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Archived News from March 2008

24th March 2008 0:00

The SSA Fans Forum on Thursday night attracted an audience of 158.
The forum was compered by SSA co-chairman Dean Foulkes.


Stags Fans Forum - All the news
Takeover/£5 match offer/Reet/Muggs/Bucko/Brown . . . and Fergie!
CHAD.co.uk, 21Mar2008, by Tim Morriss

THURSDAY evening's Stags Supporters Association fans' forum was a lively event - as matters on and off the pitch were discussed.
A panel including caretaker manager Paul Holland, keeper and caretaker assistant Carl Muggleton, safety officer Les Norman; Derry consortium members Andy Sutton, Steve Hymas and James Derry; and chief executive Stephen Booth answered questions.

Full story http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/Stags-Fans-Forum--All.3903054.jp

Experienced keeper Carl Muggleton jokingly told the forum: "I want everything," when asked about his new role at Mansfield Town.

Muggleton has been assisting caretaker manager Paul Holland and has often expressed an interest in developing his coaching skills.

He said: "I want everything . . . to play, coach, be assistant manager. Obviously, at 39, I am coming to the end of my career, so everyone keeps telling me!

"Everyone wants to play for as long as they can. Players become player/managers, perhaps I can assist Paul (Holland) in a player/assistant manager's role?

"If he wants me to help him with the managing and coaching, I am more than happy to. As long as I am involved at this football club I am more than happy."

Holland also defended former manager Billy Dearden's decision to loan out popular young striker Danny Reet for most of the season at Alfreton.

Reet was criticised by Dearden for gaining too much weight last summer and Holland, when questioned by a fan, told the forum: "It is not so easy for everyone playing football to keep the weight down, I had my problems.

"But I have told Danny's agent that if he can find him another club, then he should.

"He has had enough chances at Mansfield Town Football Club. We need better, we need more respect from a footballer who has got ability."

Holland also defended former manager Dearden, saying: "I won't slag off Billy Dearden. Yes, things have changed, we are doing everything with a higher tempo and working hard in training, I have tried to get rid of the fear factor, but any improvement in performances in the last two games is all down to the players, not myself."

Fans were reminded that buying tickets for away matches at Field Mill earned the Stags 5% of the admission cost.

Holland, when questioned about Simon Brown who has not figured in the first team squad for several weeks, said: "He came upto me on the first morning I was in charge and asked what the situation was. I said if he got back to what he was, then he has a future at the club. Clubs have enquired about him, but he has performed well in training and is by no means out of the picture."

Captain Jake Buxton, asked about his sometime outspoken comments on his teammates, said: "I try to tell it how it is. I care passionately and want us to do well. I don't want to let the club down.

"We have all got to stick together, pull in the right direction and pick up the vital points we need."

Caretaker manager Paul Holland says his loan signings will not walk straight into the first team - and there may be more new faces.

A voucher will be isued at Saturday's match against Grimsby, entitling fans to £5 admission to the Wrexham match on 1st April. Otherwise, the admission price will be reduced to £10 for the match.

Chief executive Stephen Booth says he has been contacted by Sir Alex Ferguson, offering his advice on the vacant manager's job.

Mansfield businessman Andy Sutton was unveiled as a member of the James Derry consortium.

The April Fools Day match with Wrexham will cost just £10 to watch - £5 if you go to this Saturday's match against Grimsby.


James Derry 'in control' at Field Mill as Stags takeover almost complete
CHAD.co.uk, 20Mar2008, exclusive by Tim Morriss

WOULD-BE Stags owner James Derry has now taken effective control of the club - although his consortium has yet to officially sign a deal to complete the buyout from Keith Haslam.
The announcement was made to cheering supporters during a special fans forum at Field Mill on Thursday night by Stags chief executive Stephen Booth.

When asked by one supporter if the club had been sold, Mr Booth replied: "Yes, but a qualified yes . . . but James Derry and his consortium are now effectively in control."

Full story http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/James-Derry-39in-control39-at.3902558.jp

The surprise announcement came after a day of negotiations between the Derry consortium, Stephen Booth - brought into the club to broker a sale - and Keith Haslam.

The deal has still to be ratified by the lawyers, but Mr Booth told the forum - organised by the Stags Supporters Association - that he expected the paperwork to be completed by the end of next week.

