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Archived News from April 2008

15th April 2008 17:27




A message from the lying, cheating, conniving swine (who wants to buy our football club)
CHAD.co.uk, 7 April 2008

DURING the course of the last few weeks, and over the course of the next few weeks, I have and will be painted as a pantomime villain.
The sad truth for Mansfield Town fans is that I work at the 'distress' end of every industry sector I touch.

Before I even look at a business there has to be a huge problem in it, in other words, it is already going to fail and I can't really lose. If we turn it round we increase its value, if we don't then I probably got it for nothing and there will be parts of it that can eventually produce value.

Why should this interest fans of MTFC? It should interest them because I am here, the last chance merchant, the shyster, the Grim Reaper. Why would anyone who only ever looks at distressed businesses be here otherwise?

Full story here --> http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/A-message-from-the-lying.3952777.jp

The distress at MTFC (or at any other business I've been in) hasn't been caused by me, it was already going to happen. And if the management isn't changed, it will happen anyway.

It (MTFC) has a last chance to act as a commercial platform to run a club in a different way.

Either there is an agenda here in this town, and in this club that I don't understand, or you don't really want a club. You have a catchment area of 300,000 people, you attracted about 0.02% of that for a crucial game (Barnet) last week. That is never going to work.

YOU are killing the club that you say you love. Using a hatred of Keith Haslam is NO EXCUSE, it is just being stupid if you really care about a team in this town

For clarity, and so that everybody knows, I have often been accused by Stephen Booth of not producing a written offer. This deal could be done on the back of a packet of fags, it is not big enough to warrant huge legal fees.

So that we all know what is on the table, and Stephen will now have a copy in black and white, here is my offer:

1) I buy the club for £1
2) The club writes off all debt from the loans made to Keith Haslam
3) The club rents the ground until it can arrange finance to buy it
4) I will offer shares in the club to anyone who wants to buy them, if you don't want then don't, but then equally don't even begin to think you get a vote in how the club is run. The price of those share will be £250 each and limited to 2,500, any shares left over I'll keep

I am not here for nothing, but in the spirit of openness, I guarantee to take no more than 25% of the NET profit of the club. In other words, it has to be in profit before I can get anything out. (The Chad can have copies of any deal)

I will not take a salary. I will be here for a minimum of three years and maximum of five (assuming the lungs and liver hold out). I will introduce new elements to the management on and off the pitch.

So, you all have to forget about the pantomime villain and decide if you want a club. I have been completely open; I haven't tried to mislead anyone about my past and answered all questions alarmingly openly — and I'll continue to do so.

If this deal is done, then I can make MTFC work, if it isn't then I suspect that you are looking at a housing estate, what other agenda can there be?

In the event of this going through, I would wish to take care of ALL commercial aspects, I'd like Stephen Booth to resign immediately, the mayor to resign immediately. I will interview for a new CEO over the summer and ask James Derry to return as chairman. Keith Haslam will, in the short term, feature only as our landlord.

Have a reality check, at the moment the club is on the verge of extinction and everybody knows that there is not a huge queue of people who want to buy a club at the bottom of League Two in this state.

Football will be killed off by its fans eventually, the kind of sanctimonious morons who rattle on and on about pride, tradition, 'community resource'. Well that is all claptrap. This is a business and it needs to move forward.

Curiously enough this article is looking very similar to speeches that I give to management teams in failing companies that I acquire - 'either change and deliver what you say you can or die as a business'.

Generally, as a group of fans, you've been pretty thoughtful, there is the odd 10% who are just mindless thugs who will shout F*** O** Batchelor at me, but that comes with my kind of work, and to hurt me you need a tank, or at the very least a baseball bat.

So, on the basis that you are all a thoughtful group of fans, think on this, you are all drowning with little hope of a ship passing by to pick you up, do you really care who the captain of that ship is? Or are you brave enough and stupid enough to drown? (and before you all come back on this, I know that some clever individual will say, 'Yes', but is this ship the Titanic? NO, it isn't).

In every deal I have ever done, it is inevitable, because you have to make people redundant or fire them, that you make enemies. The unfortunate result of that, is that they use a public opportunity to have a go at me, That is a sad fact of life, but one that I can live with.

