Mansfield Town Football Club
Mansfield Town, a club in Nottinghamshire, play their football at Field Mill and compete in League Two. Although they have local rivalries with Notts County, Lincoln City and Doncaster Rovers, their arch rivals by far are Chesterfield Football Club. This is a fierce rivalry which dates back to the days when Mansfield and Chesterfield were at the heart of the mining industry.
Nicknamed Stags (not The Stags as some people mistakenly name them), they play in amber and blue. Under manager Bill Dearden and former club hero, Paul Holland, as his assistant, the football league’s "most pessimistic fans" are desperate to climb up the football league ladder. However, with the club struggling at the wrong end of the League Two table, the danger of relegation is always a realistic one in their eyes.
The club was founded in 1897. Due to their roots in the local Wesleyan Church on Bridge Street, Mansfield Town were originally called Mansfield Wesleyans. They became Mansfield Town in 1910. This name change aggravated cross-town rivals, Mansfield Mechanics, in the process, who had also wanted the name Mansfield Town.
Early Playing Days
The club played in light blue and chocolate stripes, and played their matches at a ground on Westfield Lane, with this ground’s first match a 2-2 draw against Sherwood Foresters on 4th September 1897. They moved to Field Mill in time for their name change.
Football was played at this ground from 1861, which makes it one of the oldest football grounds in the world. Before entering a league, they just played friendly matches and an occasional local cup tie. Mansfield Town joined the Mansfield and District Amateur League for the 1902-03 season, and their first ever league game came on 6th September 1902, a 1-0 loss away to Mansfield Corinthians. Things got much worse a week after, when the club were annihilated by a 13-0 drubbing by Shirebrook Swifts.
The club also played for a brief period at the Newgate Lane ground. In 1906, the Mansfield & District Amateur League omitted the ‘Amateur’ from its name. This led straight away to the Methodists forbidding the club from being called Wesleyans.
As a result, the club changed its name to Mansfield Wesley and removed its association from the church. This allowed it to become professional, and the club progressed up to the Nottinghamshire & District League, a higher level of football than they were used to.
In the 1909-10 season, the club competed in the FA Cup for the first time. After winning six straight matches, they were knocked out by Mansfield Mechanics in the Second Qualifying Round replay.
Football League Entrance
After years of trying, Mansfield Town were admitted into the Football League for the 1931-32 season. For their first ever league game, the attendance at Field Mill exceeded 12,000 for the historic match against Swindon Town.
Stags then spent a number of years fighting re-election to the Football League, and have remained there or thereabouts ever since. In 1969, they pulled off one of the greatest FA Cup shocks in history, by beating Bobby Moore’s West Ham United 3-0.
The West Ham team at the time included a number of England’s World Cup-winning players. Mansfield made the Quarter Final of the competition, where they were beaten by Leicester City.
The club then won Division Four in the 1974-75 campaign, and were then promoted to Division Two for the only time in their history two seasons later. However, they were relegated at the end of the season.
Their only ever appearance at Wembley came in 1987, when they triumphed in the Leyland DAF Trophy. Played in front of 58,000 fans, the game against Bristol City was deadlocked at 1-1, before Mansfield won an enthralling penalty shootout 5-4. The club’s form then went downhill in the 90s when they sank all the way back down to the bottom tier of league football (Division Three) in 1990-91.
Back & Forth
From the start of the 90s to the present day, Mansfield Town fans have been made to endure a rollercoaster ride through the bottom two divisions in league football, with Stags going down as quickly as they come up and vice versa.
They made the play-offs in the 1994-95 campaign, but made a painful exit, by being beaten by bitter rivals Chesterfield in the Semi-Final. After narrowly missing out on promotion in the 1994-95 season, there were plans for the club to construct a new stadium in the town.
Instead they chose to refurbish Field Mill, and the ground now has three new stands. In the meantime the old-fashioned, slightly run-down wooden stand remains on the East side of the ground on Bishop Street.
They came 3rd in the league in 2001-02 to spring back up to Division Two, but came straight back down again after a lowly 23rd-place finish just a season after. They then made the play-offs again in 2003-04, this time going all the way to the final at the Millennium Stadium, against Northampton Town.
They won the Semi-Final following another pulsating penalty shootout. However, Stags’ fans were in despair after Huddersfield Town won a heart-rending penalty shootout, and had to face another season in Division Three.
The 2005-06 campaign started brightly enough at Field Mill. Strikers Matthew Tipton and Adam Birchall were signed from Macclesfield Town and Arsenal respectively, and well-known goalkeeper Kevin Pressman joined on a free transfer after being released from Leicester City, whilst manager Carlton Palmer brought in Peter Shirtliff as assistant manager.
