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McEWAN RELIEVED OF DUTIES
17/December/2008 18:00:34

10 Dec 2008, 6.50pm
Full story at mansfieldtown.net here

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Andy Perry audio at mansfieldtown.net here

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DISMISSED: Stags boss McEwan leaves Mansfield Town Football Club

CHAD.co.uk, 10 December 2008 , By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD Town manager Billy McEwan has left Field Mill after being 'relieved of his first team duties in a whirlwind 24 hours for the Stags.

Read at CHAD website here

The news that McEwan - appointed only in the summer - and his assistant Neil Richardson had been sacked was released on the club's official website on Wednesday evening . . . and came just 24 hours after the new owners took complete control of the club.

They made their minds up at a board meeting on Wednesday morning after another poor performance in a 2-0 reverse at Kidderminster a few hours earlier left the club in a perilous position on the pitch - at a time when off the field things have never looked so good in recent years.

The new owners will also have noted the dwindling attendances at Field Mill - with just 1,400 home fans at the last home match.

Two of the club's senior players - captain Adie Moses and Mark Stallard - have been placed in temporary charge for Saturday's FA Trophy match at Wrexham 'while a search for a permanent replacement takes place'.

McEwan was the Stags' sixth manager in four years and disappointed chairman Andy Perry told Chad: "We wanted to bring stability to the club; we still want to bring stability to the club. But we are in a results-based business and we had to do something."

The club said on Wednesday evening that it did not have a replacement in mind and would be advertising the job.

Fans have immediately speculated that former terrace favourite Richie Barker should be asked to return to Field Mill as a player manager, despite his inexperience as a manager.

Barker has always made it clear that he would love to return to Field Mill one day as the Stags manager, but he is currently on loan at Rotherham from Hartlepool.

In the summer - at the end of a court case between his agent and former controversial owner Keith Haslam - the striker told Chad: "I would love to go back to Mansfield Town sometime as manager. I have made no secret of that and there was even the odd rumour it might happen while I was there.

"It would be the perfect place to work for me."

Barker (33) was sold in January 2007 after what he described as 'probably the most enjoyable two years of my 17 years in professional football'.

Though he has no managerial experience, Barker has been taking his coaching badges for the past 10 years and gained his final qualification, the UEFA A licence, a few years ago.

One option for the club, if they wanted Barker and were able to secure his release from Rotherham, would be to team him up with a more experienced manager - but would that person be happy with such a partnership knowing that Barker would in effect be a manager-in-waiting?

One experienced manager who will come into the speculation is former Weymouth boss and Chelsea legend John Hollins - dismissed himself just a few days ago after a contractual row at Weymouth - whose brother Dave was a Stags favourite in the 1960s.

Ex-Cheltenham boss John Ward is also available and has an excellent record ay a lower level in the League - as has Steve Cotterill. Cotterill led Cheltenham out of non league football and into Division II and like Ward has recently been linked with the vacant BSP job at Oxford.

Former Stags boss Peter Shirtliff is a big friend of the Stags chairman, but it is unlikely that the club would bring him back for a second stint in charge of the Stags.

Late on Wednesday evening the new owners emerged from a carol service at Field Mill and told Chad that they would be taking their time over appointing a replacement.

Lifelong Stags fan and co-owner Steve Middleton told Chad: "There will be no rush this time and there is no timescale over getting a new manager in.

"We are very disappointed to have to have made the decision, but we were in freefall.

"Now we have to get it right this time."

Chairman Perry added that it would be unlikely that Moses and Stallard would be considered for the job on a permanent basis and he did not even know if they would want to be.

The axe fell on McEwan and Richardson after the Stags slide down the Blue Square Premier table to just one point off the relegation zone, following a run of just four points from the last 10 League matches - a run which has also seen attendances dwindle, with just 1,400 home fans at the last Field Mill match.

A fourth successive defeat, at Kidderminster on Tuesday evening, then left the Stags in 20th place.

The news came just two weeks after a public vote of confidence in the manager from chairman Andy Perry, who said: "There is always a minority, and I don't want to talk about the minority of people out there that just want to jump on the bandwagon . . . that seem to do harm to the football club with the bad publicity they get out there."

However, just one point from the following three matches persuaded Mr Perry and his fellow club owners into a change of heart - a move which has been welcomed by the vast majority of supporters.

In a statement on the club's website, the new owners - Mr Perry, Andy Saunders and Mr Middleton - said that they could not contemplate another relegation following last season's drop into non-league football for the first time.

