DEMPSTER NEW MANAGER / FIRST INTERVIEWS
Becoming manager is ‘absolute honour’ - Dempster
mansfieldtown.net, Wed 15 May 2019
New Mansfield Town manager John Dempster says it is ‘an absolute honour’ to be named as the Stags’ first team boss, and hopes to create ‘memories for life’ with the supporters during his tenure.
A former centre-back with the amber and blue, the new first team boss spent four years as Mansfield’s academy manager, winning the EFL Youth Alliance title in three successive seasons with his under-18 side.
The Stags’ chief reflected on the ‘unbelievable memories’ he has created during his time with Mansfield, and shared his hopes of making many more as first team manager.
“My first reaction would be to pay my respects to David Flitcroft and his staff, who are genuine good football people who were excellent with me during their time here,” he began.
“The club as a whole is in a good place, and I’m proud to be part of this football club - I always have been as a player, a coach, academy manager and now first team manager.
“I’m going to drive it forward now and I’m going to lead it. I’m looking forward to it.
“I’m ready [to be first team manager]. I think people can disrespect the academy manager role, as there is a lot to it, with lots of different problems thrown at you.
“How I’ve developed over the last four seasons has been incredible, and I owe that to the club.
“I feel like I owe the chairman [John Radford] and Carolyn [Radford] for this opportunity. The board have always been supportive of me and I intend to pay them back.
“I know the supporters well and I know they can be demanding - and I respect that. They want the best for this football club more than anyone.
“All I can ask from them is their support, and I’m sure myself and the players will get it. We’ll look to kick on next season.
“I feel the heartache and I feel the pain from the way the season finished, and I think everyone at the football club does.
“I was part of the team that came out of the Conference  and got the football club back into the league, and I was on the open top bus when we went round the town.
“They are unbelievable memories and memories for life. Hopefully, we can make a few more memories for life.
“It’s an absolute honour [to become first team manager]. I’m really grateful for the opportunity, and one thing I can guarantee is that I’ll grab it with both hands and give it my best shot.”
John Dempster says he will look for his side to be ‘attacking,’ while encouraging his players to be creative and play on their ‘instinct.’
“Without being cliché, hard work is the foundation for any football club in my view,” he added. “I could be seen as a modern day coach as I’m still only 36, but I believe in old school values.
“Hard work, wanting to be part of a successful team and putting the team first are all things I value, and I’ll expect the same from my players and staff.
“I want to be attacking, but equally, I want a good balance. If you look at the sides who went up automatically, they’ve had a good balance.
“We need to be strong at set plays for and against, and I’m a big believer of doing the basics well.
“There will be no rocket science behind it. There will be a lot of planning and a lot of preparation, and I also expect the players to take ownerships.
“There is no coaching manual for a player turning on a sixpence and putting it in the top corner. That’s playing on instinct, and I’ll encourage my players to do that also.”
The new boss also spoke of ongoing talks with candidates for his backroom staff, while also discussing current and potential future Mansfield Town players.
“I had mixed emotions yesterday, but I’m looking forward to the new challenge. I’m due to sit down with the chairman later on today and I’m also due to sit down with the players later on today,” Dempster revealed.
“After that, there will be planning and recruitment, both staff and players, to really get prepared for next season.
“I have a good knowledge of the players. I’ve watched the majority of the games this season and have spoken with first team staff.
“We’ll release the retained list as soon as possible. I understand that the players have been through a lot this season.
“They have just fallen short and we have had to make some difficult decisions, but that’s football, and we’ll crack on from today.
“It’s a strong squad with good character. One of the benchmarks of good character is how the squad have accepted the academy players when they’ve been training with them.
“I have [identified potential transfer targets]. There hasn’t been a lot of time since the decision was made, but there are targets in the pipeline - both staff and players.
“I’ll also be speaking to the contacts that I’ve got in the game that I’ve made over the years about the quality that’s out there.
“We’ll look to add to this squad that’s already strong - but we’re looking to improve it.
“I’ve been speaking to two or three people already [in regards to backroom staff] about potential roles. They [deals] are close and the people I have spoken to have been excited about the football club.”
After spending four years as academy manager, the Stags’ boss says that he will look to continue the links between the academy and the first team during his time in charge.
“[The academy is in] a good state. There is room for improvement, of course, as it’s still in its infancy at four years old.
