“You’ve got to make sure players come here for footballing reasons” – they were the words of Stags boss David Flitcroft this morning as Mansfield Town’s squad of twenty returned for the second day of pre-season training, and comparing the two close-season activities between Flitcroft and his predecessor – I can’t help but put another tick in the box of positives for the Stags manager heading into the new campaign.
Only two new additions were made by Flitcroft during the period of boredom for football fans, whereas by this stage last season, Steve Evans pretty much had all deals signed sealed and delivered.
But which approach is best? Whilst we may be frustrated at a perceived lack of action from Flitcroft, he appears to me to be taking his time over signings and not dishing out big money deals – admitting he’s met with a number of players who have looked at Mansfield Town FC as a big paying team, wanting to sign for that reason rather than footballing ambition.
Evans, in contrast, had pretty much every deal done without seeing the players merge together – I’m a big believer that a player may be one of the best around, but only when they play in a certain formation, in a set style, with two or three others who set the ground work for them.
By getting the players together as a unit, not only can Flitcroft see who is good technically, but he and his staff can see who is bonding with who, who will fit in the variant of systems and most importantly who will display the right attitude to perform for Mansfield Town Football Club and its supporters.
The Stags boss in my opinion is under massive pressure to deliver quickly after last season’s capitulation, where it is clear that on reflection he walked into a dressing room split and a dressing room who were happy to collect their inflated wage packets and not deliver.
His silence throughout the summer has also frustrated the fans, I’ve met David at his first press conference and spoke to both him and Ben Futcher at length, he’s not afraid to come out and talk but he is a big believer of getting work done on the training ground – press conferences aren’t a short thing, so that in reality hour and a bit could be spent on the training ground – and if that extra hour is going to be the difference between winning and losing, then silence is speaking volumes.
I’d very much expect to see three more faces be revealed before the end of the week ahead of the Stags trip to Portugal where they’ll face Dundee United, another positive – this will not be a week of frolicking around in a pool with a bit of running thrown in, ending with a game against 11 random blokes, it will be the professional intensity required for a full season of challenge.
With the boys back in training, the new kit on sale and pre-season matches just around the corner – the excitement is building. Let’s just remember though as the heat gets to us and things, probably, stay quiet – swans appear gracious on the surface but underneath are kicking for their life, sometimes it’s the bits you can’t see which makes the difference!
Football’s back – it’s great!
Mansfield Town supporters will get a real insight into the journey back into the football league, as promotion winning manager Paul Cox joins the line-up for ‘Legends Live’ – a charity night hosted by supporter’s podcast Mansfield Matters.
Cox is statistically the second best manager in the clubs history and delivered promotion as champions of the Conference in 2013, in just his second season as Stags manager, leading Mansfield back into the Football League after a five year absence.
He joined the club in the summer of 2011 and started a massive revival of the playing and coaching staff, leading Mansfield too the play-offs in his first season at the helm.
Paul, who returned to the club last season as manager of non-league Guiesley, will recall his memories of his time in the Stags dug-out on Friday 27th July, as supporters podcast Mansfield Matters present ‘Legends LIVE’ – a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Getting underway at 8pm, the evening also brings back the captain of the promotion winning side Adam Murray who succeeded Cox as Mansfield manager in 2015, and mid-noughties goal-scoring ace Richie Barker, who is now the assistant boss of Rotherham United who the Stags face the following day.
The evening will also delve further into the clubs history with more familiar heroic names to be announced soon.
Hosted by Stags fan and journalist Craig Priest, the evening will also include quizzes and on stage entertainment as ‘Mansfield Matters’ aim to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society and raise more awareness of Dementia.
Speaking on the announcement of Paul Cox, Craig said “I’m buzzing that Paul has agreed to join us, I worked closely with him when he was the manager and I know he’ll have some brilliant stories to share with supporters for a fantastic cause.
“Paul is without a doubt one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in football, he always went about his business seriously but always had time to crack a joke and make you feel involved. When we (The Mansfield Matters team) were planning this event, Pauls name was top of our list, I’m sure he’ll get a heroes welcome, as he did when he returned for the FA Cup clash last season.
“With Adam (Murray) and Richie (Barker) on board too, it will give fans a range of views from over the last 15 years or so, and with the other names we hope to confirm soon, that range will be stretched even further back.
“The fact the club have so generously allowed us to host the event at the One Call Stadium at the Sandy Pate Sports Bar means so much, it really feels like we’re bringing home some iconic faces for a really important cause. I’m really excited and thank all at the club for their generosity”
Mansfield Matters ‘Legends LIVE’ takes place at the One Call Stadium in the Sandy Pate Sports Bar on Friday 27th July at 8pm, it’s FREE entry with donations encouraged – the evening will include on stage entertainment, prize raffles and a sports quiz.
Title winning captain Adam Murray is the latest name to join the panel for supporters led Q&A Night ‘Legends Live’ – taking place at the Sandy Pate Sports Bar on Friday 27th July 2018 at 8pm.
