Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Silk Slips Away To Pastures New.

Rumours have been circulating as per normal around the stags fans circles, but today the truth comes to light, disappointing the majority of the stags faithful.  Right back Gary Silk, the clubs longest serving player at the end of last season, becomes the latest body to leave Field Mill, signing a one year deal with blue square rivals Grimsby Town.
Gary was one of Mansfield’s first ever signings as a non-league club, brought to the club by Billy McEwan from neighbours Notts County. Silk quickly developed as a fans favourite at Field Mill, making over 120 appearances in the amber & blue, skippering the side on a few occasions too.
Often on a Saturday afternoon, the terraces which housed stags fans away from Field Mill could be heard singing a special song in honour of the stags right back:
‘Gary Silk, Gary Silk, Gary Gary Silk – He’s got no hair but we don’t care, Gary Gary Silk’
Last season the song’s lyrics where changed after a in house bet between Silk & keeper Alan Marriott saw the stags right back grow his hair:
‘Gary Silk, Gary Silk, Gary Gary Silk – he’s got ginger hair but we don’t care, Gary Gary Silk!’
This song was adapted by a select few fans with my name replacing silky, much to my annoyance! However I don’t blame silky for the gingeriest nature of my nearest & dearest! Gary was a constant performer in my opinion, he always gave 100% in a Mansfield Town top, watching a full back able to flatten an on rushing winger, take the ball & make overlapping moves more than once in a game was a joy to be held.
During his first season at Field Mill he was pretty much irreplaceable at right back, only missing a handful of games, earning various player of the season awards along the way. Silks’ second season could have been so different had the red mist not descended upon Scott Gardener at Luton’s Kenilworth Road in the second game of the season. Gardener was brought in towards the later end of the previous season by the lesser twin & seemed to be preferred at right back to Silk, much to the disappointment of the supporters, with panic setting in amongst the fans when the lesser twin gave Gardener shirt number 2 & Silk had to settle with 16. Silk was straight back in the line up following Gardener’s sending off at Luton and put in his usual top class performances meaning Gardener rarely featured again & in true lesser twin fashion was shipped here, there and everywhere before eventually departing. Silks performances again earned him the plaudits of the fans & he came an extremely close second to Alan Marriott at the end of season awards.

Last season's performances perhaps didn't live up too those of the first two seasons, the jokers amongst us blamed his growing ginger hair, which in turn saw me get more & more stick - Thanks Gary! Some say it's because he wasn't pushed as much for a starting place, however the arrival of Steve Cook & later Dan Spence saw Silk return to the standard close to the one we'd come to love. Some still say he'd lost that spark, the spark mainly being his best mate, Matt Somner who failed to appear for the stags last season & departed in January - another victim of the lessertwin! 

Gary departs on good terms with Mansfield fans in my opinion, like I mentioned above, he always gave 100% & fans just warmed to him. Looking back over the past three incident filled years, Silk has perhaps been the quiet part of the machinery with very little fault, trying to figure my favourite Silk moment is a toughie so I'll have to opt for his goal away at Hayes & Yeading (2009-10 season) a totally dull game of football in which Hayes & Yeading somehow got in front, with Silk somehow bundling the ball home from half a yard in the very last second to salvage a point!
Silk's departure now see's only three players left from our first season in this hellish league, keeper Alan Marriott, Louis Briscoe & Tom Naylor - I'm trying to work out who our longest serving player appearance wise will now be, I believe it will be Mazza, yet I could be wrong so don't quote me on it!
Silk's not the only one to depart Field Mill today either, player assistant / temporary caretaker manager Paul Hall departs along with fitness coach Steve Bonnington. I wish all three the best of luck with whatever they do next, Paul is a fantastic character & always made press confrences interesting! He talks a good game & is also a newly qualified journalist I believe, so hopefully our paths will cross again!
With so many departures, I expect there will be quite a lot of arrivals in the next 2-3 weeks, it's beginning to dawn on me even more now that this is not just a case of stripping the wallpaper & re-painting, it's chipping away at the plaster, strengthening the cracks and starting from scratch - these are exciting times for Mansfield Town Football Club, finally a part of the story which seems to be promising sunshine & happiness, rather than darkness and the forces of evil!
Current Squad:
Alan Marriott
Adam Murray
Adam Smith
Tom Naylor
Louis Briscoe
Paul Connor
Rhys Day
Conor Higginson
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)

Kyle Nix
Tyrone Thompson
Niall O’Rafferty
Mark Preece
Paul Stonehouse
Ashley Cain
Stevie Istead
Steve Foster
Kevin Sandwith
Neil Collett
Ben Turner
Luke Medley
Danny Mitchley
Dan Spence
Gary Silk
Paul Hall
Steve Bonnington
Pre-Season Schedule:
9th JulyRainworth MWA3PM
15th JulyNotts CountyH7.45PM
19th JulyDoncaster RoversH7.30PM
23rd JulyFC Halifax TownA3PM
26th JulyHednesfordA7.45PM
30th JulyBoston UnitedA3PM
3rd AugustIlkeston TownA7.45PM 
Thanks for reading as ever, I'll see you soon reviewing the latest faces to be introduced to the stags family, to be the first to be notified of a new blog - subscribe be email now on your right hand side.

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