“I know the academy inside out. I’ll look to continue to improve the links between the academy and first team, and the young players at this football club will get a chance if they’re good enough.
“There will be no givens, and they’ll have to work extremely hard to get in and around the first team, and even harder to get into it.
“If a young player is performing well in training, or scoring goals or keeping clean sheets for the reserves, there’s a good chance that he might be thrown in at some point.
“If a young player goes into the first team, sometimes it is sink or swim. I like to get the best out of people and players, and I demand high standards.
“I expect a positive attitude, but equally I’ll deal with people with respect. I expect the same back. I was brought up to treat people how you want to be treated, and that will remain the case.”
iFollow Stags subscribers can watch the new manager’s interview in full by logging into mansfieldtown.net/ifollow later today.
Dempster speaks to the media
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Wed 15 May 2019 11.00am
"My first reaction is to pay my respects to David Flitcroft and his staff, who are genuinely good football people. I'm looking forward to the new challenge.
"I'm due to sit down with the chairman and the players later today. I've got a good knowledge of the players and I understand they have been through a lot this season."
"It's a strong squad with good character. The club is in a good place and I'm proud to be part of this football club. I'm going to lead it and I'm looking forward to it.
"I'll be liaising with the contacts I have in the league about the talent that is out there. This squad is fantastic but I want to improve it."
"I've had conversations with people that I want as my backroom staff and they were excited by that. There is lots to look forward to. I'm ready.
"How I've developed over the last few seasons has been incredible and I owe that to the club. I owe the chairman and Carolyn for this opportunity, and I intend to pay them back."
"I'll look to continue that [link between academy and first team] and the young players at this football club will get a chance if they're good enough. There are no givens, and they will have to work extremely hard.
"If a young player goes to the first team, sometimes it is sink or swim. I like to get the best out of people and players, and I demand high standards. I was brought up to treat people how you want to be treated and that will remain the case."
Hard work key
"Hard work is the foundation for any successful football club. I've done my qualifications and I can be seen as a young coach, but I still believe in old school values."
Support so important
"I know the supporters well and I know they want the best for this football club. All I ask from them is their support, and I'm sure I'll get it. I feel the pain from the way the season finished. Hopefully we can make some memories for life."
Style of play
"I want to be attacking, but I want a balance to it as well. We need to be strong for and against on set pieces."
"It's an absolute honour [to be named first team manager]. I'm really grateful for the opportunity and one thing I can guarantee is that I will grab it with both hands and give it my all."
John Dempster ready for management and vowing to repay Mansfield Town’s faith in him
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Wed 15 May 2019
A proud John Dempster said he was ready for his first senior management role and desperate to repay Mansfield Town Football Club for all the opportunities they have given him.
Dempster was yesterday offered the chance to move up from academy manager to take over the first team after David Flitcroft was sacked and jumped at this latest opportunity to move his career forward.
“It is an absolute honour and I am really grateful for the opportunity,” he smiled.
“One thing I can guarantee is I will grab it with both hands and give it my best shot.
“It’s a proud day for me and I will do my utmost to progress this football club.”
Dempster arrived as a player on loan from Crawley in 2011 and, having helped the club to win promotion back into the Football League, was given a place on the coaching staff, moving on to manage the club academy and take his coaching badges.
So things have gone full circle for him and he said: “It’s been an incredible journey and one I want to continue.
“I am really grateful to this football club for giving me the opportunities they have from signing on loan as a player up until now.
“Becoming a first team manager is not been something I’ve though too much about as I have been busy with the academy - going from player to coach to academy manager.
“I’ve had my hands full starting the academy from scratch and it’s something I’ve given everything to. This new role is something I will also give my all to.”
But he said this now feels like the right time to make the step up.
“I am ready. How I have developed over the last four years has been incredible and I owe that to the club.
“They put me through my qualifications, left me to do my job, supported me when I’ve needed it, and I feel like I owe them.
“Sometimes people can disrespect the academy manager role. There is a lot to it and a lot of different problems thrown at you.
“I owe the chairman and Carolyn for this latest opportunity. The board have always been supportive of me and I intend to pay them all back.”
New Mansfield Town boss John Dempster pays tribute to outgoing manager David Flitcroft
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Wed 15 May 2019
John Dempster today paid a warm tribute to David Flitcroft, the man he yesterday replaced in the Mansfield Town manager’s chair.