Murray first joined the Stags initially on loan from Derby County in 2002 as a youngster and returned twice as a player in separate spells, before making the transition into management following the departure of Paul Cox, to whom Murray was player-assistant as well as club captain.
The popular midfielder never hid his passion and love for the club, on and off the pitch, and often played through the pain barrier during his third spell with the Stags – during which he led the club out at Wembley Stadium in 2011 in the FA Trophy Final, reached the conference play-off semi-finals and then lifted the conference title – his face streaming with tears of raw joy.
Murray joins former striker Richie Barker on the panel of legends, answering questions and recalling memories all in the name of charity – as the evening, hosted by Mansfield Matters, will act as a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society.
The evening will also include quizzes, stage entertainment and a prize raffle with funds raised going to the charity, it will be hosted by Mansfield Matters’ Craig Priest “I’m delighted that Adam has agreed to participate in the event, I have real respect for him as a person and I’m really looking forward to hearing his stories – as publically this will be the first time Adam will have spoken too and mixed with supporters since his spell as manager”
“I know Adam has returned to the One Call Stadium in a media capacity towards the back end of last season so it will be interesting to hear his take on how the Stags progress forward and how he found the murky world of management”
“I know a lot of supporter’s think very highly of ‘Muz’ and having him alongside Richie, will make for a really exciting and entertaining night for a truly wonderful cause”
The supporters led charity night is FREE for people to enter with donations encouraged on the door. It will take place on Friday 27th July 2018 in the Sandy Pate Sports Bar at the One Call Stadium and along with Richie and Adam, will see those who’ve participated in Episodes of the ‘A Trip Down Memory Lane’ Series also invited.
More names will be announced in due course.
Former Mansfield Town captain Richard ‘Richie’ Barker is to return to the One Call Stadium as part of a panel of club legends, in a special live event for fans, an evening which will act as a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society and raise awareness of Dementia.
Barker is now the assistant manager at Championship side Rotherham United and will be in the opposing dug-out on July 28th as the Stags welcome the Millers on the pitch, however supporters will get the opportunity to hear Barker’s Memories of his time at the club the previous evening (July 27th) as Mansfield Matters present ‘Legends Live’
Taking place in the Sand Pate Sports Bar, the evening will see a number of club legends from a variety of seasons return, answering questions and sharing their memories and stories from their Stags career.
The event is the conclusion of our series ‘A Trip Down Memory Lane’ where each week a former player or manager of the Stags has joined host Craig Priest and Panellists Simon Mercer, Nathan Edge and Cam Felton to share their memories – with players such as Ian Bowling, Bobby Hassell and Micky Boulding taking part so far.
The evening will be hosted by journalist and Stags fan Craig Priest, who said “We’ve really enjoyed meeting up one on one with former players and sharing the videos online, but we wanted to do something special for supporters in a live environment and are really excited to welcome some real club legends back home”
“Nathan [Edge] has done a lot of work for charity and in doing so has become really good friends with Kevin Bird who is living with Dementia, it’s really sad to see the impact it’s had on his life – and like many former footballers, the cause has most likely been playing the beautiful game and making memories for generations of Stags fans – so we really wanted to give something back that wasn’t as painful as walking from ground to ground as we did back in November!”
“I’m delighted that Richie has agreed to join us, it fits perfectly with the schedules of the clubs in pre-season and I’m sure it’s going to be a great night for supporters of all ages with some of the other guests we’ve got lined up! I’d like to express my thanks to all at Mansfield Town FC for allowing us to use the Sandy Pate Sports Bar”
Richie joined the Stags in 2004 having established himself at Macclesfield and Barnsley and went onto become a popular figure amongst the Mansfield faithful, captaining the side and contributing with 40 goals in 95 league appearances before being controversially sold to Hartlepool United.
Since hanging up his boots, Barker has moved into management and coaching, achieving promotion with Bury after making the transition from youth team boss, before going onto manage Crawley and Portsmouth, stepping back to be assistant at MK Dons, Charlton and now Rotherham with former Stags teammate, loanee Paul Warne.
Barker, who has often been tipped by bookmakers to manage the Stags when the job has become vacant, will share his side of the stories – the good and the bad, in a night packed with memories.
The popular front man won’t be alone, as Mansfield Matters present a panel of legends over the course of the evening with more names to be announced soon.
Getting underway at 8pm on Friday 27th July, the evening will be packed full of entertainment including a quiz, prize raffle and more.
It’s FREE for supporters of all ages; however donations on the night will be very actively encouraged with proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Society.
Mansfield Matters ‘A Trip Down Memory Lane’ has already began raising money for the charity, and so far the series has included interviews with Ian Bowling, Micky Boulding and Bobby Hassell – with Episodes still to come from Jon D’Layrea and Stuart Watkiss
The series is available in audio form here https://soundcloud.com/craig-priest-276599797/sets/mansfield-matters-a-trip-down and supporters can watch the episodes in full for FREE
Ian Bowling https://youtu.be/UMOw3NQ9DdY
Bobby Hassell https://youtu.be/P8wIZhXMQKU
Micky Boulding https://youtu.be/BUaty38VTnk
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