FOOTBALL POST ARTICLE ON MACCA
By Stevie Roden
transcribed by carole
“I didn't want to leave Stags”
Playmaker Neil MacKenzie looks to have played his last game for Mansfield Town after going out on loan to Macclesfield.
The significance of Neil MacKenzie heading to Moss Rose for three months is massive. The Stags are losing an experienced playmaker at a time when their squad is already thin on the ground.
It has caused bemusement among many fans who felt the 28-year-old added creativity to the Mansfield side.
Caretaker manager Carlton Palmer took him to one side when he arrived and told Mackenzie he was part of his plans as an attacking midfielder.
But after the FA Cup defeat at Colchester, he told MacKenzie he did not fit into his plans for a 4-4-2 formation and said Macclesfield had expressed an interest and he was prepared to let him go.
Mackenzie originally said he wanted to fight for his place, which Palmer was happy for him to do, but later in the day changed his mind and decided to join Macclesfield.
Palmer was criticised for his decision by Stags supporters on Saturday when they played Leyton Orient.
And he responded by saying the midfielder's scoring record was not good enough.
Mackenzie joined from Blackpool in the summer of 2002 on a free transfer and has started 62 games for Mansfield, as well as 27 appearances as a substitute. He scored seven goals.
The midfielder was upset with Palmer's criticism and responded this week by saying: “It is ridiculous how he was talking me up, then within 90 minutes of a match he wants me out.
“I played well in the first two games and he said he was pleased with how I was performing.
“Then he played me almost as an attacker against Colchester and I did not have the best game, we lost and suddenly he does not see me as part of his plans.
“He said he cannot afford two luxury players in the team and wants two midfielders who are more grafters.
“I told him to look at last season when I had played alongside the likes of Tom Curtis and Lee Williamson and it worked.”
His comments have landed him in trouble with Palmer and he has been fined a week's wages.
The midfielder believes his game is not all about goals, it is his creativity in the middle of midfield.
At the top of his game, Mackenzie's vision, skill and passing are among the best in the division and he has been a key figure in many games for the Stags.
After leaving Field Mill on a three-month loan deal, he made his debut for Macclesfield last Saturday and played the full 90 minutes in their 2-0 away win at Rushden & Diamonds.
He said: “Now I am at Macclesfield on loan and unless there is a change of manager, I cannot see myself returning to the club.
“I love the fans and I have not played for a better set. They have always been good to me.
“I did not want to leave but it is nice to be wanted by a manager like Brian Horton.”
Meanwhile, Stags chairman Keith Haslam has still not completed the internal inquiry into Curle's suspension.
And Mackenzie added: “I do not know what is going on with the managerial situation at the moment.
“As for me, well, I would have loved to have stayed put at Field Mill because I enjoyed it there but now I have a chance to play for Macclesfield who are doing well in the league and get some games.
“That has to be my aim.”
DIMECH: I'LL FIGHT FOR A PLACE ON THE TEAM
BY STEVIE RODEN, 04 December 2004
Mansfield Town defender Luke Dimech has vowed to fight for his Stags future.
Caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer has said the Maltese international can leave Field Mill on a free transfer.
It comes after Dimech said he feels uncomfortable in either of the full-back positions, where he has been playing of late.
And with three other centre-halves already at the club, Dimech would find it difficult to hold down a place in his preferred role.
But the 27-year-old said: "I think it's still too early to say what will happen.
"The manager is still trying to get to know all the players in the Mansfield squad, so I still have a lot of time to prove that I can be a good asset to the team."
Dimech initially left Malta to join Shamrock Rovers, before returning for a brief stint with Birkirkara.
At the start of last season he joined Mansfield, forming an effective central defensive partnership with Dave Artell.
But Palmer said: "We feel that if we can get him out to another club this will allow us to progress in other areas.
"Having said that, Luke played very well against Orient."
But Dimech is not the only Stags player who could be on his way out.
Midfielder Alex Neil has also been told that he is no longer needed.
Palmer added: "I feel that we are not getting enough from our two wide players.
" Unfortunately at this level you have to prioritise where your areas are and we cannot afford to have a player on Alex's wages sat on the bench."
Latest | December 2004