Mystery surrounds the announcement that Mansfield Town may be moving to a new ground in Saturday’s match programme, reports John Lomas.
Chairman John Radford told fans in his programme notes that Stags could be on the move if there is no progress in his legal battle with landlord and former owner Keith Haslam over the disputed ownership rights of Field Mill, as Stags need a ground with a 10-year lease to be able to gain promotion.
Those details need to be in place by next March to satisfy the football authorities.
However, Stags’ chief executive Carolyn Still didn’t show for pre-arranged pre-match and half-time meetings with the media in the press box on Saturday to discuss Mr Radford’s programme notes revelations.
And when Mansfield 103.2 reporter Dave Rhodes did manage to catch a quick word with Mr Radford as he left the ground after the 2-1 win over Grimsby, the owner would only say: “There is a miscommunication and I didn’t want to announce anything. I will deal with this in the coming days.”
In his programme notes, Mr Radford had said: “Many of you are intrigued to know about the ‘Plan B’ which we have had in the pipeline, should we be unable to acquire Field Mill from the current landlord,” said Radford in his programme notes.
“I am now in a position to reveal that Plan B is a proposal for us to move to a newly-built stadium. Such proposals have now been drawn up which would allow us to be promoted at the end of the season.
“This, however, could all be immaterial, if we can buy Field Mill from Mr Haslam – which has always been my preferred option.
“Having stated that, we will not be held to ransom by anyone, and such back-up plans are essential.
“I am feeling more confident about our future and further details will be announced through our usual streams of communication.
“I know this is a very important matter to all who hold Mansfield Town close to their hearts, and I intend to keep you up speed with the finer pieces of information as and when any developments are made.”
The mystery deepened on Tuesday when the chief executive issued a statement saying: “Thanks to all who came along on Saturday to support the club. We were up dramatically on gate numbers which is very encouraging.
“In turn, to demonstrate our full appreciation and commitment to our incredibly loyal supporters, we shall be announcing some very exciting news in the coming days that will further add to our campaign to regain our rightful position in the Football League.
“I must address the matter of the miscommunication and incongruence found in the notes of Saturday’s programme. The cause for this has been addressed and going forward I shall personally ensure that all messages sent out by the club are fully authenticated by the individuals concerned and are transparent and accurate.
“The announcement that MTFC shall move ‘to a newly-built stadium’ are misconstrued and inaccurate. The chairman and I both firmly believe that Field Mill is the home of MTFC and will vigorously continue to do everything possible to ensure that we are not forced out. Please accept our sincerest apologies and thank you for your ongoing support of the club.”