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Archived News from April 2004

10th April 2004 0:07

Evening Post, STEVIE RODEN

Keith Curle is in confident mood ahead of tomorrow's trip to Darlington and see the: "We can win all of our last six games."

The Stags boss believes it is not an impossible task and says that has to be the mindset of the players if they are to gain automatic promotion.

His side were impressive in the 3-1 victory against Oxford in midweek and are now unbeaten in five games.

And Curle has demanded his players give more of the same to take all three points at the Reynolds Arena.

He said: "The six games we have left, starting with Darlington, are all winnable. It is not an impossible task.

"We are confident and relaxed and all the players are ready for a busy weekend.

"The preparation has been spot-on and the lads have looked sharp in training.

"If you are sloppy in the week during training then you are sloppy come the match on a Saturday so we have made sure that does not happen.

"When we had our blip there was a lack of confidence among the players and to get that back we had to go back to basics.

"You would not think you would have to go back there halfway through a season after laying down the foundations.

"But now we are playing well and the desire to do the simple things in the game is back.

"The players might get fed up with me saying it but simplicity and success do go hand in hand.

"It is a crucial time, so every time we leave Field Mill it is important we come back with something."

Darlington are at the wrong end of the table and will be looking to get revenge following the 3-1 defeat they suffered at Mansfield earlier in the season.

Curle is likely to select the same team and has no new injury worries, although Tony Vaughan is still suspended.

And Curle is confident his side can get the result.

He said: "Darlington are no mugs and they know how to play football.

"They have changed the system they play a few times but we have had them watched and they have their weaknesses.

"It is up to us to identify them early on."

And the Mansfield manager is keen for the supporters to keep turning up in force when his side gets back to Field Mill in order to help lift the players during the vital run-in.

Curle said: "In midweek the atmosphere was great and the supporters have got to know how vital hey are to us because teams are going to try and come here and try to quieten them down.

"So we need them to continue to play their part and stay vocal.

"And there is no better chance for them to do that than on Bank Holiday Monday against Bristol Rovers.

"There are six points up for grabs during the course of the weekend and it would be great to finish it off in style by them coming to watch a team desperate to do well for them."

STAGS (from) Pilkington, Hassell, Williamson, Day, John-Baptiste, Curtis, MacKenzie, Lawrence, Corden, Mendes, Larkin, A White, J White, Disley, Artell, Beardsley.
Evening Post

A Restaurant owner is threatening legal action against a Mansfield Town player in a row over the bill for a Christmas party.

When I gave them the bill they said it was too much. They said Manchester United didn't eat here Retesh Patel


Retesh Patel claims a group of Stags players behaved in an unacceptable manner during the party last year.

He claims to have CCTV footage of them throwing poppadoms and naan breads around "like frisbees", tearing up cloth napkins and making a mess of the premises.

It is claimed when Mr Patel, 27, confronted them with a bill for about £1,300 they refused to pay.

Now his solicitors have sent a letter threatening legal action against one of the players unless the debt is paid.

Twenty players - including several first teamers - turned up for the meal at Ritz's Restaurant in Ravensdale Road, Mansfield, on December 21.

In addition to their food and drinks, Mr Patel claims they ordered three bottles of Dom Perignon and six bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne, costing about £600.

But the player at the centre of the row, who did not want to be named, said the champagne arrived unasked for.

It was already uncorked - and was hardly touched because the group were drinking lager, he said.

Mr Patel claims the players got increasingly drunk as they toasted the previous day's victory against Hull City.

Some tore up napkins, while others whizzed poppadoms and naan breads across the room and threw food at each other, he said.

Waitress Beckie Cope, 19, said: "They were playing frisbee with the naan breads."

But one of the players said: "You've got 20 lads together having a laugh. Nothing was broken apart from a pot plant. The restaurant was closed specially for us, so there was no one else there."

Having allegedly left Ritz's, which specialises in Asian cuisine, looking like the scene of a food fight, the group then baulked at the bill.

Mr Patel said: "When I gave them the bill they said it was too much. They said Manchester United didn't eat here."

The player said: "He brought out a bill for £1,300 for 20 lads for an hour, for kebabs, naan breads, a bit of rice and drinks. I said, 'You're having a laugh, that's a bit exorbitant'. He said he would accept £1,000."

The players offered to pay £500 - all the money in their kitty - but Mr Patel declined.

He said he would bill the club.

When the players had headed off into the town in a fleet of taxis, Mr Patel claimed Ritz's staff started a four-hour clean-up operation.

Since then Mr Patel has instructed his solicitors - Freeth Cartwright - to send the player a letter warning him he intends to sue.

But the player said he had already offered to pay his share of the bill, minus the champagne.

He said: "I have offered to give him my share and the money from two other players, but he wouldn't listen to anything I had to say.

"He has sent a letter addressed to me threatening to take legal action against me personally.

"I'm not happy with that because it's not my debt. I've offered to pay him my share of the money."

The final bill, including solicitor's costs, now exceeds £1,500.


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