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Archived News from March 2008

31st March 2008 23:42

Fill Field Mill and Mansfield Town to Harchester United may not happen - Batchelor
CHAD.co.uk, 29 Mar 2008

JOHN Batchelor says that he will drop his plan to rename Mansfield Town as Harchester United - 'IF Stags fans fill Field Mill every week'.
Mr Batchelor, hoping to hear in the next few days if he has persuaded Mansfield owner Keith Haslam to sell the club and Field Mill, caused uproar on Friday with his idea to change Mansfield Town's name to the fictional football team, Harchester, which features in Sky TV's soap opera Dream Team.

The news was exclusively revealed by Chad - following a leaked e-mail - and Mr Batchelor admitted that his phone had not stopped ringing since then.

The Football League, the Conference, Mansfield's MP and Mayor have all had their say . . . not to mention the supporters on stories on this website.

Full story ---> http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/Fill-Field-Mill-and-Mansfield.3927834.jp

Mr Batchelor has also received many telephone calls from disgruntled Stags fans, after giving out his telephone number during a radio interview on Mansfield station 103.2 on Friday evening.

To listen to the interview by Tony Delahunty again, click here

Mr Batchelor added: "I have returned some calls also and still have a couple more to ring. We have had some interesting and long chats!"

At the weekend he told Chad: "If the stadium is full every week with Mansfield fans and the town can demonstrate it would get behind the club and has a desire for a professional club, then maybe there would be no need to rename the club.

"I have never understood fans boycotting their own team, but if there are not enough people coming to matches to keep the club going then I have to find ways of doing things differently.

"As I have made very clear, I am in this to make money for the club and so for me."

The would-be owner denied that he had leaked the information, causing the massive media interest. He said: "I did not want this to come out now and distract from what is going on, on the pitch.

"I would much rather this had come out after I had finalised my plans more - at the momet we have no agreement from the programme makers to do this even."

He added that if he took over the club, he would divert most of the profits to improving the squad and - if he also bought Field Mill - the ground.

Mr Batchelor has previously said that he would take 25% from sponsorship deals and on Saturday he stressed: "Let's be clear. I will take no salary. I will earn money off the back of making the club work. First we will tackle meeting our overheads and then taking it into profit.

"Everything will go into one pot - sponsorship money and money generated from games etc. From this i will take 25% of the net profits and the rest will go on improving the squad and the ground."

On Saturday he again stressed his desire to buy both the club and Field Mill - saying that he was still waiting to hear from owner Keith Haslam and chief executive Stephen Booth, who are handling the sale.

Chad first revealed they had held takeover talks on Wednesday and on Friday evening Mr Booth formally confirmed those meetings.

Mr Batchelor, when asked how he would finance buying the stadium for just over £4m, said: "It is cheaper for me to mortgage than to pay rent.

"I would rather just buy the football club and pay a reasonable rent, but it is a fairly steep price."

Chad revealed yesterday that Mr Haslam wants an annual rent of £275,000 - reduced to £175,000 in the Conference - on a 10-year lease for anyone wanting to buy just the football club.

When it was pointed out by Chad that buying the club and ground on a £4m plus mortgage could leave the Stags with a massive debt - particularly if Mr Batchelor then moved on very quickly as he has a habit of doing with companies he buys - the would-be owner admitted: "It does, but wouldn't Mansfield have a massive debt in terms of the rent anyway.

"The club is not going to get rid of Keith Haslam without paying - it is just a choice of doing it by renting or a mortgage."

He added that he had no intention of relocating the club away from Field Mill - but admitted that by renaming it Harchester United, this would make any such move away from Mansfield easier.

Mr Batchelor has previously told Chad that he is 'in the market' to buy a football club and has looked into the situations at Macclesfield, Chester and Rotherham.

A few years ago he approached Stockport County, but was met with a hostile reception by fans following his time at York City - where he took the club into administration amidst financial allegations.

At City he had bought the club for £1 and promised, but failed, to buy Bootham Crescent.

Harchester idea an embarrassment and not helping - manager Holland
CHAD.co.uk, 29 Mar 2008

STAGS manager Paul Holland has added his voice to those opposed to changing the name of Mansfield Town to a fictional TV team Harchester United.
Would-be Stags owner John Batchelor's plan to link up with the Sky TV soap opera Dream Team's Harchester United created national interest on Friday after Chad exclusively revealed his plan.

Holland, appointed manager on Tuesday, told the BBC's East Midlands Today programme: "I have been associated with the club since I was 13 or 14. It has always been Mansfield Town Football Club and I would always want it to be.

Full story at CHAD website.

"Whoever is in charge, I will always put my opinions across."

Fans, the town's MP and the mayor have already all spoken out against the proposal, which Mr Batchelor says would bring in much needed revenue to a struggling club.

And after the 0-0 draw at Notts County on Saturday he told Chad: "I have been trying hard to relax the players as much as I could this week for the derby game so what has been going on off the field has not really helped things.

"It all needs sorting out sooner than later as it is becoming a bit of a joke. The idea of changing the club name was a bit of an embarrassment to tell the truth."



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