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Archived News from October 2007

9th October 2007 22:01

Mansfield 103.2 breaks the news at 5pm on 5 Oct 2007 that James Derry buys Mansfield Town Football Club.
(thanks to cmk for the recording)

James Derry FULL interview with 103.2, followed by full 103.2 "Sport on Friday" phone-in debate with Dean Foulkes (SSA), Chris Vasper (TM), Graham Parker (SFFC)
here --->
(thanks to cmk for the recording)

Audio interview with James Derry from BBC Radio Nottingham on 6 Oct 2007 here.

James Derry buys Mansfield Town Football Club
CHAD.co.uk, 05 Oct 2007
By Staff Copy
STAGS' chairman James Derry has finally completed a takeover deal to buy crisis club Mansfield Town –– bringing an end to Keith Haslam's 14-year reign in charge.
Mr Derry, who heads a consortium of local businessman, has been a front-runner in the race to buy the Field Mill outfit since he entered the bidding war in July.

The deal for the club is believed to be in the region of £500,000, with Mr Derry then renting the stadium for around £200,000 per year, though Mr Derry declined to give details of the takeover today.
Chad can also exclusively reveal that an Australian group –– which had been talking to the club over the past few months –– only dropped out of the running as late as yesterday (Thursday).

A second local consortium known to Chad also pulled out of the running this week after being frustrated by Mr Haslam's demands.

Tonight Mr Haslam - who sold the club just three days after Chad called on him to step down in a front page Comment - told Chad in an exclusive interview that he still had a strong attachment to the Stags.

Mr Derry said: "I just want the fans to get behind the club now as we enter a new era for Mansfield Town Football Club."
He also told mansfieldtown.net: "Once the contracts have finally been completed, I will be meeting with local business groups and supporters' groups to discuss the way forward for Mansfield Town Football Club."

The deal comes as the club finds itself in the most perilous position in its 110-year history, with the Stags currently rock bottom of the Football League.

But the gloom which surrounds Mansfield Town has failed to dampen Mr Derry's enthusiasm to own the club, telling Chad earlier this week how he felt 'there is a lot of potential' at Field Mill.

"I know that might sound odd after we have lost five matches on the trot, had another low attendance and are suffering other problems with the safety restrictions," he said.

"But I know this club can move up the league. And I know that we can attract a lot more fans into the ground."

The Stags slumped to the foot of the league on Saturday after a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to League newcomers Dagenham –– then suffered their sixth successive reverse on Tuesday when they were beaten 2-1 by MK Dons.

"With Keith Haslam gone the fans would come back, the sponsors would return and there would be a lot more support for the club," said Mr Derry.

"Anyone taking over would need to shake things up a bit, new faces, new ideas . . . but I am sure that there would be a feelgood factor following the takeover and the club could benefit hugely from that on and off the field."

Stags' supporters groups welcomed the news this afternoon.
A spokesman for Stags Fans For Change said tonight: "We are extremely pleased that progress is being made to completely remove Keith Haslam. Until we know further details of the deal it is difficult to comment further, just to say that we are delighted there is a new owner at Field Mill and we look forward to progress at the club."

TEAM Mansfield added: "We are absolutely delighted that Keith Haslam is no longer the owner of the football club, but he will remain a shadow in the side of Mansfield Town as he will ultimately still be landlord, we think.

"We just hope that Mr Derry is given every chance and every support to get us out of the predicament we are now in."

And a spokesman for the SSA added: "It is great news and a step forward. Now we have got to get behind Mr Derry and give him a chance."

7 October 2007
The SSA Committee are delighted by the long overdue news that Keith Haslam has finally agreed to sell Mansfield Town Football Club. Once all the legalities are completed, we look forward to working closely with James Derry in helping to drive our beloved Football Club forward. SSA expect James Derry to be as open and transparent as possible with details of the deal, particularly with regard to any future involvement with Keith Haslam as regards the football club. SSA believe that changes will take time to implement but would encourage as many Stags supporters as possible to return to the club and back the team and our new owner. Our club is bottom of the entire football league and desperately needs your support!

Stags sold (updated 17.00, 05/10)
A deal has been agreed for the sale of Mansfield Town. Terms have been agreed between Managing Director Keith Haslam and Chairman James Derry, for Derry to take control at Field Mill.

The deal has not yet been signed, but its not thought that there will be any hitches to Mr Derry taking over the club. Negotiations have been continuing between the two parties for weeks, and Mr Derry, who has been the club's Chairman since January, suggested last weekend that the deal was close.

