Profile of his career at Mansfield Town, February 1983 to February 1989
By Martin Shaw
Ian Greaves had been manager of Huddersfield Town, Bolton Wanderers, Oxford United and Wolverhampton Wanderers when he was appointed manager of Mansfield Town in February 1983. He was a big name in English football, and it was quite a coup for the club to lure him to Field Mill. Richard Hartley, a 35-year-old multi-millionaire and owner of the Motorist Discount Centres, was the Stags chairman at that time, and he was the key to Greaves signing a 2½ year contract. Greaves told the press at the time: “I’ve had offers, ones that you would consider would be better for me, but the way Mansfield wanted me to run the club, coincided with the way I wanted to do it. I would rather not have a job than do it somebody else’s way. I gave the matter a great deal of thought and if there was one person who removed any of my doubts about becoming a Fourth Division manager, it was the chairman.” Greaves added: “My goal is to get this club out of the Fourth Division.”
His first appointment was that of John Jarman as his assistant manager. Jarman came to Field Mill from Wolves where he had been Youth Development officer and part of his duties at Mansfield would be to discover and develop youngsters for the club.
During his first season at the club in 1982/83, Greaves signed Mark Kearney and Tony Lowery, who were to become key to the club’s subsequent success. The club ended the season just above mid-table, whereas they had been just below mid-table when Greaves took over, and they lost just 4 of the 19 games that Greaves was in charge of.
At the start of the 1983/84 season, Greaves brought in former England full-back Steve Whitworth, winger Stewart Barrowclough, and most significantly, paid £15,000 for 26 year-old centre-half George Foster. Foster was to become the captain of the side, and 6 years later, after being Player of the Season in three of the seasons, he took over Greaves’ position as manager. Greaves was famously quoted in 1983 as saying he was going to build a successful side around Foster, and he did that.
At end of the 1983/84 season, Mansfield finished sixth bottom of Division 4. It was a disappointing season. However Greaves had not only been busy with first team matters, he had been trying to put in place a strong youth set up, along with Jarman. Towards the end of the season, he had brought in young goalkeeper Kevin Hitchcock on loan from Nottingham Forest, a player he was sign permanently at the start of the following season, and who was to become another Field Mill legend. Around that time, Greaves also brought in Billy Dearden, as coach, to complete his managerial team.
Early in the 1984/85 season there was a shock for the club when chairman Richard Hartley resigned. The reason given at the time was that his business activities no longer gave him time to devote to the Stags. However as Greaves reveals in his interview in this fanzine, this was not the full story, and Hartley had in fact gone bust. Jack Pratt immediately took over as chairman of the club.
The team finished just below midway in Division 4 in 1984/85. However they reached the area final of Freight Rover Trophy losing to Wigan, and thus missing out on a trip to Wembley, on penalties, on an incredible night at Field Mill. George Foster had scored an own goal to give Wigan the lead, but then he scored an absolute screamer from 30 yards in the 89th minute. Sadly Whitworth, Mick Vinter, and Neil Whatmore, who Greaves had also had at Bolton, all missed their spot-kicks and the Stags were beaten.
The game against Wigan marked the end of a career at Mansfield Town of one of the all-time Stags legends, Dave Caldwell. Caldwell was a superb striker and goalscorer for Mansfield, and is seventh in the all-time list of league and cup goalscorers for the club. But he had disciplinary problems. As an example, in October 1983 he was the villain at Elm Park, Reading. He was lectured after only one minute for taking a dig at a defender and was sent off after just 14 minutes after he had swung a punch at a defender. The Stags went on to lose 4-0 and Caldwell was immediately put on the transfer list, manager Greaves proclaiming “I am sick to death of his childish behaviour. His disciplinary record is appalling and no matter how hard we have tried, he has done nothing to put a stop to it”. Remarkably four days later came the highlight of Caldwell’s career when he scored four goals in a 26 minute spell in a 5-0 win over Hartlepool at Field Mill. Before the start of the 1985/86 season, Caldwell joined Chesterfield for £12,000. Greaves couldn’t wait to get rid of the controversial striker.
