A Tuesday nightmare!


TUESDAY went downhill by the minute for me, culminating in a defeat and red card for the Stags in a huge match at Stevenage.

Monday was bad enough. Booked into a two-day course in Chesterfield (yes, I had my injections etc), I was very late arriving due to road chaos around M1 junction 25.

So, arriving on time on Tuesday, things looked much brighter although the new computer software being explained to me remained as much of a mystery as it had done on Monday.

Setting off for Stevenage down the M1 in bright sunshine at 3.50pm, all was well with the world.

I should have guessed things were about to change when the sun turned into black clouds and a snow flurry before Leicester.

My big mistake was not stopping off at Newport Pagnall for a ‘comfort break’. I decided to eat up a few more miles and pay a visit at Toddington further down.

Suddenly the red tail lights were on ahead of me and the motorway ground to a halt.

No worries, I still had plenty of time. Them worryingly, police helicopters began to appear and Three Counties Radio mentioned about a car on its side over two lanes ahead.

There begins that sickening feeling in your stomach that you could miss the kick-off, not helped by the fact that you should have nipped to the loo when you had chance.

There followed a long and uncomfortable wait during which we edged forward about an inch an hour.
By the time I got off the motorway it was obvious I would struggle to make it (the match, not the toilet).

And my worst fears were realised when we hit 7.45pm kick-off time and I could see the floodlights well ahead in the distance.

At Stevenage I abandoned the car outside Burger King and reluctantly raced under the road through the underpass,fully aware Burger King was shining brightly behind me and I had not eaten since 11.30am.

It is a horrible feeling knowing you should be in there working and hearing the crowd noise from outside the ground.

Thankfully a helpful steward let me in without argument or press pass and I was sat down with 17 minutes elapsed trying to catch up.

Back in the office my colleague Stephen was trying to keep up with the action on the radio and keeping the web site updated.

As soon as I had sorted out what I had missed and what was happening I e-mailed a report of the first half hour which replaced Stephen’s second hand notes on the web site.

Unfortunately the new material meant some of the early fans’ comments were turned off with that report as the new one went live and we were quickly accused of ‘censorship’ by a handful of fans who were unaware what was happening.

We did get that thread back up later but by then we had some threatening not to buy the Chad again! Sorry guys, it wasn’t deliberate and it certainly wasn’t censorship.

A promising display eventually petered out into defeat with David Holdsworth fuming at the end over what he felt was the worst ever red card decision he had seen against Luke Jones.

By 11.30pm I was the only customer in Burger King (other fast food outlets are available), the staff kindly offering me extra chips to save them being thrown away, before driving home dazed on auto-pilot.

But at least Stags had shown some bite and grit that night – a stark contrast to the awful first 45 minutes offered up to an almost full Field Mill on Saturday.

A great PR exercise turned into one of the worst adverts the club could have produced to the town.
The public response to ‘Pay What You Like’ was fantastic and all the team had to do was play someting like they are capable of.

Sadly it was Gateshead who rose to the occasion of playing in front of a huge crowd and by the time Mansfield had started to test keeper Paul Farman in the last 20 minutes, most of the potential new fans had already walked out vowing not to return.

After three successive defeats the BSP table now does not make pretty reading for Stags fans with the side outside the play-off zone and having played more games than everyone around them.

It also looks increasingly likely that Chester City may cease to exist which would be another six points down the drain for Mansfield.

The home games with York, Luton and Rushden are suddenly taking FA Cup final-sized importance.
And a bad result at Tamworth this Saturday could turn into a disaster if the sides around them win again.


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