'Harchester United Batchelor' is not a fit or proper person to own Mansfield Town - fans group

FANS group TEAM Mansfield has added its voice to the growing protest against would-be Stags owner John Batchelor.

Batchelor created an outcry with the revelation of his plan to rename Mansfield Town as fictional TV team Harchester United, from Sky's soap Dream Team.

From Mansfield Town to Harchester Utd - all the stories

And his track record of taking York City into administration - and also admitting to asset-stripping companies and saying he would be prepared to take the Stags into administration, too - has created a backlash from Stags supporters.

Already the Stags Supporters Association (SSA) has spoken out, now TEAM Mansfield - a minority shareholder in the football club - has spoken out, too.

The Football League has said that Batchelor would pass its 'fit and proper person' test to own a football club, but TEAM mansfield disagrees!

In a statement it said:

"TEAM Mansfield cannot support any attempt by John Batchelor to purchase Mansfield Town Football Club. We consider that Mr Batchelor is not a fit or proper person to own a football club and that the long-term future of Mansfield Town will be put at risk if Keith Haslam sells the club to him.

"Mr Batchelor has already been responsible for taking York City into administration and has admitted that he made 120,000 from his short period of ownership of that football club. He has also admitted asset stripping companies and being involved with 15 other companies which have ended up in receivership, administration or liquidation.

"Former employees of these companies have contacted the Chad website as well as TEAM Mansfield and warned Mansfield Town not to have any dealings with Mr Batchelor. Our concerns about Mr Batchelor plans have also been shared by persons at the Football League and Supporters Direct.

"Mr Batchelor has to date shown nothing but contempt for the supporters of football clubs. He has in the last week described supporters' organisations as "web warriors", "all mouth and no trousers", "mouthy fans" and "armchair critics". He has admitted that he will be buying the football club to mainly make money for himself and his immediate family and that he is not interested in discussing the running of the football club with the fans.

"He has compared Stags supporters to customers of a supermarket who can just stay away or go elsewhere if they do not agree with his management of the football club. In fact, he claims to have budgeted for no fans turning up at Field Mill at all!

"Mr Batchelor has also ismissed supporters groups because "they do all the complaining without taking any risk by investing". We would point out to Mr Batchelor that the average Mansfield fan invests a large amount of time, energy and money in following the club without wanting any financial return.

"Mansfield fans probably invest on average over 30,000 per home game when they pay their hard earned money to watch the Stags at Field Mill.

"The recent ludicrous proposal by Mr Batchelor to rename Mansfield Town as "Harchester United" clearly shows that Mr Batchelor has no concept of "belonging" to a football club with over 100 years of history. It also shows that he has no respect for the town or people of Mansfield.

"Keith Haslam has said on numerous occasions that he wants the future of the football club to be secure when he sells it. This is the reason he has put forward for insisting that any purchasers have at least 500,000 of working capital.

"If Keith Haslam sells the football club to Mr Batchelor then he will be putting the future of the football club at serious risk in order to maximise his own personal financial return. It is our view that the football club would find itself in severe financial difficulties very quickly. The club could also cease to exist if it goes into liquidation as happened recently at Scarborough.

"Team Mansfield would prefer a local consortium to buy Mansfield Town with the support of the fans. We are also still waiting for Keith Haslam and Stephen Booth to explain how Field Mill and its surrounding land will be transferred out of the football club and how Stags Limited will repay the outstanding loan of around 584,000."

Click here for the Team Mansfield Trust website