Also before the start of the 1985/86 season, forward Keith Cassells and winger Neville Chamberlain arrived at Field Mill. Meanwhile young defender Colin Calderwood left for Swindon, in controversial circumstances, and was to go on to play for Scotland.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the Daily Express after a 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Field Mill in the League Cup early in the 1985/86 season, Greaves said “Football is the only thing that matters in life. I’ll die happy if we’re 3-1 up at the time.” It said much about his dedication to the game.
It was to be a season of glory for the Stags, who earned promotion in third place in Division 4. Promotion was clinched with a fabulous 4-0 win over Hartlepool at Field Mill on a memorable night, with two goals from Cassells and one from Chamberlain. The team had really gelled during the season, with key performances from players like Hitchcock, Foster, Kearney, Lowery, Kevin Kent and Paul Garner. Up front, Chamberlain was the leading scorer, with Cassells not far behind, and Whatmore also contributed valuable goals. Cassells in fact scored a hat-trick on his debut, and remains the only Mansfield player since the 1930s to do so. The champions were Swindon and their manager Lou Macari said that Colin Calderwood, who they had signed from the Stags, was the difference between first place and third.
In 1986/87 Mansfield finished comfortably above mid-table in Division 3, but the season will be remembered for the win at Wembley in May 1987 in the final of the Freight Rover Trophy. The Stags beat Bristol City on penalties, after a 1-1 draw with a goal from Kevin Kent. The winning penalty was scored by Tony Kenworthy, whose former wife is currently marketing manager at the club. The win delighted the Stags fans in a crowd of over 58,000, the largest crowd ever to watch a Stags game. It was estimated that 20-25,000 Stags fans were at Wembley on that memorable day. And more than 10,000 Stags fans turned out on the streets of Mansfield the following day to cheer their heroes on an open-top bus.
Wembley itself was a special place Greaves. He had played there in the 1958 FA Cup final and it meant so much to him that every cup final after that was special to him. He told the CHAD: “On the morning of FA Cup finals my wife has been known to have a good laugh at me. For it is the one day in the year when I feel as though I want to play again. I treat the day as extremely special. I’ve even been known to go and fetch my cup final strip on the Saturday morning. To people who know me that will sound incredible, but that is the effect of Wembley, and being closely involved in a match there, can have on you.”
In the 1987/88 season, the Stags remained in Division 3, though had started to slide down the table alarmingly towards the end of the season, and it took a memorable 2-1 win over Brentford at Field Mill in the penultimate game of the season to get the side out of trouble, with two goals in the final 5 minutes, one from Kevin Kent and a penalty from Steve Charles. Young defender Simon Coleman established himself in the side at centre-half alongside Foster and had an excellent season. Coleman was later to have a fine career at a higher level.
Early on in the 1988/89 season, Greaves’ assistant manager John Jarman left to open a new sports complex in Mansfield Woodhouse. Then in February 1989, with the club just below halfway in Division 3, Greaves left the club and George Foster took over as player-manager. Greaves had been in charge for almost exactly six years.
It was originally reported that Greaves had resigned, though shortly afterwards he told the CHAD: “I have been sacked but I wish good luck to George Foster. I leave Field Mill full of pride with my head held high.” Then in various club histories, including the SSA’s “History of Mansfield Town” CD, it is stated that he resigned. In the interview in this fanzine, Greaves finally clears up that he did indeed resign.
Greaves’ final league record as manager of Mansfield Town was Played 274, Won 91, Drawn 90, Lost 94, Goals scored 336, Goals conceded 324.
More importantly however, he had taken over the club as a mid-table Division 4 side, and left it as a Division 3 outfit, and given the club its memorable day at Wembley along the way, as well as leaving a stronger youth set up. He remains the club’s longest serving manager, both in terms of years, and number of games.
Ian Greaves will always be remembered as a great Mansfield Town manager. All at FTYBR and the Stags Supporters Association wish Ian Greaves well, especially as we hear he now has a bad back.
By Martin Shaw, with thanks to Paul Taylor.
In October 2004, Steve Hartshorn interviewed Ian Greaves for Follow The Yellow Brick Road fanzine. Here is the interview, first published in FTYBR:
Steve – Let’s start with your early footballing career at Manchester United. You won a Championship medal in 55/56, is that right?
Ian – And the semi final of the European Cup.
Steve – What was it like playing in that side as a youngster?
