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Archived News from December 2005

29th December 2005 18:44

Plans blasted as 'half-baked'
CHAD, 28 December 2005

SUPPORTERS group TEAM Mansfield have attacked Mansfield Town chairman Keith Haslam's restructing plans for the club as 'half-baked'
And they have slammed his offer to buy back TEAM Mansfield shares and put them in trust for the Stags Supporters Association as a 'divide and conquer' tactic and said it was 'pathetic and divisive.'
Last week the SSA finally came out in favour of TEAM Mansfield's campaign to force the chairman out of Field Mill as 'Haslamgate' hotted up.
And this week TEAM Mansfield hit out at the restructuring ideas and some of the chairman's comments about them in a new statement.
It read: "TEAM Mansfield is pleased that Keith Haslam has at last revealed details of how he intends to repay the illegal loans he has taken from MTFC over the past nine years.
"While TEAM Mansfield welcomes any statement from the chairman about his intentions for our club, they are shocked and dismayed that Keith Haslam will use MTFC's own money to repay his personal loans.
"In short MTFC will pay a dividend to Stags Ltd and Mr Haslam will use this money to repay the loans.
"MTFC will be no better off - indeed it is likely more money will be lost if the dividend payment to Stags Ltd exceeds the loans.
"It is also unclear from the statement how Mr Haslam intends to repay his personal loans - we would ask Mr Haslam to clarify this.
"Keith Haslam says that recent adverse publicity surrounding MTFC instigated by TEAM Mansfield has damaged the club.
"We would just like to remind Mr Haslam of the following:
l It is Mr Haslam and Mr Haslam alone who has taken nearly £1.2m in personal loans from MTFC.
The fact that TEAM Mansfield has challenged this behaviour and brought it to public attention is to the credit of all honest Stags fans and TEAM Mansfield.
he fact that Mr Haslam has been exposed and the consequent knock-on effects of alleged lost sponsorship are the sole responsibility of Mr Haslam.
"Mr Haslam has chosen to run MTFC as its sole director, chairman, chief executive and majority shareholder over the past years.
"The inevitable personality-driven organisation which has alienated a large number of Stags fans, a series of managers and administrative staff at the club, Mansfield business people and the Mansfield community at large, is a consequence of Mr Haslam's stewardship of our club - no one else.
"Mr Haslam is disappointed TEAM Mansfield would not wait for him to announce the restructuring details before we took legal action.
"He will forgive our cynicism but he may remember the following announcements that were never fulfilled:
1996 AGM - The Accounts and AGM were three years late. Mr Haslam promised it would not happen again. Accounts and AGMs have been late every year since.
1999 AGM - Mr Haslam promised to repay his loan from MTFC, then at £108,000. This never happened and went on to top £1.1m in subsequent years.
2002 - TEAM Mansfield Agreement signed. Mr Haslam promised to take no more loans and produce accounts on time. In 2004 the loan increased and accounts continue to be published late.
"This list is far from exhaustive but we believe it illustrates the behaviour of a man who is either unable or unwilling to keep promises made either informally or formally at AGMs or in legally- binding agreements.
"TEAM Mansfield will not stop legal proceedings until the loans are repaid.
"TEAM Mansfield has never suggested that Keith Haslam benefited personally from the £33,000 it invested in MTFC in return for Community shares and refutes Mr Haslam's statement regarding this.
"TEAM Mansfield went to enormous lengths to ensure this did not happen.
"Indeed, the class of shares TEAM Mansfield created in MTFC (this work was not completed by MTFC as suggested in the chairman's statement) was largely driven by the desire NOT to purchase shares from Mr Haslam or his businesses.
"TEAM Mansfield has not contributed further funds to MTFC as highlighted by Mr Haslam in his statement because the agreement signed in 2002 allowed for MTFC to appoint a supporter director - an option that was never taken up or, indeed, seriously considered by Mr Haslam.
"TEAM Mansfield strongly believes that in order to ensure proper corporate governance at MTFC, the expertise and independence of a supporter director and a formal board at MTFC are essential before any further funds could be invested.
"We are pleased Mr Haslam finally recognises the need for a proper board and will work to ensure at least one board member is a supporter director.
"Unfortunately, Mr Haslam has shown his contempt for Stags fans in the past by ignoring their reasonable needs and we challenge him to make a supporter director the new chairman of MTFC to oversee the restructuring.
"Given Mr Haslam's appalling track record of corporate governance at MTFC we would be surprised if there is anyone who is willing to invest substantial funds in MTFC to enable the proposed restructuring to occur whilst Keith Haslam retains majority control.
"TEAM Mansfield would be happy to discuss investment in the club with Mr Haslam if he is prepared to relinquish his majority shareholding and resign as Chief Executive.
"The board of TEAM Mansfield fully understands all the commercial and legal issues surrounding potential acquisition or investment in MTFC.
"We understand that shares would be acquired from Stags Ltd. We understand that this would benefit Keith Haslam and not MTFC. We also believe, that for a reasonable market price this would be worth it to remove Mr Haslam from our club.
"TEAM Mansfield are disappointed that Mr Haslam has chosen to try a 'divide and conquer' strategy concerning TEAM Mansfield shares and gifting them to the SSA.
"The SSA and TEAM Mansfield have worked closely together over the past five years with the SSA having three representatives on the TEAM Mansfield board.
"Much of the progress made by SSA over recent years has been a consequence of the fan Community Consultation Team (CCT) meetings instigated by TEAM Mansfield and the willingness of both organisations to work together to achieve their objectives.
"We know that the SSA fully support TEAM Mansfield and will reject this pathetic and divisive offer by Mr Haslam.
"TEAM Mansfield will also not make it easy for Mr. Haslam by selling its shares back to him - we will continue to use our minority shareholding to influence things for the better at MTFC.
"TEAM Mansfield urges all Stags fans to continue to work to remove the current regime from our club.
"Mr Haslam does not own MTFC - he is merely the present custodian and we will be here long after he is gone.
"We are appalled that Mr Haslam seems proud of his achievements at MTFC over 13 long years and ask him to recognise that his doubtful usefulness to our club is long past.
"He has got what he wants from MTFC and we urge him not to try to prolong his tenure by instigating half-baked restructuring plans.
"Mr Haslam is not returning the money he took illegally back into our club nor has he any intention of investing in MTFC's future.
"We implore Mr Haslam to use the restructuring as a vehicle to satisfy his personal exit plans and then go!
"We do not want him maximising his personal gain from this transaction and then hanging on as chief executive, continuing to make poor decisions whilst our beloved club continues to under-perform.
"Further investment from the local community will not be forthcoming and the club will not be run in the interests of MTFC whilst he remains in charge. Please go now Mr Haslam."
Chad did an internet poll on our http://www.mansfieldtoday.co.uk web site asking fans if they thought the chairman should go. Over 500 Stags fans ticked a box and 92 per cent were in favour of his departure.
Haslam hits back
CHAD, 28 December 2005

