Split Personality Disorder!

The question that was on every Stags fan’s lips last week: “Could the Stags win away from home?” On Saturday we answered this question with a ‘yes’ even though the result, a 2-1 victory over 9-man Altrincham was hard fought and scrappy.

With no game during the week, I was either going to be bored stiff, or by some stroke of magic be a busy Stag. As it happened, I ended up being a busy Stag – enjoying a brilliant and surreal week, mostly as a result of my Radio exploits at Barrow. I’d like to thank everyone for all their kind comments following that night – I was flooded with no end of texts and messages via Facebook and Twitter – most of which asked the question ‘would you do it again’?! 

On Saturday (vs. Forest Green), I was instructed to ring Tony at the radio station on Monday morning. I did as I was told. I was asked in for a chat – I’m not going to go into real details, the gist of the situation being  he wanted me to give co-commentating another go, but without looking through ‘yellow eyes’. Of course I agreed and announced on the Facebook page late Friday night I would once again be in the commentary box.

This brings me to the title of my blog, “Split Personality Disorder”. I didn’t travel to the game on the SSA bus, because I knew my presence was required after the game to do interviews with whoever was sent. This would take between 10-30 minutes, and the coach wouldn’t wait for that amount of time – I wouldn’t expect them to either! I was dressed in a suit, so I didn’t even feel like a supporter. I was very nervous as I knew that if my performance was up to standard, I could be looking at a career. Again I received messages of support from people, so thank you.

I relaxed by listening to Vernon Kay on Radio 1, live from the Phoenix Club in Bolton with Peter Kay – priceless comedy! Eventually I arrived in Alty, getting phone calls to arrange a meeting point with Tony. Whilst walking to the arranged point, I bumped into the SSA bus and got a few wolf-whistles – “ooohhh look at you” comments amongst other things – as well as the good luck messages. Into the ground and straight to the press box ready to set up the equipment. Most of it’s a blur, besides the view I had of the ground and the empty stands. I looked over to the away end and I saw myself laughing and joking with my friends, seeing visions of celebrating a goal, or hurling ‘friendly’ banter towards the home goal keeper! I blinked and remembered I had a job to do!

My view from the press box! From my phone.

My view from the press box! From my phone.

Myself and Tony would be giving live updates from the game every 5 or 10 minutes- depending on what was happening in other fixtures, back in the Mansfield area. Stags started 4-3-3 with Briscoe returning to the side, one of four changes, two forced with Daryl Clare and Kyle Nix at home with flu.  What a game it was from a commentator’s point of view: red cards, yellow cards, scrapping, harsh tackles, controversial goals – oh and my personal favourite, a substitute getting booked on the sideline!

From a supporter’s point of view, that game would have been entertaining but nerve racking. I imagine that some serious nail biting would have taken place!

Kyle Perry & Louis Briscoe got the Stags’ goals before 9-man Alty caught Stags napping and pulled one back. Then they had the nerve /confidence to try and grab the equalizer, with Stags failing to make the numerical advantage count on more than one occasion! A few relieved faces in the Stags support, including the picture I got of myself!

I was suffering from a case of split personality, every time I glanced over to the Stags support I could see myself, where I was standing and what I was doing. Not looking through my usual ‘yellow eyes’ was a very difficult task for me.

I apologise for the lack of detail in this week’s blog – usually I bring you a little story of what’s happened on the coach or in the pub- there’s always a story to tell amongst my friends and I have to say I really did miss them on Saturday. I am really grateful to Tony and Mansfield 103.2 for a superb piece of work experience, and I would love for it to become a more permanent fixture. If this was to happen, I would have to consider letting someone else take a shot at this blog, because although I enjoy writing it, today something just doesn’t seem right.

But nothing has happened yet, so as Stags head to Eastbourne next weekend, I’ll be heading there too, back on the SSA bus with my friends and without the suit! Look out for the FA Cup 4th qualifying round draw on Monday, with the fixture being played 24th of this month – I’m personally hoping for a home tie!

Thanks as always for reading, and thanks once more for all your support- I couldn’t have done anything without knowing you all wished me well. Extended thanks to Craig Armstrong and Mark Stevenson, who gave me lots of help and advice on Friday afternoon when Tony sent me to get some experience doing some interviews. I am extremely grateful for everyone’s help and support.

See you at Eastbourne, either from the stands or the commentary box, my fate is unknown at the moment – keep your eyes on the Facebook page where I’ll keep you updated with what’s happening!

Craig

“Mansfield Town FC; to the sea-side!”

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