Ian – Absolutely brilliant but we didn’t know at the time because we didn’t know at the time, did we? We were just at Manchester United. We thought everybody else was the same, until we got out on the pitch and we realised we were better than them. As a young lad going into the team. We didn’t look at the stars as stars, they were just older players. There wasn’t any stardom about it in them days. I was only saying to my Wife the other day, there’s things that you remember. We used to go for lunch up at the golf club before the game, as most Clubs do, and when we left for the ground at 12 o’clock, there were hundreds of people at the ground. We thought this was normal because we didn’t play for anybody else. We were very naïve in them days. We all know now what it is like because it’s plastered on Television and everything all the time, but in those days we were just another Club. Yes we won the League and the Cup, but it wasn’t as big as it is today.
Steve – You were there during the terrible Munich air disaster as well?
Ian – There again, I was a lucky lad as I was playing in the reserves on the Saturday as they were flying out to Munich, the first team were at Arsenal and the reserves were at home. I had my bags packed to tottle down to meet them in London. But after the match, the assistant manager said, “I’m sorry Ian but you are not going to Germany.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “Well the left back’s got injured.” I played at right back. So they told my best mate, a guy called Geoff Bent. Geoff went instead of me and of course, Geoff died. So I always have two birthdays a year. I never forget it. It was the most tragic thing to happen in my life.
Steve – You came into the side in the first game they played after the disaster, a re-arranged FA Cup game against Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford?
Ian – I couldn’t get in the first side. I’d played about 20 games in the side before the crash, but I went on from there. We kept the Club up. Staved off relegation and then got stuck into the next season.
Steve – I bet it was an un-real situation in the dressing room before the game?
Ian – It was strange really. The FA broke the rules actually for that one match, as we were able to sign a player called Stan Crowther from Aston Villa.
Steve – Who should have been Cup-tied?
Ian – Yeah, but the FA let it go. He walked into the dressing room and quarter to seven having just got off the train and out of the taxi and we didn’t know who the hell he was and he was in the team. We all knew each other, but we’d not played with each other. It took us a while to intermingle and get to know each other and all that.
Steve – With you being young player and all that, it is something that was bound to play on your mind, but although Manchester United were a big Club in those days, do you think the disaster sort of galvanised the Club and made the Club the force they are now?
Ian – It could be because it made everybody very steely. Stuck in a corner, we were on our own. Do you know what I mean? I spent 9 years altogether at United, but I was never a regular first teamer. We were like the Chelsea’s, United’s or Liverpool’s of these days who say they need 19 or 20 first team players, well Matt had those them. Matt had a squad of 19 who could all play in the first team, long before any Club did that and of course the wages were nothing in those days.
Steve – It’s quite a bit different with the wages players earn these days.
Ian – Yes, and good luck to them. If people didn’t pay the money, they wouldn’t get the players. You can’t blame the players. It’s absolutely ridiculous that people are being paid 50 to 80 thousand a week, but you can’t blame the player.
Steve – Where did you move onto after you left Manchester United, why did you leave?
Ian – I had a bad knee injury that kept me out for 18 month. Came back and cheated really because I knew my knee was never going to be okay. But I had nothing else to do. I didn’t know where the next 50p was coming from. In those days we got paid, twelve quid and kiss my arse.
He said he’d transfer me to Lincoln and I said that that would do. Lincoln were in the 3rd. I went there for the last 10 games and they were relegated. I was training at Oldham Athletic, where Jack Rowley, one of our old players at Manchester United, one of the top men, was Manager. I was training at Oldham Athletic in the week because it was too far to travel, and he signed me from Billy Anderson for a massive £6,000. (Laughs).
Steve – Your first managerial post was at Huddersfield Town wasn’t it?
Ian – It was strange really because when I finished at Oldham and was just about knackered, Altrincham who were a very good Non-League side in those days, they aren’t now but they were very big in those days, the best Non-League side in the North, well they offered me a contract there, but Chorley Football Club offered me a contract as player/manager.
From my early days as a player when I had come out of the army, I’d gone on courses from day one myself and a friend called Freddy Goodwin had gone on every coaching course possible. We wanted to know more about football. So for the financial gain I did a year at Altrincham and part a year at a school, a private school where I taught P.E. During that time a goalkeeper who played with me at United, a lad called Ray Wood, god rest his soul, he’s dead now, he and I were P.E teachers at this school together. He said to me one day, “There’s a job going at our place, coach at Huddersfield Town.” “Right!” I said, “I’m in for it.” I got my letter ready and sent it in and the Manager came to me and said, “Yes, get on with it son.”
