FTYBR BLOG: Stand strong
The good Lady Football can be a strange mistress at times. She lulls you in with a promise of endless hours of trouser pumping fun but then leaves you stranded, scratching your head and wondering why you fell for her in the first place. The defeat at Luton last weekend was one such occasion. Not that the performance left me downbeat, it was just the result that was painful and cast a dark cloud over the rest of the weekend. I guess the problem is that as a football fan, you get greedy. You watch your team destroy another side one week, and kind of hope the following week will bring the same. Trouble is that it very rarely happens that way, but it doesn’t stop that disappointment gushing out.
Can there be heart taken? Yes. There is little doubt that with the squad Luton have, that they will be there or thereabouts come the final reckoning and for Stags to have stood toe to toe and to only lose to a penalty shows to me that Adam Murray has built a team that are still going to provide us all with more cheer than misery this season. Like I said, I wasn’t disappointed in the performance, just the result. Don’t worry folks, ‘this girls still got rhythm.’
This weekend we face Argyle. What life must be like following a team like Plymouth? Hours upon hours on the road for little or no reward. They are a big club in this league, that’s for sure but being a so called, ‘big club’ doesn’t always assure you of success. If it was, then last season, Portsmouth would have won promotion. As it was, teams looked at the games against them as ‘Cup finals’ and raised their game accordingly. There are times when being the underdog works a lot better. If people don’t expect, then the pressure is not as great. Saying that, the early weeks of this season are seeing both Portsmouth and Argyle going for it, which means our game against Plymouth will possibly be our sternest test so far. A marker so to speak. I don’t fear them. Far from it, I think they will be more worried by us than we are them. Argyle’s managerial staff will have done their homework and will know that we have players more than capable of inflicting hurt. We need to have faith and belief. It will be a cracking game, one I hope the public of Mansfield come out and give their support for. Plymouth are a good side and will provide Stags with a proper contest, but so are we and we will provide just as big a test for them. 3-1 Stags, Green, Westcarr and Chapman with the goals. There you go, stick your quid on that.
Coming up against Argyle always me giggle like a naughty child. I know we are at home this weekend, but my mind bounds towards the many weekends spent in their place over the years. The FTYBR FC side nearly always had a game against their Argyle counterparts and nearly always won. 17-0 once if my mind serves me right? But great opponents they were and the passion for their side held no equal. Plus I don’t think I have ever either commentated, or reported on a game at Plymouth without fry-up breath and alcohol blurred vision. We have come across both the weird and the bizarre on our nights out like a free taxi ride around the red-light district that was full to the brim of over-priced prostitutes all looking more akin to Mrs Doubtfire than some sexy strumpet. Also the area in and around Union Street is not for the faint hearted with fights sometimes breaking out like a 50’s western film saloon bash.
A ‘virus’ at the One Call stadium. Is it more a case of the ‘Blair Witch Project?’ Mystery virus hits Stags, midfield players called back from loan spells. Matty Blair ready for action and desperate to get back into the side following his injury... Hmm, could it be a case of a few dodgy sandwiches being left around the place? Allegedly!! On a serious note, it would be fantastic for Matty to get back into the team. It will be like a new signing for us for not only for his ability, but also his experience. It is a real shame though that Chris Clements looks like he will be out for a couple of weeks. This is where, as a squad, the rest of the players have got to stand tall. There is no doubt that Chris has been one of our better players this season, and there is little doubt that he will be missed but just how much depends on the performance of his replacement in the side. Best case scenario would be that Clements finds it hard to get back into the side meaning that we have competition for places, which can only be good for the whole team. What with the virus putting poor Shires in hospital and the injury to Beardsley, not to mention the suspension of the impressive Hunt, it is no wonder Murray is toying with the idea if bringing in a loan signing or two. Messi looked out of sorts during Baca’s midweek defeat. Perhaps a bit of real time football at Mansfield would do him some good? Just an idea.
It seems ‘social media’ in and around The Stags has caused a bit of a stir in some quarters. Jason Harrison summed it up perfectly when he hinted that the days when folks chatted in pubs about their team has now moved onto scores of keyboard warriors. What with twitter, facebook and blogs, everyone now has the chance to put their views out in public. Is it a good or bad thing? Personally as a former editor of a fanzine, which originated the out of the pubs and onto the streets scenario for football fans, then I am all for it. We all have a right to our views, but I’ve got to admit, Muzza was right about his wobbly-heads, but that’s football fans for you; fickle. Come on admit it, we all are. There are none more worse than followers of Premiership sides who seem to expect their team to be challenging for the title every year. You know the team? Qualify for the Champions league, win two FA Cups and their fans still find time to moan. They should try a few years in Non-League and only one season out of the bottom two Division’s, then they’d really have something to mumble about. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that football fans haven’t changed much over the years but the chances they have to moan and grumble has. Some fans would be happy with a 1-0 win, others might moan it should have been more. Some fans look for positives, others revel in negatives. It is as much a part of the game as the pitch and goals. Mind you I’d be surprised if any of the managerial staff or players read this blog anyway. It isn’t twitter, so i should be safe.
The League Cup dominated the midweek fixtures. After not getting out of the dressing room in that competition since we returned to the Football League, I view it like I did when we were Non-League; with a minimal amount of interest. I have to say though; my eye did sway towards the Liverpool, Carlisle game. How unlucky were Keith Curle and his side? To take the mighty Reds to penalties in front of 5,700 travelling fans was something every League 2 supporter should be proud of.
Have I managed to complete this weeks blog without mentioning Counteh, Forest or the Spireites? No. Doesn’t look like it. The only comforting aspect about losing to Luton was that Counteh threw away a lead and lost late on to AFC Wimbledon. Notts Forest lost at home to Boro and Saunders (still makes me smile that they set him on as manager) and his Spireites lost at Coventry. So things weren’t all that bad last weekend. Counteh went and spoiled things midweek by beating Crawley mind you, but I guess, you can’t have everything.
So to finish with, a couple of testing games await us and this is where we must all stand together and be the 12th man. The last couple of games at the One Call have seen an upturn in atmosphere, which is a credit to us all. Stand strong, stand proud.
Latest | September 2015