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Archived News from March 2008

16th March 2008 22:02

CHAD VIDEO: Derry agrees Stags takeover if backers come in
CHAD.co.uk, 13Mar 2008, By John Lomas and Tim Morriss

Appeal for businessmen to invest £250,000 and join consortium with Haslam ready to sign

IF James Derry and Stephen Booth could find a local businessman/businessmen willing to join the consortium to take over Mansfield Town FC today, a deal with Keith Haslam could be concluded as quickly as early next week.
That is how close they are to a takeover, it was revealed on Thursday afternoon - after a second buyout in the past two weeks failed at the 11th hour.

Now the consortium is appealing for fellow businessmen to join them and conclude a swift deal - and help keep the Stags in the Football League.

Details of the latest developments were revealed at a press conference on Thursday afternoon. To watch a video of the conference and questions from Chad's Tim Morriss and 103.2's James Corden, CHAD video of takeover press conference here

For they are convinced that a speedy takeover - and the deal on the table could be signed within a few days if new backers come forward - would create a feelgood factor that could save the club from relegation.

Stags fans will be surprised and delighted that current owner Keith Haslam has agreed to let the club go for largely the same deal as he bought it – a nominal £1 purchase, though he would remain the landlord offering a four-year option to buy the ground, too.

The consortium, if they can conclude the deal, would pay a fixed rent over 10 years - a figure which would be reduced if the club slips into the Conference - but take on the club with a zero balance sheet, no debt.

That means that all money put in from new owners would go into the club and not to Mr Haslam, Mr Derry stressed on Thursday.

Current chairman and consortium head, Mr Derry estimates £500,000 working capital is needed to make the move and he and named consortium partner and long-time Stags fan and local businessman Steve Hymas are happy to put in half of it.

But after losing two different partners on recent deals, now they are looking for a handful of businessmen to put in something like £50,000-£100,000 apiece and join the agreed buyout - and that is why they have gone public for the first time.

Mr Derry added: "I know people have been getting very frustrated and I understand that.

"They say it has been going on so long why have we not put a deal together? So we decided to tell everyone where we stand and give them an opportunity to come forward.

"Steve Hymas has been a Stags fan all his life and is well known in the town. His involvement will hopefully give our bid credibility and confidence that it is the right deal for the football club."

Prospective consortium members must have proof of the requisite money.

"A takeover may be just the boost this club needs in our situation," added Derry. "It could be the lynchpin of going forward and staying in the League. And it is plainly a more attractive proposition as a League club rather than non-League."

Chief executive Stephen Booth - brought to Field Mill in January to broker a takeover deal - said: "I think the fact that Keith has agreed a deal now almost identical to the one he came into the club with 15 years ago will show sceptical fans that he is definitely prepared to sell'"

"Don't forget, it wasn't Keith Haslam who pulled out of the deal last time.

"The deal that was on the table before Christmas was far more attractive to Keith Haslam. But the position the football club is in now is not as attractive as it was before Christmas. So we had to restructure the deal to make it a more attractive proposition.

"I cannot put all my eggs in one basket and we are still talking to other interested parties, but my preference has always been for a local solution to this and James Derry's bid is by far the most advanced.

"Talk is very easy. Translating it into action is very different. Anyone who wants to help should come and talk to us now."

The takeover would not need to be given the thumbs up by the Football League because Derry's consortium would be taken on the existing company that runs the club, not creating a new one.


Would-be Stags owner calls on businessmen to back takeover bid
Lifelong Stags fan Steve Hymas revealed as part of Derry consortium
CHAD.co.uk, 13Mar 2008, By Tim Morriss

MANSFIELD property developer Steve Hymas - revealed for the first time as a partner in the James Derry Stags buyout consortium - has urged other local businessmen to back their 'Come and Join Us' appeal.
On Thursday it was announced that Mr Derry and Mr Hymas had come close to securing a deal to buy Mansfield Town Football Club from controversial owner Keith Haslam for the second time in two weeks.

But once again the other half of their £500,000 buyout pulled out at the last minute as the takeover was due be signed.

Now the duo have gone public and urged other businessmen to back their bid, now that Mr Haslam has finally agreed a deal to sell the club.

They need another £250,000 to complete the takeover. The £500,000 the consortium puts in would be working capital, with the new owners paying just £1 for the club - the amount Mr Haslam paid 15 years ago - and renting the ground, with an option to buy.

Mr Hymas (45), a lifelong Stags fan, told Chad: "We can't do this on our own. We need serious people to come forward now and make this deal happen.