UNDER-fire Stags chairman Keith Haslam defiantly hit back at a new statement by TEAM Mansfield who want him to quit the club.
And he also expressed his disappointment over the Stags Supporters Association statement in last week's Chad as 'Haslamgate' continued as a war of words.
TEAM Mansfield slammed his restructing plans for the club as 'half-baked' and his offer to buy back TEAM Mansfield shares and put them in trust for the Stags Supporters Association as 'pathetic and divisive.'
But Haslam reiterated: I am going nowhere until a proper offer comes along. The shares are not for sale.
"I am disappointed with these statements in the press from TEAM Mansfield and the SSA.
"All this began at the AGM when there were no questions about the accounts.
"It was myself who raised the subject under 'any other business' and spoke about the restructuring of the club.
"So, despite what TEAM Mansfield say, all the process for this was in place before they thought about doing anything.
"It was all out in the open and we were looking at what to do about it before TEAM Mansfield jumped on board.
"They are still not fully aware of what the restructuring will involve. That won't be decided until an AGM/EGM I will call in the New Year.
"I am not railroading anything through. It will be put to shareholders and go through the proper processes.
"It was all thought about in September and it has taken until now to be clarified by accountants, lawyers and the FA who have accepted the proposals.
"As for their comments about personal loans, they should employ an accountant to look at the figures as I have not taken anything like that in personal loans. They should look at that again.
"I am pleased TEAM Mansfield have accepted they have not invested any money in the football club, other than the shares they purchased. They have gifted the club nothing.
"They talk about wanting a director on the board but that was never part of the agreement. We just said we would talk in 18 months time to see how it was working and it has obviously not been working very well. Their support has not been forthcoming."
He added: "All they are coming out with is a lot of hot air. They say they are prepared to invest in the club when I relinquish my major shareholding.
"But they still have never put an offer in writing to me. I have had no contact with them. They prefer to have dialogue through the media which won't get them very far.
"They say there is no one prepared to invest in Mansfield Town Football Club, but I have spoken to three people this week who would all be very interested in becoming members of the board.
"If TEAM Mansfield want to sit on their hands and just publish things through the media without coming to the club or actually doing anything, then so be it.
"Other people will come along and take the impetus away from them. Let TEAM Mansfield believe what they want to believe.
"Let's wait and see as once other investment goes through then they won't get another chance. Other investors will then want a say as well.
"I have already said we would look at having a supporters' representative on the board as part of the restructuring
"There is nothing new in any of the stuff they are coming out with so I don't really see the need to comment further unless there is."
On last week's SSA statement in the Chad, he said: "I have also taken the SSA comments on board. I am pleased they acknowledge the work of Angela Gregory and Peter Shirtliff - two people I have taken on this year so at lest they are acknowledging I do make some correct decisions!
"I am sure Angela will be meeting them soon to discuss the future. What they will do for us will be reflected in what we will do for them.
"They already get more discounts than any other football club and still choose to take this sort of action.
"These press statements do nothing except undermine the football club and frustrate the true supporters who are fed up of listening to this week in, week out in the media."


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