Craig Priest shares his views on this week’s news from the One Call Stadium...
Another week draws to an end however I’m actually glad to see this back of this one as pre-season is creeping ever closer, in fact as I write at 2.15pm the exact count to kick off at Leamington is 15 days and 45 minutes!
The count to pre-season has become more and more on my mind this week as not only have I been in endless meetings and had several email exchanges to sort out coverage, news from the One Call Stadium has been pretty rare! Whilst I’m on the subject of coverage it’s only fair to update you – an official announcement on the coverage from us (Mansfield Matters / Takeover) will be made next Friday.
Onto the news from the One Call Stadium this week then, other than the usual plugs to sell the excellent range of sponsorship packages and the month by month reflection of last season, there has only been three more additions to the class of 2012-13, as Paul Cox welcomed defensive duo Lee Beevers and Andy Owens to the club on Tuesday, also adding former Eastwood assistant Richard Cooper to his backroom team as first team coach.
First and foremost I must stand and applaud Paul Cox, not only has he pulled off a magnificent coo for the club and filled the gap left by the departed Luke O’Neill, he’s given us Journalists some potential ‘close to the wire’ headlines and phrases – ‘Cox’ & ‘Beevers’ .... I’ll let you draw your own conclusion on that one!
No joking aside, this is after all a family show! This is a fantastic capture and again credit to Paul Cox, selling a season in the conference over a season in league one on better wages must have been tough, however the 28 year old right back opted for the One Call Stadium despite the offer of a contract renewal from Walsall, with whom he played over 40 games last season in the same side as former Stags keeper and hero, David Grof – maybe he put in a good word?!
Lee is probably best known for his time at Lincoln City, having been at Sincil Bank for five years during which time he collected numerous club awards and became one of, if not the best, right back in the lower leagues. Lee’s other clubs include Colchester United and Boston United the latter the first club he became settled at and still remains a fans favourite despite his final appearance for the Pilgrims being in 2005. The prospect of seeing Lee in the amber and blue is an exciting one, I said this last week talking about George Pilkington – our defence is going to be so strong, so immense and so difficult to break down. Our defence now consists of Ritchie Sutton, John Thompson, Luke Jones, George Pilkington, Jobe Shaw (Youth team graduate) Lee Beevers and the other new boy Andy Owens – One more defender that can cover all positions in the way similar to Ritchie Sutton and our back line is complete.
Andy Ownes arrives from Southport much to the displeasure of Southport boss Liam Wastson who has been highly critical of both Andy and the move he’s taken stating it’s one that will not progress his career. I can understand Watson’s frustration as Owens, along with Simon Grand along Godfrey Poku (who we’ve also nicked!) was pretty much key to Southports impressive 7th placed finish, however being critical of him and throwing the toys out of the pram is pointless, get on with it – get out there and sign someone else, we did! 22 year old Andy is a product of the youth system and comes into the “cursed” slot – left back! He’s a very quick, attack minded full back with a relatively long throw, we’re not talking Geohaghon style but it’ll still cause damage if we need it too. Unlike Lee Beevers, Andy arrives with only one full season under his belt, last terms 39 appearances in the Yellow of Southport having not settled at Stoke City, Leek Town, Stafford Rangers, Altrincham, Rhyl or Accrington Stanley – however we all know what Paul Cox is capable of in terms of giving players opportunity, love and most importantly, games! I look forward to watching him develop and prove Liam Watson wrong!
The final addition this week as I mentioned was too the back room team, Paul’s former assistant Richard Cooper quits Coronation Park to join us as first team coach, the post of assistant of course already taken by Adam Murray. The 32 year old was initially favourite to take the assistants job last summer when Paul Cox departed Eastwood for Stags, however secure in his other job he opted to stay there rather than make the move with Paul which led to Micky Moore taking the post. With Micky now back in his old job along with a part time job as number two at Newly promoted Nuneaton, Cooper completes the new look backroom staff as first team coach. I think this is the first time Stags have ever had a proper back room coaching structure, it’s never usually more than manager and assistant, so to have manager, assistant, first team coach and general coach is refreshing and in turn, hopefully make us a more structure, disciplined side as we aim to move forward.
Well that’s it this week, fairly quite – I doubt next week will be though as I’m told the lads report back for pre-season training, the hard work begins at last... it won’t be long to the football starts either – yippee!
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