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Chaos at Field Mill, but we have to get...
By Ian Clarkson 26-09-07
It isn't the best time to be a Mansfield fan as the Stags are embedded in the League Two drop zone and have had half of their ground shut down due to a ticketing fiasco.
[Billy Dearden and the boys have got a hell of a job on their hands.]
Throw into the melting pot a protracted takeover and a host of disgruntled fans and the mix is potentially lethal. Fifteen goals conceded in seven games would suggest that keeping clean sheets is a problem and to rub salt in the wounds local rivals Chesterfield are flying high towards the top of the table.
In fact, it was the visit of the Spirerites that caused Mansfield so many problems. Not only did they come and take all three points from Field Mill with ease but a huge away following allied to the fact the Stags had sent 600 too many tickets to be sold by Chesterfield - and then that computerised turnstiles were not working – ensured a recipe for chaos.
The club will now be allowed to utilise just 50 per cent of the capacity at Field Mill for future matches until further notice. That means just 4,684 fans can attend games - a figure which was imposed after stewarding problems at Field Mill last season, but then raised to 6,553 for the start of the new season.
The decision could lead to problems, and a definite loss of revenue for the Stags, if the restrictions are still in place for the derby clash with Notts County on 20th October.
A spokesperson from Nottinghamshire County Council, which chairs the Safety Advisory Group, said: "We are still investigating what occurred at the recent Chesterfield match and are working with Mansfield Town to help them build on the safety improvements that are already being made.
"We have decided to reduce the capacity of the whole ground to 50 per cent until the club can restore our confidence in the computerised turnstile monitoring system, which is currently unable to accurately determine the number of supporters coming into the ground.
"The club is also aware of problems with the turnstile system and share our concerns. Once this problem has been rectified, we will raise the capacity back to 70 per cent in line with ongoing improvement measures."
Safety restrictions already imposed by SAG meant the Stags should have allocated just 1,300 tickets to away fans for the Chesterfield match. But the club, through an administrative error, sent 1,900 tickets for sale at Chesterfield - and then allowed a further 200 supporters into the already full North Stand on the day of the match.
If the potential loss of revenue wasn't bad enough for Billy Dearden and his threadbare squad, the Mansfield boss has been hit by an injury crisis. Nevertheless, both Dearden and his assistant Paul Holland are refusing to blame off-field pressures for the performances on the pitch.
"We have got to be better all over the pitch and show much more quality," said Holland. "As a club we can all do more, no-one is pointing the finger at anyone and it is up to us all to do better. Over the course of the season we feel we have got enough quality in this squad to get out of the position we are in. In games this season, such as against Brentford, we have shown what we can do and how well we can play.
"We now need everyone to show desire and committment to improving things. We now need to work hard to win football matches starting on. Saturday against Dagenham and if we show these qualities I am certain we will pull clear of the relegation zone."
Latest | September 2007