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Archived News from December 2004

30th December 2004 20:41

Stags turn to former boss
Chad, 30 December 2004

FORMER Stags boss Andy King may help bolster Mansfield's Town's defence today.

The Swindon manager has agreed to allow Stags to talk to one of his players about a move to Field Mill today.

Stags caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer said: "I am waiting for a call from Swindon about a left back.
"I had one or two others in mind but, after watching us at Southend, I decided to change my direction and go for some extra height at the back.

"This player is 6ft 3ins and has been in their side recently. But Andy is looking to reshape things and said we could speak to the lad.

"We do still like Jason Talbot at Bolton, but he is a couple of weeks away from fitness."
Flu epidemic ravages Stags
Chad, 30 December 2004
THE flu epidemic continues to rage at Field Mill ahead of the weekend's crucial games.
Even caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer and assistant Paul Holland are now under the weather while defender Jake Buxton has also been taken ill and Alex John-Baptiste is not feeling 100 per cent.
At Southend on Monday Stags were without Wayne Corden and Alex Neil while Adam Murray and Simon Brown battled on with the illness and Paul Warne played, despite not having fully recovered from his four-day bout in the week.
"That's why I cleared the building yesterday," said Palmer. "We just need to get plenty of fluid down everyone and hope they are all ready to go by Saturday. It seems it is a four-day thing.
"Wayne is still not 100 per cent but has come in to train. We have to be careful with them and look after their health, that's the most important thing.
"We have got ourselves back in the picture now over the last two games and all credit to the lads.
"The fact we lost two more on Tuesday and two others stepped in and we still won shows the spirit in the camp.
"You don't get anything you don't deserve. If we can get these illnesses, injuries and suspensions out the way in January and only be three points off the play-offs, then I think we will be in great shape."
Central defender Dave Artell had his Achilles operation brought forward to this morning (Thursday) and, if all goes well, he could be back in training in two weeks.
Striker Colin Larkin is now also back in training after his appendicitis while midfielder Adam Murray is fit, despite receiving a cut down his calf after a hefty tackle at Southend on Monday.

Contract on the table for Warne
ON-LOAN Paul Warne - who scored Stags' winning goal at Southend on Tuesday - is set to be offered a deal to join Mansfield Town full-time.

Chairman Keith Haslam has approved an 18-month contract and it is now down to caretaker-manager Carlton Palmer to speak to the player.
Warne said: "I am enjoying myself here at the moment.

"All I want to do is play football. I don't care if they ask me to play up front, left back or centre of midfield - as long as I am involved I am happy.

"I would love to sort out my future as soon as possible as I am out of contract this summer and I don't want to be sat there in May and June looking at my mobile and thinking there might be no signal when it doesn't ring!

"Obviously the deal has to be the right one for me and my family. But I want to keep playing so well here that they have to offer me a contract.
"Maybe Carlton Palmer can sell one of his cars and give me the money!
"I really can't see Rotherham helping with the deal, though.

"I am not on a great deal of money there so it is not a massive financial issue.
"But they are losing £15,000 a week and I have been told that if them helping is a consideration they would rather have me back there.
"So I will just leave it all up to the money men and my agent to sort it all out."

Warne is looking forward to the two big games over this Bank Holiday weekend after helping Stags to win seven of the last possible nine points.
He said: "I can remember at Rotherham when we were playing well and not winning. It becomes a psychological barrier. Even when you are ahead you are thinking they will come back at you.

"I think it is down to a lack of belief and winning these last two games has been a massive relief.
"We had two promotions at Rotherham and we just couldn't stop winning. It became a habit.
"I have always had a good record playing at Northampton and it should be a good game there on Saturday.
"Then we have a big game at home to Scunthorpe on Monday which we are really looking forward to.

"There's not that much difference between top and bottom in the league and I would much rather be playing a club like Scunthorpe than Rushden and Diamonds who make you want to go home and shoot yourself!
"Scunthorpe will come at us rather than just hanging on like Rushden did.
"But it's 11 against 11 out there and we know we can beat them."

Evening Post, 30 December 2004
The delay in appointing a new manager has extended a turbulent chapter in Mansfield Town's history. MARK ROACH looks back at where things started to go wrong for the club this year...

