{ the history }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Part One - The Formation (1897 - 1903)

by Paul Taylor and Martin Shaw

Much has been written of the formation of Mansfield Town Football Club and many dates been given, however most are apocryphal or at the very least wildly inaccurate. Although organised football existed for many years in Mansfield before this the origins of the present club can be traced back to 1897 and the Wesleyan church on Bridge Street. The exact meeting where the seeds were sown is now lost in the midst of time  and as such no exact date can be given for the formation. However, team formed by Frederick Abraham and Thomas Cripwell and called Mansfield Wesleyans  eventually became the Mansfield Town we all know and love. Walter Tattersall

After the formation, in those early days no league was entered, the team played only friendly matches plus the odd local cup tie. The team played in the light blue and chocolate stripes and played almost exclusively at a ground on Westfield lane. The first match was played at this ground on 4 September 1897 against Sherwood Foresters and ended in a 2-2 draw. Unfortunately no details survive of the XI that turned out that day but we do know that the Foresters Statham put through his own goal and Taylor scored the goals.   By the start of the 1902/3 season the club had decided to enter the Mansfield and District Amateur League and on 6 September 1902 the Club played its first ever league game, a 0-1 defeat at the home of Mansfield Corinthians. The team for this auspicious occasion was:  Hodgkins; Benton (Sid),  Sadler; Hibbert, Trenam, Osborne; Martin, Tattersall, Wilson, Gunthorpe, Abraham.  Walter Tattersall (right) later went on to played for Tottenham Hotspur and Watford. A week later the team's second fixture, also away from home, was a disastrous 0-13 drubbing at Shirebrook Swifts. For the record no Stags' first XI has ever suffered such a stuffing since! The performances did improve and the season ended with the team in a comfortable 7th position out of 12.

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