John Lomas’s Mansfield Town blog: Time for the Mansfield public to show they care about the club

editorial image
8
Have your say

Mansfield Town’s side will contain a host of unfamiliar faces when they trot out against Exeter City at One Call Stadium on Saturday.

Adam Murray has worked tirelessly since the January window opened and has brought in some exciting faces, culminating in this week’s arrival of Fleetwood winger Matty Blair.

That makes it six new faces, four of them being established League quality, two of them youngsters with rich promise from a Premier League club.

The club has also dropped admission prices to just £7 again if bought in advance.

Now it’s up to the Mansfield public to show they care a fig about any of it.

At the risk of sounding like a scratched record, this Saturday should see the club rewarded with a bumper crowd.

But something tells me the word bumper may be ambitious.

I know how expensive football is to watch and it can be beyond the reach of some families.

Even at £7 on Saturday I know that money is tight out there in the throws of a recession and food, clothing and mortgage/rent money are always going to top people’s priorities.

However, the people I want to see back on Saturday are the vociferous folk in the pub and keyboard warriors who seem to want to find any excuse they can not to attend the club they profess to support.

Also the ‘Stags supporters’ who have now got into the habit of getting as far as the pub on matchday at best before settling in to watch the overpaid histrionics of televised Premier League football.

Everything the excuse merchants have come up with has been addressed.

Keith Haslam has gone, the ground is back in the club’s hands, debts are diminishing, you can buy tickets online, the club is no longer in the Conference, Paul Cox is no longer manager, Adam Murray bleeds Amber & Blue and is trying to play football the way fans have demanded, quality League players have been signed.

At this point in time there is nothing more the club could do to build their crowds back up and appease the stayaways.

So now it’s over to you. If you are a Stags fan and you can afford £7, get down there on Saturday – and why not bring a friend or three?

The weather will not be an issue. Weather is never an issue at a football match, just what you’ve decided to wear for the afternoon.

At this moment in time you have a Football League club back in town. Mansfield is on the world footballing map and for that the town should be eternally grateful to John Radford and Paul Cox.

How long this remains a League club could be decided very quickly, though.

Murray has already said how much difference having the fans behind the players makes, just think how much noise they made in Saturday’s thriller at Burton.

But, make no mistake, there is still a lot of work to do to haul the club away from the drop zone.

Thankfully there are still plenty of points available - and everyone can play their part in this.

Stags did so well to consolidate their higher status last season after winning the Conference.

But it seems teams often do well in their first season after going up, carrying on that momentum, before suddenly finding life a bit tougher.

Mansfield Town are a long way from being ready for the next level.

What they need to do is consolidate, really find their League Two feet and establish themselves as one of the better sides in the division.

What they mustn’t do is slip back out that trapdoor and back into a Conference oblivion they may never escape from.

Murray is doing his best to address that.

A side that has lacked goals this season all of a sudden has an exciting, attacking look to it.

You now have three out and out wingers at the club in Blair, Reggie Lambe and Junior Brown, you have a good array of different strike combinations up front with Billy Kee likely to quickly become a terrace favourite, you have the added quality of four-times promotion winner Ricky Ravenhill in the centre of midfield, and you have genuine competition at the back.

It was a brave decision of Murray to throw all five new faces in last weekend’s defeat and, doubtless, Blair’s debut will make it six new faces to puzzle over against Exeter for home fans who didn’t go to the Pirelli Stadium.

At Burton, in a game in which Stags were always unlikely to get a win, it was a shrewd move to throw them in and get them playing together as quickly as possible as practice makes perfect and they all desperately needed game time anyway.

Hopefully fans will see the benefits of that over the next couple of weeks.

But no one will be handing over points for free as a reward for Murray’s transfer work.

Make no mistake, Exeter are a far better side now than when Stags edged a 2-1 win down there in August.

However, the Grecians’ storm towards the play-offs has been halted by a festive blip in which they’ve just lost three on the bounce and four of their last five.

So they are far from unbeatable and have also just lost star man Matt Grimes in a reported £1.75m move to Swansea.

With league leaders Wycombe in town next weekend followed a long haul for a six-pointer with Keith Curle’s Carlise the following week, Saturday is a match that Murray’s men desperately need three points from.

A show of strength from the town itself would go a long way to helping them achieve that.