And when asked by Chad if there was any way that the deal would not go ahead, he replied: "No. The deal has been done.

"The deal is basically the one that Keith had already agreed to, but a few of the legals have been made simpler in terms of the minority shareholders."

So, unlike the protracted and ultimately flawed takeover last autumn, this time the deal will go ahead - with the consortium buying the football club and renting the Field Mill ground from Mr Haslam, with a hope that they can buy the stadium in the future.

Mr Derry told the supporters: "We have thrashed out a workable deal. To all intents and purposes Keith Haslam has disappeared from this football club.

"This is a new dawn, a new era."

And he immediately reaffirmed the news released earlier in the meeting that the first home match under his leadership - Wrexham on 1st April - would be just £10 admission - £5 for those producing a voucher from this Saturday's match against Grimsby.

The £5 match pledge - confirmed by current chief executive Stephen Booth - was something the chairman had always promised once he took charge.

The consortium also called on fans to return to Field Mill now that controversial owner Keith Haslam is on his way out after almost 15 years in charge of the Stags.

And it was stressed that any money now coming into the club would go straight to the new owners - who would reinvest it in the team and the club.

Mr Derry said: "I am hoping for a bumper gate now at the next two matches.

"We obviously need to improve the income levels at the club. It is no secret that rhe club is losing £250,000 a year - the commercial activity at the club is down to ridicuolous levels.

"We are making just £100,000 at the moment - Lincoln does £600,000. So we will improve this.

"I know a lot of people are sceptical about me, but there are two Mansfield Town fans through and through now in the consortium. If they are not sceptical then you must not be."

Earlier in the meeting shirt sponsor Andy Sutton was unveiled as the latest local businessman to join Mr Derry's consortium.

Mr Sutton - who owns Mansfield firm A. Sutton Pipelines Ltd (ASPL) - joins James Derry and another Mansfield businessman, Steve Hymas, in the bid team.

Mr Hymas, from Hymas Homes, said in a passionate speech: "We want to bring in as many people as possible. We are not greedy, we are not in this to make money or take money out of the club at all.

"We want to make Field Mill a place where people can enjoy themselves.

"But we are ambitious. If we can stay up, we don't want to be satisfied with 17th or 18th place, we want to push the club forward."

Mr Hymas, who said that the group had pushed for money to be made available now for new players (two players were signed on Thursday) added: "Any money coming in will go on improving the team and the club. We want people to be proud to support Mansfield."

The news comes just a week after the consortium appealed for urgent financial backing of around £250,000 to complete the buyout - which has collapsed twice in recent weeks due to backers pulling out at the last minute.

But with Mr Sutton joining the consortium following that appeal - and a possible fourth partner in discussions - the Derry group now has the finances in place to complete the takeover. And the group has not ruled out further backers joining them.

The consortium also hope that fans groups may invest money into the running of the club, in return for a place on the board of directors.

The consortium has invested around £0.5m working capital into the club, a condition demanded by Mr Haslam before he would agree to a sale.

They will form a new company, probably to be called Stags 2008, to buy Mr Haslam's majority shareholding in Mansfield Town Football Club Ltd for just £1 - as Mr Haslam did back in 1993.

But there the similiarity with that deal ends.

The new owners will be taking over the club with a zero bank balance -no debts, but 'no cash in the bank' or major assets other than the players.

And Field Mill will be owned by Mr Haslam, probably through his company Stags Ltd, which will charge an annual rent over a 10-year lease (reduced if the club is relegated) - offering an option to buy the stadium at an agreed price.

Financial details of the sale have not been made public, but it is thought that the former training area at Field Mill will not be part of the rental agreement.

It is also expected that Mr Haslam will retain the land at Beck Lane in Skegby - bought for a yet to be built training academy by Stags Ltd with a £500,000 plus loan from the football club. No details of whether the loan has been repaid or written-off have been given.

Fans will be concerned that the football club and stadium have been separated for the first time.

And they will want assurances that the lease cannot be substantially altered or withdrawn, leaving the Stags without a home.

After the meeting Mr Derry did assure Chad that minority shareholders in MTFC Ltd would be treated fairly and recompensed at a full true value following an independent valuation of Field Mill.

