Tag: Mansfield Town

Keith Alexander: 1956-2010

At the time of writing, England are about to kick off against Egypt in their first friendly match of 2010. This is football as a peculiar mix of Hollywood and pantomime, a story that often seems to have very little to do with what goes on during the matches themselves. It’s a world that frequently feels alien. Away from this, however, there is a whole other world of football going on, a world in which people give up their youth, their other aspirations, relationships and families because they believe in the game. Often away from the spotlight and the wilder excesses of the game, the people that inhabit this world are often easily dismissed as “journeymen”, but they are crucial to our narrative of football. We lost one of them last night. Neither Keith Alexander’s playing career nor his managerial career scaled, as some might put it, the heights. As a player, he spent fourteen years in non-league football before going on to enjoy something of an Indian summer in the Football League with Grimsby Town and Mansfield Town, whilst winning a handful of caps at international level for St Lucia. It was not, however, his playing career that marks out his significance in the game, rather the managerial career that followed it, a managerial career that lasted from 1993 until right up until his death at the tragically...

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Mansfield Town’s Act Of Faith In Their Supporters

Mansfield Town of the Blue Square Premier are running a little experiment on Saturday – their supporters can turn up at Field Mill for their home match against Gateshead and pay what they like to get in. It’s now down to the people of the town to show how much they value their football club.

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Match Of The Week I: Lewes 0-1 Mansfield Town

According to White Hart Lane legend, upon leaving White Hart Lane after an irrepairable breakdown in his relationship with the new owners, Keith Burkinshaw looked over his shoulder at the ground that he had rejuvenated so much during his time there and said, “There used to be a football club over there”. This is the overriding impression that one comes away with from a visit to Lewes this season. The removal of Steve King at the end of last season and the subsequent break-up of the Blue Square South winning side tore a hole through the heart of the club, and this season has been a constant struggle to keep their head above water. Gutted, filleted and laid out to dry, they sit one place off the bottom of the Blue Square Premier, kept from the bottom place by the crisis torn Northwich Victoria, but still ten points from the safety of fifth from bottom in the table. At every point in the season at which things could go wrong. They were humiliated at home by Eastern Counties League side Leiston in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round – a match which, because of the competition’s prize money, they couldn’t afford to lose, literally or metaphorically. Last week, they were knocked out of the FA Trophy at Havant & Waterlooville, a team a division below them. The small diversion...

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Little Rays Of Sunshine

It’s probably fair to say that we would all like the league tables at the end of the season to have been decided by events that take place on the field of play. This is why the points deductions that were handed out by the Football League during the summer left such a bad taste in the mouth. The damage at Rotherham United, Luton Town and Bournemouth was done long before this summer, and the cost of it is, by and large, being borne by people that were little if not nothing to do with what actually went wrong. So far this season, the Football League has managed to hold up reasonably well financially, but there’s nothing in the general long-term prognosis isn’t good. If the economy continues to shrink, then season ticket sales are likely to fall sharply. Clubs may be about to discover that they are a luxury that many people can’t afford when times get hard. Considering that most of the worst financial crises have, thus far, been fought off, one might have expected that the majority of league tables were being decided, for once, by what occurred on the pitch, but that’s not completely true, and one league is leading the way when it comes to handing out heavy sanctions for errors – The Blue Square Premier. The BSP has earned itself a reputation for...

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An Early April Fool’s Joke

Take a close look at the picture on the left. That man is John Batchelor, and you might just be hearing quite a lot about him over the next few weeks or months. The reason for this is fairly simple – John Batchelor has launched a take-over scheme for League Two club which might even replace the likes of the Thames Valley Royals, Fulham Park Rangers and Manstock County as the maddest ever dreamt up by a football club owner. John Batchelor hopes to buy League Two club Mansfield Town, and rename it “Harchester United”, after the fictional club featured in the Sky TV drama show, “Dream Team”. I have, on your behalf, checked, double-checked and triple-checked to ensure that this isn’t all an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke, but it would seem that it isn’t, and it raises serious issues over who exactly is there to look after prone football clubs, who are stony broke but in possession of something that is very valuable indeed – a place relatively near the top of the tree in English senior football. So, first of all, a brief history lesson. York City were, by the start of 2002, in a poor state. Their former chairman, the wretched Douglas Craig had been turned upon by a small minority of supporters at Bootham Crescent, and decided on a revenge that would almost bring...

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