It is more than 40 years since Duncan McKenzie wore the amber and blue of Mansfield Town, but he still looks back at his time with the club with a great deal of fondness.
Former striker Duncan had two spells on loan with the Stags from neighbours Nottingham Forest in the early 70s.
They are stints he says helped to kick-start his career and pave the way for eventual moves to Leeds United and Everton.
Now more than four decades on, the 63-year-old is looking forward to returning to these ‘neck of the woods’ to host the Hall-Fast Charity Ball at the John Fretwell Centre, Sookholme, on 9th May next year.
The ball is being held as part of the Mansfield firm’s drive to raise £40,000 for Fountaindale School.
Duncan is no stranger to the venue, having been a guest speaker at a Stags Fans United’s sportsman’s dinner in September 2008.
“I’m looking forward to coming back and I’m hoping there will be one or two ex-players there ,” he said.
“I’m sure there will be a few old faces there. I’ll see the faces and I’m sure it will all come flooding back. I always enjoy coming back to Mansfield. It’s a part of the world where I grew up.
“The whole area is one I wanted to live and never envisaged leaving, but I suppose the time comes when you are no longer naive.”
Duncan made 10 appearances for Stags in the 1969/70 season, scoring three goals, and returned briefly in the 1972/73 season, scoring seven goals in six games.
It was his prolific second spell at Field Mill that led to him returning Forest and making 111 appearances, before becoming Brian Clough’s first signing during his ill-fated 44-day spell at Leeds.
“‘You do for me, what you did for Mansfield’, I remember Dave Mackay telling me (when he took over as manager at Forest),” recalled Duncan.
The rest as they say is history.
Today, Duncan lives on Merseyside and works as a matchday host at Everton.
But if it wasn’t for those successful spells at Field Mill who knows where his career would have ended?
“I absolutely loved it,” he said. “It’s a big thank you to Mansfield Town for what they did for me and for my career.”
More than170 tickets have been sold for the charity spectacular next year to raise money for Mansfield’s Fountaindale School.
The second Hall-Fast Charity Ball takes place on Friday 9th May at the John Fretwell Centre, Sookholme, as part of the firm’s bid to raise £40,000 for the school.
Hall-Fast has already raised more than £22,000 in the past 12 months to buy new equipment for the school - which helps youngsters aged three to 19 with physical and sensory needs.
Said managing director, Malcolm Hall: “We have got the support of 14 sponsors and media partners and we have already sold 170 tickets so it is going to be a sell-out.
“I really do think that we could smash our target of raising £40,000 for the school by the end of July 2014!”
For ticket details contact 0845 313 031 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively contact Rachel Hall on Mansfield 645645.