Get behind the club, urges Derry
CHAD.co.uk, 05 Oct 2007
By Stephen Thirkill
NEW Stags' owner James Derry is urging fans and businesses across the area to come together and back the town's crisis-hit football club.
Mr Derry made the impassioned plea for support just hours after his consortium were officially confirmed as the new owners of Mansfield Town Football Club.

It is unclear how much the consortium, who have been heading the queue of bidders since July, paid for the Stags, although it is believed it has cost around £500,000 for the club and in the region of £200,000 a year to rent the Field Mill stadium.

The deal, which brings Mr Haslam's 14-year-old reign at Mansfield Town to an end, is likely to be extremely popular amongst the club's long-suffering supporters.
Calling for the support of the town Mr Derry said: "I am passionate about the club and want it to succeed. We now need to get the town, the business community and the fans behind this club.

"The loss of this football club to Mansfield would be catastrophic and would lose the town millions of pounds, maybe as much as £5m.
"We have now got to improve the level of our commercial activity and that is something I will be looking to increase. We need to get more people through the turnstyle and build up our commercial activity to get more money into the club to strengthen and take us forward."

In an interview with local radio station 103.2 he added: "I am not looking at survival in the long-term, I want to move the club as far forward as possible. If people want this club to be successful then they have got to come forward and put their money where their mouth is.

"I believe we have got the potential both at the club and in the town to succeed and take Mansfield Town forward as a club. If Scunthorpe can get into the Championship then there is no reason why we could not achieve the same."

Stags, who have only won once all season, currently sit bottom of the Football League and are the bookies favourites to be relegation to the Blue Square Premier for the first time in the club's proud 110-year history.

Dearden's job safe, says new Stags owner
CHAD.co.uk, 05 Oct 2007
By Stephen Thirkill
THE new owner of Mansfield Town Football Club James Derry has today spoken of his ambition and determination to push Stags up the football league ladder.
Speaking shortly after the deal with former owner Keith Haslam was confirmed Mr Derry, whose consortium has been negotiating the protracted deal since July, told of his pride and vision for improving Stags and dragging them away from the League Two basement.
But Mr Derry refused to reveal who the other members of his consortium are or how much they have paid to buy the crisis club and rent the Field Mill ground, although it is believed the club has cost around £500,000 and the stadium rent will be around £200,000 a year.

Said Mr Derry: "The situation at the moment is that a deal has been done with Keith Haslam and is currently being ratified by the lawyers.

"The deal is done and dusted and we expect it to be legally ratified before the Notts County game.
"Keith Haslam will no longer be associated with Mansfield Town Football Club and I hope the fans will now take on board the new regime and support the club.

"We now need to take this club forward. I feel the consortium has picked up a bargain, there is a lot of potential in this town for the football club.

"The performance against MK Dons showed that the club is not just good enough to stay in the league but also good enough to be challenging at the top of the division."

In an interview with local radio station 103.2, Stags' new owner also spoke of why he decided to buy the struggling team and confirmed boss Billy Dearden would stay in charge.

"I am very proud and excited to be the owner. There is great potential here in the club and the area deserves a good football team,"said Mr Derry.

"If you love football like I do then there is nothing better than buying your own football club. I believe in the club and want it to succeed. I am passionate about the club and I am sure it will succeed.

"I also have faith in our manager. Billy Dearden is very experienced and is going nowhere. We are happy that he is here at the club."

The deal, which is likely to prove extremely popular with Stags' long-suffering fans, comes as the Mansfield Town find themselves in the most perilous position in its 110-year history.

Mr Derry added: "We have a good ground, we are debt free and not many clubs in League Two can say that. We are bottom of the table and have not been performing to our potential.

"There have been games this season such as against Brentford and Peterborough where we were the better team and did not win."

CHAD EXCLUSIVE: I still feel a lot for the Stags - Haslam
CHAD.co.uk, By Tim Morriss, 05 Oct 2007
FORMER Stags' owner Keith Haslam tonight told Chad that he still has a strong attachment to Mansfield Town, despite selling the football club.
And in a brief exclusive interview after selling the Stags, he revealed that he may well return to football at another club.

He declined to comment on details of the sale to chairman James Derry - which came just three days after Chad called for him to step down in a front page comment - or in detail about his 14 years at the helm of Mansfield Town FC.

But he told Chad: "I will be sorry to go, I have had a lot of messages from people saying they didn't want me to go, but everything moves on.

