The end is nigh, the time is now

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THE relegation battle took a turn for the worse last night thanks to two odd-goal victories.

It is a fine dividing line and relegation rivals Stags and Macclesfield fell either side of it last night, opening a five point gap to safety.

Managerless Mansfield produced the performance we all know fully well they are capable of when they put their minds to it (isn’t that so exasperating?) and battered away at an excellent Hereford side.

But the Bulls escaped with all three points thanks to a well take free kick and Stags missing a penalty.

At Dagenham it was a similar story as the home side missed a crucial (for Mansfield) spot kick and Francis Green punished them with a winner 18 minutes from time to pull Macclesfield further away.

The pressure on those in power at Field Mill this week is enough to cause another earthquake.

They have to make sure they do the right thing regarding a managerial appointment and bringing in new players as anything other than the perfect solution could see them drop out of the Football League. And we need a club takeover – yesterday!

One thing is fairly certain – number one or number two – Paul Holland has to stay.

We simply do not have the time for a new broom to bring in his own people and start to assess what he has in the dressing room (he wouldn’t recognise them from a home match display to an away display anyway)!

The way the lads responded to Holland’s tactics on Tuesday was magnificent and, for all his critics, the truth is Paul is Mansfield Town through and through and has waited patiently for a chance to take the reins.

Maybe a Billy McEwan/Paul Holland combination could be the answer? Two people with history at the club who care?

Anyone who watched Saturday’s shambles against Rochdale and did not return for more of the same on a cold, windy Tuesday night against Hereford would not believe the difference.

Stags looked hungry and fired up and chased everything. Exactly what they should have for Billy Dearden on Saturday.

It was a crying shame his long association with Mansfield Town had to end in such a sickening way.

But the man has given everything for the cause, despite having his hands continually tied, and managed to maintain a sense of humour.

I am sure there have been many occasions he wanted to tell his critics the truth but was unable.

It would be very interesting if, having gone, he decided to tell all about how he has been forced to get by. But, being an old school gentleman, I can’t see it happening myself.

It is impossible to know what is going on behind the scenes at Field Mill for any of us.

Even fact can soon become fiction.

One minute there was a room full of press on Saturday night being told a new manager would be announced within 48 hours – then a denial that it was ever said!

Oh, there was also a mention of ‘possible good news this week on the takeover’ which, surprise, surprise, has so far again failed to materialise.

How can it possibly take this long to buy or sell a football club?

Mansfield Town Football Club needs some stability and needs it now.

If people really care then meetings must be brought forward, details hammered out, decisions made and paperwork drawn up around the clock.

Do it all over a liquid lunch if need be chaps. Because Ill Rosso could soon become Last Chance Saloon.

But let’s not let this football club die because we all had full diaries and were too slow in moving forward.

After this weekend at Bradford we have a week’s break and then four games in 11 days over an Easter week that currently promises little chance of a miracle resurrection.

Thank god we are away at Bradford on Saturday. Here’s to a steaming curry, a decent pint and three more away points. We can but hope.

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