October 21st 2005
Keith Haslam breaks TEAM Mansfield Agreement
In July 2002 Keith Haslam signed a legal agreement with TEAM Mansfield, stating that from then onwards MTFC was to be known as a ‘Community Football Club’, with supporters having real influence in the decisions that the football club takes that affect them. To confirm this new relationship and commitment Mr. Haslam sold the supporters a collective minority shareholding in the football club and signed a legally binding agreement, known as the ‘MTFC Community Shareholding’, a deal brokered for Stags supporters by TEAM Mansfield.
Because of the amount of money that Mr Haslam, the MTFC Chairman, had personally drained from MTFC prior to 2002 this legal contract with the community shareholders also contained the following clause:-
10.2 The Company shall not directly or indirectly make any further loans to Mr. Haslam either for himself or for any person connected to him as defined by Section 839 Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988.
At the recent MTFC AGM Mr. Haslam announced the level of his personal indebtedness to MTFC had increased considerably over the last three years to an amount exceeding £1 Million. TEAM Mansfield are adamant that the Chairman, Keith Haslam, is in flagrant breach of his agreement with them and MTFC Community Shareholders, and he has recklessly continued to take out additional loans from the football club to a total amount outstanding that suggests he will never be in a position to, or have the desire to, repay his debt to MTFC.
TEAM Mansfield are currently seeking legal, financial, taxation and Football Authority advice regarding the alleged breach of the TEAM Mansfield agreement with MTFC and will pursue whatever steps are needed to ensure that the loans are paid back immediately and that the agreement is adhered to from now on. Failure of the Chairman to do so will result in further action from TEAM Mansfield that will be exhaustive and thorough.
TEAM Mansfield understand that the Chairman intends to restructure the club, as a result of which the sale of some shares in the company will be made available. TEAM Mansfield believes that this will not lead to the much needed change of ownership in the club and is instead only likely to benefit the personal finances of the Chairman and they will take all steps possible to prevent any re-organisation which is likely to be to the detriment of the football club or its supporters.
TEAM Mansfield and the acquisition of the football club.
There have been ongoing discussions between TEAM Mansfield and the Chairman regarding TEAM Mansfield’s stated intention to be in a position to acquire a majority shareholding in MTFC when the Chairman chooses to move on. Despite numerous approaches from TEAM Mansfield the Chairman has made no steps whatsoever to sell his shareholding to this supporter body insisting at various times that it is not the “right time”. He has also refused to consult with the supporters, through TEAM Mansfield, on the proposed re-structuring and the implications for supporters.
The Chairman continues to believe that TEAM Mansfield’s role is to financially contribute to the funds of MTFC and therefore himself indirectly. However TEAM Mansfield have made it clear to Mr. Haslam many times, both verbally and in writing that they are not a fund raising organisation for the football club or for Mr. Haslam himself, and TEAM Mansfield will only invest for further MTFC supporter control of the football club. Clearly, now that the Chairman has finally realised that TEAM Mansfield is not going to donate money to MTFC without some form of control for the fans he finds them of little value.
TEAM Mansfield recognise this and as such have ceased to have any ongoing dialogue with him and will direct their efforts in future to changing the ownership regime at Field Mill.
Current status of the Football Club
Above and beyond the relationship between TEAM Mansfield and the Chairman, the football club finds itself in a desperate situation with relegation out of the Football League being a real possibility and no permanent manager in place. The Chairman’s tenure has seen the club in the bottom division for 11 of the 12 seasons he has been in charge compared to only 6 of the previous 12 before he took over. His reign has also seen the club consistently perform significantly below the league position it had achieved on average at any time prior to his arrival. He has spoken many times of the potential of the club, the large catchment area for potential supporters etc. whilst at the same time refusing to invest in the club himself, only draining it of funds for his own personal objectives.
The club is now on it’s seventh consecutive inexperienced, low cost manager in his reign and despite a high level of incoming funds from the transfer of players such as Liam Lawrence and occasional cash windfalls from play-off finals and televised games the Chairman refuses to invest in quality players and basic club infrastructure as has been recently witnessed with the refusal of a safety certificate and the ongoing saga of the lack of proper practice facilities.
TEAM Mansfield call upon the Chairman to work with supporters to sell his majority shareholding as soon as possible to someone with the best interests of the club in mind rather than individuals driven by personal financial gain. Until this is achieved TEAM Mansfield will take whatever action they can to pressurise the Chairman to reach this conclusion. They call upon the supporters of the club to back any future actions that take place to achieve the objective of returning the club to the supporters and to improving the position of the team that we all hold so dear.
Any questions on the above release should be directed only to the Joint Chairmen of Team Mansfield who are:-
Colin Dobell, Jeff Barnes. Contact us