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Archived News from March 2003

7th March 2003 13:42

Evening Post, 07 March 2003
Bobby Gould never really thought that Keith Curle would be a football manager.

He didn't fancy him much as a right-winger either. But he still gave the Stags boss his first professional contract as a teenager at Bristol Rovers. However, when his rival across the city at Ashton Gate, Terry Cooper, turned Curle's energies to defending and he had eventually moved on to Reading, Gould was left trying to convince his chairman at Wimbledon, Sam Hammam, that his purchase would be £500,000 well spent.

But, talking to Gould, whose Cheltenham Town side will look to drag themselves off the bottom of Division Two with a victory over the Stags tomorrow, you can tell he has fond memories of a player who Wimbledon eventually sold for £2.5million.

He said; "When we were at Rovers, we had some rosebuds behind the goal at Eastville and his crosses always seemed to end up in there.

"I never really thought he was going to fulfil his potential out on the right and he went down to Torquay and I went to Coventry.

"Terry eventually took him to City and he became one of only a few players, myself included, who played for both clubs. He moved back into defence and they persevered."

Curle might have had a big impression on the Stags fans, but Gould never really believed he would follow into his footsteps.

"I didn't think he would, but then you don't really think about that when you work with players. It was the same with Steve Cotterill. I didn't think he would either.

"But I remember the look on Sam's face when I asked him for half a million so I could Keith from Reading.

"He had never spent as much on a single player. But I told him we would triple it and he went for £2.5million after I left.

"I had a back four of John Scales, Keith, Eric Young and Terry Phelan. They could all catch pigeons and he matured into a top defender."

With three vital points to fight for, Gould believes it is going to be a cracking match at Whaddon Road between two sides with a bit of history.

The Robins ran Stags to the last day of the last campaign, but Mansfield did manage to do the double over them, including a 3-2 win with a late Wayne Corden goal at Whaddon Road.

Gould said: "I think it is going to be a great game and one I would pay to go and watch myself.

"I know that one of Keith's teams will not give up. They will go out on the pitch with a great attitude and it will be up to us to do the same."

Curle, who misses the game through suspension, watched the Robins in a recent game against Barnsley and was planning to have another look on Wednesday, but their clash at Swindon was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

He knows that his old boss will have his team motivated for the clash, which will be the first Curle has had against a team below Stags in the table since he took over in December.

He said: "Cheltenham will have their best chance of getting out of trouble with the experience and know-how that Bobby has.

"His team will have battling qualities and he will want a great team camaraderie and atmosphere around the football club.

"They will play to their strengths and they will look to get plenty of crosses into the box.

"We are playing a team that is below us and we have got to make sure that a few more teams are in that position. But they will be looking to make sure they do not get cast adrift.

"We will be giving them the same amount of respect as we have given to every other team we have played this season.

"We are showing a good work ethic at the moment and I can assure everyone we will be doing the same for the rest of the season."

Stags are likely to remain without Craig Disley, who has begun some light training following the knee injury he picked up in last Saturday's 1-0 defeat against Oldham.

Ben Doane will not be fit as he is suffering with a throat and chest infection, which means Bobby Hassell is expected to stay at right-back.

MANSFIELD (probable): Welch, Hassell, Day, Gadsby, Eaton, Mendes, Curtis, Williamson, Corden, Christie, MItchell. Subs: A White, J White, MacKenzie, Lawrence, Baptiste.

Evening Post, 07 March 2003

Adam Eaton has finally become a Mansfield Town player - thanks to the Stags Supporters Association.

Eaton completed personal terms in a deal that will keep him at Field Mill until the end of the 2004-05 season and the supporters' group contributed £5,000 towards the nominal transfer fee from Preston. Manager Keith Curle said the deal could not have been completed had it not been for the fans' financial input.

"The supporters have been absolutely brilliant and I can assure them we would have been unable to bring Adam to the football club had they not helped us," he said.

"I asked them if they could help us out and I am delighted they have responded in such a positive way."

Eaton has become a firm favourite in two loan spells at Field Mill with a string of good per, and SSA chairman Dave Morris said the group were happy to answer the call.

Having completed a permanent move, Eaton's two loan spells will no longer count under the limit of eight a season.

That means Curle will now have three further loans at his disposal rather than one.

Morris said: "I think all Stags fans have been concerned about how long the deal was taking, but we are delighted that everything has been sorted out.

"Keith got in touch with us to see if we could help and I think it is great that the supporters and the club can work together and bring a player like Adam into the club.

"Hopefully, we will be able to build on the relationship the club and the SSA have had over the last couple of years."

Curle was delighted to have finally got his man.

He added: "If I had found myself looking for another left-back as good as Adam, I wouldn't have been relishing it because it would have been a big disappointment if we hadn't managed to get him.

"But, thanks to the SSA and the bargaining skills of the chairman, who has been working very hard on this and has been very supportive, we managed to get him here.

"He is a very consistent performer, which is a very valuable attribute at his age and he needs to be playing first-team football.

"He realises that and that is the main reason why he has come here.

"He could well be the Mansfield left-back for the next ten years and I have no doubts that he could play at a higher level.

"With 20 or 30 games behind him, I have no doubt he would be able to walk into most Division One teams.

"I am delighted we have got him on board."

