don't really know but whatever happens I wish him all the very best, he is a consummate professional who has got on with his job despite everything that has been going on around him.

"It is always tough when you lose your top goalscorer and finding a suitable replacement half way through the season will not be easy but I have been on the phone speaking to managers and agents and I will have to keep plugging away.

"I have identified a few players, not just strikers that I would like to bring into the club. But at this time of year everybody are chasing proven goalscorers. It is much easier to find these players at the beginning or end of the season but half way through when people are panicking because they are in a dog fight or challenging for promotion they are difficult to find."

In a young squad that has so much potential talent the Stags' boss is looking to bring in a more experienced player who can help him hone the skills of our younger players after identifying a need for an 'older head' in the changing room:

" I have only being here a week but have identified a need for an 'older head' in the changing room that has the experience and ability to help the young lads keep things together. The only experience that I could see on the pitch against Hartlepool was Richie, Mickey Boulding and Gareth Jelleyman with the rest of them being relatively young and inexperienced so I will be bringing in an older person to help balance things out"

The Transfer window this year has brought with it plenty of opportunity for the new Stag's manager as there is plenty of money available for him to spend on new blood. Former Stag Liam Lawrence, a player Dearden knows very well from his previous term at Field Mill, recently signed a deal at Stoke after leaving Sunderland which netts Mansfield Town some £125,000 due to the sell on clause in his contract. This plus the Barker deal has bolstered the coffers at Field Mill enough to give Dearden some hope of being able to land his main targets:

"I have not spoken to the Chief Exec about the money situation yet but when I agreed to come back I was told that money would be made available for me to bring in players if I need it so I am confident that we will be able to get things moving over the next week or two. The Game on Saturday being off gives me a bit of extra time to do that so things have worked out well in that respect."

On a final note Billy Dearden urges the supporters to get behind the team for the remainder of the season saying:

"It is a big blow to lose your leading striker but football is not a one man team game. The deal has been done and we have to forget about him for now and look forward. There are still a lot of players here that need your support so I would urge the supporters to get behind the team.

"I would like to think that I could have at least one player in the club in time for the game against Hereford (13/01/07 KO 3.00pm) but I do not want to start speculating and definitely do not to announce a player is arriving until it has been confirmed and the deal done."


Latest | January 2007