Fixture Night At Mill

On Monday evening, Mansfield Town held a “Fixture Night”, a chance to discuss the newly-released fixtures with manager David Holdsworth and some of his new playing staff. Those in attendance were Jake Speight, Luke Jones, Steven Istead, Tim Sandercombe and Luke Graham.  The new players were also joined by coach Gareth Holmes and the “Three Musketeers” – Chairman Andrew Perry, and Directors Andrew Saunders and Steve Middleton.

 Unlike the “Meet the Manager” evening, I only chose to go at the last minute, so I didn’t spend all my time sitting in a corner scribbling like mad!

 There was a big difference between the two evenings.  This one was less formal and seemed less like a press conference, which made the evening more relaxed. The players were already there when I arrived, chatting away with supporters moving from table to table.  David Holdsworth did the same.

 Proceedings got under way ten minutes after David Holdsworth’s arrival and as I say, the event was more relaxed.  Holdsworth and his players sat on bar stools, it did remind me of a boy-band on a chat show!

 With us in place as the audience, the chat show “host”, Mr Perry gave a brief speech of why the evening was taking place, the bottom line being that the club wanted to establish a better atmosphere with the fans, creating a “Family Club”.  Cue the applause and hand-over to David Holdsworth.

 David introduced the new players, giving a brief description of each of them.  I couldn’t really hear what he was saying, because of the thunderous applause that the players and new coach Gareth Holmes all received.

 To be fair, not many questions were asked about the fixtures: 

  • “Do you think playing Luton early on in the campaign will be a help or hindrance?”
  • “How will the long away trips to Gateshead & barrow affect the teams performance?”
  • “Do you think the fixture list has been cruel to us financially?”.

 The answer to the first question was straight and honest.  David Holdsworth said he wasn’t fussed when we played Luton; he believed the squad would be ready to match Luton and get a good, positive result.

The second question was interesting, the answer being a speech about how Holdsworth and the board were discussing different ways of preparation, for example, travelling to the destination earlier so players could rest in a hotel for 2/3 hours in the afternoon before the game.  He said that the club were looking at possible supporter involvement with sponsorship packages.

The third question I unfortunately did not manage to hear the answer.  Perhaps if I had taken my “Little Green Book” I could have given you more information!

Other questions included asking players why they had signed for Mansfield Town, what they could give to the club, and what they wanted to achieve.

I asked a few questions, including asking new coach, Gareth Holmes, what he could bring to the role.  I was impressed by his answer, he said he was there to concentrate on the sports science side of things, making sure player conditioning was at a excellent level.  He also said he was there to try to create new fresh drills for players to “up their work rate” and “improve subject areas”.

David Holdsworth added to this answer by saying: “It is important to bring the right personnel to the club, and as with playing staff, not employ big time Charlies.

“It is important to get the coaching staff stable, and get people who want to succeed and give myself and the players what I need.”

I sat there nodding my head, happy with the answer I was given.  For those of you who regularly read my blog, I’ll admit a hint of jealousy returned!

On a happy note, Holdsworth was asked if he was going to give the FA Trophy serious thought, to which he replied: “There’s no point entering something if you do not wish to win it.  Me and the Chairman went to watch this year’s Final.  I am not a jealous man but that day I was, I want to lead Mansfield Town out at Wembley, and want to return home with a winner’s medal and the trophy.”

Fantastic – a day out at Wembley at last! I have no doubt we will be serious contenders.

Other questions were asked regarding the youth set-up, the loan system, player targets, formations and all the other stuff you would expect.  Some laughter and applause came with certain questions and everyone walked out into the pouring rain with smiles on their faces – yet another Mansfield Town “Community” event going down a treat!

On a whole, the evening was what I expected it to be, a good atmosphere, good banter and David Holdsworth’s normal style answer – direct and positive, telling people what they wanted to hear and 90% of the time getting applause from the “chat show” audience!

I hope Mansfield Town continue to do these evenings, everyone was very approachable and friendly – you should come along to the next one, I am sure it will be a real treat.

Thanks for reading, and apologies for lack of detail in some answers – I really should take my “Little Green Book” out more!



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