After two consecutive defeats on the road, one to a side in the league below to end our trophy dreams, you could forgive even the merriest of Stags fans from feeling a little ‘Bah Humbug’, writes Craig Priest.
However I still feel that with one last game; we can have a belated Merry Christmas after all.
At 20 years old I find Christmas a rather drab and dry experience and whilst I enjoy the Christmas specials on telly stuffing myself with tins of celebrations, I live for Boxing Day and the best present Santa Clause (or his half brother Staggie Clause) can deliver, football and hopefully three points.
I’ve always been an optimist and a dreamer, and as such a person I believe that wishing on a star can help your dreams become reality – just like they have in 2011.
Last year during the festive period it was very much a case of frustration and scrooge like feeling, after being locked out of Field Mill and eventually let back in – the snow began to fall quicker and heavier than a premier league footballer in the oppositions penalty box, meaning the majority of our fixtures were postponed, in fact during last December we played just twice.
The results of 5-0 against Worksop followed by a 5-1 victory at Cambridge saw the festive cheer return and in the end, despite all the evil elves (from the South Pole) trying to ruin Christmas, we actually had a Merry Christmas after all.
My point is that whilst on field issues appear to be fine this year, two bad results have seen those nasty elves laughing at us again from afar as we again feel ‘Bah Humbug’. On Boxing Day we’re at home against York, home at Christmas is the place everyone longs to be. Together for a reason, singing round the open fire (for the purpose of health and safety this will have to be an app on your smart phone or use of imagination!), sharing rubbish jokes, being merry and all enjoying the one gift that really matters – FOOTBALL! This year let’s treasure that gift and make our footballing house a true home. Paul Cox and the players have spoken about the buzz given from the QLE drum, let’s get that beating let’s get the songs, weather festive or not, floating round Field Mill from start to finish.
I recall a few seasons ago beating York at home after fans shifted the snow from the pitch and packed into the QLE to allow the game to go ahead, the noise was unbelievable, the spirit and togetherness was a joy to be held and whilst the game wasn’t a December fixture (February if memory serves me right) it was still a festive like tale and one with a message – Together Everyone Achieves More. Flash forward to Christmas of that season, our first in the BSBP, we travelled to Kettering on Boxing Day under the caretaker-ship of Moses and Stallard, running out 3-1 winners. The noise and believe when nobody really expected anything was again beautiful, another Christmas memory.
I saw a Christmas star appear over Field Mill last year, I remembered previous moments from not only Christmas, but from throughout the year as well. I wished for a moment for everyone to cherish, I wished for our day in the light and looking back we got it not once but twice.
The momentous yet heartbreaking FA Trophy final at Wembley stadium and the final moments at Luton’s Kenilworth road in the semi final are the moments I refer too. Never have I witnessed so many fans together in unison proud of Mansfield Town, because of that I believe it can happen again but in league form, so if I see a Christmas Star loom over Field Mill on boxing day, my wish will be made. I hope that as you think back on 2011 and indeed the moments you’ve cherished and been involved with before, you’ll make a similar wish and then, in 2012 we can achieve the dream and return to the promise land.
Have a merry Christmas; I hope to see you all on Boxing Day as we end 2011 victorious. Fair enough, we can’t sing ‘Jingle Bells’ but how about a loud chorus of ‘Yellows’ or ‘We love you Mansfield’?