It’s not a list most football fans like to look forward too, managers can quickly become villains of the piece and have their methods questioned if the supporters top players are not offered new deals and today is no different to that.
The club itself has held off revealing the official retained list, however in this day and age of social media, so called ‘secrets’ are far from it as players who have been shown the exit are quick to say their farewells.
Of all the players supporters would have wanted to retained, defender James Jennings would have been close, if not top of, the list – yet this morning via his twitter account, the 26 year old fans favourite tweeted his thanks to supporters suggesting he is not to be offered a new deal by the club, a crying shame.
Jennings arrived from Cambridge and proved a vital boost in what evolved into the title winning side, despite injury late on t-in the campaign, Jennings provided pin-point set plays and balance in the form of a natural left-footer on the left hand side.
The former Macclesfield and Cambridge man has impressed this season too despite having to evolve into a left wing back rather than an out and out left back. In total Jennings clocked up just shy of 50 appearances, netting four goals and setting, to his count at least, fourteen goals in what has been an impressive 18 month spell at the One Call Stadium.
In tweets to supporters, Jennings confirmed it was the clubs decision to let him go which is difficult to understand considering his consistency in the side and 100% efforts. Recently, there has been a Fans Forum with chairman John Radford, in notes he has mentioned the fact next season Paul Cox will have to run with a 22 man squad, comprised majorly of players under the age of 27.
So far Sam Clucas, Ryan Tafazolli, Ollie Palmer, Adam Murray, Ritchie Sutton, Lee Beevers, Martin Riley and player of the season Matt Rhead are signed for next term, allowing Cox only fourteen more, well if you’re looking at a squad capable of stability, energy and putting together a good run of form, surely Jennings would have been part of that.
James will not struggle to find a new club and will thrive wherever he ends up, it’s a shame its not with Mansfield Town – I’m sure you’ll join us at Mansfield Matters in wishing him all the best for the future.
Another using twitter to announce his departure today is goalkeeper Ian Deakin, having not got a look-in due largely to injury, it’s no surprise he’s been let go, again we wish him the best of luck.
On the other side of the coin, is those announcing they have been offered new deals, congratulations to youngster Liam Marsden who has impressed at youth and reserve level over the past three seasons now, his efforts against Torquay and Bristol Rovers certainly warrant him getting a new deal, it’s nice to see Cox investing in home grown players who have the same ability as those at Championship clubs who come in on loan – with the aforementioned restrictions in place, perhaps Marsden will be given more of a chance to shine next term.
Going on Radford’s comments about the 22 man squad as above, Marsden agreeing a new contract takes the available slots to thirteen prior to the retained list being officially revealed. I’m sure they’ll be a few twists and turns to come over the next week or so!
Over the weekend, we’ll be compiling a blog looking at building a 22 man squad, made up from players we’d like to see retained and those who have recently been released from other clubs, if you have any suggestions make sure you send them to us via Facebook or Twitter – links are at the top of the page!
The views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and not those of Mansfield Matters or its related organisations.
Junior Daniel’s 36th minute goal not only relegated Bristol Rovers on Saturday but drew a close to the Stags first season back in the football league. Today, as players leave their futures in the hands of their agents and jet off to somewhere sunny, memories draw me back to two games of heartbreak as I wonder, how the times have changed in such a short time.
Three years ago today, Mansfield was a ghost town as we all flocked to Wembley Stadium to see Duncan Russell’s depleted Stags attempt to spread some joy on a miserable year or so of conference and financial woe as they took on Darlington for the FA Trophy.
Reaching Wembley was an achievement itself for Russell’s men who started the road to Wembley by thumping Worksop Town 5-0 at The New Manor Ground, Ilkeston, amidst an off the pitch row which saw Stags, recently taken off by John Radford, locked out of Field Mill by owner an controversial ex-chairman Keith Haslam.
Stags were written off pretty much until after the first leg off the semi-final, Danny Mitchley had scored to give the underdogs an unexpected advantage over favourites Luton, but still, there was a second leg standing between supporters and a dream trip to Wembley. The second leg as we, hopefully haven’t forgotten, was special but went to the wire, a 120th minute Louis Briscoe penalty rebound saw the dream become reality.
May 7thwas the date for the diary, exactly three years ago today – three years on from what was, in honesty, one of the worst games of football in history and Stags are now a football league club again with a good manager, committed board and decent squad. Standing at Wembley with tears flooding down our faces following Chris Seniors late winner for Darlington that’s something we couldn’t begin to imagine.
Alright, this season that has just reached its conclusion hasn’t been the best and for a while, it looked like a return to the conference was on the cards. However Paul Cox and the players turned it around and secured safety, giving the opportunity to go again next time around. One of the first things Cox said upon his arrival was “Success is built on strong foundations” – I believe you can take that in a number of ways, foundations doesn’t have to mean an experienced squad made up of medal winners, it can simply mean looking at what was and learning from what went wrong.
Wembley was just a taste of things to come for us supporters both in terms of heartbreak and in success, exactly a year later Cox’s men were full of energy and on the cusp of a Wembley return and a potential Football League return. This time the One Call Stadium was the setting for a play-off semi-final second leg against York City, the scores level following the first leg where Ross Dyer had scored a thumping header and Exodus Geohaghon an unfortunate own goal, Mansfield though had one chink in the armoury as 30 goal striker Matt Green had been dismissed in the first leg for two bookable offences.
A year on from the Wembley tears, heartbreak was to come back again as Matty Blair scored deep into the second half of extra-time to send York on their way to Wembley and ultimately promotion. Images of Adam Murray inconsolable on the pitch as City celebrated in the distance still remain and were perhaps the catalyst to the following seasons title win where the May 7th curse was replaced by two magical dates in April as Matt Green scored late at Hereford and then netted from the spot against Wrexham to deliver the goods of promotion to the Football League.
They say remember the victories as they will always out way the defeats, I don’t think that’s always true – May 7th 2011 and May 7th 2012 should always be remembered as the spark that started the fire, with that below you can take a look back at some of the moments from both May 7th heartaches, hopefully they’ll be more good times to come in the future!
Wembley 2011 - Audio
The Wembley 15 – Where are they now?
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