The season looked very promising. The optimism didn’t stretch into the long-term, though. Poor results caused intense pressure from Stags’ supporters, and at the halfway stage the club was bringing up the rear at the bottom of the table. Palmer was sacked, and Peter Shirtliff stepped up from assistant to full manager.
Mansfield Town were the surprise visitors to St. James’ Park in the FA Cup 3rd Round that season, and were the unlucky club against which Geordie icon, Alan Shearer, equalled the late Jackie Milburn’s 200-goal record.
Stags Fans for Change (SSFC) was created at the start of the 2006-07 season, a fans group fighting for the resignation of Keith Haslam, club owner at the time. The group organised a number of non-aggressive projects during the course of the season in an attempt to try to get their message across.
This included hiring a plane to fly over the match with Notts County, with a banner declaring the club for sale and calling for Haslam’s departure. Just days after Haslam rejected a bid from James Derry’s consortium, Mansfield’s supporters pledged to hold a TV protest against Haslam on December 2, 2007, in an FA Cup Second Round tie against Harrogate Railway.
While Stags fight at the wrong end of the League Two table in the 2007-08 campaign, languishing five points into the relegation zone, the football league’s most pessimistic fans, as they are labelled, can take encouragement from an impressive FA Cup run.
Following their credible 2-1 win away to Brighton & Hove Albion, they eventually went out at home to Premier League side Middlesbrough in the Fourth Round.
Mansfield Town could really go one of two ways. The worst case scenario is a potential drop down to non-league football in the Blue Square Premier, with teams dropping out of the Football League often finding it hard to bounce back quickly.
However, with football notoriously unpredictable, Stags could just as easily put a decent run of form together and climb out of trouble, perhaps even putting up a realistic promotion push in seasons to come.
- Division 3 – Winners (1977)
- Division 4 – Winners 1975)
- Division 3 North – Runners-up (1951)
- Freight Rover Trophy – Winners (1987)
- Highest attendance – 24467 (vs Nottingham Forest, 10 January 1953, FA Cup 3rd Round)
- Best league win – 9-2 (vs Rotherham United, 27 December 1932, Division 3 North)
- Worst league loss – 8-1 (vs Walsall, 19 January, 1933, Division 3 North)
- Best cup win – 8-0 (vs Scarborough, 22 November, 1952, FA Cup 1st Round)
- Most internationally capped player – John McClelland (Northern Ireland, 6)
- Most league appearances – Rod Arnold (440 ,1970-1983)
- Most Total League goals – Harry Johnston (104, 1931-36)
- Most goals in a season – Ted Hartson (55, 1936-37)
- Record transfer fee received – £655,000 (to Spurs for Colin Calderwood, July 1993)
- Record transfer fee paid – £150,000 (to Carlisle for Lee Peacock, October 1997)
For club enquiries and ticket information/applications please contact:
Mansfield Town FC
Field Mill Ground
- Tel: 0870 7563160 (Main Office/Ticket Office)
- Fax: 01623 482 495
|North Stand (away end)||£18||£10||£10||£7|
|West Stand Upper Tier||£17||£11||N/A||£8|
|West Stand Lower Tier||£16||£10||£10||£7|
For further information on tickets please visit the club website.
From the North – Exit the M1 at junction 29, joining the A617 to Mansfield. After around 6 miles turn right into Rosemary Street, then carry on to Quarry Lane, turning right to the ground.
From the South – Exit the M1 at junction 28, joining the A38 to Mansfield. After around 6 miles turn right into Belvedere Street (at crossroads), then after a quarter of a mile turn right into Quarry Lane.
From the East – Take the A617 to Rainworth. At the crossroads turn left, and after 3 miles turn right into Nottingham Road. A left turn will take you into Quarry Lane.
From the West – Exit the M1 at junction 28, taking the A38 to Mansfield. After around 6 miles turn right into Belvedere Street (at crossroads), then after a quarter of a mile turn right into Quarry Lane.
The ground is a 5 minute walk from the station. Upon arrival, cross the road where you will see a retail park and the floodlights.
All buses stop at the Rosemary Street bus terminal. Exit the terminal and walk to your left. Within 5 minutes the ground will become visible.
- Limited car parking is available on a first come first served basis at a charge of £2.50 per car. When this is full there is ample parking space in the nearby car parks which are pay and display at a cost of around 60p per hour. The car park at the ground closes at 2.30pm on match days for safety reasons.