Group calls on Haslam to Go !

Last updated : 17 January 2007 By Editor
MTFC supporters' protest group calls on CEO to sell the Club

Stags Fans For Change (SFFC), an independent protest group of Mansfield Town Football Club (MTFC) supporters is calling on the Club's CEO, Keith Haslam to officially put the Club up for sale and to leave as soon as possible or face ongoing protests at home and away games.

SFFC was formed as a single-issue protest group to actively campaign for the removal of Mr Haslam as owner of MTFC. It has been behind many of the protests seen at home and away games in recent months. It was formed when disparate groups of supporters came together, united by their complete dissatisfaction with the way Mr Haslam has run MTFC.

SFFC is not connected to either Team Mansfield (TM) or the Stags Supporters' Association (SSA). SFFC already has a large membership which is being added to daily by supporters who support its aims.

An SFFC spokesperson said:

“It is our belief that Keith Haslam is damaging the welfare and future prospects of MTFC; the club we all support and which many of us have followed up and down the country for many years. Mr Haslam's tenure as Chairman and CEO of MTFC is a litany of false dawns, broken promises, wrongdoings and causes of embarrassment; we believe it is time for him to go and to go now. Many of us have followed the Stags through thick and thin for decades but enough is enough. We see no evidence whatsoever to show that Mr Haslam has the right approach, foresight or desire to take MTFC beyond where we are now – hovering above relegation to The Conference.

“What have we seen since he promised us Championship football in a fantastic stadium?
· One promotion season followed by relegation back to the basement
· 11 managers in 14 years
· Mr Haslam breaching Company Law with loans of £500,000 from the Club
· A deteriorating stadium with crowd capacity reduced on safety grounds
· A training pitch adjacent to the ground which is not used for reasons best known to Mr Haslam
· The players having to train remotely from Field Mill as a result
· The destruction of the best team we have had in decades
· A Club “shop” that is embarrassing to say the least

“SFFC has been and will continue to campaign against Mr Haslam until he leaves MTFC for good. Mr Haslam claims that he is willing to sell the Club but there is no evidence that he is actively seeking a buyer. We call on Keith Haslam to:

· Publicly advertise on the open market that the Club is for sale
· To say what is for sale and at what price
· Actively and positively assist any potential buyer by providing all the relevant and accurate detailed information they need to make an early purchase

· Ensure that the new owners have vision and will work with the supporters to ensure success on and off the field

SFFC is calling on all Stags fans to let Keith Haslam know how they feel about him and his running of the club by joining in with demonstrations and protests. Mr Haslam has claimed that his detractors are a minority and that they are unrepresentative and yet “Haslam Out” chants persist at home and away games.

Survey and petition

SFFC will be conducting a survey of Stags fans in the coming weeks at home and away games with the intention of presenting Mr Haslam with the results.

Petitions will be available to sign on Quarry Lane and in the Portland Retail Park and other places close to the ground before the game with Walsall this Saturday.

Fans will be asked a simple question: Is Keith Haslam damaging MTFC and he should sell the club ASAP?

An online petition will also be available on the SFFC website.

During the coming weeks and months of what will be a concerted campaign SFFC will ask fans to support its actions and a possible boycott of the Club to ensure Mr Haslam gets the message as strongly as possible that he is not welcome at MTFC. SFFC will be working with the media to ensure its message gets widespread coverage and will be asking supporters of other clubs for their help.

An SFFC spokesperson said:

“Mr Haslam claims that those against him are a minority, he even claims the SSA with nearly a 1000 members (which is more than 50% of the home fans at the recent Swindon game) holds a minority view; and yet the SFFC, TM or the SSA have no idea how he has reached this conclusion; we have yet to hear one fan say he is doing a good job! The SFFC believe that he is wrong and intend to prove it with our own research. Events on and off the field have led to fans voting with their feet and deserting Field Mill, which Mr Haslam then uses as an excuse for little or no investment in the Club. Mr Haslam blames the fans for:

· A lack of money for new players
· The poor atmosphere at home games
· The team underperforming
· The resignation of the new Chairman, Peter Lee

“Mr Haslam never takes personal responsibility for what happens at the club he is responsible for running,”

SFFC is not a paid-for membership organisation and welcomes anyone who shares its view on the management of the club and its future. Its website is available for people to discuss issues regarding the club and its future.

An SFFC spokesperson said:

“The SFFC believes that under new ownership that MTFC would prosper and that at least 1000 more fans would attend Field Mill to support the team. The SFFC fully appreciate that the team need our support at this time and they will continue to receive it in our fight to stay in the Football League. However, we want a long-term future for MTFC and we are afraid that with Mr Haslam at the helm, including his recent threat to close down that the future is bleak. We are aware that other fans have been calling for action against Keith Haslam and we call on them to join with us to stand together and fight for the future of the Stags.”

Recently both the Mansfield MP, Alan Meale and Mayor Tony Eggington have called on fans to put aside their campaign against Mr Haslam and to support the team in their fight for survival.
We want a future for MTFC and we are afraid that with Keith Haslam at the helm, including his recent threat to close down the club, the future is bleak.

An SFFC spokesperson said:

“While both Mr Meale and the Mayor are entitled to their opinions in respect of the short-term issues facing the Club, the SFFC is taking the long-term view. Members of SFFC are some of the most passionate and long-serving fans the Club has and will continue to give support to the team. Each year they spend thousands of pounds travelling to see the team they love and support and always give the team complete support come rain or shine.

“ Mr Meale is a well known advocate of Mr Haslam and has rebuked Stags fans in the past, implying that they are fickle whiners. If Mr Meale is so certain of his position of support for Mr Haslam, why will he not resign his position of MP to fight the forthcoming Mayoral election in Mansfield? It would appear that Mr Meale does not trust the people of Mansfield to elect him to the position he desires. The SFFC is happy to stand and fight for what it believes in, we wonder if Mr Meale has the same without the insurance of knowing he will still have a job to go to if he loses the election for Mayor?”