TEAM Mansfield, one of those shareholders, has asked for James Derry and Stephen Booth to satisfy its board about the nature of the deal and be open and transparent.

If their questions are answered satisfactorily, an open meeting could be held in Mansfield for all fans when they will be asked to donate money to the trust - leading to supporters buying shares and being given a seat on the board of directors, as confirmed by Mr Derry on Thursday.

TM has also asked for further meetings with Mr Derry and Mr Booth next week to clarify outstanding issues.

The club will be run by a properly constituted board of directors - and it is thought that Mr Derry will now be executive chairman. It has not been disclosed who will replace Stephen Booth as chief executive to take charge of the day-to-day running of the club once the sale is completed.

But Mr Hymas, a member of the Derry consortium since last summer, stressed at the fans forum that the directors of the football club would not be taking any money out of the Stags.

And he urged the fans to return straight away - pledging that all money going into the football club from now would not be going to Keith Haslam.

Protest group Stags Fans For Change (SFFC) has long campaigned for the removal of Mr Haslam from the club, but some of its members may end their boycotts and return on Saturday following the news.

An official statement from the SFFC will not be made until after the deal is finally completed.

One member said on Thursday night: "It is down to personal choice. Some will now go back, and I will particularly given our League position.

"The team needs all the support it can get at the moment."


We will say more once we own Stags - Derry consortium
CHAD.co.uk, 21Mar2008, by Tim Morriss

INCOMING owners at Field Mill have promised to give more details on the Stags takeover once the deal is complete.
Members of the James Derry consortium were at a fans forum on Thursday to hear chief executive Stephen Booth tell supporters "the consortium is effectively in control of the club".

But the three members of the group - who will probably be joined by at least one more businessman - at the forum, organised by the Stags Supporters Association (SSA) were unable to go into specifics of the takeover when questioned by supporters.

The trio - James Derry and Mansfield businessmen Steve Hymas and Andy Sutton - have been bound by a confidentiality agreement, insisted upon by Mr Booth at the start of negotiations.

Full story http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/We-will-say-more-once.3904279.jp

However, it is know that they will buy the club fpr £1, take it on with a zero bank balance, pay an annual rent to Keith Haslam for using Field Mill and have an option to buy the stadium at an already agreed price.

Mr Hymas told the forum: "We are getting rid of Keith Haslam for the fans. We have signed confidentiality agreements, but in the future we will tell you everything. We would like to tell everyone everything now, but we can't."

Mr Derry added: "Once we have completed the deal we will say what the situation is exactly. We will be transparent and open."

Now the incoming owners, who could be fully in charge by the end of next week, have called on fans and commercial activity to return to Field Mill.

They have also offered fans groups representation on the board in exchange for funding - and the groups may call a public meeting to ask fans to donate money once they have received answers to some questions.

After the fans forum Mr Derry did assure Chad that minority shareholders in MTFC Ltd would be treated fairly and recompensed at a full true value following an independent valuation of Field Mill.

TEAM Mansfield, which as a trust would organise the collection of any money, has asked for Mr Derry and Mr Booth to satisfy its board about the nature of the deal and be open and transparent.

If their questions are answered satisfactorily, an open meeting could be held in Mansfield for all fans when they will be asked to donate money to the trust - leading to supporters buying shares and being given a seat on the board of directors, as confirmed by Mr Derry on Thursday.

TM has also asked for further meetings with Mr Derry and Mr Booth next week to clarify outstanding issues.

Mr derry added at the forum: "I am not condoning what Keith Haslam has done, but we have got to draw a line under it.

"The reality is that if Keith Haslam wanted to, he could let this club go down to the Conference and even lower down the map so that one day we would be potentially playing matches at somewhere like Glapwell and this site (Field Mill) would be a supermarket.

"We need everyone to get behind us now. We want this to be a community club, we will look at any ideas put forward by the supporters clubs.

"But the important thing now is to get as many people as possible into the ground on Saturday and support the team.


Second Mansfield businesman named in Stags takeover consortium
CHAD.co.uk, 20Mar2008, by Tim Morriss

MANSFIELD businessman and lifelong Stags fan Andy Sutton was unveiled as a new member of the James Derry consortium on Thursday evening.
Mr Sutton - responding to an appeal for new investors just a week earlier - is already a sponsor of the Mansfield Town FC shirts through his company A. Sutton Pipelines Ltd (ASPL).

