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Archived News from June 2004

21st June 2004 23:03

Curle sets sights on six
STAGS fans can expect six new faces in the line-up for the start of the new campaign.
But manager Keith Curle said he would not be making any announcements until all six are signed and sealed and ready to unveil.
Curle said: "I hate the way summers are always filled with rumours and whispers.
"So our fans can rest assured that any speculation they read about players coming here in the national newspapers or on the Internet have not come out of this football club and the ones I have already seen are miles away from the truth.
"I don't want to spend the next few weeks being linked to every Tom, Dick and Harry. You won't spot any potential new players at the ground as I do all my dealings away from here.
"There may be long lists everywhere of players available but I know precisely the names I want to bring in and I have all but signed one already. His agent has told me he wants to come here, though there are still a couple of other clubs interested.
"The good thing is that money is not the issue. I can't tempt people here for huge financial gain - no one will come here and afford to retire!
"But I can offer them the opportunity to improve as players and a stage to perfom on.
"And we do offer good bonuses. The chairman and I believe all lower division clubs have to adhere to a wage structure which is incentive-based. You are rewarded for achieving your targets."
Curle said, ideally, he wants to bring in three new strikers, two midfielders and a full back. And he will not be taking a summer holiday this year as he strives to achieve that as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, of the 13 players offered deals, Adam Eaton, Tom Curtis, Luke Dimech and Neil MacKenzie have now accepted their new contract offers.
Liam Lawrence, who has been linked with several other clubs, is still mulling it over as are others, including Lee Williamson, Rhys Day, Jake Buxton and Jason White.
National newspapers reported last weekend that Craig Disley is signing for Bristol Rovers and Bobby Hassell for Barnsley while Junior Mendes seems likely to move to Play-off final winners Huddersfield Town.
"I have not spoken to Craig Disley since we made him an offer but, if he is signing elsewhere, I hope it will be done in the right manner.
"Bobby Hassell has declined our offer and Paul Hart has expressed an interest in him at Barnsley. I also understand Junior has been offered wages at Huddersfield triple to what we could offer him here.
"I am not far off agreeing a deal with Dave Artell but I want everything sorted in the next week with all those offered a deal.
"The one thing I demand here is commitment to Mansfield Town Football Club and I can't give players forever to decide if they want to play for me. I will not have this club being players' last resort."
Curle added: "I can't wait for the new season to start already, I've been like that since the week after the play-off final.
"With so many changes in personnel, this will be much more my team rather than just players I have inherited.
"That;s no disrespect to the 10 players I released on free transfers since the season ended as they all did a fantastic job fot ehis cub. But the harsh reality is that we were not quite good enough in the end.
"I know some fans may be alarmed to see that some of the 'Field Mill babes' are now ready to fly the nest. But, again, the harsh reality is that after a promotion, a relegation and a play-off final defeat, they have just not been quite good enough for Division Two and I need players that are.
"I know people are fed up of me saying it but last season was a journey and by the end of it we had over 15,000 people on board.
"We had some great times on the way and came so close.
"There were lows along the way as well which you have to accept in football and the pleasing thing then was the togetherness we showed and the way the majority of the supporters responded and stayed behind us through the lows.
"The lads are back in training next week and we must be ready, physically and mentally and set our targets. Whatever we need to improve on, we will. Even if we only improve things by one per cent, that might just be enough to get us over that finishing line next time around."
Leeds lose interest in Stags star
A MOVE to Leeds United broke down this week for Stags star Liam Lawrence.
And, despite interest from other clubs, Mansfield own are still hoping their top scorer will stay at Field Mill.
Relegated giants Leeds expressed an interest in Lawrence last week and Stags manager Keith Curle said: "We gave him permission to talk to Leeds and they made us a six-figure offer which our chairman found acceptable.
"I believe personal terms were also agreed. I don't know what happened from then on but it may be that Liam's agent wanted to explore other possibilities and Leeds were not in a position to wait."
Other clubs, including Hull City, Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest, Rotherham United, Sheffield United and Sunderland have been linked with the out-of-contract Lawrence.
But Curle added: "We have not given up hope of keeping Liam here yet. We have made him a fantastic offer to stay. It's up to him now."
Lawrence intends to mull over his future while on holiday and last week was reported to have told a South Wales newspaper that he thought he had played his last game for the Stags.
The report stated Lawrence was weighing up all his options while on holiday after a long season.
It added that he had enjoyed three good years playing first team football at Mansfield, felt he had played well, but wanted to look to explore new avenues, set new challenges and prove himself.


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