CURLE ON FIXTURES AND ON SCRAPPING RESERVE TEAM
STAGS TO SCRAP RESERVE TEAM
Evening Post, 19 June 2003
The Stags, relegated last season, face a trip to Kidderminster on opening day.
That will give former Stags defender Matthew Gadsby the chance to make his Harriers debut against his former club.
Stags drew 1-1 in their last visit after a Chris Greenacre goal was levelled by Mark Blake.
They will play Yeovil at home on September 20 and away on March 27 while they will reacquaint themselves with Doncaster Rovers at Belle Vue on October 18 and at home on February 21.
Manager Keith Curle said he was now anxious to get the season under way.
Curle said: "Now we really have something to look forward to.
"It is going to be a big challenge for us to bounce back."
Keith Curle said today a number of factors have led him to withdraw Mansfield Town's reserve side from the Combination League.
The Stags boss will be arranging friendly matches with local clubs instead, as and when he needs outings for players coming back from injuries. Some will still be played at Field Mill but the club is looking to use non-league facilities and other clubs' training grounds.
Curle said: "We have taken the decision to pull out of the reserve league so that we can concentrate on the youth set-up and the first-team squad.
"Young lads have been coming up through into the first team and we finished the season with four 17-year-olds in the squad."
Curle said the changing nature of football, with its smaller squads, means that young players should not need the stop-gap of the second string and move from the youth team straight into the first team.
He said: "Things have really changed since I started playing when a reserve squad was as big as the first-team squad.
"But then you would get players who were 22 and 23 who had never played for the first team.
"Now there are question marks against you if you haven't done that by the time you are 19.
"We want to test players at the highest level possible and that is what we did last season and there will be games for others not involved."
He said games would still be arranged on a friendly basis and said the lack of common sense demonstrated by referees in the Avon League is one of the primary reasons for the decision.
He said: "I would still expect a player on the fringe of things to play about 25 games and we are ideally situated to organise games ourselves.
"We have clubs like Sheffield United and Forest on our doorstep and there are a lot of clubs willing to play games against us.
"I am not interested in a reserve league as such, particularly one that is used to fast-track referees into the Nationwide League.
"They are being continually assessed and that means the common sense element has been taken out.
"The 22 players all want the opportunity to impress their managers but they cannot do it.
"We had one game where Scunthorpe travelled down to play us, two young players were sent off for technicalities and we ended up losing 10-1.
"No-one learns anything from games like that. It was just a complete waste of time.
"We are currently looking at forging a relationship with a local non-league club to play games there because that will save our pitch a bit.
"Some of the matches will be played at training grounds and others will be at Field Mill so there will be chances for supporters to come and see who is coming up through the ranks."
No Reserves For Stags This Season
mansfieldtown.net, 18 June 2003
Following last season's showing in the Reserve league, and at times some of the 'inappropriate' refereeing that had youngsters sent of the field of play and suspended from time to time, Stags boss Keith Curle felt that the reserve league held no real merit and that it would better suit football clubs of all levels as a forum where young up and coming players, benched players and trialists, can work on their game and show that they have the talents that mangers are looking for.
So, this season (2003/04) the Stags will not be entering a team into the reserve league but instead arrange a series of friendly games that will achieve all of Keith Curle's aims.
Firstly the squad members of Mansfield Town that have not been figuring in recent games will have the opportunity to hone their footballing skills and play to win their first team places back.
Secondly the up and coming stars of the youth team have the opportunity of 'cutting their teeth' against more professional opposition
and finally it gives the management duo of Keith Curle and John Gannon an opportunity to look at new players attending trials.
But most importantly of all the players who commit fouls and play dirty will receive internal discipline from the club rather than have to miss out on games.
Latest | June 2003