"Things will be done in the right manner and I hope that James takes the club forward, he is very enthusiastic.

"But he needs everybody - the council, the business community and fans to get behind him. Without that no football club has a hope.

"Recently there has been that element at the club, a lack of support from all sides, which has not helped."

Mr Haslam, who recently announced that he would not attend any more matches at Field Mill, will be at Millmoor tomorrow for the game between Rotherham and the Stags.

He added: "I would like to think that I can still go to Mansfield's matches, away from home at least, in the future.

"Fourteen or 15 years out of your life is a long time. I feel a lot for the football club. I have got a strong attachment to Mansfield and have made some very good friends here. There have been some good times.

"I am welcome at clubs up and down the country and would like to think that I could go the odd game."

Mr Haslam, who said that he expects the takeover to be finalised before the Notts County home match on 20th October, also said that he hopes to return to football in the future.

"I have had a few individuals contact me, people have enquired if I would head a consortium. The interest has been from clubs in the Championship and at all levels in the Football League.

"But for now I will let the dust settle and then take it from there."

We need to see more details on Stags takeover - Mayor
CHAD.co.uk, 5 Oct 07
MANSFIELD Mayor Tony Egginton has cautiously welcomed the news that Keith Haslam has sold Mansfield Town FC.
But he told Chad.co.uk that more details on the takeover by James Derry need to be provided to win over the fans and business community.

He said: "I wish James every success, but some fans will be sceptical until they see more details.

"To win back the fans and sponsors, he needs to be transparent about the deal."

Two weeks ago Mr Eggintton told Chad that a takeover needed to be concluded quickly and that having a club in the Football League was vital to the economy of the town.

"We need to see what the limitations are, has Keith Haslam been fair and accepted a lower rent than was first talked about, for instance.

"This is a positive move, but we need to know a little more.

The Haslam era
CHAD.co.uk, 5 Oct 2007
KEITH Haslam ended his 14-year rein as owner of Mansfield Town Football Club on Friday.
He sold the club, rock bottom of the Football League, to chairman James Derry after a summer of discontent at Field Mill off the pitch.

This included protracted takeover talks with various parties, criticism from safety officials and further fans' protests - not helping on the field where the club have now hit the bottom of the Football League.

The furore culminated earlier this week with a Chad front page comment, calling on the unpopular owner to hand over control of the club.

Keith Haslam took control of a debt-free Mansfield Town on 4th June 1993 when Abacus Holdings Ltd sold their majority shareholding in the football club for £1.

Mr Haslam's company Wakeco (64) Ltd initially rented Field Mill from Abacus, who gained the stadium as part of the deal to pay off debts owed by the Stags to Abacus.

One of the first of his many unpopular decisions was to make long-serving secretary Joe Eaton redundant.

And so the controversy, off the field, began:

1994 –
Mansfield Town FC Ltd changes its rules to allow directors to be paid
Keith Haslam says the Stags will leave Field Mill for a stadium on the outskirts of the town
No AGM is held

1995 –
Keith Haslam says the switch to a new stadium would take place during the year
No AGM is held

1996 –
The club says staying at a revamped Field Mill is a second option
Keith Haslam, at the AGM, says he has no excuses for not holding an annual meeting the previous two years. He also says that transfer fee profits had gone on other areas of the club. He says he is not paid a salary (two years later accounts for 1996 show that he was)

1997 –
No AGM is held
After a public inquiry the go-ahead for redevelopment of Field Mill (By Christmas 1998) and building the adjacent retail park at Portland Sidings given go-ahead

1998 –
Redevelopment held up over funding problems.
PFA pay players' wages and transfer embargo placed on club twice.
Keith Haslam offers to quit after criticism of the financial problems
Players block the chairman's car in the car park until they are paid
Keith Haslam found not guilty of deception at Crown Court after being accused of planning the theft of his BMW and gaining £29,000 insurance
AGM shows for first time the controversial interest free personal loans which were to dog Keith Haslam. He had borrowed from the club almost £46,000 in 1996 and a further £31,000 in 1997. Company Law says the limit should be £5,000

1999 –
Keith Haslam again offers to quit and consortium shows interest, but says they are prevented from seeing necessary financial paperwork
Redevelopment again held-up, but work starts in June
AGM reveals another private loan in 1998 for £34,000 (now totalling over £100,000); also that the club has bought Field Mill back for £1.63m ( a figure agreed when he bought the club), funded by the developers of the adjacent retail park.
Mr Haslam promises to pay back the loans inside three months

2000 –

Plans for a training ground/youth academy revealed
Keith Haslam turns down a bid for the club by supporters group Team Mansfield, but says he will allow them to buy small amount of shares (completed in 2002); he again promises to repay his personal loan as part of the deal.
New North and Quarry Lane stands open.