After four days, I went to see him and said, “How the hell can I coach 40 players. I could only run them and kick a ball with 40 of them, so he let me get an assistant, a guy called Henry Coalburn, who died only last year. He was ten years older than me. Anyway, I did four years as coach. They offered me the Manager’s job and I went straight into it and within three years we’d been promoted into the then 1st Division.
Steve – What age were you then when you were offered the managerial post at Huddersfield?
Ian – 35. I was the youngest manager at the time.
Steve – You had a young kid called Frank Worthington playing for you in them days, didn’t you?
Ian – I can tell you some stories about Frank. Some boy. He was just a kid and when I was assistant at Huddersfield, they used to clean all the boots and that and I used to go around to make sure they were all doing them proper and one day when he was walking through the door, he said, “I’m going to play for England, never mind f******* Huddersfield.” I said “Get out of here you cheeky so and so before I clobber you one!” But he knew what he was talking about. Very talented. I had him at Huddersfield and I sold him to Leicester, but then I signed him for Bolton and he had three great years at Bolton with me.
Steve – What was it like achieving promotion with Huddersfield, like you said getting up to the old 1st Division as it was then?
Ian – It was very good, but I felt like the bottom three at the moment, West Brom, Palace and Norwich City. They’ve got one hell of a problem. The moment you get promoted the first thing you think about, even at Mansfield, it was exactly the same; we had no money. When I took Mansfield up, there was no money. I love them at Mansfield, the directors were absolutely brilliant with me, but they weren’t really because they didn’t give me any money. They were smashing people, treated me like a gentleman, we never had any fall outs, we loved each other, but I thought to myself one night, I’ve never got any money, no wonder I can’t get anywhere. It was the same at Bolton and the same at Huddersfield. We hadn’t got a penny. When we went up at Huddersfield that was it. We stayed up the first year with the same team that had got us promotion because I couldn’t buy a player.
That will never change. Good luck to Mansfield, I love Mansfield to bits, but if they go up this year, and Keith is doing a good job there, if they go up, next year he’ll have one hell of a problem there, especially with a chairman what he’s got from what I’ve heard about the chairman he’s got. I mean he needs at least 4 or 5 players to go in there if he goes up to the next Division, and he wont have the money for it.
Steve – It’s same throughout football though isn’t it? There’s only a lucky few that can afford to do that.
Ian – I’ve managed three Clubs that were almost in the same category, Bolton Wanderers, Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers. They were all three the same, it was as though I’d never moved anywhere. I had 14 players and then I was having to use kids. That’s the thing that always disappointed me at Mansfield. We really did think that we were producing kids and we produced a couple, maybe four, but they proved out to be not quite good enough, you know what I mean? But that is the only way forward for a Club like Mansfield; they have got to have a fantastic youth policy.
Steve – How did the job at Huddersfield end and how did the job at Bolton come around?
Ian – They got relegated. I stood on the town hall steps the day they got the Cup and I said to my assistant manager, “They’ll be shouting for my head next season!” because we weren’t good enough to go up into the 1st, which is the Premier now. We stayed up a year and came down and we said goodbye and a month later, I took over at Bolton because, Jimmy Armfield, who was a pal of mine, he took the Leeds job and he asked me if I was interest in the job at Bolton and I said that I would take it.
I had six fabulous years at Bolton. I you were to ask me what was the highlight of my career, god bless me, I love Mansfield and I loved Huddersfield, but it would be Bolton. It was an absolute different world. I had decent players, whereas at other Clubs you had to scratch about and that, I had about 15 or 16 good quality players.
Steve – Where they there when you arrived at Bolton?
Ian – No, I signed about six of them myself. Frank Worthington being one of them, Alan Gowling being another. They were like twins up front. They were like dynamite up front. I knew we were going to score a goal. I knew every Saturday afternoon we were going to score a goal. It’s a bloody great feeling when you’ve got that.
Steve – You’d also got a young lad called Peter Reid in the side?
