Former Mansfield Town defender Bobby Hassell says his biggest regret is not getting to say a proper goodbye to the Stags faithful, following his departure after the 2004 play-off final defeat ted Huddersfield.
The former YTS Graduate reveals all about his time with the Stags in A Trip Down Memory Lane podcast with Mansfield Matters, a series that is raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Mansfield Chad has teamed up with Mansfield Matters, a popular supporters podcast by Craig Priest, Simon Mercer, Nathan Edge and Cam Felton, for the memory lane series, which will run through the close-season.
Click here for a video snippet of the interview
Keith Curle’s Mansfield were beaten by now Premier League Huddersfield Town at the Millennium Stadium in that play-off final after a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out.
Bobby said “It was sad because we never got a chance to say bye really.
“A lot of the lads had been there a long time and had a great time. That’s why I had my testimonial against Mansfield.”
Recalling his final appearance for the Stags at the Welsh National Stadium, Bobby said “We should have won the game in 90 minutes.
“It was a strange game going into it because I’d already signed for Barnsley and Liam (Lawrence) had already signed for Sunderland, so we were desperate to leave taking the club up again.
“Junior Mendes had already signed for Huddersfield, which I wasn’t happy about.
“He came off injured — (but) he was alright on the bus on the way home, so he perhaps shouldn’t have played in that game.”
Hassell, like Lawrence, was a graduate of the Stags youth team that produced many talented players in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but left the club on a free transfer due to being under the age of 24.
Recalling his decision to depart Field Mill for Barnsley, he added: “The reality is none of us wanted to play for him (Keith Curle).
“I was one of them. I didn’t want to stay whilst he was the manager.
“A few of us had already decided to leave as we’d been offered less money even if we had achieved promotion.
“The time was right to leave.
“I’d played nearly 200 games and I needed to progress in my career.
“The club had turned down two or three offers for me from higher division clubs and they thought they could get money for me, not realising that I was actually 24 when my contract ran out so I was a free transfer.
They made a host of mistakes with all of us really.”
Despite the manner of his exit, Bobby has always held the club in high regard.
During the full programme, he reveals how he came close to a return to the club under the stewardship of Adam Murray, but remained with Barnsley out of loyalty to the then chairman in order to be given his testimonial.
Choosing to remain at Barnsley, Bobby served under now Mansfield manager David Flitcroft.
Although Flitcroft began to close the door on Bobby’s playing days at Oakwell, he believes that the 2018/19 campaign will be a successful one for the Stags.
“I think they (the Radfords) have got the right manager in.
“He’s a great motivator and I’m sure he’ll build a promotion-winning team next year that the club, supporters and town will be part of”
Chad readers can watch the full interview with Bobby from Wednesday by heading to www.facebook.com/mtfcmatters or visiting www.mtfcmatters.co.uk — the programme is also available in audio format via iTunes.
Mansfield Matters is raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society and Chad readers can donate via the following links:
Direct to the Alzheimer’s Society at https://www.justgiving.com/alzheimerssoc
To Mansfield Matters (80% goes to charity, 20% towards project running costs) at https://www.gofundme.com/memory-lane-podcast-for-alzheimers