Ex-Stags boss Adam Murray believes Mansfield Town have finally set themselves up for success
Adam Murray believes Mansfield Town have set themselves up perfectly for success with the appointments of chief executive David Sharpe and manager Nigel Clough.
Former Stags midfield star and manager Murray has been helping Barnsley make waves in the Championship this season as assistant coach to a Tykes side that have snatched a shock play-off spot.
He admitted he was now a completely different coach to the one that quit Mansfield in 2016, but still rates his results as boss there – the youngest manager in all four divisions at 33 at that time – as his greatest achievement, working on such a tight budget.
“I have not been surprised by how things have gone at Mansfield if I am being totally honest,” he said.
“But I think they have made a really wise decision bringing in David Sharpe.
“He is somebody that will add structure and a plan to the football side which I think is vital.
“I think one of the biggest things I have learned off the pitch is that for a club to succeed at any level and compete at whatever their focus is, whether it's getting out of their league, or to survive in their league, there has to be a long term plan and something you stick to.
“It can't just be willy nilly every season. I think with David Sharpe coming in it gives a real long term focus and long term plan.”
Murray also had huge praise for his former Burton Albion colleague in the hot seat.
“They have also brought in an absolute diamond of a manager in Nigel Clough,” he said.
“He was exactly what the club needed, not just as a football manager but as a person as well.
“Mansfield are on a really positive track now. I think they have the right people in the right places.
“They have obviously put a lot of resources into it over the last few years. Now that resource needs to be used wisely and I can imagine them having a really, really strong season next season.”
He added: “I have twice worked with Clough at Burton.
“My first spell was briefly as a player. I played one or two games for him and then I joined Kidderminster instead of Burton which I don't think he was too happy about.
“Then I went into Burton's youth set-up for a few years where I still kept in contact and spoke regularly to him.
“I still speak to him now and he is a really, really good guy – a proper football bloke who takes no nonsense and know what it takes to be successful. So I think he is a perfect fit for the club.”
Murray said he had matured hugely as a coach since his days at the One Call Stadium when he felt he was probably thrust in too early.
“As a coach or manager I am probably now the total opposite of what I was when I was Mansfield Town manager if I am being honest,” he said.
“I have spoken to a lot of people about how I have transitioned from when I came out of Mansfield to the coach I am today.
“Looking back on it now it was obviously a great opportunity for me at Mansfield because I was still really young. To get that opportunity to work in the Football League doesn't come along every day.
“But looking back now, I had my idea how I thought I wanted the game to be played. But because the opportunity came along so quick and out of the blue, I wasn't black and white enough in terms of my own principles.
“I think stepping away from management and making that decision to do so was the best thing I've ever done. It enabled me to go away and focus on my own coaching and what I believed in. I was able to put more of a blueprint on my own philosophy.”
He continued: “I am fortunate that I am working at a club now where their philosophy really aligns with mine.
“I have taken a lot of things from the managers I have worked with here, especially the one I am working with now. They have been great with me and great for me.
“The coach - and probably the person that I was - when I left Mansfield is different to the one I am now.”
However, Murray has no immediate desire to be a manager again.
“I have no ambitions to be a number one again at the minute,” he said.
“I am really happy with the position I am in and really happy with the manager I work with. He trusts me and I trust him. He puts a lot of responsibility on me and I enjoy that.
“What is down the road will be, but at the minute I have had a good few years now as an assistant manager and I have really enjoyed it.
“I've learned a lot, I've taken a lot on board and it's something I am really enjoying. What the future holds I don't know but at the moment I have no real focus on that.”
Murray had three spells with Mansfield Town as a player but doubts a second spell as manager would every happen.
“I doubt it, though you can never say never, especially in football,” he said.
“I had a great time there as a player. As a manager I look back on it now and I think that with the resources that not just I was working with but with the players brought in and the coaching staff, it was one of my biggest achievements.
“We had a bottom three budget, but one February we were up to about fourth or fifth in the league.
“What I did there is something I am still really proud of. But me going back there would be a very, very long shot.”