Mansfield Town’s January transfer ambitions could be rocked by a new legal action from former directors Steve Hymas and Andrew Saunders, demanding repayment of almost £1m of loans.
The club were shocked to get the solicitors’ letter on Christmas Eve and will contest the claim as Stags chairman John Radford said the agreement was that the monies would only be repayable when the club was in a position to do so.
Radford said: “Can I have my money back too? I am still putting money in and we are losing between £60k and £100k a month. We are not in profit.
“This could make a big difference what we can spend on players in January as we will now have to pay out for legal fees defending this claim.”
Hymas and Saunders are planning to release a statement of the own by the end of the week – see www.chad.co.uk.
The club statement released today read: “Mansfield Town are saddened to receive legal proceedings from Andrew Saunders and Steve Hymas on Christmas Eve.
“Mansfield Town Football Club is disappointed that two of its former shareholders and directors have commenced legal proceedings against it, seeking to recover £989,441.94.
“The claim arises from monies which Mr Steve Hymas and Mr Andrew Saunders lent to the club during their period of ownership.
“The club does not deny that the loans were made, nor that they remain a liability of the club. “However, as both the club and its lawyers have made clear to Mr Hymas and Mr Saunders, the loans do not have a specific redemption date and are only repayable when both the club and Mr Radford agree that it is in a position to do so.
“Sadly, the club is not in a position to make any such repayment and therefore the monies are not repayable at this time.
“It is disappointing that the actions of Mr Hymas and Mr Saunders will involve further significant legal expenditure by the club in defending the unmeritorious proceedings they have commenced. “Not only will that mean that monies which would otherwise be available to the club will be utilised and further delay getting the club on a financial even keel, but it may sadly mean that monies which could otherwise be used to strengthen the club’s financial position may not be available.
“The board are also reviewing the effect this will have on its January spending plans.”
It went on: “The proceedings were commenced on 18th December 2013 and were received by the club on Christmas Eve.
“The club did not receive any advance warning that the proceedings were to be issued and the timing of them was a surprise to the club.
“The proceedings were undoubtedly served at this time to cause maximum disruption to the club over the Christmas period.
“The club is saddened that its former shareholders and directors have adopted such tactics against the club.
“The club, its owner and its board will defend the claim robustly, but as noted above is disappointed that the club’s funds will be depleted on defending a claim in circumstances where it is not disputed that the club has a liability but is simply not in a position to make repayment of those or any other director’s loans at this time.”