Rough guide to... Mansfield Town

Cod Almighty | Article

by Tony Butcher

6 August 2007

The perennial underachievers of our division, they finally seem to be shedding their dodgy owner, a man who's grown fat on their land. Remember: things often fall apart at the seems. Believe it only when it happens and it's signed in blood.

Yesterday once more
As usual they spluttered to nowhere, finishing midway between Town and down. They started averagely, middled averagely and finished averagely. Peter Shirtliff was sacked in December, but they always sack a manager sometime during a season, so that's just par for the course. They did nothing of any consequence at any point during the season. Unless you think dispatching Graham Rodger's ragged-trousered army of ne'er-do-wells out of the Paintpot Cup means anything to anybody. Still, lovely firework displays that night. Best to forget last year, eh?

Hello goodbye
Ah, it's just like the olden days of old, with just a handful of songs to sing you about ch-ch-ch-changes. If they really have a decent set of players then maybe we'll find out this year, for the Bouldings remain, as do Hamshaw and Brown, Reet, Baptiste and Dairylea. They might not be magnificent but they are a solid seven to start off with.

Into the groove: Martin McIntosh (from Huddersfield), Dan Martin (Notts County), John McAliskey (Huddersfield). Lee Bell supposedly is about to sign from Crewe.

Out (and shaken all about): You say "yes!" I say "no!" Billy Dearden didn't say "stop", but "go, go, go" to Barry Conlon (Bradford), Martin Gritton (whose magical mystery has rolled up in Macclesfield) and Asa Charlton (cast out to the deadlands of Telford). Jon Olav Hjelde's retired to pickle some herrings and Giles Coke just went off to ever-so-slightly bigger things with Northampton.

Infinity and beyond
It's all just a different kind of sameness, isn't it. Replacing one old bruiser at the back with another, and signing a couple of runaround midfielders and a pesky but persistent forward with a slim goalscoring record, if not a slim body. Boulding (M) and Reet should score goals and if Hamshaw stays off the beers then they should do better, but then they always should do better than they ever do. Perhaps this really is the year they play to their potential and finish 10th, one place above Town.