The future starts here!

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Even though expectations are not too high for Mansfield Town’s first season in Conference football, it is still a pretty good time to be a Stags fan.

All of a sudden Field Mill has people wandering around with smiles on their faces and a renewed enthusiasm.

Relegation remains a bitter pill to swallow but it has been eased by the fact that the town has reclaimed its football club and can start the climb back up without Keith Haslam at the helm.

The new regime has been hard at work sprucing up Field Mill from top to bottom while Billy McEwan has been doing the same with the playing staff.

What a task he has between now and the big kick off at Ebbsfleet.

He has more lads on trial than the Old Bailey and, for the first time ever watching a Stags side, I was completely baffled by who was who at Ilkeston on Tuesday night.

There were one or two old faces, one or two new ones that were recognisable and plenty more that weren’t.

And, to make matters worse, there were one or two that the other players didn’t even know and McEwan refused to name when we asked him. And, naturally, we were not permitted to ask them who they were either!

That can be normal for a behind-closed-doors friendly or a training session. Quite often, as journalists, we’ve been asked to ‘keep this one under your hat’.

But, never before have I or the Stags supporters been told ‘I am not telling you his name’ at a public friendly where people have paid money to get in!

However, the canny Scot refused to budge, saying that, having done the spadework to get these players in, he was not about to reveal names and have them snatched from under his nose.

It is frustrating but if it works and it is a means to an end then I guess we’ll all have to be patient and trust McEwan’s judgement.

New chairman Andy Perry complained that my blog picture looks too miserable on here when things are now so much happier and there was a suggestion I pose on a surfboard as everyone rides the crest of a wave following the takeover.

I am not sure about that but, yes, that picture was taken in the dark days of the battles with Mr Haslam and I concede it may be time for a new one – though not necessarily one of me in my Speedos!

This weekend against Derby (Saturday) and Sheffield United (Monday) will be most people’s first chance to see some of McEwan’s new charges.

Some of them you already know and veteran strikers Mark Stallard and Jason Lee both oozed experience and calmness up front while ‘Mr X’ was neat and tidy and a constant threat in the second half – whoever he was.

And, despite being one of the smaller defenders, spring-heeled Mark McGregor grabbed the winner, could have had a hat-trick and caused more problems in the opposition box than any defender we have had since Dave Artell.

It was also nice to see youngsters like Ryan Goward and Lewis Trimmer come on and enjoy running at the home defenders and causing mayhem.

Hopefully a decent crowd will turn out this Saturday to give Billy, the players and, indeed, the new club owners, a rapturous welcome.

The future starts here!

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3 Responses to “The future starts here!”

  1. StagOfHerts Says:

    John, what a contrast between this and your last post on 11th June. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but at least now we know we have a football club which is making every effort to be competitive in the new season.

  2. Maggie Brook Says:

    Great blog John. This season is full of possibilities. This family is ready for some hope for the future! Come on you Yellows!

  3. a long time stags fan Says:

    Yes, keep your unbiased views comming John, there is more buzz at the moment than any routine season of past for a long time! I wondered how I would feel contemplating a Blue Square season, but there is just as much (or more?) to play for, so bring it on! carn’t wait. Lets fill all seats and make an instant impact.

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