OPINION: Together we can help Mansfield Town to promotion

Ian Greaves Stand fans in fine voice for the Stags against Accrington Stanley.
Ian Greaves Stand fans in fine voice for the Stags against Accrington Stanley.

Does anyone remember the song Go West, originally released by Village People in the late 1970s (yes, I am that old!) and then by the Pet Shop Boys in the 1990s?

I know the answer to the Village People is almost certainly a resounding ‘no’, although a few of you will probably recall Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s version that made it to number two in the singles charts.

But as well as recalling the song, does anyone remember the lyrics? For that is the important part as far as Mansfield Town are concerned at the moment.

Some of the words go like this...

(Together) we will go our way,

(Together) we will fly so high,

(Together) we will start life new,

(Together) this is what we’ll do.

Forget the political or other overtones of the different versions of the song — the relevance for me to the Stags at the moment is that word ‘Together’... and what is happening between the players on the pitch, Steve Evans’ management team, owner John Radford and, most importantly, the fans in the stands.

Tuesday was an unbelievable night at One Call Stadium as bogey side Accrington Stanley, who Mansfield have yet to beat in their modern-day guise, and the Stags shared eight goals. Not because the Stags defensive record of three successive clean sheets was well and truly shot to pieces, not because the Stags put in as poor a defensive performance as I can remember this season and not because Billy Kee showed the form for Stanley he never did in the amber and blue.And also not because the Stags showed tremendous spirit and a never-say-die attitude to fight back to eventually snatch a point in a cup-tie atmosphere through substitute Yoann Arquin’s 90th minute leveller from 25 yards.

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No, the reason it was remarkable was as much for what was happening off the pitch as it was for what was unfolding on it.

For despite putting in a poor overall performance, the Stags players were rewarded with vocal backing from the supporters during the match - and a standing ovation at the final whistle from a larger-than-average midweek crowd, swelled by supporters taking advantage of another generous two-for-one offer from the club.

In fact, at times you had to pinch yourself to realise the Stags were not winning that game at any point, such was the level of noise at times from admittedly shell-shocked fans who could not believe what they were watching.

As that old song I mentioned goes, ‘together’ things can be achieved — and that seems to be the case at the Stags these days as the supporters remain vocally behind the players even in times of adversity on the pitch.

Just a few months ago a performance as poor as the one against Stanley would have led to a derisory reaction from the stands and vocal animosity towards the manager — but not now.

The feelgood factor I mentioned last week between the club, the players and the fans was given its first serious test in the pulsating midweek draw — and it passed with flying colours.

Yes, the players deserve praise for getting something out of their poor overall showing on Tuesday. But the fans deserve some recognition too for sticking with the side, remembering the terrific run leading up to the game, and continuing to positively support the side. It made for an amazing atmosphere.

Three months on from his arrival at the Stags, manager Evans has transformed the club with the help of the owner and the fans.

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The spirit within the squad and the club as a whole was highlighted by the celebrations after that Arquin special strike on Tuesday night earned a late point.

Under Evans the club has climbed from 18th to seventh and are unbeaten in nine league matches since New Year’s Eve.

The point won so spectacularly in the final minute against Stanley kept the Stags in the play-off places and together with a terrific following heading for Grimsby on Saturday — the away support could be around 1,000 — Mansfield Town remain on target for promotion... to quote another song, Radford and Evans are bringing on back the good times.