2001 –

New West Stand opens
Academy land – and a £7m plan - revealed as Beck Lane, Skegby

2002 –
Beck Lane planning permission approved by Ashfield District Council
AGM shows the chairman now owes £350,000 in personal loans; he again promises to repay and says they will stop
AGM also shows that the football club had loaned 487,000 to Stags Ltd, owned by Mr Haslam, to buy the land at Beck Lane
Council approves redevelopment of Bishop Street Stand, but club says the plan on hold.

2004 –
Manager Keith Curle suspended and then sacked after high profile internal inquiry.

2005 –
At AGM he again promises to repay personal loans
Capacity at Field Mill reduced and then restored by safety officials
Still disagreement with Ashfield District Council over academy plan
Team Mansfield launches legal action over Mr Haslam's personal loans
Mr Haslam finally apologises over illegal company loans, saying he is embarrassed but not ashamed

2006 –
Fans step up protests over the loans inside and outside grounds on matchdays
Fan banned over protest balloons inside Field Mill
Team Mansfield launches bid to buy club, including a march through the town centre attended by hundreds of fans
Sponsor Andy Perry also makes bid for the Stags
Haslam steps down as chairman, but remains chief executive and owner (his replacement as chairman Peter Lee is hardly ever seen at Field Mill and quickly leaves)
Tribunal finds against Keith Haslam over the Curle sacking and says club disciplinary process 'a sham'
Mr Haslam says the club IS for sale
Allegations of financial mismanagement at the club's Stags Community Trust

2007 –
Freelance photographer ejected and banned for displaying a photo of a 'Haslam Out' protest sign on his laptop during a game
James Derry is the new chairman
Mr Haslam again insists the club is for sale
Club cleared of any wrongdoing over the Stags Community Trust
Australian bid for club rejected
AGM shows loss of around £250,000 for second successive year and that Keith Haslam increased his salary by 20%
Capacity at Field Mill cut to half after stewarding problems at last home match of the season
Mr Derry makes public plea for local business to back his consortium's bid for club
Capacity restored to 70%, but then cut again after Stags send too many tickets to be sold for match against Chesterfield and then let in too many fans to a stand
Second local consortium makes bid, but then withdraws
Australians rekindle and then withdraw from the race

CHAD EXCLUSIVE: Meale backs Derry takeover of Stags
CHAD.co.uk, 6 Oct 2007, By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD MP Alan Meale today gave his backing to new Stags owner James Derry - telling Chad.co.uk exclusively: "He has not come to the club to fail."
Mr Meale said that he also hoped the 'businessman with an outstanding record' would bring Mansfield Town Football Club the success its fans 'need and deserve'.

And the MP, seen by supporters as an ally to the often under-fire former owner Keith Haslam, added that it was time for someone else to take on the aspirations of fans.

On Friday Mr Derry, fronting a local consortium yet to be named, agreed a deal to buy the football club from Mr Haslam - ending his 14 years of ownership of the Stags, although he will remain as landlord of the Field Mill stadium.

Mr Meale, who introduced the Newark businessman to the Stags, told Chad.co.uk: "This is a move forward. I am sure that James Derry will bring the new finances to the club that is needed. I am proud and pleased to have got him involved.

"He is a very good, solid businessman who has an outstanding record in his own business dealings.

"It is also important that he is widely known in the Midlands business community as having sound business judgement.

"What happens now is that the fans need to come back and the sponsorship increase. The club needs to solidify and move back to where it should be and where it needs to be."

When asked about Keith Haslam, Mr Meale - a long-time champion of the former owner - would only say: "When Keith Haslam came to the football club there was a real worry it could go out of the League.

"He kept us in the League. He put together packages of funding for a new stadium, he then built a new stadium, with the help of other parties, but with that didn't come the success which the supporters wanted and needed.

"Now someone else has come in to take those aspirations on. Mansfield and its fans deserve and need a successful football club.

"His job now is to get the money in . . . to get the fans back and to get the business people involved. He needs to garner community support.

"He has no history of failure and he has not taken over the club to fail."

When asked if he would remain as an associate director, Mr Meale added: "I don't know. I have been asked to remain involved, but James will bring in his own people and want his own team around him.