Disley misses relegation cruncher
CHAD website
STAGS midfielder Craig Disley has lost his race against time to be fit for Saturday's crucial relegation six-pointer at bottom club Cheltenham Town (3pm).
Disley suffered knee ligament damage against Oldham last Saturday which forced him to miss the midweek 3-2 success over Luton Town.
And, despite intensive treatment, he has been ruled out of Saturday's clash when Mansfield player-boss Keith Curle will cross managerial swords for the first time with new Cheltenham manager Bobby Gould who has been a huge influence on Curle's life.
Gould signed Curle as a youngster at Bristol Rovers and later paid half a million pounds for him to take him to Wimbledon where within three weeks he had made him captain.
"This is a massive game and is actually the first time myself and John Gannon have had the opportunity to take on a side below us in the League since we got here,"said Curle.
"But we will give them exactly the same respect as we have given everyone above us. You don't take your foot off the pedal against anyone in the division.
"It will be a real battle and we are going there for the three points.
"But it will be nice to see Bobby again. He has had a big influence over me as a player and now as a manager. Some things stick with you and I remember the professional manner in which he wanted his players to behave in something I expect my players to adhere to here as well."
Curle will miss the game with a one-game ban for five bookings so Matt Gadsby is expected to come in as a straight replacement at centre half.
Stags enjoyed a double over Cheltenham last season when both sides were promoted. But it was the Robins who came up with a 2-0 success at Field Mill earlier in this campaign which Mansfield will want to avenge.
Cheltenham v Mansfield
Cheltenham have been dealt a severe blow ahead of the relegation six-pointer at home to Mansfield with Julian Alsop leaving training on crutches this week.
The 29-year-old, who heads the Robins scoring charts with 10 goals, injured his knee in a practice session on Thursday and is out of the Stags match.
Alsop could be joined on the sidelines by on-loan Bristol City striker Damian Spencer, who has picked up a back injury.
Defender Neil Howarth and full-back Antony Griffin (both hamstring) are unlikely to feature, but midfielder Lee Howells (knee) is available again.
Adam Eaton has put pen to paper on a contract which will keep him at Mansfield until June 2004 and he will feature against Cheltenham.
Eaton, 22, had been on loan from First Division Preston since the middle of December, making a dozen first-team appearances.
Player-manager Keith Curle will sit out the game after collecting a one-game suspension, and Andy Jones is also banned.
Craig Disley, who missed the 3-2 win over Luton Town in midweek, continues to be troubled by medial knee ligament trouble and will face a late fitness test.
Goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington has resumed light training as he recovers from a punctured lung.
http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk , 07 March 2003

Striker Julian Alsop could be out of Cheltenham Town's fight against Nationwide League division two relegation. The 6ft 5in front man was feared to have damaged a cruciate ligament when he went down during training yesterday.

He is out of tomorrow's basement scrap against fellow relegation strugglers Mansfield Town at Whaddon Road (3pm).

Alsop, who has scored eight goals in division two, was due to have a scan today and the injury has left manager Bobby Gould with his biggest problem since he took over eight games ago.

Damian Spencer, the obvious replacement, has a back strain and has been having treatment from an osteopath.

If he is not fit either, Gould may resort to playing John Brough up front, probably with on-loan Marvin Brown from Bristol City.

Brown would have started against Swindon Town at the County Ground on Wednesday if the match had not been called off because of a waterlogged pitch.

Brough, 30, joined Cheltenham from Hereford United on a free transfer in July 1998 with a reputation for being as effective up front as in the centre of the defence.

Then manager Steve Cotterill used to push him up front regularly during games in search of goals, but in the past couple of seasons he has played almost all of his football in defence.

"It's very disappointing for Julian. He's been at the forefront of Cheltenham's success for 18 months or two years," Gould said.

"He had just passed a ball out wide and turned to get the return when the leg just went beneath him.

"Damian Spencer has been on the treatment table and it is at times like this when you

have to ask yourself who it is that is sticking pins in.

"John Brough used to play up front so I've told him to keep himself fit and make sure nothing happens to him between now and the game."

There are alternatives. Martin Devaney, so impressive on the right side of midfield this season, could play up the middle, while Tony Naylor and Paul Brayson have both played up front with Alsop this season.

Youngster Luke Corbett has also been banging in the goals for the reserves.

The injury to Alsop is a real blow to Cheltenham's fading chances of maintaining their division two status.

"Even Marvin Brown was sick in training this morning," said Gould. "Roll 'em up, pile 'em in . . . we'll get 'em injured here! Luck is not looking our way.

"We have to try to turn negatives into positives, and we've just got to get on with it, but people with a nervous disposition should be careful with Cheltenham now!

"We know now what the demands are. It's critical now. The players have seen what happened in Tuesday night's results and the gap has got bigger.

"It's the moment of truth now. It's not too late, but we've had eight games with insufficient points.

"The players have to give positives. They are the ones now with all the responsibility and anybody in our dressing room who doesn't want that responsibility can come and see me."

Gould knows all about Mansfield player-boss Keith Curle because he signed him when he was manager of Wimbledon for £500,000 in 1988 and he was later sold to Manchester City for £2.5 million.

"He had pace to burn, one of the quickest you'll ever see," said Gould. "The whole of Mansfield's back four are very quick and it will be one of those games all right.

"The strongest physically and mentally will win it and Mansfield will be all fired up and they'll relish the challenge."

Steve Jones has got through three games since recovering from a broken leg but he still feels the injury and Gould said: "He's still struggling."

Right-back Jones is an almost certain starter tomorrow because Neil Howarth and Antony Griffin are sidelined.

n Lee Williams will return to Cheltenham next week after his month's loan at Dr Martens League premier division Halesowen Town ends.

n Richard Forsyth's back and thigh injury has shown a marked improvement since he started acupuncture last week and he is expected to return to full training next week.

n Hugh McAuley is back training at Cheltenham after three days with Conference club Chester City, who have told him they need to get players out before they can get players in.

n Cheltenham's postponed match at Swindon will be played on Wednesday.

n Cheltenham fielded their under-19s and lost 6-0 to Bristol City in a Gloucestershire Senior Challenge Cup semi-final at Ashton Gate last night.


Latest | March 2003