Mansfield Town should never have been relegated from the Football League - says former defender

Former Mansfield Town defender Johnny Mullins still feels the club should never have been relegated from the Football League.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 2:34 pm
Johnny Mullins enjoyed spells with Luton, Oxford and Cheltenham after his time with Mansfield. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Stags slipped out of the EFL in the 2007/2008 season despite having what appeared to be a squad that was more than capable of holding their own.

And Mullins, who departed the One Call Stadium for Stockport County following relegation, still struggles to pinpoint what went wrong 13 seasons later.

“It was strange to get relegated when you look at the players we had,” he told Mark Plumb in a Mansfield Town News & Views interview.

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Johnny Mullins faces Mansfield Town during his time with Oxford.

“We weren’t getting the results, but as it went on I thought we would get results because we had too much quality.

“It was a lesson for me. Football has a horrible way of biting you in the backside.

“I am not saying we didn’t do the right things, we just seemed to have a lot of results where it didn’t quite go for us.

“With the players we had we were too good to go down, but you don't always get what you deserve in football.

“It probably worked well for the club, although they didn’t think so at the time, because they were able to rebuild and come back stronger.”

Despite his time at Stags ending on a sour note Mullins, who made 86 appearances over his two seasons at the club, still remembers his time at Mansfield fondly.

“I looked at the Mansfield squad and felt it was a squad of real good pedigree with players like Alex Baptiste and Jake Buxton,” he added.

“I met with Peter Shirtliff and the owners and I felt that the club were only going one way and I wanted to be a part of it.

“Unfortunately it didn’t go that way. It was very hurtful to get relegated, but I enjoyed being a part of the team.

“I was living in the area and found Mansfield a really friendly place. People took to me really well and that made things much easier.

“People took me under their wing. I remember getting stick from Paul Holland for my accent, there was always plenty of banter.

“Although it didn’t end how I wanted it to, I enjoyed my time at the club.”

Mullins knows only too well how difficult it is to get promoted from League Two having gone up with Oxford United in 2015/16.

But he remains hopeful that Stags can discover the magic ingredients and get back to where he believes they belong.

“Mansfield are probably one division below where they belong and hopefully they will get back there soon,” he added.

“It is a hard league to get out of. I am lucky to have got out of it but it is a war of attrition and not easy to get out of.

“There is so much more to it than just the players on paper and hopefully this season Mansfield can finish the job.”

Watch the full interview here