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Archived News from September 2015

FTYBR BLOG: Angels & Demons
9th September 2015 13:07

I wasn’t quite sure how to feel when the Referee ‘phweeped’ for full time last Saturday. They say that we all have an Angel on one shoulder and a Demon on the other. Well it certainly seemed the case for me as I gleefully skipped, then gloomily shuffled, skipped and shuffled once more down the steps of the Ian Greaves stand as my mind tried to come to terms with the indecision of whether it had been a decent result or not?
I’ve got to be honest and say that as usual, I expected a little more. Perhaps a shade too much? I knew AFC Wimbledon would be a test, but the fickleness of the long standing football supporter doesn’t seem to stain me too much. I am definitely ‘a glass half full’ type of Stags fan. Much to my down coming over the years. Saturday though, I sat in the car, switched on the radio and let out a sigh and thought, ‘Well that blog thing is not going to be easy for next week’. I was right, when winning, the words flow like the fresh waters of spring, when they don’t, finding the right words makes my brain act like I am listening to ‘the King’s speech.’ Write it positive Stevie’ but it wasn’t all that positive and you can’t cover up gaping cracks with a few well chosen up-beat words.
Back to the Angel and the Demon. The Angel of course pointed out that Stags didn’t lose. That they had come back from a goal down to gain a point and that the result meant that Mansfield had still only suffered one defeat in the League so far this season. The Demon mind you, went into overdrive; Three games at home without a win. No home goal for a stranded looking Matt Green. Outplayed on our home turf by a side who looked more adventurous going forward than we did. Too many bookings, which soon will catch up with us and finally, Chapman’s Hollywood balls looking more like a cheap made channel 4 epic about a man who likes collecting die-cast buses.
Did the pluses outweigh the negatives? In can be said that the atmosphere from the home support was far better. The drum and singing came together well and despite having commentators bins on, I found myself patting the desk in time with the beat like an enthusiastic Zulu Warrior at Rorkes Drift. (Before they got shot mind you!) Chris Clements’ overall play and free kick goal points towards that he is going to have the kind of season Adam Murray has been telling us he was capable of and the central defensive partnership of Ryan Tafazolli and Krystian Pearce looks a solid base in which to build on. I am still confident enough in the ‘small’ squad that they have it in them to cause upset to opposing supporters, whereas last season, it was to their own. Then there is the fact that Stags came back from going a goal behind, something in the past, they have struggled with.
The problems though are apparently simple enough for everyone to have a shot at becoming the Worlds greatest football manager. I love the internet, it provides a chance for us all to be sat in the Gaffa’s seat, swivelling around and fondly looking up at the photo’s on the office wall whilst smoking on a fat cigar. But is it just that easy folks? There seems the opportunity these days what with forums and blogs to prove to the Plant that you know the best formation that you team should be playing. I suppose it is no different from the old terraces, whereas your opinions were shared over a Bovril, a pie, and alcohol fuelled breath whilst leaning on a faded crowd barrier, these days, it’s a coffee, a couple of biscuits, venom dripping teeth and a comfy armchair in which to hammer down your thoughts onto a finger bashed keyboard. It is though what gives this wonderful game of football, its appeal to the masses; everyone it entitled to an opinion and of course, your view is always right. Right?
In that vein; I have to say that at times The Stags cut a frustrating limp swagger. The first 15 minutes of the game on Saturday had me wondering if the players were stuck at ‘Southwell Races’ because they were not at, well the ‘races’. The visitors passed the ball better, looked hungrier and more worryingly for me, looked to have more players on the pitch when going forward than we did. No wonder Matt Green looked puzzled. I am sure Murray doesn’t send the players out onto the field with the ethos of ‘don’t pass to your teammates lads, just aimlessly pump in forward and hopefully their back line will slip up and allow us the gracious chance of having a go at goal.’ That though, is what it looked like at times. When Stags got back into the game, I was sat thinking that this just the kind of the kick up the bum they badly needed and we would go onto win comfortably. It wasn’t though and I went from, ‘We’ll win this now’ to ‘I’d be happy with a point.’
So what is wrong? Easy, Stags aren’t winning when we want them to. I stated before that we are all football managers, and that we all know best. We can all see what is wrong, so why can’t the manager eh? It leads the forums and blogs into ‘I’ll tell you what’s up’ meltdown, but for me, I try my hardest to just listen to the Angel and pray that come this Saturday, things will be right with the world once more and Mansfield Town have recorded a fine home win. As for the Demon? Well, I will try and keep him muffled for the time being. (It is good that there seems a influx of blogs in recent weeks, which gives me the opportunity of leaving it the odd week or two, which I hope you don’t mind?) Overkill!
Just to finish off with a well done to Wayne Rooney for reaching 50 England goals, although with some of the opposition England have played in his 107 games, I can’t help but feel that John Dungworth may have been up there with him given the chance. Oh, Counteh didn’t play because of International call ups I think. Must have been great for most of their squad to play in the Western Mumingo v Northern Zumbia type of games whilst looking at their club side dropping to one place just above the relegation zone? As for the Spireites, well 2-0 up and you.... I’ll leave you all to fill in the blanks.

Steve Hartshorn.


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