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Archived News from April 2008

7th April 2008 23:08

Takeover on Monday? I will mortgage Mansfield Town and Field Mill for £4m, admits Batchelor
by Tim Morriss, CHAD.couk, 30 Mar 2008

JOHN Batchelor, fast becoming the most hated man among Mansfield Town fans ahead of long-time controversial owner Keith Haslam, plans to land the Stags with a £4m mortgage to buy Field Mill.
That is how he intends to fund his proposed purchase of the football club AND stadium.

Now Chad understands that he hopes the £4.25m deal could be agreed even as quickly as Monday - despite loud protests against his plan revealed on Friday to rename the club Harchester United after the fictional TV football team.

Full story here

Mr Batchelor submitted his bid for the club last Wednesday and says that he has supplied Mr Haslam with proof of his funding.

On Sunday he again pressed his case by submitting paperwork to both chief executive Stephen Booth and Mr Haslam - as well as holding telephone discussions.

Chad exclusively revealed last week in a series of stories how he first joined the Derry consortium, then secretly put in a solo bid and was quickly axed from the consortium - which then pulled out of takeover talks.

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 that is a fairly steep price."

Initially it is thought that he will free up equity in properties to provide proof that he has the funds in place to buy the club and stadium.

Chad first reported on Friday 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 his majority shareholding in the football club for £1.

It is not clear how Mr Haslam's outstanding £0.5m loan to the football club from his own company Stags Ltd - used to buy land at Skegby for a yet to be built training ground - would be repaid.

But Mr Haslam has insisted upon new owners injecting £0.5m of working capital into the 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."

However, there is a difference between the football club having a debt renting the ground, rather than being in debt through a mortgage it cannot afford.

For any club owner renting the stadium and failing to meet its repayments would simply have to hand the club back to Mr Haslam - not threatening the future of the club which could continue to play at Field Mill with Mr Haslam back as its owner.

But, of course, if the club failed to meet mortgage repayments, its debts would be with a bank or whoever is administering the £4m loan - and they could, in theory, repossess the ground, leaving Mansfield Town FC without a home.

When at York Mr Batchelor, who bought the club for £1, also promised to buy the ground, Bootham Crescent - but that never materialised, although he did take a £700,000 option from a property developer to build houses on the land.

It was alleged at the time that while £300,000 of that went to the football club, the rest went straight to Mr Batchelor's own company - before he took the club into administration.

Mr Batchelor has made it clear through Chad.co.uk that he is interested in the Stags to make money - and would take at least 25% commission from any sponsorship deals he brings to the football club or 25% from any overall profit.


Non-League Today: York warn on Batchelor, 30 Mar 2008


Fans will Have Final Say
By Admin, Posted on Sunday 30 Mar 2008, fansonline.net/mansfieldtown

Stags would be owner John Batchelor has said that ultimately it will the supporters of Mansfield Town who will decide if the club goes down the route of trying to change it's name to Harchester Utd.

Following the 0-0 draw with Notts County, in which Batchelor was advised not to attend by Stags chief executive Stephen Booth, Mansfield Town FansOnline caught up with the ex York City owner, and challenged him about the madcap idea.

He told us "It is only right that if the fans do not want the name change, then it won't happen". Batchelor also said that he his still close to a deal to buy the club from Keith Haslam, and that more talks are planned on Monday.

Full story here

He went on "If I have control of the club for the game with Wrexham on Tuesday, then I will be on the tannoy to get the reaction of the supporters about the name change, if they disaprove, then we will not go ahead with it"

He was also keen to point out that he will continue to gain publicity for the club, whatever it takes, and although the madcap idea of changing name will probably now not happen, then he made the point of him getting more publicity in two days, then we have ever had over the last 14 years.

He is also keen to hear from other supporters, and will phone them back if they leave their number on his mobile. If you would like the number for him, use the contact us form for this information.

Whatever you think of the guy, and we have made our feelings known over the past two days, you can't ignore him, and it looks like he could well be gaining control over this football club, as talks are obvioulsy still going on.

Ring him and tell him what you think!



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