Whichever way you look at it, it has been a horrible year to be a Stags fan. The writers of Dream Team, Footballers' Wives and Coronation Street would have been hard pressed to come up with a soap opera as strange as the story of the Stags.

It was not so much Roy of the Rovers, more Fawlty Towers.

Former Mansfield boss Keith Curle has criticised the club's handling of his suspension and subsequent sacking.

It has been a depressing end to what looked like might have been a successful 12 months for Curle.

That makes the recent on- and off-field problems even more frustrating for the supporters.

"There is a right way to do things, a wrong way, and the Mansfield Town way," said Curle after he was given the news of his sacking.

"I'm disappointed I found out about this from a third party.

"It seems the club is conducting its business through the media, which is not the right way to do things."

Curle's words about Mansfield Town doing things their own way strikes a chord with many fans, who felt it was ironic to hear chairman Keith Haslam say: "Everything has to be done properly."

After announcing that Curle had been sacked, Haslam added: "It was a tough decision to make, but I had a complaint from someone and in the end I had no option.

"I can understand supporters' frustrations over all the uncertainty.

"They like to be kept informed of what is happening but, in this situation, it is something we cannot say too much about."

It could have been so different for Stags this year, had Huddersfield Town not pipped them to a promotion spot on penalties in May.

Out went Field Mill favourites Liam Lawrence, Craig Disley and Bobby Hassell.

And, when Mansfield made a poor start to the campaign, with two defeats in their opening two games, fans started to question whether life without Lawrence would get as good as it had been earlier in the year.

They were given a lift as the Stags put together a useful run of form which took them into the top four in League Two.

On more than one occasion this term they went into a game knowing a win could send them to the top of the table. But a 4-0 defeat against Preston in the Carling Cup in September started a woeful run of results which saw the Stags claim just one win in 17 games.

And life as a Stags supporter lurched from bad to worse when Curle was suspended following allegations that he bullied a Stags trainee. Curiously, assistant-manager John Gannon was also suspended in a separate incident, for allegedly using "foul and abusive language".

In true soap-opera fashion, the storyline has dragged on and on.

Curle was suspended on November 10, but was not sacked until December 17. We are still waiting to find out who the new manager will be.

Carlton Palmer was not a popular choice as caretaker boss with many fans, who made it clear they didn't want him as their team's new man in charge by booing him during games - although the mood has changed following successive away wins.

Boos were also directed at the chairman for what a supporters perceived to be his role in an uncertain period.

The caretaker boss infuriated some fans by loaning out midfielder Neil MacKenzie to Macclesfield, telling Alex Neil and Luke Dimech they could leave the club, and by bringing in a host of new players.

To those supporters, the lack of an announcement as to who the new manager will be has just added to their frustrations.

And there's more. The fans who blame Haslam for what they believe is a sorry state of affairs at Mansfield are unhappy that the chairman turned down an offer to buy the club from supporters group Team Mansfield - saying that the timing was not right.

Now, Stags supporters hope Haslam has one new year's resolution - to appoint a new manager, and quickly.

'Things are looking up'

Dean Foulkes, chairman of the Stags Supporters Association, feels Mansfield need to make a decision on their new manager as soon as possible.

He said: "In the last few games Mansfield have started to play more football and have demonstrated their battling qualities.

"No matter who the manager is, we have to get behind them.

"I was disappointed with the way Carlton Palmer got a lot of stick from fans when he arrived.

"We have to back the new manager regardless of what perceptions people have of them.

"He is starting to answer some of those, so maybe he deserves a chance."

Foulkes was shocked at the way the club handled Keith Curle's suspension and subsequent sacking.

But he said that must now be left in the past.

"I was shocked when I heard Keith Curle had been suspended," he said. "I was disappointed and confused about the lack of information. The club did not handle the situation very well and it was extremely frustrating.

"The fans appreciate that the club can't comment on certain things. But they should have communicated better with the fans.

"But we have to put that behind us and look to the future.

"We are getting back to winning ways and we still have players like Rhys Day, Scott McNiven and Wayne Corden to come back. So things are looking up."


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