Relying on Stags’ three wise men at Christmas!


Having just returned from a two week holiday, it’s like a whole new world at Field Mill.

Gone is the spectre of Keith Haslam after the prolonged and painful takeover was finally completed by the ‘Three Musketeers’.

Gone is manager Billy McEwan and his glorious three year plan which imploded after just five months.

Gone is assistant Neil Richardson who was barely back here long enough to get his feet under a desk.

Gone are any hopes of any silverware after the FA trophy exit at Wrexham.

And, from the things I have read, almost gone it would seem are any hopes of getting Richie Barker back into the building – the fans’ dream boss.

But the new club owners now have a huge decision to make if we are not to see the Stags continue to flounder and flirt with a second successive relegation.

So, at Christmas time, how appropriate it is that we are all relying on our own ‘three wise men’ to bring us some Festive joy. Even if they don’t have much gold to throw around!

McEwan’s firm, old school style of management was selected as the way forward but, after that dream start, simply failed to yield results.

It didn’t help that, as results went against him, he had a pop at fans who had booed him.

None of us would liked to be booed and jeered at work. But sometimes a little diplomacy is called for and having a go back at the fans was something he maybe should have thought twice about.

But he did warn everyone on his arrival that if he needed to say something he would always say it – that was how he was.

He also stuck by his 4-3-3 system, despite much criticism of it from the stands with a 4-4-2 formation bringing him the early success. Even players have said following his departure that they wanted to go back to 4-4-2.

I must admit I do have some sympathy for Billy with his late arrival and lack of time to bring in the players he wanted. It was a thankless task.

But this is a results-based business and no board would stand by their manager for too long, no matter what they had promised him, if the side was losing so regularly.

The reality of football management was underlined when Billy said that after 12 games he was the best thing since sliced bread and just 10 games later he was out of work. It is a brutal business.

It is still too early to be talking about a real relegation battle with Christmas not yet been and gone. But the current situation needs sorting quickly and whoever comes in must be armed with a list of realistic January targets that can quickly pull this club clear of stormy waters.

A fan asked this week if I still stood by my comment that there were enough worse clubs in this league below us for us to stay up.

Well I have to admit that I am starting to sweat a little harder than I was. But that statement still remains true as we are not – and have never yet been – in the BSP relegation zone.

Lewes and Weymouth are struggling financially below us and Grays and Salisbury also have their troubles, Forest Green are not pulling up any trees and Northwich are rooted to the bottom nine points behind us.

So, yes, there are worse-off clubs in a worse position and we are only a couple of wins from mid-table safety/obscurity but need to do it soon.

The ‘Three Musketeers’ are keeping the identity of the managerial candidates close to their chests though the rumour mill has spat out a huge who’s who of former bosses as candidates.

They have to make the right choice and can’t just jump in feet first. But, at the same time, the new man needs to be in place to make an impact in the transfer window. Let’s hope they can pull it off and follow the right star. Over to you three wise men . . .


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