Ian – Peter Reid came through and did absolutely magnificent and he only came up to see me a couple of days ago.
Steve – He has said that you have had the biggest influence in his career.
Ian – Yes I’ve heard that one before. We are very good friends. It was probably that last pint I bought him!
There was Willie Morgan. I got him for five grand from Burnley. He came into the side and he played like he used to play for Scotland. All of a sudden I’d got 6 or 7 outstanding players. I had a big centre half called, Jones, who I rang Don Revie about him three times and said, “Don you’ve got to come and look at this lad, he’s an England player.” But he never did, he never came for some reason, but he was that good.
Steve – You won the 2nd Division Championship in 77/78 and I bet that was a proud achievement for you?
Ian – My 2nd year, we missed out by a point, my 3rd year, we missed out by goal average and a point but then the next year, we went up. But same again, two decent years, did quite well, keeping out of the bottom six, like Sam’s done at Bolton right now. Big Sam was a member of that team.
Steve – You used to have a few arguments with him apparently?
Ian – Oh yes, we used to argue there’s no doubt about that, but Sam at the moment looks like he has done a marvellous job, but he will come down to earth. He hasn’t got the players. It’s not his fault. He can’t go and pay 8 or 9 million for a player. All Sam can do it get some player who is 35 and from Inter Milan and who is about knackered, give him 30 grand a year, but no transfer fee. He can’t afford transfer fee’s you see.
Steve – Is he living on borrowed time then in the Premiership?
Ian – He should be knighted. They are sat 3rd or 4th in the table, but I hate to say it, I can see a terrible gloomy future. I don’t like saying that because Sam is a big pall of mine, I stuck him in the side when he was a 17 year old. It concerns me because, United, Chelsea, Liverpool will always be there of thereabouts because of the money and you can’t blame the poor old manager who’s battling along on no money.
Steve – You eventually left Bolton and went to Oxford United?
Ian – I was at Oxford a year. It was Christmas and they were down and we won the next 19 games. Lost three won 19, kept them up, got them up in the top four the following year and Robert Maxwell took over and I was on my bike within three minutes of Robert Maxwell appearing. On my bike and up the road to Wolves.
I took over at Wolves and they went down. They were down when I got there. Then Derek Dougan took over at Wolves. Derek Dougan and I hated each other from our playing days. I thought when he took over, right Ian, get your f****** bags packed son. We had a lot of scuffling when we played against each other. So I thought, it won’t be for me then, so I cleared off and that is when I went to Mansfield of course.
Steve – Is it right that the day before you took over, you stood on the terraces at Vale Park and watched the Stags lose 4-1?
Ian – Yeah. (Laughs) I can remember my quote to your newspaper. They knew I was going to watch on the Saturday from the terraces, which I did and the reporter from Mansfield, Stan Searl, he said to me, “Mr Greaves, what do you think?” And I said, “The pies were good!” And that was the only quote I would give him. They were absolutely dreadful.
Steve – How did the job at Mansfield come about?
Ian – I think it was Joe Eaton. He ran on behalf of the chairman whose name was Hartley, a 35-year-old multi-millionaire. I went to see them and everything, did the contract and everything. His promise to me was, I will find you enough money for the transfer market for the position we are in. That could mean a lot of things, but I said, “Okay that’s fine.”
We got things moving, won a few matches and everything, got things going tidy and he gave me a ring one night and said, “Ian come and have a meal with me tonight will you?” So I did. We were sat having a meal and he said, “I’ve got a problem. I’ve gone bust!” I said, “Gone bust? But you’re a multi-millionaire!” He said, “I’m 35 year old and up to 35 year old I’d made every decision right, but I’ve made four decisions in a fortnight and they have all been disasters.” And we went bust. The last I’d heard about him he was trying to pay the money back. He was a very honest man. We could have handled each other. It was a bloody shame. But then Jack came in then and Jack didn’t know football from a rugby ball and as long as you had a whiskey waiting when Jack arrived, that is all he wanted. He never asked me what I thought; he never asked me what the team was because he thought that was my job. I thought, I’ve got a sensible chairman at last, not one who is moaning about this and that. He just let me get on with it. All managers should be allowed to get on with it. It’s like I say to all the young managers now who ring me for advice and this that and the other, when you go in a board meeting, you’ve got one question and one question only, “How much money have I?” That is all you need to know. They don’t need to know anything else. “Have you got fifty grand? I can go and spend that fifty grand next week now.” You don’t need all these long conversations about this and that and why and what for. It’s F*** all to do with them. That’s the manager’s job. Fortunately Jack agreed totally with that.