The owners, who brought McEwan to the club on a three-year contract when their takeover was agreed in July, thanked the former player for his efforts, but said that recent first team results 'have not been acceptable'.

It had all started so brightly for the McEwan era when the Stags hit the top of the Blue Square Premier table in early September after five successive home wins.

McEwan, a fans favourite in the 70s when he helped the club to promotion as a midfield star, had been appointed when the the new owners - now dubbed 'The Three Musketeers' - sacked previous caretaker boss Paul Holland.

But then their form stumbled, with just one away win all season so far not helping their cause.

Fans' unrest at the poor results, lack of goalmouth excitement and frustration with McEwan's switch to a 4-3-3 formation culminated in loud boos and chants of 'You don't know what you are doing' at Thursday's 3-1 home defeat to Oxford in front of the live TV cameras.

Chairman Andy Perry - in an audio interview on mansfieldtown.net - said: "Results are the top and bottom of it, four points out of 30. We had a great start to the season and were top of the League at one point.

"But it's just not been happening out there . . . after the Oxford game we thought it was the opportunity to re-evaluate our position on what is best for Mansfield Town Football Club.

"Unfortunately this happens in football and it is not a nice thing I have had to do today."

He said the board had not been thinking of dismissing the manager over recent weeks.

The chairman added: "We are mindful of results, but we had with Billy a long-term plan. I feel sure that we had got a result at Forest Green and Weymouth, six more points and we could have been looking at something a bit different going into the New Year. That didn't materialise . . . we lost at home to Oxford and then lost last night.

"We had a board meeting this season and decided that Billy and Neil Richardson should leave their posts.

"We wanted it to work . . . but sometimes you have to make brave decisions and with the right people back on board and the players gelling back again like they did at the start of the season can re-invigorate our season."

Perry said that Stallard and Moses had been placed in charge because of their seniority.

He added: "They are disappointed with Billy's departure, but understand that results are everything."

The vacant manager's position will be advertised nationally and Perry added that 'we will have a real hard look at how we want the management structure to work this time and we will be looking at more than one candidate I would have thought."

The chairman, in a message to the fans, said: "As always the faithful 'keep the faith'. We know they will do. We are going to do whatever it takes to make sure we get this football club back up the table. This next appointment is obviously vital.

"We want the support of everyone in the town in general . . . with completition (of the sale) coming yesterday, it was a huge highlight. But then came losing at Kidderminster and what has happened today has been a very surreal 24 hours I can assure you.

"We want to be appointing someone that the fans feel is the right person . . . the next step is a real big one for us."

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Stags had no choice but to let McEwan go
Evening Post, December 11, 2008

MANSFIELD Town co-owner Andy Saunders today outlined why the club's board felt Billy McEwan had to go.

Full story at Evening Post website here

The manager was relieved of his duties last night after barely five months in charge at Field Mill with Stags one point above the Blue Square Premier relegation zone.
Reserve team coach Neil Richardson has also left the club.
Club skipper Adie Moses and top scorer Mark Stallard have been placed in temporary charge for Saturday's FA Trophy first round match at Wrexham.
The decision came after the Stags lost eight out of their last ten league matches.
"It is absolutely down to the results and nothing else," said Saunders. "I think we needed to act now because there is only a month of opportunity for the new man to make his mark and bring in his own players.
"It will jolt the players but they are professionals and we know they are capable of coping with it."
Saunders insists the Stags have an open mind about who they will appoint to replace McEwan.
Ex-boss Steve Parkin and Eastwood manager Paul Cox are just two names sure to be linked with the job.
Saunders said: "We have not approached anybody, nor have we spoken to anyone.
"But I think it is fair to say we are going to be inundated with faxes and phone calls about the position over the next few days."
"We will just have to see how they go but we don't want it to linger any longer than is necessary and we will certainly want to have made an appointment by January 1."
McEwan was this morning unavailable for comment but said after the defeat at Kidderminster on Tuesday: "It's difficult and it's not an easy time for anyone.
"We are trying to take the club forward and we just have to stick together."

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'No surprise' at timing of Stags sacking
Evening Post, December 11, 2008

JONATHAN D'Laryea today admitted he is not surprised by the sacking of Billy McEwan as Mansfield boss – because of the club's "relegation form".

