LOMAS ON STAGS: Times for fans to join the revolution as Stags threaten to spend big
Coming from behind to win 3-1 at Cambridge United on Saturday was impressive enough.
But it was far from Mansfield Town’s biggest statement of intent on Saturday.
The news that the Stags had bid £300,000 for a player was an absolute bolt from the blue.
Most Stags fans listening to Steve Evans’ post-match interview on the radio would have either tried to clean their ears out or spluttered tea across the room on hearing those words.
We all knew John Radford was deadly serious about promotion when he hired a manager with the pedigree and drive of Steve Evans.
But no one could have foreseen the scale of the Evans revolution.
He has already brought in six new players in the January window with another three on the cards. And to make a £300,000 bid for a player – whether or not it gets accepted – is a real broadside at the rest of League Two. Ears will start to prick up now as to what is stirring in North Notts.
If it comes off, it would double the club’s biggest ever fee paid - £150,000 for Lee Peacock back in October 1997.
Speculation is rife among fans over the name of the player with the huge price tag with enough ‘definite’ names to fill an entire first XI.
But Peterborough United have already publicly said they have turned down a bid of a reputed £200,000 by Mansfield for striker Paul Taylor, so unless Evans has that plus another £300,000 to play with in his budget, Taylor would seem to be the likely candidate.
Stags hope to hear back on the big bid by Wednesday, but Evans has also been given permission to speak to another player early this week and still has a sixth and final loan option in his sights.
The Stags are currently only three points off the play-off places with plenty of the season still to go and a talented new squad gelling quickly.
So these are very exciting times indeed.
Despite having ploughed so much money in to keep the club alive, chairman John Radford has been accused by some fans of taking safe options with managers, despite big talk about wanting to see his club play Championship football.
Those doubters now have to eat their words and take their hats off to him.
And those ‘long-standing Stags fans’ who don’t actually go to the games because of a myriad of excuses (except those who can’t actually afford the entrance fee in these tough times, of course) now need to get back on the bandwagon or go out and buy a Manchester United or Chelsea scarf.
This Saturday Stags fans buying tickets for the Leyton Orient game will be given a ticket for the following home clash with Hartlepool for free!
What more can the club possibly do to bring folk back?
It will be the start of a run of three home League games out of four and, doubtless, set the tone for the run-in.
Amidst all this excitement, it’s easy to forget we also have the small matter of a cup quarter-final at One Call Stadium tomorrow night with a Wembley final only two games away.
Wycombe Wanderers will provide a stern test in the Checkatrade Trophy clash in a game that will go straight to penalties if not settled over 90 minutes.
This competition has been much-maligned, and rightly so in my opinion, for the daft introduction of some of the bigger club’s academy sides to give them experience.
Many fans boycotted the competition and all but one of the academy sides have now been knocked out, them adding little or nothing to the competition as a draw or spectacle.
But, having fully made their point, now is the time for the stayaway fans to return and get behind the Stags as they bid to return to Wembley in a competition they won there 30 years ago.
The players need their backing and John Radford and Steve Evans would certainly appreciate some extra cash in the coffers for this extraordinary January rebuild.
At £10 adults and £5 concessions it won’t break the bank.
Come on down and join the revolution!