HASLAM - STAGS MEAN BUSINESS
STAGS MEAN BUSINESS - HASLAM
Evening Post, 23 June 2005
Mansfield Town chairman Keith Haslam says the club is "serious about promotion" next season.
The Stags unveiled new signings Gus Uhlenbeek (34) and Adam Birchall (20) yesterday, although Kevin Pilkington has left Field Mill to join local rivals Notts County.
"There has been a lot of speculation and disappointment among our fans but now they will start to see things happening," said Haslam.
"With the players we will bring in they will see we are serious about promotion.
"Arsenal wanted Adam Birchall 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.
"He will need time to acclimatise as it will be a bit of a culture shock with the tempo in this division.
"At Arsenal he will have had the right breeding and the right training. He has all the right credentials."
Stags boss Carlton Palmer added: "Gus is a very experienced player but is 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 - 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."
Haslam says more players will arrive before the start of the season.
"We want another two strikers, maybe a midfield player, and there's a good chance of couple of defenders as well," said the Stags chairman.
"I reckon if negotiations are successful there will be another four or five players coming in.
"We used 40 players here last season which was hardly the best for stability."
One of the priorities for Palmer is finding a new goalkeeper, following confirmation that Pilkington is leaving in favour of a switch to Meadow Lane.
"We made Pilks a good offer to keep him," said Palmer. "We had an amicable meeting and he has left on good terms."
ARTELL REJOINS EX-MANAGER
Evening Post, 24 June 2005
Keith Curle's persistence in his pursuit of Dave Artell has paid off, after Mansfield Town agreed to accept an undisclosed fee from Chester City for the defender .
Curle, the former Field Mill boss, said: "Ever since I got the job at Chester, Dave has been a target of mine.
"He is a quality defender who will give us an extra dimension defensively."
Curle finally got his man at the third attempt after Stags rejected their two previous offers.
Mansfield defender Adam Eaton has also agreed to join Chester, while former Stags midfielder Lee Williamson is set to join Rotherham.
PILKS: WHY I JOINED MAGPIES
Evening Post, 23 June 2005
Kevin Pilkington today said his family played a major part in his decision to join Notts County.
Pilkington has agreed to sign for the Magpies after rejecting a new contract with Mansfield Town.
The out-of-contract goalkeeper was also wanted by former boss Keith Curle at Chester and there was interest from Tranmere in League One.
But Pilkington, who lives near Newark, said: "Notts is a massive club and I was ready for a new challenge.
"I have had five great years at Mansfield but was offered less money and felt that was not right.
"Keith Curle made me a great offer but it would have meant commuting or moving my young family.
"But once Notts came in I had no hesitation. They should be in a higher division and hopefully we can get promotion this season."
Pilkington was wanted by Notts as a 17-year-old but turned them down to join Manchester United.
The 31-year-old, who will officially sign a two-year deal on July 1, said: "It is a feeling of completing a big circle. Obviously the lure of Manchester United was too much before.
"I experienced promotion, relegation and the play-offs with Mansfield. Now I want another promotion with Notts."
Pilkington was first contacted by Notts earlier in the summer when contract negotiations stalled with Saul Deeney. The current goalkeeper rejected a new contract and Notts decided to look elsewhere with the Irishman staying on a week-to-week basis until he finds another club.
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