Steve – When you took over at Mansfield, with the squad that you had got, did you ever think to yourself, “Christ! What have I let myself in for?”
Ian – Yes, I did. I thought, that this is a poor squad, a really poor squad and I thought, well what can I do? I had been told that there was no money, so I couldn’t cheat on that. Little or no money.
What I did was go to mainly 1st Division Clubs and brought in, Kearney…
Steve – You signed Steve Whitworth…
Ian – Yes, Steve Whitworth who I knew well.
Steve – It was in the summer of the 1983/84 season where you brought in quite a few experienced players. Barrowclough.
Ian – I bought a lad called Mark Kearney who did extremely well. George Foster whom I paid five grand for. I saw him the other day; he must be 25 stone George. I said to him, “George you’re a f***in disgrace.” He walked through the door when I was at a match and I said, “What are you doing with yourself?”
George was an absolute international at that level. You know at the lower levels. He tried to go up at Derby, but he hadn’t quite made it. But I knew George from Plymouth. I’d coached a Plymouth once in my life. I’ve got to say it, George was my rock. He probably couldn’t have gone up any Division’s, but he was excellent in the League we were in.
There were a lot of good signings. I was looking back the other day. Cassells. Excellent signing. Scored me 15 goals a year and worked like a donkey. He was a grafter.
I got a right-winger in from Port Vale, Kevin Kent. I eventually brought in a lad from Oldham. John Ryan, but he didn’t pull up any trees for me, but I’d got five players who I knew would perform. There was the big centre half that went off to Derby. Simon Coleman. I had a nucleus of five or six who I knew I could put my hand on each week and then who ever was playing well in the reserves or who was playing well, get them in the other positions.
There was the lad I got from Sheffield United, the left back, Paul Garner. A good player.
You see players from Everton or Sheffield United. They weren’t too keen on dropping down and coming to Mansfield, it was as if their careers were going down the swannie, you know what I mean? I have to say this in all modesty, once we got them inside the Club and we shown them what kind of system we had and how we worked with people, and did things together, like golf, they signed. They thought, there’s something alive here.
To be honest, nobody knows where Mansfield is you know. This is a classic. I went in for a Leicester City player. I spoke to him on the phone and he said, “I’m not all too keen Mr Greaves, I don’t think I want to come. Hmm. Where is Mansfield?”
From fucking Leicester. It’s just down the road. I thought, oh bollocks, I don’t need you.
Steve – Did a lot of players come to the Club because of yourself and the reputation you had in the game?
Ian – I’d be being really modest if I said that, but I don’t think my name did me any harm. Three Clubs I’ve been at, Huddersfield, Mansfield and Bolton. I worked with the players and I got them with me. With me, not anybody else, but with me. Do you understand what I mean? Yes they got kicked up the arse and they got dropped and sold, but they knew that I would be honest with them. If you are honest with people, sometimes they don’t like it, but that’s life isn’t it?
Steve – Honesty is always the best policy.
Ian – How old are you and what do you do with the paper?
Steve – I do match reports for the Mansfield and Ashfield Observer, I’ve done a fanzine for the past 15 years, which this is what this interview is for and for five years I did Co-commentary on the local radio station.
Ian – That’s excellent.
Steve – I’ve a story for you. When I was fifteen I went on work experience at Stags as a groundsman and at 10 o’clock every day I used to put the kettle on and you used to come into the old boiler room, where the washing machine were and sit and have a cup of tea with us.
Ian – Laugh’s. Yeah. You see that’s the other side to it you see. Things like that. I went to Bolton. They were really in the dumps, they were bottom four. The place looked like a dog had been through it. I walked into this passageway, well there was at the old ground, they have a new one now of course, but this passageway down to the dressing rooms, well there was a light switch, so I switched it on so people could look a bit bright when they walk in in the morning. I went into the dressing room and came back out and the fucking lights were switched off. So I went into the Secretary, and I’d blown hadn’t I? I said, “What the bloody hell is going off?”
