PILKS LEAVES AS BIRCHALL AND UHLENBEEK SIGN
BBC Sport :
Mansfield boss Carlton Palmer is set to sign defender Gus Uhlenbeek and Wales Under-21 striker Adam Birchall, reports BBC Radio Nottingham.
Uhlenbeek, 34, is a free agent after leaving Wycombe, while Arsenal released 20-year-old Birchall last month.
But goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington, 31, who has made nearly 200 appearances in five years at Field Mill, is set to leave after rejecting a new deal.
He captained the Stags team which reached the play-off final in 2004.
Adam Birchall was amongst the first players to put to pen to paper of the summer signings sealing a two year deal at Field Mill. The Arsenal youngster who has been at the London club since he was ten years old refused a renewed contract at his old club and took a drop in pay in favour of a chance of first team football at Mansfield.
"I came to the club and spoke to the chairman and Carlton and they said the right things to me. The club seems as though it is going in the right direction and I have fond memories of when I came here with Wycombe and I want to be a part of that." Said Adam
Talking about how his career has shaped up so far he added:
"when I was on loan at Wycombe last year I realised that I was ready for first team football and it just wasn't going to happen for me at Arsenal so I made it clear to the gaffer when I came back from the loan period that I wanted to leave so it was just a case of finding the right club for me and I think that Mansfield and Carlton Palmer are the right move for me to help start my career off"
"Having the opportunities week in and week out to compete at a competitive level is really exciting and I am really looking forward to the start of the season. I remember that when I played against Mansfield, they (MTFC) were all over us but I managed to nick a poacher goal which is obviously what I want to do for Mansfield." Birchall told the official site.
The move to Mansfield was made a little easier with him already knowing International team mate Rhys Day. " I know Rhys from playing with him for Wales so it makes things a little easier when you already know somebody at a club but to be fair all the lads have made feel very welcome. i got to meet the lads today in training for the first time and I already feel relaxed and ready for the start of the season he said.
TWO SIGN AS PILKS LEAVES
Defender Gus Uhlenbeek and former Arsenal striker Adam Birchall have signed for Mansfield Town.
But Kevin Pilkington has confirmed he is leaving Field Mill after rejecting a new deal.
"It's a massive disappointment but I've got to look after my family," said the former Manchester United keeper.
"I've been speaking to a couple of clubs but there are no further developments at this stage.
"I've had five great years with Mansfield and enjoyed every minute. I didn't want to leave, but that's football."
Uhlenbeek and highly-rated Welsh-U21 international striker Birchall have pledged their short-term future to the Stags, Ulhenbeek signing a one-year contract and Birchall a two-year deal.
Ulhenbeek (34) can also play in midfield.
Birchill (20), who turned down a new contract with Arsenal, scored five goals in ten games on loan at Wycombe Wanderers last season - all from the left wing slot.
Ulhenbeek, who has played for Bradford City, Chesterfield, Fulham, Ipswich, Sheffield United and Walsall, also played at Wycombe last season and turned down an offer of a new deal.
Stags chairman Keith Haslam says there will still be another four or five new faces in the camp in time for the forthcoming season, including two more strikers.
Stags boss Carlton Palmer said: "I know that it has been a difficult time for the fans who have felt that we are not going to be signing any new players," said Palmer.
"But let me assure everybody that we have been actively seeking players, making contact with managers, players and agents.
"After the Rob Clare and Danny Bacon incidents I wanted to play my cards close to my chest and not build expectations up, only to be let down at the last minute."
Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock is reported to be interested in offering £150,000 plus Luke Beckett to Mansfield in return for defender Alex John-Baptiste.
Palmer confirmed that he has made inquiries about Beckett and that Warnock has been asking about John-Baptiste.
"I have inquired about Luke Beckett and Sheffield United have been on to us asking about Alex John-Baptiste, but there is no truth in the rumours that a deal has been arrived at," said Palmer.
Stags unveil first two summer signings
MANSFIELD Town gave supporters the big boost they had been waiting for when the club unveiled their first two summer signings today.
Vastly experienced Dutchman Gus Ulhenbeek and highly-rated Welsh U21 international striker Adam Birchill have both pledged their future to the Stags, Ulhenbeek signing a one-year contract and Birchill a two-year deal.
And chairman Keith Haslam said there would still be another four or five new faces in the camp in time for the forthcoming season, including two more strikers.
