CURLE PLAYS WAITING GAME
STAGS boss Keith Curle will not be rushed into signing new faces as he looks to establish an incentive-based wage structure at Field Mill.
Curle is planning to bring in a new central defender, a striker, and another defender as cover this summer.
But he will not be held to ransom by wage demands as Mansfield Town join many other Nationwide League clubs in trying to restore some financial sanity into a game brought to its knees by exorbitant wages.
"It's a buyer's market and I won't rush into anything," said Curle.
"It will take time but players need to be re-educated about what clubs can realistically pay them and those who earned £2,000-£3,000 a week last year will suddenly find they are being offered £500-£600 deals with incentives on top.
"This has to be the way forward for the lower division clubs and it will quickly spread up to Division One and, eventually, even into the lower reaches of the Premiership.
"Players can still earn good money if they hit their targets individually and as a team.
"My task is to set achievable targets. There is no point saying there is a bonus for you if we don't concede a goal all season.
"It has to be realistic. Perhaps there might be a bonus for keeping 20-25 clean sheets in a season.
"There will also be individual targets like goal scoring, as well as team targets as well.
"This new idea is being brought in with the foresight, and under the guidance of, our chairman who has realised the situation very early."
Curle believes many players will hold out for a while until they realise their telephones have stopped ringing and that's when he thinks they will call him back to negotiate.
"Another problem area is Non-League football with many clubs paying out money they can't afford. Some are offering deals that many lower division League clubs can't match," he added.
"But it will only take a couple of non-League clubs to go into administration or go bust to change that, or chairmen - getting no return for their investments - changing it."
Curle does not believe he is far away from having a squad capable of challenging in Division Three.
He said: "Since I came here we have lost 10 players and brought four in. The nucleus of the team I want is not far away.
"We have five strikers and six midfielders but we are short at the back. I want another centre back and another defender as cover plus a striker."
One player likely to sign is Ben Doane, now a free agent after being released by Sheffield United.
Doane enjoyed a steady loan spell at Field Mill at the end of the season before a recall to Bramall Lane saw him suffer a nasty ankle injury.
"Stags fans have not yet seen the best of Ben," said Curle. "While he was here he suffered a family bereavement and the birth of his child so he had a lot on his shoulders for such a young man.
"Luckily I spent two years with him at Sheffield United and know what he is capable of and I believe he can do very well in the Third Division.
"I have spoken to Ben and I would love to bring him to this football club if he can get over his injury and be back in peak fitness.
"He is a good listener and wants to learn. I have a lot of time for Ben."
The future of Stags strikers Andy White and Danny Bacon remains uncertain at Field Mill.
Both have been offered new contracts but neither have signed them The club have given them a deadline of 17th June to respond.
White publicly said last week that he would not sign his contract unless he was offered more money than at present.
And Bacon is still a target for non-League neighbours Hucknall Town where he made such an impact on loan at the end of last season.
If either of them do leave Mansfield Town, the Stags would be entitled to compensation under the Bosman ruling as both are still aged under 24.
White was quoted as saying his new deal only adds up to around £25 a week more than last season.
And, as he claims he is already one of the club's lower paid players and cannot afford to leave his parents' home, he is sticking out for the deal he believes he deserves after scoring some crucial goals in the last two seasons.
Curle is calling for a meeting with White and his agent which should give the Stags boss an early chance to sell his new incentive-based system to a player.
Stags' hopes of staging a pre-season friendly at home to Chesterfield have been scuppered by projected Police costs.
"Police advice was that it would be treated as a normal League fixture so the cost would not make the game viable which is a shame," said Curle.
However, the club have added two more pre-season friendlies with a pencilled-in trip to Stockport County on Friday, 25th July to be confirmed and a game at Scarborough already confirmed on Saturday, 2nd August which should attract a good weekend following of Stags fans by the seaside!
Keith Curle will spend next week at the University of Warwick as he begins a two-year Certificate of Applied Management course.
Designed especially to educate football managers in the business side of a club, he is just one of many well known faces on the course which include Stuart Pearce, Tony Adams and Chris Turner.
"This is expected to eventually become a standard management requirement like the coaching badge," said Curle.
"It will be attractive to chairmen who want their managers to be able to coach and also be familiar with the business side of a footbal club."
The Field Mill ticket office and club shop will be closed today and tomorrow (Wednesday and Thursday) due to staff training on a new ticketing system.
Stags are offering fans Executive Lounge packages for the pre-season friendlies at home to Manchester City (19th July) and Coventry City (30th July).
Against Manchester City for £20 a head, fans get an Executive Box seat, a programme and a light buffet with bar facilities. And against Coventry, for £25 a head, fans get the shame with a larger buffet and post-match entertainment from comedian Charlie Hale - a former Manchester City player. Call Bob Gorrill on 01623 482482 for more details.
Latest | June 2003