He said, “But we’ve to save money!”
I said, “What with lights. Turning a light off saves money? I said, “Don’t talk like a, you know?” But with that and getting the players all to become one. That’s the biggest thing in management, you need the player. Not just good players. You could be like him who runs England at the moment, as long as he has got good players, he’ll win matches, but if you are in the doldrums, if you are in the middle of something, or not quite in amongst it all, you’ve got to have a feeling about the place.
Steve – You’ve got to have unity.
Ian – Yeah. Absolutely.
Steve – What would you class as your greatest attribute as a football manager?
Ian – I should think motivation. I think I would put motivation first. Stupid things, silly things like writing stuff on the walls, they do it nowadays. I did it then. Getting the players going and him going. I’ll tell you a story. Reidy played one game, he was 18 and I’d put him in the team and he made his debut at Hull City and I’d been in the dressing room. It was a bloody good dressing room. What a good dressing room at Bolton, absolutely fabulous. I went in about 2-15 to do my job, just to tidy up and he was going round giving a team talk to all the players. Eighteen years of age. I keep telling him that and he pisses himself. You see he’s like me, he’s a motivator.
I’d got people to tell them where corners were and things like that, but with me it was motivation that was the thing.
Steve – Talking of motivation. When you arrived at Mansfield, you had a player there called Dave Caldwell. What was he like to manage?
Ian – Caldwell hi.
Steve – What was he like to manage?
Ian – Oh, very good.
Steve – Was he?
Ian – He was crap. He played for me for a while and I couldn’t help it because I’d got no more players. I’ll never forget, we played at Rochdale and George Foster went up and smacked him around the back of the head. He could have been sent off. You can get sent off for hitting your own player. He cracked him one. So this went on and I’d got no choice but to keep playing him and then eventually I sent him out on loan to Carlisle and when he came back I said, “How was it?”
He said, “Nightclubs weren’t so good!”
And that was to the manager! I sold him to Chesterfield and he came in to say his goodbye’s and I said, “Off is the 2nd word!” And I said to John Jarman, “Lock the door behind him.” I got 12 grand from Chesterfield for him. Thank god for that.
Steve – Colin Calderwood went to Swindon Town and there was a quote from Lou Macari who said that he thought the difference from Stags finishing 3rd and Swindon finishing 1st was Colin.
Ian – I won’t argue with that.
Steve – I went along to the theatre to watch the play, Wembley Ho! That brought back some memories. I believe Clare Kenworthy spoke to you, but you are having trouble with your back?
Ian – I struggle to drive anywhere.
Steve – What are you doing with yourself at the minute?
Ian – Well nothing. My back rules my life. I can do very little at the moment. Even walking is not easy for me at the moment, but that’s life fellow isn’t it. It’s with being in football.
Steve – What kind of day was it for you when the Stags won the Freight Rover Trophy at Wembley?
Ian – Fabulous day. The thing that shocked me was the gate and the thing that shocked me even more was when we came back to Mansfield and had to drive to the Town hall with the Cup. I was saying to people around me, “There will be nobody on the street!” We were only getting gates of 3,000, but the place was absolutely packed and I thought, where were you when you were needed on a Saturday afternoon.
There isn’t the gates for Mansfield to ever go anywhere. Unfortunately.
Steve – Just going to you eventually leaving Mansfield. There is a little confusion surrounding your departure, some say you got the sack, others say you resigned?
Ian – The truth is that we had taken the Club as far as we could go. For six months I’d been fed up with it. When I came home at the weekend, my Wife had noticed the change in me. God bless Mansfield, but I just knew I couldn’t get anywhere. So I saw the chairman, we had a chat and we agreed that I would leave in the best of company as the best of friends. I’ve never worked at a better Club or left under better circumstances in all my career.
Steve – George Foster eventually took over. You recommended him for the post?
Ian – I did unfortunately because it didn’t work out for George did it? Although he did win promotion didn’t he?
Steve – To me, George was a complete terrace hero.
Ian – Oh he was, there is no argument about that. During my 25 – 30 years working in football as a Manager, under the conditions he played in that League we had him in, he is one of the best players I ever had. I don’t think he could have got into Bolton Wanderers or Huddersfield Town’s 1st Division side but at Mansfield, week after week, after week, he was our best player