Ulhenbeek (34) is a highly respected defender who can also play in midfield while Birchill (20) turned down a new contract with Premiership giants Arsenal in pursuit of first team football after scoring five goals in 10 games on loan at Wycombe Wanderers last season - all from an out-of-position left wing slot.
Ulhenbeek, who has given sterling service to SV Tops in Holland, Bradford City, Chesterfield, Fulham, Ipswich Town, Sheffield United and Walsall, also played at Wycombe last season and had turned down their offer of a new deal.
Ironically, both players scored against Stags last season.
"That's two goals less against us next season then, smiled a delighted Keith Haslam.
"There has been a lot of speculation and disappointment among our fans but now they will start to see things happening.
"With the players we will bring in they will see we are serious about promotion.
"Arsenal wanted Adam Birchill to stay but he wants first team football and David Pleat told me last week that he thought the lad was outstanding.
"He is a current Welsh U21 international and showed what he could do at Wycombe last year. Obviously he will need time to acclimatise as it will be a bit of a culture shock with the tempo in this division.
"But at Arsenal he will have had the right breeding and the right training. He has all the right credentials.
"Gus is a very experienced player and Wycombe wanted to keep him. When we came in they even upped their offer.
"But Gus knows Carlton and, like Adam, wants to play for him. He is a lively character and can play a variety of positions."
Manager Palmer added: "Gus is a very experienced player but still a very fit lad.
"Once I knew there was an opportunity to sign him and that he was having to drive down to Wycombe from his home in Sheffield I thought we might have a chance.
"We made him an offer and fortunately he has accepted which is brilliant.
"Adam is a terrific footballer and has a great attitude. It took a lot of guts for him to turn down another year at Arsenal and he has also turned down other offers at higher division clubs to come here.
"He says he likes what he sees and knows all about how we have been bringing in good young players. I have told him he is not guaranteed a first team start here but his attitude was 'I will get in your team' which is the sort of attitude I like.
"Signing young, athletic players with great durability is the way forward for us. But you need experience as well to balance it and bring those young players along which is why we signed Gus. He is durable too as he played 39 games last season.
"We need players who are going to play football matches. It's no good having players with great ability like Colin Larkin who only play 20 games for you."
The pair follow the signing of promising young defender Kyle Jacobs from Oldham at the end of last season.
Chairman Haslam confirmed more players were in the pipeline and said: "We want another two strikers, maybe a midfield player, and there's a good chance of couple of defenders as well. I reckon if negotiations are successful there will be another four or five players coming in."
He also pointed out that the current rebuilding job began mid-season last season.
"We used 40 players here last season which was hardly the best for stability.
"But that was a lot to do with the Keith Curle situation and the injuries we sustained.
"It was a season of great transition. But we made a lot of important signings in the second half of the season - far more than any other club - and saw players like Adam Rundle, Simon Brown, Richie Barker, Giles Coke, and Callum Lloyd coming into the club."
Pilkington to leave Stags
CHAD website, 22June2005
GOALKEEPER Kevin Pilkington is to leave Mansfield Town.
The stalwart stopper had been given until today (Wednesday) to accept his new contract offer.
But he told manager Carlton Palmer today that he is to move on.
Palmer said: "We have given Kevin a deadline of Wedenesday.
"It was a fair deal and our final offer. Kevin is a very good goalkeper and I wanted him to stay at the club.
"But he has left on good terms, we have shaken hands and I wish him all the best for the future.
"I have already spoken to three other keepers, including one from the Premiership, and I didn't want to lose out on other options because he was keeping us waiting.
"I have said I want to put things to bed and have my squad ready for pre-season. We just couldn't wait any longer for him.
mansfieldtown.net reports that Kevin Pilkington today gave Stags Boss his decision about his
future at Field Mill.
The Club made him a good offer to stay at the football club but after much
deliberation Pilkington declined the offer to further his career elsewhere.
"We made Pilks a good offer to keep him at the football club but he declined
it and will be going elsewhere." Said Palmer.
The split is amicable and Carlton Palmer and all the staff at Field Mill
wish him all the best for the future.
"We had an amicable meeting and Pilks has left on good terms, we shook hands
and I wish him all the very best of luck for the future." He added.