"I have already told him that if he wants help with anything he only has to ask and I will do my best. He knows my home and mobile telephone numbers and only has to pick up the phone. I have been a family friend of him and his brother and I am sure will remain so."

Mr Meale said that he would always remain interested in the club from the point of view of its employees and fans.

He added: "The first question I asked James on the takeover was: 'Can you pay people's wages?'. He said 'Yes' and that is good enough for me.

"The question I would always put to any owner is can you pay the staff and I don't just mean the players. I mean the clerks, the coaches, the doorkeepers . . . everyone.

"The first priority has to be to pay wages. There have been one or two hiccups on this over the years, but we have managed to get over it.

"I am also a fan. That is why I first became involved, together with helping to get the money together to build the new stadium."

Last week Mr Meale told Chad that the Stags dropping out of the Football League would be a disaster for the club and the town; and that the takeover needed to be concluded swiftly.

He added: "I wish James every success. Now everyone needs to get behind the club."

Dearden welcomes club takeover
CHAD.co.uk, 7 Oct 07, By John Lomas
STAGS manager Billy Dearden welcomed the club takeover this week, believing it will be one less distraction for his players as they find themselves embroiled in a relegation battle following seven successive defeats.
Newark businessman and current chairman James Derry agreed a price for the club on Friday, ending the 14-year reign of Keith Haslam.

But, after three seasons of supporters' campaigns and demonstrations against Haslam, Dearden is now hoping everyone can concentrate on the football once more.

"Something had to happen one way or the other," he said. "It had been dragging on for month and months since Keith decided to sell.

"As you know I do not get involved in that side of the game. But it had become unsettling.

"It should not affect the players as all they have to do is go out there and play football.

"But they see and hear things in the press and the supporters' demonstrations and they are only human. It is bound to affect some more than others.

"Now a price has been agreed and it's all out in the open, hopefully the club can go from strength to strength.

"We have all got to stick together now and move forward."

Dearden did not know if the takeover would mean he could significantly strengthen his threadbare squad.

He said: "I have not spoken to the new people. As far as I know a deal has been shook on but nothing has been signed so we will have to wait and see what develops.

"But you always hope you can bring players in. The club has been needing it for a few weeks now."

Aussies: 'We wish Stags fans well'
CHAD.co.uk, 7 Oct 2007, By Tim Morriss
AUSTRALIAN businessmen frustrated in their bid to buy Mansfield Town FC have sent out a thank you message to Stags fans via Chad.
The Aussies won a lot of support from fans when details of their £275,000 bid were first revealed by Chad – with many fans posting messages of support on our website.
And their renewed interest last month, again exclusively reported by Chad, also won fans' approval.

This week Steve Dolheguy, who headed the Aussie bid with Gary Wall, told Chad: "The Australian bidders wish the new owners well, but more importantly we wish the Stags' fans well and thank them for their support."

The Aussies had withdrawn their interest on Thursday, a day before James Derry's successful takeover, and Chad can also reveal that a second consortium of local businessmen also dropped out of the race last week.

A spokesman for that consortium said: "Congratulations to James Derry. Now is the time for all fans to get behind him and the club."

The price of the Stags takeover
CHAD.co.uk, 09 October 2007, By Tim Morriss
HOW much will James Derry's takeover deal for Mansfield Town Football Club cost his consortium?
Mr Derry, fronting a group of local businessmen, has signed a confidentiality agreement with former Stags' owner Keith Haslam in which both sides have agreed not to reveal financial details of the sale.

But Chad understands that his consortium will pay £500,000 for the football club, a figure which had also been agreed in principle by one of the other bidders for the club earlier in the summer.

There will also be an annual rent of £200,000 — which Mr Derry negotiated down from the asking price of £250,000 — on a 10-year lease of the Field Mill stadium.

This rental figure will be re-negotiated if the Stags are relegated and will be reviewed after five years.

The consortium will be responsible for the upkeep of the stadium.
When asked if the deal included an option to buy Field Mill, Mr Derry told Chad: "In theory there is . . . but all our plans are based on us staying put."

It is known that Mr Haslam had also been asking for a percentage of any future transfer fees on players currently at the club, but it is thought that this does not form part of the final deal.

However, Mr Haslam's own company Stags Ltd will not be repaying the £585,000 it owes the football club, money borrowed to buy land at Beck Lane, Skegby, for a football academy — still to get beyond the planning stage — back in 2001.

Mr Derry added: "This is down to the lawyers, but the figure is not in my calculations."


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