Winning promotion with Mansfield Town was my best ever day in football - Stuart Watkiss

2002 Stags v Carlisle promotion to Div 2 Manager Stuart Watkiss with fans
2002 Stags v Carlisle promotion to Div 2 Manager Stuart Watkiss with fans

Stuart Watkiss says the day he led Mansfield Town to promotion is still his best ever day in football.

The former Stags boss admits his sacking after so long at the club still hurts him and he finds it hard to go back to the stadium – but he would love to work there again one day.

“That day we got promoted is still head and shoulders by far the best day for me in football,” he said.

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“Probably the best part of the day I have to say was not actually the football, which was brilliant, but it was just being in Mansfield on that night and seeing how much it meant to so many people.

“To see the town so happy and buzzing was something I will never ever forget. It was just the best experience and something I will treasure for a long, long time.”

He added: “You never ever say never in football and it would be great if I could return in some capacity in the future, but I think that is now a long shot.”

However, the hurt from his sacking remains with him and he admitted: “Even after all this time I find it really difficult to go to Field Mill.

“I have probably only been back four or five times and it’s a tough place for me to go to with the way things ended.

“But I almost still feel it’s my club.

“We are 12 years down the line. The word devastation is used a lot in football, but I can honestly say it devastated me when I left.

“I had been there for so long as a player, a coach, an assistant, and put so much into it, made so many friends and had so many happy memories, it was a massive, massive part of my life that I left behind.

“It’s still the first result I look for on a Saturday followed by Walsall and Wolves.

“Maybe one day I will go back and watch a couple of games but right now I am still finding it hard to even watch them on television.”