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Archived News from December 2002

4th December 2002 21:33

By Chris Wilson, PA Sport

Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock believes new Mansfield Town player-boss Keith Curle will bring enthusiasm and organisation to the Division Two strugglers.

The former England international defender was today appointed new boss of the Stags following Stuart Watkiss' departure on Monday, and inherits a side currently three points adrift at the bottom of the table.

But Warnock, who signed Curle from Wolves in July 2000 - he made 61 appearances for the Bramall Lane side - insists the 39-year-old has what it takes to become a success in the world of management.

"Keith has been looking to get on the managerial merry-go-round for some time time and I'm obviously delighted for him," said Warnock.

"He helped out on the coaching side for our reserves when he was here and did very well - similar to the job Stuart McCall is doing for us now.

"He will also contribute on the playing side of things which will again be to the advantage of Mansfield."

The Blades boss believes Curle's age and temperament will also be of great benefit to the Field Mill outfit as he looks to tighten up a shaky defence who have conceded more goals than any other team in the country.

Warnock added: "He is at a good age to come into management. Keith will bring a great deal of organisation into the side and I'm sure the players will respond to that.

"He will be full of enthusiasm despite the situation Mansfield are in and it will be interesting to see how he gets on."

Curle, who has signed an 18 month contract with the club, claims he is "champing at the bit" to get started.

But he is under no illusions over the size of the task facing him in trying to avoid relegation back to Division Three.

Curle said: "Obviously I would have liked a job in the Premiership but I have got to be realistic and am relishing the opportunity at Mansfield.

"Similar to the days when I started in the old Division Four as a player, it is going to be a period of progression.

"But this time I am not starting at the very bottom. I've got my own ideas about the way things should be done and I intend to try and improve attacking, defending, organisation and aggression at the club."

Curle, who appointed Mansfield's Football in the Community officer John Gannon as his assistant manager, will be in charge for Saturday's FA Cup trip to Crewe although will be unavailable for selection as he was not registered with the club seven days before the game.

He added: "We will stay positive for the game. It is only a game of football and we have nothing to lose.

"I'm disappointed not to be playing but hopefully my defenders will be playing well enough so that when I do return, I am in a position where I can be on the substitutes bench."

Former manager Watkiss, who still had two and a half years of his contract remaining at Field Mill, insisted there was no ill-feeling towards the club despite his dismissal.

Watkiss told Mansfield Today : "Neil (Richardson) and myself would like to thank all the coaching staff, medical staff, and all other ground staff for their continued support and advice during our spell in charge.

"We genuinely wish Mansfield Town FC well in the future."

Sky Sports
Excerpt from Chris Kamara's Nationwide League column.

I've just heard that Keith Curle has been officially appointed as manager at Mansfield. Is there any chance he can get us out of trouble this season?
Keith Bostock, Nottingham

Chris: The honest answer is I just don't know whether he's management material or not.

I played against Keith on many occasions and there's no question he always played for the shirt - so if he can get that pride across to his players they might have a chance.

In a way he's got nothing to lose: nobody will point the finger if Mansfield go down, and if he keeps them up he'll be a hero and can push on from there.


Latest | December 2002