Stags in new rent row/Haslam launches legal action - UPDATE 14.12 17/01

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THE rent row between Mansfield Town Football Club supremo John Radford and controversial former owner-turned-landlord Keith Haslam has reared its head again - just a few weeks after a deal appeared to have ended the acrimony which culminated with the Stags being locked out from Field Mill for more than two weeks just before Christmas, reports Tim Morriss.

It was thought that the two sides had come to a lease agreement when the Stags - who are pursuing a £3m financial investigation into Mr Haslam’s running of the club and sale two years ago - returned to Field Mill before Christmas, following an 18-day lockout over non payment of rent.

However,it was revealed on Sunday evening that agreement was never signed - though the rent in question has been lodged with Mr Haslam’s solicitors pending a final agreement.

Then in a fresh twist to the saga, it was revealed that the row is set to go before a County Court, after legal action was launched by Mr Haslam.

Chad understood that Mansfield radio station 103.2 was set to report on Monday morning that the landlord is to serve notice of repossession of Field Mill on the football club for non-payment of rent - with a hearing date set for 17th February at Mansfield County Court.

That move was confirmed even later in the evening by Mr Haslam, who issued a statement saying: “I am extremely disappointed that this matter should be aired through the media.

“There is a court action on February 17th and the matter should rest there. I have no further comment to make at this stage.”

The stumbling block appears to have been a clause allegedly added to the lease by Mr Haslam after that meeting, which would prevent Mr Radford from pursuing his ongoing legal case concerning dividend payments against Mr Haslam whilst the club remains tenants at Field Mill.

Chad has spoken to Mr Egginton, who has confirmed that in his opinion an end to legal action against Mr Haslam was not part of the deal agreed before Christmas.

It is not known how the row will affect the club’s participation in the Football Conference, which requires clubs to have a lease signed until the end of the season if it does not own its own ground.

On Monday morning a Conference spokesman told Chad that once it was made aware of the situation by the club, it would be asking the Stags ‘what the position is going forward’. The matter may then be discussed at the next meetding of the Conference’s Board of Directors on Wednesday 26th January.

Then on Monday afternoon Mansfield Town FC withdrew a statement it had released on the issue from its website on the advice of its solicitors.