Are Stags on their way to Ilkeston?

NILALM101207A5 - Ilkeston new manor ground
NILALM101207A5 - Ilkeston new manor ground

MANSFIELD Town could be set to play matches in Ilkeston after they were locked out of their Field Mill home.

The Stags, who ply their trade in the Blue Square Bet Premier, have fallen into a dispute with former owner Keith Haslam, who owns Field Mill and who has now refused to allow matches to be played there.

That has left Mansfield looking for potential new venues for their home matches, with Ilkeston’s New Manor Ground said to be high on the list of possibilities.

Also being looked at are the homes of Notts County, Alfreton Town, Eastwood Town and Worksop Town and the club is looking into each option with the aim of agreeing on a temporary venue as soon as possible.

A Mansfield Town spokesman said: “We have had some fantastic support from a lot of clubs, personnel and figures in football.

“It’s been very heartening.”

New Ilkeston FC chairman Dave Mantle said he is set to meet with representatives from the Stags tomorrow (Friday), but exercised caution at this stage with lots to be discussed.

He said: “We’ve spoken to Mansfield and let them know that we sympathise with their problems and want to help them if we can.

“We’ve agreed to meet with them on Friday at the New Manor Ground and they are certainly keen to come and use our facilities. But clearly there are some major issues that need to be discussed.

“For example, the FA compliance officials will no doubt need to be involved because the ground has to be of sufficient standard to stage Conference Premier games and we also have to get the thoughts of Erewash Borough Council, as our landlords.

“I did ask Mansfield whether they are talking about using our ground for just a match or two, or for a longer period and it certainly seems at this stage that they could be looking at a more long-term option.

“Although an injection of cash would obviously be very welcome from our point of view, there’s a lot of talking to be done with various parties before this would get the green light.”

Speaking to the club’s website, Stags chairman John Radford reassured supporters that proximity to Mansfield is a major consideration while deciding on where the team should play.

“I would like to keep Field Mill as our ground,” he said.

“The fans are from Mansfield so we don’t want to travel too far. We don’t want every game to be like an away game.”

Should the freezing weather allow, this Saturday’s FA Trophy clash between Worksop Town and Mansfield is all set to be played at the New Manor Ground anyway after Nottinghamshire Police vetoed the possibility of it taking place at Retford United, where Worksop currently reside after themselves being locked out of their home venue.

But several inches of snow still cover the pitch, and with temperatures only set to rise above freezing after Thursday, that may not be enough time for the ground to thaw out for the cup clash.

Should that scenario arise, it is thought the match could instead be played next Wednesday evening.