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Archived News from December 2007

5th December 2007 14:39

'I won't be taking a salary now' - Haslam's pledge
CHAD.co.uk, 4 Dec 2007, by Tim Morriss
CONTROVERSIAL Stags owner Keith Haslam has insisted again that he does want 'out of this football club'.
On Thursday he rejected an offer for Mansfield Town from the James Derry consortium and on Tuesday he surprisingly stepped down as chief executive — bringing in chartered accountant Stephen Booth to run the club and seek a buyer.

In an exclusive interview with Chad he denied that the surprise news was a smokescreen to deflect from fans, angry at his decision to reject the consortium's offer, calling for a boycott at Field Mill.

And he revealed that he would no longer draw a salary from the club as Mr Booth takes over the day-to-day running of the Stags.

Mr Haslam said: "I won't be taking a penny out of the club any more as a salary and I won't be going back to the club at all.

"I have taken a backward step since the deal was agreed at the beginning of October with James, but then we haven't been able to complete that deal.

"That is why I had to take this action. My position has clearly become untenable, I know that. The club needs stability in its day-to-day operations.

"I know the fans may be sceptical about this, but physically I cannot do any more than what I have done. I have cut my salary, I have moved away from the club, now I just own my shareholding.

"What more can I do for them? I am grateful to see James (Derry) stay, fans and I can see that he is enthusiastic to take the club forward and I know he and Stephen will be able to work together. I hope fans can take comfort that James is still here.

"Now all I am trying to do is package the club and sell it to whoever can take it forward."

Mr Haslam denied that he had been offered a deal worth around £3m for the club by the consortium — or that the appointment of a new chief executive was leverage to try to get more money from the consortium.

He added: "I don't want to talk about details of any deal or offer, negotiations have always been private and confidential, but it was substantially less than has been reported before in Chad and less than the £3m you have mentioned.

"I couldn't accept the deal that was offered, my advisors told me that. You don't sell a £1m house for £200,000 because it is the only deal on the table.

"We are not in debt and there are plenty of clubs out there that are. Look at Swindon, £6m in debt and a a £6m deal, in effect, is being talked about there. I am not looking for anything like that, but you have got to be realistic.

"I was happy with the deal in October, but for one reason or another that deal wasn't done. At the time we had other possibilities, but chose to go with James and then the deal changed."

He added that it was now time for 'fans, business, councils, everyone to get behind the club for it to prosper'.

"Only the supporters can do that. I am not blaming the fans, but they have got to decide if they want success or not.

"If they attack me, they attack the club. If it hurts me, then it hurts Mansfield Town FC.

"I repeat, I do want to beout of MTFC, this appointment of Stephen just enhances that."

"I hope we can fund a buyer, it should take three to six months at most. The door is still open to the consortium, but since last week a couple of people have expressed an interest again in buying the club .

"There will be no knee jerk reaction though to last week's consortium situation.

"The priority now is to stablise the club with Stephen and open dialogue with all interested people in the club - fans, Mansfield District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council etc - and then find a buyer."

Mr Haslam said that 'all options are open' when asked if any future bidders would be able to buy Field Mill as well as the football club.

And when questioned about the £500,000 his holding company owes the football club for land purchased at Skegby, Mr Haslam would only add: "It is within Stephen's remit to look at that."


Booth told the Evening Post: "I think Keith realised things could not go on as they were and that my specific expertise, coupled with James Derry's, could be beneficial to the club. My role is very much in helping the club achieve its potential, either by making it more appealing for sale or better for the current owner. Keith is no longer drawing any money from the club. The money that was accrued from the (FA Cup) win on Sunday is in the club, not going into his pocket. I can assure you that he will not be taking a salary from the club either."
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Booth also told the Evening Post: "From the numbers I have seen I am not concerned about the financial state of the club so long as the fans don't stay away in their droves and we achieve our commercial potential. I have been involved in saving many businesses and at times have been called in too late, but I don't think this is one of those occasions."

Meanwhile Derry told the Evening Post: "The fact he will take no further part in the running of the club is a good thing and it proves his commitment to leaving the football club. Hopefully, when Stephen looks into the figures he will see that we have put forward a reasonable takeover offer and will encourage him to accept it."
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Stags have been in limbo, admits new chief executive
CHAD.co.uk, 4 Dec 2007, by Tim Morriss
NEW Mansfield Town chief executive Stephen Booth has hailed controversial owner Keith Haslam's decision to step down as 'brave'.
In an exclusive Chad interview chartered accountant Mr Booth (54) also says the club has 'been in limbo . . . and over the past two months has gone nowhere'.

Now he has called on fans, business and the community to help him stabilise the Stags.

Mr Booth was surprisingly unveiled as the new chief executive on Tuesday lunchtime when the underfire Mr Haslam stepped aside.

He has been brought in on an interim basis for three to six months to 'stablise the club, move it forward and find a buyer'.

And he says he is delighted that chairman James Derry, whose consortium saw its bid for the club rejected on Thursday, has agreed to stay at Field Mill.

He told Chad: "It has been a brave decision by Keith to step down and I hope that the fans and everyone see it as a positive step. I ask that people — fans, business people everyone — ignores what has gone on before and gets behind us. I know this might have all been said before, but Mansfield does need a club that is prosperous, that is what it is all about.