My family say that I'm crazy for trying to do this, but I love football. I don't need publicity, well, not this sort, who in their right mind would? (and I also know that the same clever individual is going to say that perhaps I have answered my own question)!

Now then, I am not going to talk to anyone other than the owner (or attempt to) for the next few days. So if you have any questions please direct them below and I'll get back to you later.

- John Batchelor


5 April 2008
Audio interview with John Batchelor on Radio Nottingham here
Audio interview with John Batchelor on CHAD website here by Chad's Stephen Thirkill

Confusion at Mill as would-be Stags owner Batchelor pays through turnstiles
Club insists no meeting with Batchelor planned for Monday
by Tim Morriss
WOULD-BE Stags owner John Batchelor paid through the turnstiles to watch Mansfield Town's match against Barnet on Saturday afternoon – and then said: "You tell me what is going on!
"I have to wonder, do Keith Haslam and Stephen Booth really want to sell this club?" he told Chad before the match.

"You have to wonder what is going on. Talk about mixed messages.

"You tell me where we are at, at this moment I really don't know.

"This is hardly the way to deal with someone you want to sell a club to. To say I have not had a warm welcome from the club's management is an understatement."

Batchelor thought he would be a guest of the club – ahead of a takeover meeting he expects with Stags owner Keith Haslam on Monday . . . a meeting which now appears to be in doubt.

But when he arrived he found no complimentary ticket to the executive area – and stewards under instructions not to let him in at that entrance.

Eventually he paid through the turnstiles – and was then informed by Chad that mayor and chairman Tony Egginton had said on Saturday morning that there would be no takeover meeting on Monday.

Mr Egginton told Mansfield radio station 103.2 on Saturday: "No sale has been agreed. He (Batchelor) has not got a meeting to sign a deal with Mr Haslam on Monday."

And Stags chief executive Stephen Booth, brokering the sale of the club, insists that no formal offer has been placed by Batchelor - although he has previously admitted that there have been discussions between the Stags and Batchelor about his proposals.

Booth has also recently told Chad that he does not now expect a sale to take place until the end of the season.

But on Saturday afternoon he referred all questions to the comment earlier in the day from the club's chairman.

However, he did confirm that the club is saying there is no meeting planned for Monday - and that the club did not invite Batchelor to the match as a guest.

Batchelor, given a rough ride by fans in the ground on Saturday afternoon who recognised him after his Harchester United renaming idea, told Chad: "If I am kind, perhaps it is a breakdown communication between the club and me.

"I have been honest with the fans and everyone. I have said all along that I see Mansfield as a commercial vehicle for me, for both of us to make money.

"I don't blame them for being hostile towards me, but I can say now this club will Not be renamed Harchester if I take over.

"But that does not mean the idea is dead in the water. There are other ways we could use it, without actually renaming the club.

"It can be adopted in many forms.

"I still do want to take over this club. I have shown the owner we have the funds. The chief executive (Stephen Booth) needs to talk to the club accountant if he thinks I haven't.

"The chief executive is getting in the way of the deal for whatever reason.

"I spoke to the owner last week and he said he was waiting for his accountant to get back (in the country) before we could have a meeting on Monday. I don't know what is going on anymore!"

Batchelor left the match midway through the first half, on the advice of stewards and because he was unable to meet Keith Haslam or Stephen Booth.

But on Saturday evening he insisted that he was still interested in buying the club and had proved to the Stags owner that he had the funding in place.

He said that the double snub, from fans and the club's hierarchy, had not put him off purusing his efforts to take over at Field Mill.

Stags owner Keith Haslam was at the match again, as he said he would now be at all future home matches in an exclusive Chad interview earlier in the week - his self-imposed ban on home matches seemes to be over.

But it is not clear if he was aware of Batchelor's presence at the ground.

Also at the match on Saturday was TV producer Jane Hewland, who met fans to talk about her plan to produce a documentary on Sky One about the soap opera off the pitch at the club.

And former chairman James Derry again paid to watch the Stags, this time going into the Executive Lounge.

To complete a confusing picture off the field at the match - sponsored by chief executive Stephen Booth as a memorial to his sister, Kate who died earlier this year, and to raise funds for the John Eastwood Hospice - new chairman Tony Egginton was not at the Mill due to a previous engagement.



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