Failure to get promotion for the second season in a row saw Flitcroft axed and academy manager Dempster offered the opportunity to replace him.
But Dempster said: “I’d like to pay my respects to David Flitcroft and his staff who are genuine, good football people who were excellent with me under their time here.
“They were really supportive of the academy, the academy staff and the academy players.
“So it was mixed emotions yesterday, but I am looking forward to the new challenge.”
While Flitcroft’s departure did come out of the blue, Dempster said it was part and parcel of football.
“I want to be respectful to David Flitcroft. But also this is the business we are in. This is the life we choose,” he said.
“So I would not ever use the word shock in football to be honest. Things did move quickly and yesterday was busy.
“As soon as the chairman contacted me and said he wanted to be me in the post it was an absolute no-brainer and an honour to be considered for the job.
“As I’ve said it was mixed emotions initially with David leaving, but I’ve been in football a long time and I understand how these things happen.
“We’re now onto the next challenge. There is lots to look forward to.”
New Mansfield Town boss John Dempster meets chairman and players to sort futures
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas, Wed 15 May 2019
New Mansfield Town manager John Dempster will today meet with chairman John Radford and the players to start plotting for next season.
Academy manager Dempster was quickly installed in the first team hot seat yesterday after the shock sacking of David Flitcroft.
Once he knows his budget and the chairman’s targets for him, he said he can then sort out a retained list and prioritise targets for signing.
“I am due to sit down with the chairman to sort out the finer detail today and I am also due to speak to the players individually later on today, so they are my first two priorities,” he said.
“After that it will be planning and then recruitment, both staff and players, and really getting prepared for next season.
“We have some tough decisions that have been made but I am fully aware of the calibre and character of player that we’ve got in the squad currently and hopefully we can build on that and improve.
“I have a good knowledge of the players - I have watched he majority of games this season. I have spoken to first team staff and liased briefly with the chairman.
“We will release the retained list as soon as possible.
“I understand the players have been through a lot this season and just fallen short.
“So we have had to make some difficult decisions. But that’s football and we will crack on from today.”
He added: “I have been a loyal servant of this football club over the last seven years in different capacities and this new chapter is an exciting one and something I am looking forward to leading.
“I am aware of the expectations through being here for the last seven years. I know how the chairman works and what the board of directors expect.”
Dempster is unaware how far he is expected to take the club and how long he has to do it, but said: “I will be looking to win football matches. It’s a passion of mine and something I’ve managed to do as a player and as a coach. That won’t change.
“But I now need to speak to the people above me about targets and finance.
On new signings, Dempster said: “I have already identified potential targets. I have not had a lot of time since the decision was made, but there are targets in the pipeline, both staff and players.
“That are players I already have a knowledge of, externally away from the football club, that I rate highly
“Some of the football we played was excellent. The club is in a good place and I am proud to be part of the club. I always have been as a player, coach and academy manager, now as first team manager.
“I am now going to drive it forward. I’m going to lead it and I am looking forward to it.
“I will also be speaking to the contacts I have made in the game over the years about the quality that is out there.
“We will looking to add to this squad, which is already strong. We’re looking to improve it.”
On new backroom staff, he said: “I have spoken to two or three people already about potential roles in joining the backroom staff. I wouldn’t want to go too much into that until things are finalised.
“But they are close and the people I’ve spoken to have been excited by the things I’ve said about this football club, our owners and our board.”
Attack-minded Mansfield Town will gets ‘bums off seats’ with excitement vows new boss John Dempster
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
New Mansfield Town boss John Dempster has promised an attacking side that will gets ‘bums on seats’ and then ‘get bums off seats’ with excitement.
But he also vowed the Stags would be solid, balanced, good in both boxes and anything but a soft touch.
As fans ponder what formations and style their new-look side will have next season, he said: “I want to be attacking but equally I want to have a good balance.
“If you look at the sides that got promoted automatically this season - and even if you go back four or five season from League Two - they’ve had a good balance.
“I don’t want to be a soft touch. I want to be strong at set plays for and against. This is League Two football so we need to be strong in both boxes.
“But the most important thing is getting bums on seats and then getting those bums off seats with excitement.
“Hopefully we can create chances, score goals and really get that balance right.”
He added: “I am a big believer in doing the basics well - it’s a great foundation. “If you are not playing so well but you’re doing the basics, the likelihood is you’ll still pick up points.
