Ten worst Mansfield Town Managers
by Martin Shaw and Paul Taylor
This list is based on percentage of games won, and includes league games only.
1. Charles Bell
Pl:28, W:7, D:6, L:15, Percentage of games won: 25.0%.
16 March 1935 - 21 December 1935
Charles Bell was a centre forward in his playing days, and is reputed to have scored the first (albeit for a reserve team) at Arsenal's Highbury home. He joined Mansfield as a trainer coach and within nine months was offered the manager's job. Perhaps the best thing he did for Mansfield Town was to sign Ted Harston in October 1935. Nine months after taking control he informed the board that he had lost control of the players and offered to resign if given £450 compensation - the directors paid up and he was on his way. Suddenly taken ill with a mystery illness in June 1939, he died within a few days.
2. Billy Bingham
Pl:60, W:16, D:22, L:22, Percentage of games won: 26.7%.
March 1978 - 9 July 1979
After a glittering playing career which brought him 56 Northern Ireland caps, Billy Bingham managed Southport and Plymouth before being offered the Northern Ireland job, but after two years in that capacity, moved to take charge of Linfield. A year later he went to Greece as national coach, returning to Britain in 1973 to manage Everton. Four years later he was back in Greece, this time to take charge at POAK Salonika, but he only stayed a few months before returning to the UK. Taking over from Peter Morris at Field Mill in 1978, with a three year contract, he lasted only a year before he was in dispute with chairman Arthur Patrick over a matter of principle, involving the transfer of Steve Taylor from Luton, and he was on his way. Six months later he again took over as manager of the Northern Ireland team. Bingham held the national job for 14 years and during that time took the team to the World Cup final stages in Spain, beating the host nation along the way. Bingham was awarded the MBE in 1990 for his services to the Irish team.
3. Sam Weaver
Pl:73, W:20, D:17, L:36, Percentage of games won: 27.4%.
June 1958 - 20 January 1960
Sam Weaver trained and coached at several clubs before he arrived at Field Mill in September 1955 as coach, staying there in one capacity or another until his death almost 30 years later, and then had his ashes scattered on his beloved Field Mill turf. His managerial spell was brief and not a success, but he continued to serve the club after he was replaced by Raich Carter in 1960. A trained masseur, he also served Derbyshire CCC in this capacity for many summers.
4. Peter Shirtliff
Percentage of games won: 30.5%.
5. Jock Basford
Pl:62, W:19, D:21, L:22, Percentage of games won: 30.7%.
21 July 1970 - 8 November 1971
Jock Basford arrived at Field Mill in August 1967 as assistant to Tommy Eggleston, and served Mansfield Town in one capacity or another until his death in 1982. After a short probationary period as caretaker manager, following Tommy Eggleston's departure to manage in Greece, he took over the helm, but just over a year later he was removed from the manager's position and left the club. After an absence of a year he was re-engaged as coach, then youth team coach, assistant manager to Peter Morris until he was sacked, and then reverted to youth team coach again.
6. Paul Holland
Percentage of games won: 30.8%.
7. Carlton Palmer
Pl:38, W:10, D:13, L:15, Percentage of games won: 31.0%.
10 November 2004 - 17 September 2005
Carlton Palmer was appointed as caretaker manager by his close friend chairman Keith Haslam, when Keith Curle was suspended for allegedly bullying a youth team player. When Curle was eventually sacked following an unsuccessful appeal, Palmer was given the job permanently.
Palmer was not a popular choice as manager and he did not help his cause by transferring a number of the fans’ favourite players. At the end of the 2004/2005 season he released Scott McNiven, who was just recovering from testicular cancer, and offered SSA Player of the Year Alex Neil much reduced terms - two other very unpopular decisions. Palmer surprised everyone when he registered himself as a player for this season and on his debut, against his old club Stockport, he became the club’s oldest debutant. Palmer seemed to have put together a good squad for the new season, but it started badly and he eventually resigned, citing abuse from the fans as the reason. In reality he blamed everyone apart from himself for a poor run of results during his period in charge, just as he had done some years earlier in an equally unsuccessful spell in charge of Stockport.
8. Jack Poole
Pl:63, W:20, D:18, L:25, Percentage of games won: 31.7%.
11 January 1938 - August 1944
Jack Poole joined the club initially as a trainer. He was made caretaker manager during the 1937/38 season, and was confirmed in the post at the end of the season. He continued to manage the club during the war years until August 1944 when he accepted the position of trainer at Notts County.
9. Roy Goodall
Pl:126, W:40, D:35, L:51, Percentage of games won: 31.8%.
May 1945 - June 1949
Roy Goodall earned 25 England caps, three League Championship medals and made two FA Cup final appearances, during a 16-year playing career at Huddersfield Town. He came to Field Mill upon his demob from the army in 1945 and whilst his tenure was not a great success, he left of his own free will after four years.
10. Billy McEwan
Percentage of games won: 31.8%.
and continuing with numbers 11-13:
11. Stuart Boam
Pl:72, W:23, D:14, L:35, Percentage of games won: 31.9%.
July 1981 - January 1983
Stuart Boam made his Stags debut as a teenager in the mid sixties and became a Stags legend despite his age, before being snapped up by Middlesbrough at the end of the 1971 season, for £50,000, equalling the club record at the time. He captained Middlesbrough to the Second Division title in 1974. He moved on to Newcastle for £140,000 in 1979, returning to Field Mill as player-manager in July 1981. His stay this time was not a happy one, as after only just avoiding re-election in his first season and being in a lowly position in the League early in the New Year of his second, he was dismissed. He now runs a newsagents business in his native Kirkby in Ashfield.
12. Andy King
Pl:118, W:38, D:38, L:42, Percentage of games won: 32.2%.
16 November 1993 - 28 August 1996
Andy King, the former Everton striker, was a surprise appointment in 1993, with no managerial experience, having been acting as commercial manager at Luton Town. Chairman Keith Haslam explained that King was “bubbly and the sort of person we need to shake the football club into life.” 1994/5 was his best season when he took the team to the Division Three play offs and League Cup victory over Leeds United. Following the dismemberment of the team during the summer of 1995 and with little money to spend for adequate replacements, the team consequently struggled in 1995/96 and finished in a lowly position. 1996/97 started disastrously with three straight defeats and with the fans baying for his removal, he was duly sacked before the end of August. His career continued, with coaching and scouting jobs at a number of clubs until he eventually returned to management with Swindon Town, from where he was recently sacked after around 5 years in charge.
13. Mick Jones
Pl:92, W:30, D:25, L:37, Percentage of games won: 32.6%.
July 1979 - May 1981
Mick Jones joined the Stags following a successful season as manager of Kettering Town, then in the Southern League, bringing his assistant Jeff Lee with him. The two of them pulled up no stones at Field Mill and were on their way in less than two years. Jones went on to a string of clubs in various capacities, and was manager of Telford United until 2004.
Managers with fewer than 10 games excluded.
If the list was based on average points per game, it would read:
1. Bell, 2. Weaver, 3. Palmer, 4. Boam, 5. Bingham, 6. Stuart Watkiss, 7. George Foster, 8. Goodall, 9. Poole, 10. Jones, 11. Basford, 12. King.
Records for Stuart Watkiss and George Foster:
Pl:42, W:15, D:5, L:22, Avge points per game: 1.19, Percentage of games won: 35.7%.
Pl:204, W:67, D:46, L:91, Avge points per game: 1.21, Percentage of games won: 32.8%.