EVENING POST AND CHAD PREVIEWS
Christie misses Tranmere trip
STAGS striker Iyseden Christie looks set to miss out on tonight's return trip to Tranmere Rovers (7.45pm) due to recurring dizzy spells.
Christie felt dizzy near the end of last wek's reserve game after a bang on the head and suffered another spell on Saturday when he was recalled for the original trip to Prenton Park.
That game was abandoned at half-time with Rovers leading 2-0 due to a local man climbing on to the stand roof and refusing to come down.
Supporters are reminded that admission to tonight's game is free.
Curle's only other real team decision is whether to play himself or give the teenage centre back pairing of Alex John-Baptiste and Jake Buxton further experience.
Tonight's clash holds little meaning with Stags already relegated and Rovers' play-off chances gone.
STAGS FANS COUNT COST OF ABANDONMENT
Evening Post, 29 April 2003
Disappointed Stags fans have been left counting the cost of Saturday's abandonment at Prenton Park.
The visit to Tranmere Rovers was called off at half-time when a man climbed onto the roof of the Cowshed Stand and refused to come down. The game is to be replayed tonight and admission is free but, because the game has been organised so quickly, many Stags fans are unable to attend.
Consequently, because no vouchers or tickets were issued when the stand was evacuated, they will have to write off the £15 they paid to get in.
For some the cost is much higher.
Andrew Leverton, who lives in London, said: "Me and my girlfriend drove up for the game on Saturday. We probably spent £50 on petrol, another £30 to get in and other costs like food and programmes.
"We weren't given a ticket when we paid to get in so no chance of a refund.
"There is no chance of us being able to get back up for the replay, whether it"s free or not.
"I think Mansfield should be awarded the there points and Tranmere docked points and fined."
Jamie Fryatt of Mansfield, who was at the game on Saturday, said he would not be able to go to the game but was adamant that it should go ahead.
He said: "I'm gutted that I cannot go because I have only missed four games all season and would have liked the chance to have clapped the players off from their last away game.
"I think the game should be replayed. You can't just go giving up on games because they mean nothing.
"It's a chance for younger players to play and for Keith Curle to try out some new things, and a final chance for the players to prove to Curle that they want to work with him and achieve something next year."
Curle, who has been struggling with a groin injury recently, could make an appearance at Prenton Park.
The Stags were 2-0 down when the game was called off.
Liam Lawrence is expected to have recovered from the virus that kept him out of the original match.
MANSFIELD (from): Pilkington, Clarke, John-Baptiste, Buxton, Hassell, Williamson, Curtis, Disley, Corden, Larkin, Christie, White, Welch, Gadsby, MacKenzie, Mendes, Lawrence, Curle.
Relegation battle over for sorry Stags
Mansfield Town finally lost their relegation battle on Saturday just 371 days after celebrating promotion from Division Three.
But player-manager Keith Curle, while gutted to have lost the fight this time around, is confident he is close to getting the club as he would want it on and off the field.
Stags crashed out of Division Two due to other results, despite the half-time abandonment of Saturday's game at Tranmere after a local man climbed onto a stand roof and refused to come down.
"To say I am disappointed is a big understatement," said Curle."This is my first manager's job and all my CV now says is failure.
"With all that ability in that changing room I believed we had enough to keep us up. But there was a stream of unprofessionalism and immaturity running through this football club when I came here which I am gradually changing and weeding out.
"A lot of people here needed to grow up football-wise and for themselves. I have been asked to change things here in a very short period of time and, while some were able to grasp it quickly, others haven't. That then transferred itself on to the pitch.
"It showed in the way we were only 95 per cent right or we let in so many goals in the last five minutes.
"I have heard some people calling me arrogant. But anyone who knows me knows I am not an arrogant man.
"I am a confident man with self-belief and, unfortunately, a lot of people here lacked self-belief. I am trying to take them in the right direction.
"Some of them have gone with me. The others will be the ones left by the wayside.
"I now believe we have laid the foundations to put this club in good stead for the future.
