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Archived News from December 2004

20th December 2004 22:10

Curle says what sacking?
CHAD website, 20 December 2004
KEITH Curle is claiming he has still not been sacked by Mansfield Town Football Club.
Stags announced manager Curle's sacking on Friday after concluding an investigation into allegations of bullying at the club.
They said they had informed Curle by a recorded delivery letter.
But Curle said today (Monday): "I have still not officially been sacked by official letter or phone call.
"I have heard nothing from the club at all. I have had other recorded delivery letters come in the meantime, but not from Mansfield Town.
"It sems the club is conducting its business through the media which I don't think is the right way.
"Then again I have always said there is the right way of doing things, the wrong way and the Mansfield Town way - nothing changes.
"Perhaps it would have been easier if the chairman had dropped it round personally inside my Christmas card!"

Mansfield yet to sack me - Curle
Ousted Mansfield manager Keith Curle has revealed he has yet to receive official confirmation of his sacking.
Curle was dismissed on Friday following an internal inquiry into unspecified allegations made against him.

But he maintains: "I've still not been officially notified of any decision by the club to terminate my employment but it seems to be in the public domain.

"I've had great support from the League Managers' Association, and I'll continue to take their advice."

Evening Post, 20 December 2004
Carlton Palmer is refusing to take all the credit for the capture of Joel Kitamirike (pictured below).

The Stags' caretaker-boss signed the 20-year-old centre back, who has played in Chelsea's first team, in time for him to be included in the squad for Saturday's game at Gay Meadow.

Kitamirike had to settle for a place on the bench, even though midfielder Alex Neil's inclusion at right back, in an unchanged 11, saw Mansfield start with just three defenders.

But, with Dave Artell set to miss the next few games, Palmer felt the time was right to add him to the squad.

"He's a player that Keith Curle brought in," said Palmer. "I've been watching him in training and been impressed.

"I've taken him on a non-contract basis, knowing that Artell needs an operation and will be out until possibly the middle of January. He's a big strong lad, he tackles well and is good on the ball - and I've told him to win himself a contract."

Palmer believes Saturday's win is a key victory for the Stags this season, and the side can get back to the type of form they were producing earlier in the campaign.

"It was important. The club have had some problems but the Keith Curle situation has been sorted out now and I told the players that if they want to be in the shake-up at the end of the season, they had to win the game. The pitch was terrible and teams catch a cold here.

"I told the players it would be a horrible, ugly game and that they needed to do all the ugly things right.

"They worked very hard and I'm delighted with the way they went about it."

Palmer says he is focusing on getting matters right on the pitch for now - and believes the next five games will make or break Mansfield's 2004-5 campaign.

But he was planning to meet chairman Keith Haslam today to discuss the possibility of turning his caretaker role into a permanent position.

"There are issues which need to be resolved. We'll have to wait and see.

"But what happened with Keith Curle has ended now and we're not interested in talking about that any more.

"I've said all along that it was a matter between the chairman and Keith Curle - and I want to concentrate on the football.

"We've got five games now which will decide our season and the response from the players has been first-class.

"I love football. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't. It hasn't been easy for me, the chairman or the players, but they are a good bunch of lads and have been very receptive to what I've said."

Evening Post, 20 December 2004
Stags have rejected moves by former boss Stuart Watkiss to take Alex Neil and Luke Dimech to his new club, Kidderminster Harriers.

Carlton Palmer has told Watkiss he wants to keep hold of both players.

Meanwhile, Neil admits securing a first win in 12 games on Saturday was a relief.

"We've been playing well recently but we just needed to get the ball in the back of the net and get that first win under our belts," said the Stags midfielder.

"It wasn't a nice game. There wasn't much passing and we had to dig in, but the boys battled well.

"We knew about the state of the pitch and we knew it would be a scrap.

"We had to roll up our sleeves and show how much we wanted it.

"Hopefully, we can kick on now and start moving back up the table.

"We're confident in our strikers and it was only a matter of time before we started banging goals in again."

Evening Post, 20 December 2004
Shrewsbury Town 0 v 2 Mansfield Town

Carlton Palmer must be pleased his application for the Shrewsbury job did not lead to him taking the helm at Gay Meadow.

The former Stockport County boss was overlooked by the Shropshire club in favour of Gary Peters, following Jimmy Quinn's departure.

But, while Peters is coming to terms with what looks like being a tough challenge ahead, Palmer has plenty to be pleased about.

Mansfield's caretaker-manager is expected to be given the job permanently this week.

And while there is a renewed air of optimism at Field Mill following the end of the Keith Curle saga, it looks like being a long, hard winter ahead for Peters.

There was a time not so long ago when Luke Rodgers and Nigel Jemson were causing a big stir at Gay Meadow.

Former Forest striker Jemson is now plying his trade at Ilkeston Town and Rodgers is not the force he was a couple of season ago. He can't buy a goal at the moment.

The striker still has a bit of pace about him, but rarely troubled Stags skipper Alex John-Baptiste and Luke Dimech in the heart of the defence.

Taming the Shrews was by no means straightforward on a notoriously poor Gay Meadow pitch.

But Mansfield very much deserved their first victory since Palmer took the reins.

They were good enough to run out worthy winners, but were aided by a poor Shrewsbury side.

Once Derek Asamoah had given the visitors the lead though, the Shrews were timid in their response and it is clear Peters had few options when it came to chasing the game.

His decision to make a double substitution and switch systems late in the game was effectively his last throw of the dice.

The gamble didn't work and Adam Murray's strike sealed what can best be described as a workmanlike display by a well-organised Mansfield outfit.

They didn't really need to be better than that as Shrewsbury contributed to their own downfall with some shaky, hesitant defending.

The home side were penned in their own half in the opening minutes, with much of the early play involving Mansfield attacking on the right flank.

Asamoah looked lively from the outset and, when he cut in from the right and fired low inside the near post midway through the first half, it set Stags on their way to a win which ended a run of 11 games without victory.

There is still work to be done. Two wins in 18 games, against Notts County and Shrewsbury, is hardly a reason to think that Mansfield have suddenly reverted to the sort of form which made them look like genuine challengers for automatic promotion earlier in the season.

But the performance against Rushden and Saturday's display suggests Palmer's men are turning the corner after a turbulent period for the club, both on and off the pitch.

A defensive error preceded Murray's comprehensive finish to seal the match and, with a little under 20 minutes remaining, many home fans decided enough was enough and began to leave in their droves.

There was very little threat from a Shrewsbury side short on quality and confidence in seemingly equal measures from start to finish and once the visitors had doubled their advantage, it seemed clear that Mansfield would be celebrating their first three point haul for more than two months at the final whistle.

Shrewsbury did manage to carve out two very good scoring opportunities in the closing stages, but their inability to convert either of them merely rubbed salt into their wounds.

With seven minutes remaining, Jamie Tolley and Kelvin Langmead failed to get a crucial touch from close range following a Rodgers cross, allowing Jake Buxton to clear.

Substitute John Grant's header over the bar in the 88th minute summed up a dismal day for the home side.

Man of the match: Adam Murray

Evening Post, 20 December 2004
Former Southampton and Walsall manager Chris Nicholl, a regular at Gay Meadow this season, was not impressed with the fare on show on Saturday.

Nicholl, who has also managed in Japan, spends more time on the golf course than watching football these days.

But he remains an interested observer and was part of the media team covering Saturday's League Two match, providing statistical analysis for the Press Association.

Although the game, played on a poor surface, was far from being a classic in Nicholl's eyes, the contribution of Mansfield goalscorer Derek Asamoah did catch his eye.

"Mansfield deserved to win," he said.


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