Stags chairman says ‘principal agreement is in place’ over Mansfield Town’s ground issue

MANSFIELD Town chairman John Radford on Saturday again insisted that the Stags will be in a position to be promoted off the field, should Paul Cox’s side achieve it on the field.

Ahead of the end of the month deadline later this week to show the Football League that they either own their own ground or have a 10-year lease in place, Mr Radford said that the club was still working to come to an agreement with Field Mill landlord Keith Haslam.

He did not say if this was sign a new 10-year lease at Field Mill or to buy the stadium, but did confirm that legal action against Mr Haslam - the controversial former owner of the club as well as stadium landlord - was ongoing.

The two sides have been meeting regularly over the past year ahead of a possible court case to decide whether Mr Haslam’s acquisition of the ground when he sold the club in 2008 was legal.

Writing in the club’s match day programme on Saturday, Mr Radford said: “The court case has not been closed, mediation has been hard work and both sets of lawyers have been muddying the waters.

“A principal agreement is in place, but until the ‘I’s are dotted and the ‘T’s crossed, I am unable to sign any of the legal paper work.

“It is common knowledge that the lease held by the previous owners would not allow us to be promoted from this league. This has been one of the major problems I have been trying to fix since becoming owners 18 months ago.

“The phrase ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’ springs to mind, however, a back-up plan is in place to allow us to be promoted.”

The Stags have been hoping that a court hearing - still to be held - would hand the stadium back to the club, while also aware that they need to either sign a 10-year lease to play at Field Mill ahead of this Thursday or find an alternative ground.

The disputed ownership stretches back to 2008 when divident payments were made to Mr Haslam’s company, Stags Ltd, which enabled him to retain the stadium and lease it out to the then new owners, separating the ownership of the ground and football club for the first time.

It is believed that Mr Radford has had offers to buy the ground rejected.

Late last year the club revealed a ‘Plan B’ and started work on the possibility of playing matches at Rainworth Welfare should they get promoted and not be able to play at Field Mill.