Interest grows in Stags legend Matt Green after Northern Ireland adventure is cut short
Mansfield Town legend Matt Green has cut his Northern Irish adventure short – but is hoping he can pick up the perfect new club for his career this month.
Striker Green, whose goal fired Stags to promotion from the Conference in 2013 in one of his two spells with the club, has returned home from half a season at Linfield after deciding, at the age of 35, he needs to spend more time with his family.
It was a huge decision to make as, apart from the distance, Green was very happy at Linfield.
“It was one of the top four clubs I have played for so I was pretty gutted to leave to be honest,” he said.
“But I am at the stage where I have got two young children and I moved away from home when I was 16 years old.
“It had just come to the point where it was so intense - Saturday/Tuesday, Saturday/Tuesday - that I wasn't getting the chance to get back as much as I thought I would.
“You have think about what's important, especially in these times with Covid flying around. My granddad was ill, my mum was ill for a time and I just felt like I would rather be with my family at this point in my life. I had to get my priorities right.
“I've had a decent enough career up and down the country living the dream and trying to score the goals I've needed to. But you just come to a bit of a realisation what's important.
“The most important thing is family and that was my decision in the end.”
He added: “My family are based down south but my boys are based in the north-east, so there is a big stretch between them and the only way I could get to see either was by aeroplane.
“It wasn't a quick train journey I could do on a day off either. It was always a flight and you can't do that there and back in a day and spend any real time with anyone.
“It is much easier to be back in England and, at the drop of a hat, I can see family whenever it's required.”
Green netted four times in his 14 starts and said: “Linfield are the biggest club in Northern Ireland and I really enjoyed it.
“It is a lovely, cosmopolitan city with nice restaurants. The team were brilliant. They are very professional and play at Windsor Park, which is the Northern Irish national ground.
“It would have been perfect if I had been about 25 or 26 and didn't have the priorities I do with my children. It just didn't work out due to the stage of my career that I am at.
“If I was younger it would have been a great platform to go and score plenty of goals. They have some very talented players at that level. The manager David Healy was brilliant, he's had a great career.
“They would be one of my top four clubs in terms of crowd, professionalism, training facilities, quality, pitches and facilities.”
There is already plenty of interest in Green's services and he said: “It would be nice to get something sorted in January in England.
“I am keeping my fitness up and have plans to do my coaching badges this summer.
“It just has to be something that is convenient and be perfect for what I need at this stage of my life and career. We will see what happens.
“I know my agent has spoken with clubs but at the moment I am just looking after my health and spending quality time with the family and the kids.
“There has been a couple of talks with people in League Two, some interest from Conference North and South as well as the Scottish Championship. But it makes no sense going too far away again.”
As always, Green has been keeping a close eye on Mansfield's fortunes and the 14 games without a win followed by 10 wins in 11 for Stags was no surprise to him.
“That is football. Mansfield always do it in a dramatic fashion - I think we all know that,” he smiled.
“But they have some real quality players there. I have played with a couple of them and I am just pleased for the fans, the chairman and the manager that it has turned round now.
“When Mansfield have that sort of momentum behind them they are a hard team to play against and I am sure that momentum will give them the confidence they need to go on with the big players they have in that group.”