Cod Almighty | Article
5 August 2006
Mansfield Town? Who might they be?
The Stags – or just "Stags", depending on which person/website/personal demon you listen to – are a perennial lower-league team, a season in Division Two in the 1970s being their peak. They can remember an LDV victory in 1987 over Bristol City via a penalty shootout, along with a famous FA cup win over West Ham in 1969. Their ground, Field Mill, has seen football of some kind since 1861 and can thus be considered very old. Not really sure what an old Stag should be called though.
The Stags finished 16th, just five points from safety, managing to share the points in their games against the Mariners, both matches finishing 2-1 to the home side. Richie Barker scored in both games, and the game at BP was one of those rare occasions when a manager of the month award failed to jinx the recipient. Andy Parkinson scored the winning goal.
Anticipate with relish
Not sure what to say here – I've never been to Field Mill, or even stopped in Mansfield, only having driven through it. Perhaps going to their ground is something to aim for this season? Hopefully seeing passing football, which seems to be the buzzword this season for fourth division managers.
Anticipate with dread
Mansfield seem to have quite a few players capable of scoring: Barker was their top scorer, but Simon Brown scored 10 in 15 matches before injury, and found the net recently in pre-season, in a Graham Poll-esque game of three halves against Rotherham. Barker seems to have kept up the goalscoring thread with plenty in the friendlies.
There seem to be several ex-Town strikers in this league, but not too many with a younger brother coming as part of the deal. Michael Boulding has returned to his first League club, after a season off, and has already scored in pre-season. Will he be yet another ex-Town player to score against us?
The way forward
Have a lot of strikers – that seems to be a good policy, especially if they can actually score goals. With two coming back from injury – Brown and Chris Beardsley – plus the signings of the Bouldings, plus Richie Barker, they seem to be doing OK there. They also have a good recent tradition of bringing on the youth team (with one of the men responsible, Stuart Watkiss, coming to hopefully do the same with the Mariners' youth team). They've also slimmed out their goalkeeping talent.
Like many teams in this division, the Stags are capable of good things if they play to their potential. I'd anticipate at least a play-off place this coming campaign (with the option to edit these famous last words at the end of the season...).