“There will be no rocket science behind it. There will be lots of planning and preparation and I also expect players to take ownership.
“There is no coaching manual or session you can put on for when a player swings on a sixpence and put it into the top corner. That’s playing on instinct and I will encourage my players to do that also.”
John Dempster - Mansfield Town’s new modern day coach with old school values
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
John Dempster has been explaining how he sees his management style in his first senior role as the new boss of Mansfield Town - as a modern coach with old school values.
Dempster took on the role on Tuesday after David Flitcroft was sacked and said: “I expect high standards and if people aren’t hitting the standards I expect I will tell them.
“I love dealing with people, I love dealing with players, and I like to get the best out of people.
“I demand high standards and I expect a positive attitude. I expect people to attack the day with a positive mindset.
“You want people who bring something to the environment. You want characters.”
He continued: “I will give people respect and I expect the same back.
“I was brought up to treat people how you want to be treated. That will remain the case going forward.
“I guess I could be seen as a bit more of a modern day coach because I am still only 36 and I have done my qualifications over the last four or five years.
“But I believe in old school values with hard work, doing your best every day, wanting to be part of a successful team, putting the team first - these are all things I value dearly and I will expect the same from my players and staff.
“Hard work is the foundation for any football club in my view.”
John Dempster’s mission to give Mansfield Town fans new memories to treasure after promotion failures
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
John Dempster wants to help Mansfield Town fans get over the trauma of the last two season’s failures and make new memories to treasure.
Installed as the new manager after David Flitcroft’s sacking on Tuesday, Dempster said he has now been with the club since 2011 so knows the club and fans inside out.
After Stags failed to gain promotion for a second successive year, Dempster said: “The last two weeks have been a real emotional rollercoaster for everyone involved at the football club. It’s not something people are going to get over quickly. It takes time.
“But this is a new chapter and I will bring new ideas. There won’t be wholesale changes but there will be subtle tweaks here and there and I will make it my own.
“I know the supporters here well and I know that they can be demanding. I respect and appreciate that. They want the best for this football club more than anyone.
“All I ask from them is their support. I am sure I will get it, I am sure the players will get it and we’ll look to kick on next season.
“I feel their heartache and pain from the way the season finished - I think everybody at the football club did.
“The amount of people I saw crying after the penalty shoot-out really hit home how important it is to the town.”
But Dempster was a vital part of the club on their last promotion and wants to taste that again now as manager.
“I was part of the team that came up from the Conference and got the club back in the Football League,” he said.
“I was on the open top bus as it went round the town - they were unbelievable memories - memories for life - and hopefully we can make a few more memories for life.
“What I want here on a weekly basis is a team the supporters are proud of.”
No givens - young players must earn a first team place says new Mansfield Town boss John Dempster
chad.co.uk, by John Lomas
Despite his time as Mansfield Town academy manager, new first team boss John Dempster has warned the club’s youngsters none of them will have an easy ride into the League Two side.
David Flitcroft, who was sacked on Tuesday, had begun to bring Dempster’s young hopefuls through into first team squad training and given some of them a taste of first team action.
But Dempster knows the young players inside out and said they would still have to work really hard and earn it if they were to feature in his first team.
“One of the benefits I will bring is that I know the academy inside out,” he said.
“The link between the academy and first team was improved by the ex-manager and I will look to continue to improve that.
“The young players at this football club will get a chance if they are good enough. I know them inside out and they know me.
“But there will be no givens. They will have to earn it.
“They will have to work extremely hard to get in and around it and work even harder to get into the first team.”
Dempster explained how he could tell if someone was fully ready for the big step up.
“You can tell by his performances, the way he acts off the pitch, by getting to know his personality and seeing how he reacts to the first team environment,” he said.
“If he is performing well in training, if he’s scoring goals for the reserves or keeping clean sheets for the reserves, there is a good chance he might need throwing in at some point.
“There is no crystal ball with it. If a young player goes into the first team sometimes it is sink or swim. You don’t know how these players will do until they are given that opportunity.”
Dempster has been delighted with how the first team squad have welcomed the young players into their environment
“The current first team squad is strong with good characters,” he said. “One of the benchmarks of their character is how that squad have accepted the academy players when they have been up training with them. They have embraced them, which I think is important.
“To have the first team’s experienced players in and around them will only bring the young players on even further.”