LOMAS ON STAGS: Flitcroft revelations as inquest begins into season’s failure

Picture Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, EFL Sky Bet League Two, Mansfield Town v Crawley Town, One Call Stadium, 05/05/18, K.O 3pm''Mansfield's manager David Flitcroft''Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594
Picture Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD, Football, EFL Sky Bet League Two, Mansfield Town v Crawley Town, One Call Stadium, 05/05/18, K.O 3pm''Mansfield's manager David Flitcroft''Andrew Roe>>>>>>>07826527594

As we stand and survey the smouldering wreckage of a season that promised so much, it would seem all was not as rosy in the Mansfield Town garden as we thought.

From some of his post-match comments, it would seem new boss David Flitcroft has a lot he wants to say about the state of the club when he took over.

It would appear he has kept his counsel and bitten his lip while trying to get them over the line, but has now begun to reveal some of the issues he was shocked to find on accepting the job.

Hopefully he will sit down with the media very soon and have a full and frank discussion on the issues as fans want to know.

His post-match interview on Saturday was his most revealing yet.

With Stags on a decent run and in the race for a top three place when he took over, Flitcroft would have expected to walk in and help them over the line.

Instead, he said he had found a dressing room that was ‘divided’, a set of players that were not fully fit and hinted that some appeared to be over-paid and ‘picking up the money’ rather than showing hunger to fight for the shirt.

It will be very revealing when he announces his retained list as to who comes into that category.

But, if what Steve Evans had put together had major flaws, it was still working to an extent and with just 12 games to go, Flitcroft’s attempts at making things better ended up making them worse.

It was just too big a change of environment and attitude at a crucial time of the season.

But, as a manager, your instincts tell you what needs to be done and all Flitcroft did was try to improve the situation he found himself in and do the right things.

If he’d done nothing and the team had failed he would have blamed himself for not following his gut instincts.

As it was, his tinkering with the style of play and trying to get players fitter did not bring him the desired results in the end.

But they were so, so close in almost every game.

They played some excellent football and created an absolute wealth of chances over the 12 games under the new regime and the manager cannot be blamed for failing to put those chances away.

There was plenty of finishing practice and one-to-one coaching sessions – all the players praise and acknowledge how meticulous he has been.

Only the away game at Forest Green and the first half at home to Crewe were poor displays.

We will never know if Evans would have got them over the line.

I believe he would have done but, once he chose to walk out at such a crucial stage, it completely undermined the project and no amount of Flitcroft ‘sticking plasters’ could save it.

Flitcroft will certainly be able to better implement his own ideas across a full pre-season and bring in some of his own choice of players.

What sort of budget he gets from the Radford family will be interesting but, having had their fingers burned so badly this season after huge investment, it’s unlikely to be as much as Evans had at his disposal.

From Flitcroft’s comments on Saturday he won’t need a budget that size anyway.

He wants to work with hungry, up-and-coming players and the incentive-based contract signed by CJ Hamilton two weeks ago gives another strong hint of how he works.

Disappointed fans are certainly in for another fascinating summer as they watch players come and go and wait to have their appetites whetted once again.