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Mansfield fans could have final say on Harchester United renaming idea, says Batchelor

WOULD-BE Stags owner John Batchelor – anxious to secure a takeover in the next two days – has now promised to give fans the final say on his controversial idea to rename Mansfield Town as Harchester United . . . if he takes control ahead of Tuesday's match with Wrexham.

On Sunday afternoon he told Chad.co.uk that he would go onto the pitch during the Wrexham game and gauge fans opinions via the public address system.

The revelations of his idea to rename the Stags after the fictional team in Sky TV soap Dream Team, on Friday thrust the club into the national spotlight.

From Mansfield to Harchester United - all the stories

A massive backlash from fans, politicians and the football authorities to chad.co.uk's exclusive story now seems to have forced a slight change of heart.

But it may also be that the unconventional businessman wants to step up the pressure on owner Keith Haslam to make a quick decision on his 4.25m bid to buy the club - and end the current uncertainty at Field Mill.

Or, of course, it could be another publicity stunt from the man who has already proved he can attract national attention the club, despite its position at second bottom of the Football League.

The Harchester story has certainly been a publicity dream for Batchelor - and he is sure to cash in on the Dream Team link at some point, now that the production company behind the programme has confirmed his approach and promised to look into developing the commercial possibilities.

On Sunday Batchelor, who said he had decided not to go to Saturday's derby at Notts County at the last minute on the advice of Stags chief executive Stephen Booth, told Chad: As I told you yesterday, if the fans fill the ground then there would be no need for the name change.

Fill Field Mill and name change may not happen

"Now, having spoken to a lot of fans (he gave out his phone number during a radio interview, asking fans to call him), I think I might let them decide.

"If I have control of the club by the time we kick off against Wrexham on Tuesday, then I will be on the tannoy at half-time on the pitch to get the reaction of the supporters about the name change.

"If they say 'No', then I might not go ahead with it."

Batchelor says that the brand Harchester would be easier to market to national companies than Mansfield Town FC - and it is attracting big, national sponsorship deals which he hopes will turn the club's fortunes around if he takes charge.

He also hopes to reduce admission prices in a bid to create a passionate atmosphere at Field Mill and help the players in their relegation fight.

Among his other ideas to boost interest in the club is a pre-season Anglo-European tournament featuring Red Star Belgrade and Partizan Belgrade.

Already Batchelor has offered the players a share in a 140,000 bonus if they avoid relegation and he gains control.

Batchelor offers Stags players bonus if they avoid relegation

The controversial Batchelor said earlier in the day that he had provided the Stags owner with proof that he has the funds for a 4.25m deal to buy the club and Field Mill.

Now he is hoping to hear if owner Haslam has accepted his bid.

 
 
 

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