Full story on at http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/Wouldbe-Stags-owner-calls-on.3878293.jp

"They need to be prepared to put in say £50,000-£100,000 now . . . and and if things go right, the fans and the sponsors etc come back as they have promised, then that should be enough to make this club viable and turn it around.

"People say that they want Keith Haslam to go. Well now is the chance and the time for action, a deal has been agreed and we just don't want this takeover plan to die a death.

"We would have a zero balance on day one, but have no debt. That is why we need this £500,000 to work with - you can't go in with less than that because of the cash flow.

"There must be local business people out there like me who have the money to put in. A takeover now would be a massive uplift for the club and the fans and give us a better chance of staying in the League.

"If we don't act now this club will go into oblivion."

Mr Hymas added that he and Mr Derry were prepared, if necessary, to stand aside and just be directors on a board, allowing others to be the figureheads and run the club.

"We don't want control, we are not control freaks. We just can't do it alone. We are not Roman Abramovich. Unless you have money like him, it is impossible to do a takeover and a run a club on your own."

Mr Hymas runs Mansfield-based Hymas Homes - whose developments have all been in the Mansfield district - after leaving Brunts School in the town and working at Mansfield Colliery for over 13 years.

A loyal fan, he was brought up on Stella Street in the town, 'from where you can see Field Mill', has been married for 25 years and has two daughters and granddaughter.

He added: "I went to my first game when I was five, my dad was a season ticket holder, everyone I know is a Stags fan . . . it is just in my blood.

"There must be people like me out there who have a bit of money to put in, almost like as a hobby, because they want their local club to survive and move forward. This is not a whip-round, we need a few 'serious' backers, people with some money to spare.

"We are not coming in to the club to make money and sell it, we want this to be a good future for Mansfield Town."

Ironically it was a public appeal by Mr Derry last summer, when he first announced his interest in launching a Stags takeover, that brought Mr Hymas to the chairman.

Mr Hymas was part of the Derry consortium which first had a bid accepted and then finally rejected last autumn. Other members of that group declined to pursue their interest, but Mr Derry and Mr Hymas remained convinced they could do a deal.

Over Christmas they teamed up with an Australian group headed by Steve Dolheguy and thought a takeover would be concluded on 29th February when they agreed a deal with Mr Haslam.

But one of The Australian's backers withdrew at the last minute two weeks ago - leading to the first failed takeover on the agreed deal on 29th February.

Then on Thursday morning a new member of the Derry consortium pulled out when a deal seemed likely to be signed, prompting this fresh appeal.

Mr Hymas added: "We have been working on this for months. We have spent a lot of money on lawyers. James has put in an amazing amount of time into this. He does not draw a salary from the club, but has put in a lot of work that people don't appreciate."


Club Statement
Posted on: Thu 13 Mar 2008

Statements from Mr Stephen Booth, Chief Executive and Mr James Derry, non-executive chairman

Stephen Booth:
There has been plenty of speculation in recent weeks and months regarding the future ownership of the club.

I would like to put on record that we ...

Full story here

(CONTINUED) have been working very closely in an attempt to resolve these issues.We are pleased to state that an agreement was reached between a consortium headed by James Derry and the current owner of the majority shares, Mr Keith Haslam.

Unfortunately, on two occasions, just as we were ready to conclude the agreement major investors have pulled out.In the first instance, this was the ubiquitous Australians who committed promises of significant funds to James, only to withdraw these commitments on the day when the agreement was due to be signed.

Following this, James has been in discussions with a number of other parties, who expressed interest in joining his consortium.One in particular, as recently as yesterday, confirmed his desire to be part of the future, only to withdraw from his commitment this morning.

I would like to emphasise that the agreement that was reached is substantially the deal by which Keith Haslam originally acquired the club 15 years ago.

I believe this is the clearest indication that can be given to those sceptics who maintain that Keith is not going to sell the club, that this is totally unjustified.


James Derry
From my perspective, I am totally frustrated having concluded a deal, two parties have both withdrawn for different reasons.

I would appeal to the people of Mansfield to not let the opportunity pass to achieve the desired goal - which is to put the club back in the hands of the people of Mansfield.

I continue to make every effort and will talk to any genuine parties who are interested in a joint venture together with my consortium.But I would stress that it would have to be genuine.

Full story here

(CONTINUED) Now is the time for the people of Mansfield to get behind the club, given our precarious league position.

Tonight, I am once again meeting another potential partner who has contacted the club to show an interest in being involved with the takeover. Once more, I would stress that this individual is not local.

I would like to stress the need for local people to stand up and be counted, as they did 15 years ago when the opportunity to take over the club was not taken up by local businessmen


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