Tuesday morning, sat in the control room / press conference area at field mill, new manager Paul Cox reveals to me & the other members of the press the list of people who will stay at Mansfield Town FC & the list of people who will not – for once, I was not disappointed by the long list meaning mass change was around the corner, I was actually pleased, I felt a sense of positive energy burst through my amber-blooded body, was that the first real feeling that the next season would be a good one for my team?
There were only two names on the list which Paul Cox revealed that disappointed me, however on reflection I accept that this is not just a case of keeping the old fixtures & fittings and just repainting the walls – this is stripping the building down to its brickwork and starting from scratch – in short: it has to be done for us to be a success.
Here is the list in full – those in contract for next season plus the ones who are searching for a hoody and some baggy jeans – heading for the job centre.
Lee Stevenson (New signing – Eastwood)
Lindon Mikele (New signing – Eastwood)
Paul Bolland (New signing – Macclesfield)
Going: (Including those that we’re let go before Paul Cox’s appointment)
The two names I’m disappointed with are Steve Foster & Neil Collett. Steve, being a local lads knows, understands and loves the club – that is a valuable attribute to have, he would have been great for the progression of Tom Naylor, however coming towards the end of his career I can understand why Paul Cox has opted to part company with Foster, his plans are not just for next season, but for the season after, in all honesty I don’t think you’d get more than one more season out of Steve - Shame. I’d love to see Steve here in a coaching role if Paul Cox would let that happen, if not fair enough, good luck to Fozzy in the future.
The second name I’m disappointed to see hit the dole cue, is that of Neil Collett. Neil is a fine young talent who, given a season playing regular, will be at a level capable of league 2 football. I was really impressed with Neil when he played last season, pushed away by the lesser twin it must have been hard to find the positives when you’ve got splinters in your backside from sitting on the bench, however he kept the faith & grabbed it with both hands when Duncan Russell gave him a shot. Paul Cox’s says he wants to get a keeper to really pressure & test Alan Marriott for the number 1 spot, I personally think Collett’s capable of that but I have no clue who Cox’s targets are so I will remain hopeful and back the managers decision. Good luck to Neil and I hope he gets a club sorted soon and continues to progress.
After the list was announced there was a worry that Cox may opt to keep bringing in more Eastwood players or lower league players, however the announcement on Wednesday that we’d captured Paul Bolland from Macclesfield pretty much calmed those fears and bumped up the excitement levels once again.
Paul is a top quality player, every time I’ve watched him play I’ve been impressed – he’s exactly the type of player our midfield has craved for seasons. The fact we’ve tempted him away from a club where he’s valued so highly is testament to Paul Cox’s ability to sell his ambitions, Bolland has stepped down a level to play for Mansfield, could you see and league players (who had been offered perhaps BETTER deals by league clubs) doing this two years back?
The manager told the press on Tuesday that he’s looking for a squad of around 22 players, we currently have 11 signed up for the next campaign if my calculations are correct, I expect the next few weeks to be very busy as I believe that Paul Cox will have his squad in place (bar 1 or 2 trailists) before our first pre-season fixture. I think they’ll be players who played in the league last season too, for once I’m eager to see whose coming to the club, not dreading the next name of the player the lesser twins going to bring in, argue with and promptly ship out on loan!
I do not know any targets Cox’s has in mind, there are hundreds of available players out there all scrapping for the deals, I’m not going to throw names of the players I want to see come to the club into the hat, I’m just going to sit here, bide my time and await the news coming from field mill, safe in the knowledge next season will be a good one!
When a new signing is made, I shall try and write a brief blog on my thoughts, plus I’ll try to keep the list of players on our books up to date – on the right hand side there is a subscribe via email option, just type in your email address and every time I post a new blog, you’ll be the first to know about it.
Thanks for reading, see you soon.