After a first full season back in the Football League for Mansfield Town it’s easy to quickly forget the tough world of the Conference and the places and people the Stags encountered down there.
But a new book called Conference Season, written by Steve Leach, takes an independent look at every club and town in the Blue Square Bet Premier during Stags’ title-winning season of 2012/13 and brings back so many warm memories.
For the hundreds of Stags fans who followed their side home and away, Leach’s book will remind them of grounds and places they had to drive to that season.
For each visit Leach tries to sum up the flavour of the town with a bit of history thrown in before he goes on to talk about the team’s ground and, ultimately, the football he witnessed, which makes it part sports book and part travelogue.
It certainly makes you think much more about making the most of places you visit while watching the Stags and trying to learn a little more about your destination.
It also reminds you how poor the football was at times at that level but how warm the welcomes were almost everywhere (let’s forget Luton, Wrexham and Newport in that statement)!
Leach takes in two Stags games during his Conference odyssey - the game at Woking, in which Mansfield’s dressing room window was bricked, and the home clash with Nuneaton, which also talks about the opening of the town’s new bus station the next day.
As a Stockport fan, Leach misses almost all of his side’s games that season in order to fulfil his ambition to write the book, maybe mercifully as the Hatters slid through the division in his absence towards the oblivion of Conference North while Stags took the title.
Conference Season (ISBN 978-190912554-4) is published by Bennion Kearny and well worth £11.99 of anyone’s money.