I talk to a Mansfield Town fan ahead of the new season.
Tell us a bit about your season last season firstly. Would you say it was a success or failure? Did you achieve anything throughout the season, and were the fans happy with the end result?
Last season, well I`m struggling to think of any high points in it. We started the season in decentish form, we were putting in the performances but the end result was nowhere to be seen. This was also highlighted when we played Stockport off of the pitch at Field Mill in the opening stages of the season, only to see your goalkeeper of the time, Spencer I think it was, turn in an absolutely blinding display to keep us out, then who popped up in the dying stages with a tame shot that cruelly crawled through the back of your keepers legs and into the empty net? None other than Matty Hamshaw. Apart from the win away at Lincoln, which was a high point as it’s a local derby, I`m struggling for anything. So the answer has got to be failure.
Obviously every close season sees players leave. Who left your club and were you happy with the decision to let those players go by your boss?
Well we’ve let go Barry Conlon, Martin Gritton & Callum Lloyd. Jon Hjelde retired from Football to go back to his native Norway and Giles Coke has signed on a BOSMAN for Northampton, but I`m not particularly fussed either way to be honest with those players. I was surprised at the decision to release Conlon, he’s decent enough to do a job at this level, big target man who wins the ball and slightly disappointed to see Coke go to Northampton, as he obviously has ability, but just failed to show it at Mansfield when the Sky Cameras weren’t in town.
So obviously, with players going out, some have got to come in. Who has come in for you, and do you expect them to do well? Tell us a bit about these lads?
We’ve brought in 4 players so far, so it seems to be a case of 1 in 1 out. John McAliskey, Martin McIntosh, Dan Martin & Lee Bell have all penned contracts at Stags. After seeing one half of our game against Derby, I can’t really make a judgement on all of these players, but I know the Notts County fans were sad to see Martin go and that McAliskey was once labelled the ‘new’ Jon Stead at Huddersfield. So we’ll have to see.
Who are going to be your star players this season then? Who`s going to get the goals, and who`s going to stop them?
Star players this season will be Alex John-Baptiste, Matt Hamshaw and Stephen Dawson in no particular order. I’d like to think McAliskey will be banging the goals in after netting on his debut, but again, we’ll have to see.
Season ticket sales help the club at the beginning of the season to stabilise the place and give it a bit of extra income. How many season tickets have your club shifted these season so far, and what do you expect the average attendance to be throughout the season?
Seriously, I haven’t got a clue how many Season Tickets we’ve sold. I’ve not purchased one myself due to work commitments this year, but I expect we’ll sell probably 2000 or so and see average attendances of around 3,000 again. What a shame that is 🙁
Tell us a bit about your gaffer and his backroom staff. Do the fans like the gaffer, or can you see him being out of a job after a run of bad results?
History does not favour the brave at Mansfield Town FC. We’re terribly renowned for getting shot of the managers half way through a season, infact, since Billy Deardens last stint as manager (00 – 02) we’ve had a grand total of 1 season completed by the same manager, which was Keith Curle in our play off Season of 03/04. Billy Dearden was the man who built our last promotion squad, so we live in hope that he can do it again. But Rome was not built in a day.
This question is split into two. What do you BELIEVE your club can achieve this season, and what do you HOPE your club can achieve this season?
I believe we can achieve stability in the division and also during the course of the campaign, finally rid the cancer in our club that is Keith Haslam. Asking a fan what he hopes his team can achieve is a little silly really, as I doubt many people have opted for answer to that question such as ‘I hope we will be a mid table obscurity team next year’. Promotion is on my list of hopes.
Finally, whom do you expect to win the division, who do you think will go up with them and who do you think will be relegated?