MANSFIELD Town’s acquisition of Field Mill from Keith Haslam - just ahead of Thursday’s promotion elgibility deadline - has been ratified by the Football League and the Conference, according to delighted Stags owner John Radford.
Mr Radford, speaking on Mansfield radio station 103.2’s Friday Night Football Forum. said: “Everything has been confirmed by the Football League and the Football Conference. The ground deal is now complete and owned by John Radford Stadium Ltd. I am very pleased and it will be a brilliant day tomorrow.”
Tomorrow the Stags take on Lincoln in a local derby sure to attract hundreds, if not thousands of extra fans after the club added to the party atmosphere at Field Mill by making a ticket offer. Any fan buying a ticket before 12noon on Saturday for the Lincoln match will be admitted free to the mouth-watering home match with league leaders Fleetwood later this month.
And Mr Radford - who pledged from the start of the season that he would ensure the club would be eligible off the field to gain promotion back to the Football League - joked that the pressure was now on manager Paul Cox and the players to get the club into the play-offs. He said: “I have done my bit!”
The chairman also revealed a few more details of how he had managed to convince former Field Mill owner Keith Haslam to part with the ground - after saying “I would have let the court case continue and go all the way through, but with Paul doing so well and being so close to those play-offs, I wanted to give him the opportunity to get us promoted.”
Mr Radford explained that he had set up the new company - John Radford Stadium Ltd - and to dispel Mr Haslam’s fears that he might quickly sell on the ground to make a profit, agreed that if the stadium was sold over the next 20 years any profit would go to Mr Haslam.
That means that Mr Radford will be unable to give the ground to the fans, as said he had hoped to do when he first bought the club.
He confirmed that the Field Mill deal included the car park and land at the side of the stadium - and said that he hoped training pitch facilities could be installed there in time for the start of next season, when he also hoped a reserve team would be in place.
He added that a survey would be organised before the end of the season to see if fans wanted to return the North Stand back to Stags supporters - a move which would now be allowed by safety chiefs.
The stand was the traditional home of Mansfield fans, until it was designated as the stand for away fans on safety advice several years ago - a contentious decision with most Stags supporters.