Now his backing for the Derry group has inched their takeover at the Stags ever closer, a fans forum was told.


He has joined James Derry and fellow Mansfield businessman Steve Hymas to invest £0.5 in working capital into the football club - and owner Keith Haslam is expected to complete his sale to the consortium next week.

The consortium may be joined by a fourth member who is currently in discussions with Mr Derry - and the group hopes to attract other investors, too, including fans groups in return for shares and a representative on the board of directors.

Mr Sutton (35) is a familiar face on the terraces at the Mill with his young son - and like Mr Hymas has got involved because he is passionate about his hometown football club.

After he was named at the forum as a member of the Derry consortium, he told Chad; "I am just an ordinary, loyal fan. I have been going since i was five or six and my took me.

"I am lucky enough to have had my own company for the past six years and i just want to help make sure my club survives and to do all I can to make sure we stop up.

"I know Steve (Hymas) and I have met James (Derry) on a few occasions. We don't need to make money out of the club, we just want it to survive."

Married with three children - seven-year-old twins (a boy and a girl) and a three-year-old son - and living in Mansfield, he said he decided to become more involved at the club after hearing and reading about the consortium's appeal for financial backers last week.

He added; "My heart is in the club. My kids are Mansfield mad, they like to go early to games to meet the players.

"It is the younger fans that are the future. We have got to get them back in."

And he said that it was unlikely fans would see him in the boardroom very often, adding: "I am just a normal lad, jeans and Tshirt. I want to be in the terraces, enjoying the atmosphere and showing my emotions."


Fans discount for Wrexham game - £10 admission, £5 with Grimsby voucher
CHAD.co.uk, 20Mar2008, by Tim Morriss

STAGS fans will pay just £10 to watch the crunch home clash with Wrexham on 1st April - but that will be slashed to £5 if they obtain a voucher from Saturday's game with Grimsby.
Chief executive Stephen Booth made the announcement at a special fans forum on Thursday night - where supporters heard the latest on James Derry's consortium's bid to buy the club from Keith Haslam.

The two sides currently occupy the bottom two spots in League Two and drew 1-1 when they met at the Racecourse Ground on 1st March.

Later Mr Derry and his consortium said that the reduction was their idea, fulfilling a pledge made my Mr Derry months earlier.

Full story http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/Fans-discount-for-Wrexham-game.3902566.jp

The consortium, said to be in 'effective control' at the club, also told the forum that it had many ideas for encouraging supporters to return to Field Mill.

On Friday Mr Booth said there would be a proportionate reduction on the reduced admission prices for the Wrexham match for concessions.

Adults with a voucher from the Grimsby game will be admitted for £5, OAPs and student with a voucher for £4 and juniors with a voucher for £3.
Non vouchers holders - fans who do not attend tomorrow's match with Grimsby - will be admitted for £10/£6/£4,

And Mr Booth said that season ticket holders would be able to use a voucher in their book to bring along another supporter to benefit from the voucher discounts for the Wrexham match.

It is hoped that the price reductions - together with the loan signings of experienced players Kevin Horlock and Neil Wainwright - and news of the impending Derry consortium takeover will lead to 'bumper attendances' at the next two home matches.

Mr Booth told Chad on Friday: "We need as many people as possible to come to the games, both to back the players and to help the finances for the new regime."

He had made it clear a few hours earlier at the forum that all income to the club would now be going to the Derry consortium, which is due to complete its takeover late next week.


Fergie wanted Stags to go for experienced manager
CHAD.co.uk, 20Mar2008, by Tim Morriss

SIR Alex Ferguson has had his say on who the next manager of Mansfield Town should be following the departure of fellow veteran boss Billy Dearden.
That was the surprising news Stags chief executive Stephen Booth gave to Thursday night's fans forum.

During various questions and answers on the manager's position, caretaker boss Paul Holland also admitted that he would have agreed with fans who initially questioned his appointment to replace Billy Dearden - even on a temporary basis.

And it was also revealed how members of the incoming owners, the Derry consortium, and players had all persuaded Mr Booth to extend Holland's caretaker manager's period to cover this weekend.

