Craig Priest writes…
Whilst East Midlands Airport are preparing themselves for a coach load of footballers to board a plane to Malta, all us Stags fans are left asking one question – Will Matt Green be on the plane?
The 26 year old front man’s signature still hasn’t met the paper of the Stags office and as time ticks on, us fans are desperately hoping the popular striker gets hold of a pen sharpish! News on Green moving elsewhere has become quiet over the past week or so with Birmingham City seemingly uninterested following our stars trial period with them, other clubs from the Championship and League One may be linked with the former Oxford man but as far as I can see, it’s all about as true as us playing in the conference next season!
I’ve remained silent on the topic until today having just hoped for it to sort its self in time, but with pre-season matches fast approaching and the contracted players back in training, well running, the matters becoming a little more important. I’d never say rush a decision but I honestly feel that the longer the Green contract debate goes on, the more damage it will do – Matt isn’t a one man team by his goals are of massive importance to us, the question is are we serious about signing him and picking up from where we left off or are we in search of a replacement as, from what I can tell, we’ve made no movement towards putting something in writing either.
Earlier today I watched Matt’s show-reel of goals as posted on YouTube – we cannot afford to let a player of his quality slip through the net and sign elsewhere. Some have questioned If Matt can cut it in the football league given his lack of long term experience outside the conference, my answer to that is watch is goal show reel and you will see yes he can, especially under Paul Cox.
At Oxford Green was rarely settled and played out of position on the right wing, when he arrived at Mansfield several said he wouldn’t inspire yet now he holds legendary status, this is down to Cox’s man management and in turn, the work Green has put in to become a top quality, highly rated front man – 57 goals in all competitions over two seasons tells its own story really.
Many describe him as a poacher and yes, whilst he’s only netted one of those 57 from outside the box (his first goal for the club against Luton), the way he runs off the ball, reads the game and beats his markers suggests and shows that Green is the complete centre forward and I believe him to be one of the best strikers Stags have had in at least a decade.
Browsing through his show reel I’m reminded why Green is watched week in week out by scouts from higher ranked clubs, it’s not just the factors I mentioned above which make Matt stand out, it’s the way he anticipates what’s going to happen in a split second – he’s a clever player and I think that Paul Cox and his scouting team would be hard pressed to find a replacement that’s half as good. Yes you can argue that Speight and Hutchinson can bag goals but I don’t think they’re technically on the same level, can they play off Dyer, Rhead and Stevenson? Can they read the game as well and process the outcome in such a quick time – possibly, but to the same effect? No – that’s the Matt Green glint.
He’s by no means perfect and like every front man, quite often has off day’s – last season for example there were numerous times were he lost his confidence in front of goal and squandered chances but Cox showed faith and when it mattered, Green found his glint again and began firing – without his final burst of nine goals in the last seven games, we would not have been crowned Champions – fact.
Hopefully the club can conjure up a deal that both parties are happy with and Green can continue to grow as a club legend and goal predator – we have a lot to thank him for but were not ready to say goodbye just yet.
Before I sign off again there’s another man I’d like to see with pen in hand, you all know it’s Andy Todd – worryingly I saw no shots of him on the gallery from the first day’s training. Fingers crossed that both his and Matt’s Mansfield Town futures are sorted soon – keeping that nucleus is what will keep is stable in league two next term.
I’m not going to Malta but to anyone that is, enjoy yourselves! For me the clock is ticking towards that first friendly on UK soil as Cox’s Champions head for Worksop Town on Wednesday 10th July – Coverage details coming soon!
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