Meanwhile Carlton Palmer is preparing himself for the arrival of his
new coach Peter Shirtliffe, Right Full Back Gus Uhlenbeek and forward Adam
Real name Gustav Uhlenbeek
Date of birth 28-08-1970
Place of birth Surinam
All time playing career
Club From To Fee League FA Cup League cup Other
10-07-2004 Free 36 (6) 4 2 (0) 0 1 (0) 0 1 (0) 0
01-08-2003 10-07-2004 Free 36 (1) 0 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0 1 (0) 0
09-08-2002 01-08-2003 Free 42 (0) 1 1 (0) 0 1 (0) 0 0 (0) 0
28-03-2002 22-04-2002 Loan 5 (0) 0 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0
03-08-2000 09-08-2002 Free 47 (3) 0 3 (0) 0 5 (0) 0 0 (0) 0
07-07-1998 03-08-2000 Free 22 (17) 1 3 (2) 0 4 (1) 0 1 (0) 0
11-08-1995 07-07-1998 £ 100000 81 (13) 4 4 (3) 0 5 (3) 0 4 (0) 0
01-08-1994 11-08-1995 No appearance data available
Totals £ 100000 269 (40) 10 13 (5) 0 16 (4) 0 7 (0) 0
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Date of birth 02-12-1984
All time playing career
Club From To Fee League FA Cup League cup Other
20-08-2004 21-11-2004 Loan 11 (1) 4 0 (0) 0 1 (0) 0 2 (0) 1
01-08-2003 30-05-2005 Trainee No appearance data available
Totals £ 0 11 (1) 4 0 (0) 0 1 (0) 0 2 (0) 1
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
taken from Arsenal official website:
Young Guns - Adam Birchall
By Lambros Lambrou
Adam Birchall has scored goals, and plenty of them, at every stage of his burgeoning career. One of the biggest challenges for the 20 year-old was to prove himself in a competitive setting. He was loaned out to Tony Adams' Wycombe Wanderers for three months earlier this season. Adam not only scored five goals from ten games, but the striker did so playing as a left winger!
"That was very satisfying for me," recalls the youngster.
"It was a very new position for me and I was playing in a team that needed to win every game they played.
"Obviously I looked forward to the challenge. Scoring goals for Arsenal youth teams and Reserves is all well and good, but ultimately you have to do it where the game counts for points, where winning or losing really makes a big difference for the club and its supporters. That was a different kind of pressure and a very good experience for me. I also quite enjoyed playing in the left midfield position," he reports.
"I found that I enjoyed the involvement in the build-up play and I was still able to get into good positions to be able to score goals.
"I benefited so much from playing regular first team football, week in, week out. Some people have said that being on loan with Wycombe meant that I missed out on the opportunity of playing for the Arsenal first team in the Carling Cup, but to be honest I think for my progress Wycombe was better for me. The Carling Cup was just two or three games. It would have been great to play in all three, an honour to play for the Arsenal first team, but I was playing first team football every week at Wycombe, training with the first team and being involved in the build-up to games. For me that was a massive boost and well worth missing out on an opportunity in the Carling Cup," explains Adam.
The youngster was a big hit at Wycombe, so much so that they wanted to retain his services for a further loan spell and even beyond: "I enjoyed my time at Wycombe and learnt so much. I don't mean any disrespect to them, but I need a challenge at a higher level than League Two. Hopefully I can get a loan spell somewhere else and show what I can do."
Whilst at Wycombe, Adam teamed up with Gunners legend Tony Adams. Tony had made his name as a player, but management was his new challenge. Adam has fond memories of "Big Tone" and his approach.
"He generated a very good atmosphere in the dressing room and was excellent with me. He spent time letting me know what he didn't like to defend against as a player and teaching me to do exactly that to make defenders uncomfortable. As a manager he was learning his trade, and that's what he would say, but he was very good with us and he obviously has a lot to offer."
Adam is sidelined at the moment, having torn a tendon in his left leg. It's rest and recuperation for now, but he hopes to be back to represent the Welsh Under-21s against Austria at the end of March.
"I missed out in the last game, but I hope to be back soon. John Toshack is the new manager of the first team and hopefully I can build on the relationship I had with Mark Hughes. He was very good to me and regularly called me up to train with the first team and hopefully that can continue under Mr Toshack. For the moment though," continues Adam,
"I need to become fully fit and get a few games in for the Reserves and hopefully secure a loan move. I want to carry on building on the progress I made with Wycombe and I think regular first team football is the only way to do that," he concludes.
Latest | June 2005