Saturday, 16 July 2011

Thompson Signs – The world of football never sleeps

I’ve said many times before how much I love my job as a sports journalist, especially when you’re covering your local team. You get to go behind the scenes, work with the management & players and get strong hints from interviews about which player might be next to sign on the dotted line.
As John Thompson arrives, I can now smile with the rest of you and release the excitement I’ve had for a few days now, it’s pleasing to actually sign him & now relish the moment he pulls on a stag’s kit, rather than to be checking every clubs website worrying he may have a change of heart – it happens after all, need I say the name Leon Knight!?
This is quite possibly the best capture by any club in the BSBP so far this transfer window, it says a lot about the way the club have presented & sold themselves to attract a player who played regular football in league one last season.
The 29 year old centre half, who can also slot in at right back, pens a 2 year deal with the stags, becoming only the 3rd player that Paul Cox’s has signed to do so, Lee Stevenson & Paul Bolland are the others. Mansfield have fought off several clubs, including interest from a few MLS sides to make this signing, the deciding factor being his enjoyment of the fans, stadium & general look at the boys during last night’s 2-1 defeat to the side Thompson left a month or so ago, Notts County.
Thompson began his career in his native Dublin, playing for local sides Rivervalley Rangers & Home Farm respectively, its during his time at the latter which saw John progress to the national youth set up & win the EUFA European U17 Championship in 1998. A move across to England followed, linking up with the Forest academy; he skippered their Under 19 side to the Premier Academy League Title glory in 2000.
The U19 captaincy glory, along with glowing recommendations from coaches, saw Thompson sign pro forms with Forest, he went onto play 129 games for them, scoring 7 goals before departing in 2007. His time at Forest saw him sent out on loan to gain more experience, with two separate short spells at Tranmere Rovers.
His release from Forest saw him sign for Oldham Athletic, however an injury saw his Oldham chances limited, a move back to Nottingham came during the 2008-09 season as he linked up with Notts County, initially on loan in October 2008, before signing permanently during the January 2009 transfer window.
After finding his feet in the county set up, Thompson established himself as a fan’s favourite and soon gained the captains armband, leading the side to the league 2 title during the 2009-10 campaign, he was also part of the side which kept a record 26 clean sheets. With county manager Martin Allen seemingly reluctant to offer Thompson a new deal, Thompson began to look else were and as I mentioned earlier, after a short spell in the MLS, settled with Mansfield Town. It’s an excellent capture for the stags, it’s been clear to see over the last two games that our defence needs tweaking, Thompsons the ideal man for the job, I can’t wait to see him in action & to see how he works with Tom Naylor when he recovers from his injury.
I still feel we need another left back, Chris Caruthers is the ideal man for the job for me but Alan Goodall had a fairly decent game last night so could also be worth another look – that said, I think it’s time to forget trialists and begin to let the side gel, the foundations to success need time to set now. We also need another striker, Louis Briscoe up top will not work, whilst he’ll give his all, he seems attracted to the wing and should stay there and help stags penetrate the other side’s weakness – I’ll cover all this later on with the match report from last night, plus a commentary podcast, so stay tuned.
John put pen to paper shortly before midnight last night, with the first interview taking place bang on midnight, credit to office & media staff who stayed awake & working until the early hours to see this deal, perhaps the best deal MTFC have made for years, signed, sealed & delivered – the world of football simply never sleeps.
Welcome to Field Mill John, all that’s left to say is good luck & please do not turn out like the last Thompson we had at the club, I want fans of Mansfield Town FC to love you, not fans of Hayes & Yeading!
Updated Squad & Management List.
Alan Marriott
Adam Murray
Adam Smith
Tom Naylor
Louis Briscoe
Paul Connor
Rhys Day
Danny Mitchley
Neil Collett
Lee Stevenson (New signing – Eastwood)
Lindon Mikele (New signing – Eastwood)
Paul Bolland (New signing – Macclesfield)
Matt Bell (New signing – Port Vale [Reserves])
Anthony Howell (New signing – Alfreton) 
Ross Dyer (New signing – Forest Green Rovers)
Jon Worthington (New Signing – Bradford City)
Micky Moore (Assistant Manager – Joins from Solihull Moors)
Andy Todd (Player Coach)
Ritchie Sutton (New Signing – Port Vale)
Paul Ogden (Chief Scout)
Luke O’Neill (New Signing – Leicester City)
Shane Redmond (New Signing – Chesterfield)
Martin Riley (New Signing – Cheltenham)
John Thompson (New Signing – Notts County)         

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