Mr Booth said at the forum, organised by the Stags Supporters Association (SSA): "Alex Ferguson called me last week, unsolicited, to say that we needed to go for experience.

"That was all the advice that I was being given, to go for experience. It was a very difficult decision to get rid of Billy Dearden, maybe I left it a few weeks too long."

Full story http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/Fergie-wanted-Stags-to-go.3903110.jp

Mr Booth did not elaborate, but it may be that Fergie was calling to lobby for his friend and candidate Billy McEwan to get the job after Billy Dearden's departure.

McEwan made it clear to Chad that he wanted the job and was considered for the post along with Holland and, according to the chief executive, several other experienced managers, possibly including former Lincoln boss Jon Schofield.

Chad can though dispel rumours that former Sheffield Wednesday boss Chris Turner held discussions over coming to Field Mill. Turner, now director of football at Hartlepool, said on Thursday there was no truth in the suggestion that he was interested in the job when asked about the vacancy.

However, Mr Booth decided to extend caretaker Paul Holland's time in charge to cover this weekend - and he admitted again at the forum that if results and performances go well this weekend 'there will be no decision to make' and Holland will be given the chance to keep the Stags in the Football League.

Mr Booth went on: "Many people said I should go for an experienced manager, but then the performance at Hereford was like chalk and cheese.

"What Paul (Holland) and Carl (Muggleton) got out of the squad was amazing.

"That made me think again. A great number of high calibre managers applied . . . everyone was having a word in my ear to say go for experience.

"Then at Bradford there was, by all accounts, another superb performance.

"Jake (Buxton) rang me and said he would like to meet me. On Tuesday I met with five of the senior players and they said how things had improved.

"That was the final part of the equation.

"We have shown our endorsement of Paul (Holland) with the two new signings and it hasn't necessarily stopped there."

Mr Booth did admit that he had made a mistake immediately after Dearden's departure, saying after the Rochdale defeat that there would be an appointment within 48 hours.

"My initial statement that we we were looking to make an appointment in 48 hours was a mistake and I hold my hands up to that."

Holland - who will be given the job on a permanent basis if the Stags win on Saturday and continue their imnprovement in performances under his leadership at Bury on Monday - told the forum: "Not everyone will agree with my appointment, but I will give 100%.

"I am backing the lads and I am very positive, I am sure we will stay up.

"I know a lot of people said I was the wrong choice when Billy went, and probably rightly so. I would have probably said the same in their position.

"But I want this job, I want to be here until the end of the season.

"But I know that two good performances and games is not enough, the players must continue their improvement.

"We have let ourselves down over the season, now we have got to get it right over the last 10 games.

"I said on the Sunday (after Billy Dearden left the club) how I thought the club needed to go forward and the lads have backed me."

Captain Jake Buxton, who called for the senior players' meeting with chief executive Mr Booth to press the case for Holland, added: "I felt we needed Paul and Carl at this time. He (Paul) has been unbelievable.

"It is best for the club - not for Jake Buxton or Paul Holland - to keep him in charge now."

It was also made clear at the forum that the Derry consortium had pushed hard for money to be made available to bring in loan players now.


Experienced Stags loan signings may not start Grimsby game
CHAD.co.uk, 21Mar2008, by Tim Morriss

NEW signings Kevin Horlock and Neil Wainwright will not automatically go straight into the Stags team for the visit of Grimsby tomorrow.
Last night caretaker manager Paul Holland told a fans forum, organised by supporters group the Stags Supporters Association (SSA): "I have told them that there is no guaranteed first team football."

Holland revealed that he had been delighted by the experienced duo's desire to come to Field Mill to try to play first team football, after spending long periods in the reserves at their current clubs - midfielder Horlock at Scunthorpe and wingman Wainwright at Darlington.

Full story http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/Experienced-Stags-loan-signings-may.3902846.jp

He said the players themselves - including former Northern Ireland international Horlock - had been telephoning him to check on the progress of their loan deal.

Holland also said he may strengthen the squad even further before the loan window closes later this month.

"I have ideas for a couple more new faces. It is not easy to get people into the club when you are second bottom, but now that we have got a couple of very experienced players in perhaps that will make others follow.

"But I have told everyone I speak to that there is no guarantee of first team football."



Latest | March 2008