This time last week, the Mansfield Town 2016-17 rollercoaster had reached its final bend in the track – there was a slight chance there may be a final twist, but most knew and accepted the ride was about to come to a slow end, and it did.
With little time to look back and reflect, Steve Evans had met with Chairman John Radford and agreed a plan for 2017-18 and wasted no time in reshuffling the desk, releasing eleven players from the club and, at the time of writing, signing two new faces.
Usually when the retained list comes out, there’s a bit of negativity – something I expected on mass when leading goal scorer and club legend Matt Green’s name was on the list, yet there appeared to be very little.
That’s something which highlights to me that everyone, from the boardroom right across to the terraces knows it’s time to move on. Matt Green will forever be a legend that’s without question – but as we look towards promotion into league one, sometimes it’s best to let go of the old guard and thus stop the “He’d have buried that in the conference” references and attitude, which was so prominent against Portsmouth when Green missed that golden chance.
The remaining ten to be released were Yoann Arquin, James Baxendale, Ashley Hemmings, Kevan Hurst, Pat Hoban, Brian Jensen, Jamie McGuire [Offer U21 Coaching Role], Scott Shearer, Corbin Shires and skipper Lee Collins, who other than McGuire was perhaps the only name on the list that was questioned.
Naturally I can’t really pass judgement on the majority of that list having not seen them play much this season [FYI I’m not jumping back on the band-wagon, I’ve been locked in a production studio for a season!] but I did rate Collins and thought he gave his plenty of options – but Evans likes a smaller squad and already judging by the players retained and the signings he’s made so far – it’d be tough to see where ‘skipper’ Collins would fit.
What you said
As always, we asked you to give your views via twitter and Facebook – he’s a selection of your responses
So far Evans has made two quality additions, goalkeeper Conrad Logan signing from Rochdale, who he helped to a steady 9th placed finish – and solid defender Zander Diamond who has been there and done it with both Burton Albion and Northampton Town, turning down a new deal with the latter after winning player-of-the-season too join the Stags.
Two top class players who are both experienced in winning trophies – in previous years, the early signings have been mouth-watering ones which have set the bar of expectation high, which hasn’t then been met – but with Evans and the clear ambition to win promotion, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.
Things are shaping up well and on paper, with last season not even seven-days dead – the next can’t come around quick enough.
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