"I came here to start my managerial career and I want to carry on. I have a good relationship with the chairman and both of us have been identifying areas we thing are wrong and need changing.
"Some people may not like those changes but they are all for the long term good of Mansfield Town.
"I will now sit down with the chairman and find out what guidelines I have to adhere to for next season. I will tell him which players I want out and which players I want in though I know he runs a tight and professional ship.
"The fans have been absolutely magnificent. The club was going nowhere when we arrived. But we quickly won three matches and gave them a bit of hope. Credit to them, they have stuck with us.
"I know want my players to go out there against Northampton on Saturday and give the supporters a performance they deserve to say thank you as they have been brilliant.
"Some have said we were unlucky, but I'm a great believer that you make your own luck.
"I feel very wounded and I wish certain circumstances could have been different. I think we had 95 per cent of things right. But the other five per cent kicked us up the backside.
"I kept the players back for an hour in the changing room after the game on Saturday and pointed out a lot of things - the whys and wherefores.
"I reminded them the next time they ran out the tunnel they would be classed as Third Division players. They needed to realise that and identify the reasons why it happened. It was a culmination of the immaturity and unprofessionalism running through the club. It has been a case of re-educating them which takes time.
"When John Gannon and myself took over we believed we could save this club from relegation. Believe me, if things had continued as they were at that time this club would have gone down long before the second to last game of the season.
"I know there were some critics of our style of play. But it was a means to an end. We were conceding too many goals so sometimes it helps to just keep the ball as far away from your goal as possible.
"It was not ideal and now it is a case of getting in the right players for the style I want to play next year.
"My aim is obviously to get us straight back up. We can now iron out many of the problems and build on the foundations we've set and, if we do come up, we will be much stronger than this season."
Chairman Keith Haslam added: "I am obviously bitterly disappointed to see us relegated as are everyone at the club. It makes it worse that I believe overall we were good enough to survive at this level.
"I want to thank our supporters who have been magnificent all season in their conduct, behaviour and support for the team. I am confident we are a better side now than the one which was promoted this time last year.
"Just three weeks ago we believed we could take nine points from our last four home matches and be safe which we were very capable of. But we've fallen at the final hurdle which is very frustrating.
"Survival in Division Two was our motive this year. Other clubs have been saying, after seeing our performances, they can't believe we are in this position.
"Early in the season when we had a disappointing run of results we were shambolic. We have tightened up since then and man for man we are as good as most clubs in the division which is a good base to build on. We were not outclassed for long periods of the season at all.
"Yes it is a step backwards we are taking. But we are taking it from a very strong base and I want to see this club now move forward again. I am very proud of the club and very proud of the supporters. The two go hand in hand as the club is the supporters.
"We have got to be very confident next season. I am confident in my manager and the staff and players.
"We now have to move forward and not linger on what might have been or could have been."
He added: "We have to be positive. No one wanted this to happen. We have to get over it. It is my first experience of relegation and I don't like it.
"It is going to be a very interesting year next year and I believe we are more than capable of challenging for promotion again.
"The Third Division is never an easy one to bounce back from. But I think and hope when the betting for next season comes out for next season that we will be one of the favourites for promotion.
"Last season when we did go up we were only expected to finish in the bottom half of the table according to the betting. So if we are among the favourites this time it will shows the perception of this club round the country has gone up.
"The club has certainly moved on. We have pushed our gates up from 2,500 to the best part of 5,000 and I hope we will retain them next season.
"It's all about belief and, in all fairness, if we start the first three months of the season well I don't think gates will drop.
"I believe in what I have here or I wouldn't be here and I hope supporters do too. If they have any questions I would be happy to answer them and I hope to see you all back next season.
"Before then we have Saturday's game with Northampton to look forward to and let's have a good end to the season. Let's go out on a high.
"I don't want Saturday to be doom and gloom. Let's show our spirit and use it as a bonding experience and move on.
"All right, we have gone down. But we are going to come back and we are good enough to do it."
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