"I told Keith that the only way I would become involved in an operations role was if Keith was not at the club any more and that James Derry was firmly on board.

"The club is in limbo and has been for a couple of months. In fact, over the past two months it has gone nowhere

"But I can't do this on my own, I need the help of the fans, the business, the whole community, as well as the staff at the club and James Derry

"I am delighted that James and I will work together. We will try to open doors in the community and engage people.

"I know that we have got to do a lot of work, but we need to move the club forward.

"The key to success is generating more income — through the turnstiles, through commercial activity — which has gone nowhere lately — and through getting a decent run together on the pitch.

"This is an interim role, I have no ambitions to be a long-term chief executive.

"The door is still very much ajar to the consortium, but for the first few weeks I just want to get to know the staff and stabilise the situation and improve things before I look at the sale.

"Yes, I am being paid (Keith Haslam has said he will no longer draw a salary), but 'a great deal less than the rate I would normally charge'.

Talking about himself, Mr Booth added: "I qualified as a chartered accountant, and then worked in the computer industry in the 80s on the financial and then general management side.

"I became a marketing director for a major USA computer company and moved to Edwinstowe in 1988 with my family. I am now self-employed.

"My family still live in and around Mansfield, I live in Nottingham and London — but will obviously be living in Nottingham fully for the foreseeable future while devoting my time to Mansfield Town.

"I met Keith many years ago, then we met up again about a year ago. We are acquaintances, he came to me and we looked at the options.

"I have no previous football club experience, but I have a lot of experience in different businesses and at the end of the day business is business. I know that football is also about emotion, but it all comes down to profit and loss."

Haslam appoints new chief executive to run Stags
CHAD.co.uk, 4 Dec 2007, by Tim Morriss
STAGS owner Keith Haslam sprung a another surprise on Tuesday lunchtime as the sale of Mansfield Town took another twist.
Mr Haslam, who on Thursday rejected a takeover offer from the James Derry consortium, has appointed a new person - chartered accountant Stephen Booth - to take over the day-to-day running of the club and actively seek a new buyer.

Mr Booth, who lives in Nottingham, will take over the duties previously carried out by Mr Haslam.

Mr Haslam said today: "I don't believe it is tenable position for me to carry on as chief executive.

"I will no longer have any day-to-day involvement at Field Mill."

Mr Booth, whose main job for the past 10 years has been around the regeneration and selling of businesses, said: "I have taken on this role on an interim basis and anticipate that I will be here for no mnore than three to six months.

"During that time my initial objective will be stabalisation, but the ultimate goal will be the sale of the club - but only on a basis which ensures its long-term viability.

"Part of my remit is to engage all interested parties. I would like to emphasise that the door is closed to no-one."

Mr Derry, who yesterday said he had decided to carry on as chairman and would 'try to thrash out a deal', added today: "My consortium is still interested in doing a deal.

"Judging by Stephen's background this is a positive sign.

"One of Stephen's roles will be to try to market the sale of the football club. Stephen and I will be working closely to promote the best interests of Mansfield Town FC.

"Following this period of incertainty, hopefully we can now move forward."

But will be seen by many fans, angry at the decision not to sell to the consortium, as a move to divert attention away from their call for supporters to 'boycott all income streams to the club'.

Why I welcome new chief executive - Derry
CHAD.co.uk, 4 Dec 2007, by Tim Morriss
STAGS chairman James Derry has welcomed the news of a new chief executive at the helm of Mansfield Town.
Mr Derry, who saw his dream of owning the club knocked back by the rejection of his consortium's offer on Thursday, said on Tuesday afternoon that he would work with Stephen Booth to take the football club forward.

Mr Booth was unveiled by underfire owner Keith Haslam on Tuesday lunchtime as Mr Haslam stepped down from his chief executive role.
Mr Derry, who says he still hopes his consortium can take over at Field Mill, told Chad yesterday: "The positive thing is that Keith is exiting the club fully.

"Any suggestion that he doesn't want to sell must have gone now.

"Hopefully Mr Booth will come in and realise how grave the situation is at the club and that our offer is very reasonable.

"I could have walked away, and some people say I should have done, but I don't like walking away.

"I understand the frustration of fans. This is dragging on for such a long time."

MP says new Stags owner must be found
CHAD.co.uk, 4 Dec 2007, by Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD MP Alan Meale has said the search for a new owner for the Stags must be a top priority at Field Mill.
Mr Meale said he was disappointed with Thursday's news that Mansfield Town owner Keith Haslam and the James Derry consortium had failed to come to a deal over the sale of the football club.

And, speaking before the announcement on the new chief executive on Tuesday, he said that he would arrange a meeting with the underfire owner as soon as he returned to Mansfield from Westminster.

He told Chad: "It is sad that we haven't seen a handover at the club, the search for a new owner must now go on. We can't have a situation where the owner doesn't want to stay and there is no-one to come in.

"We have to search again and find someone willing to commit themselves to the club for the longer term and has the finances in place to meet obligations.

"It is imperative that this undertaken straight away. The club has 100 plus employees and this can't just be left hanging in the air. They need to be given the security they deserve as employees.

"Fans feel deeply about the club and they need to be given the assurances that there are people willing to take the football club forward and can meet the obligations for all employees."

"Now is a critical time with contracts having to be re-negotiated soon. Billy Dearden knows he has my full support, he needs security and so does everyone else at the club."


Latest | December 2007