Full story at Evening Post website here

The midfielder has been part of the side that have slumped to eight defeats in their last ten Blue Square Premier matches.
And the former Manchester City trainee knows that any manager with that record in such a short space of time is a prime candidate for the chop.
"The run we have been on is relegation form and for Mansfield that is not good enough," said D'Laryea.
"Everybody knows that this a results-based business and we have not been getting them. If we are being honest that is something we need to address as a squad of players.
"I think we have to take some of the responsibility for the situation we are in, not just the manager.
"It has not altogether come as a surprise but we need to show now we are good enough to move away from trouble.
"We know we are good enough and showed earlier in the season we can be a match for anyone in this league.
"Now we have to go out and prove it.
D'Laryea was at Mansfield when Peter Shirtliff and Billy Dearden were relieved of their duties.
He says it is not easy to adapt when a new appointment is made, but is backing the squad to respond positively.
D'Laryea said: "It's difficult when a manager goes because you get used to them, how they are and the tactics they employ. But as a professional, you need to respond to whatever manager is now put in place."
D'Laryea hoped that McEwan would be the long-term answer to the club's problems when he was unveiled as the club's new boss in July.
But at the same time he appreciates just why the club have chosen to act now rather than a couple of months down the line.
"As players we believed that when Billy was appointed on a three-year contract he was the man to take us to success in the long-term," said D'Laryea.
"But it has not been going according to how we have wanted it and the board have had to act.
"The fact it has happened now will give the new manager time to make changes in January, which would not have happened had they waited longer.
"If the decision was going to be made, then perhaps they made it at the right time, sooner rather than later."

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Billy McEwan - a 'battling Braveheart' who lost his way
CHAD.co.uk, 10 December 2008 , By Stephen Thirkill
FORMER Stags star Billy McEwan - sacked late on Wednesday - joined Mansfield Town as manager in July with a mammoth task ahead of him.

Read at CHAD website here

The tough-talking Scot, who led York City to the Conference play-offs, inherited a squad of just two players following the club's relegation from the Football League and quickly went about re-building the team.

McEwan - a former Stags player for one glorious promotion season in the mid-70s - scoured the country for loan and free transfer players.

He brought in a variety of big name signings, including Ade Moses, Jason Lee and Mark Stallard as he went about trying to build a side capable of challenging for promotion.

And he enjoyed a fantastic initial success as his makeshift side amassed the points to climb to the top of the Blue Square table on 4th September after they beat Eastbourne Borough 3-1 at home.

His professionalism and committment to the cause, including a strong work ethic, were praised.

But sadly the run of superb results were a flash in the pan as the threadbare squad failed to impress and continued to slip further and further down the table to the brink of the relegation zone on a run of four points from 10 games.

Despite talking a good game and tinkering with the squad and formation throughout the season, McEwan lately failed to get any response from his players as they turned in tepid displays week after week.

It seemed as though his insistance on a switch to a 4-3-3 formation and a tough coaching style was failing to motivate the players.

With results going from bad to worse and the crisis at Field Mill deepening, the Stags faithful began to vent their frustrations and turn against the dour Scotsman - with the manager hitting back at the fans.

But the club stayed behind him with chairman Andy Perry publically voicing his support just a few weeks ago.

However, the frustrations then reached breaking point this week as cries of "you don't know what you're doing" rang out loud around Field Mill after McEwan substituted fans' favourite Adnan Ahmed during their 3-1 defeat against Oxford in front of the nation's TV cameras last Thursday.

And the final straw was to come on Tuesday night as Mansfield turned in a woeful and largely clueless performance to meekly go down 2-0 away to Kidderminster to leave them hovering just one point above the dreaded drop zone.

McEwan, who modeled himself as a "battling Braveheart", had asked for time to re-build the ailing club's fortunes . . . and insisted just last Thursday that he would not surrender.

Instead he was given just five months at the helm as the club's new owners decided it was now time to axe the former Hibernian player before the trapdoor to the Blue Square North opened.

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Stags fans want Barker as new Mansfield Town manager
CHAD.co.uk, 11 December 2008 , By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD Town fans are already speculating on the identity of the Stags' new manager after the sacking of Billy McEwan late on Wednesday.

Read at CHAD website here

MANSFIELD Town fans are already speculating on the identity of the Stags' new manager after the sacking of Billy McEwan late on Wednesday.
McEwan - and his assistant Neil Richardson - paid the price for winning just four points out of the last possible 30, becoming the sixth managerial casualties in four turbulent years at Field Mill.

Stags chairman Andy Perry received a telephone call from one prospective manager within a few hours of the dismissal of McEwan - and already many names have been put forward to be the new Mansfield Town manager.

On Thursday morning co-owner Andy Saunders told Chad: "It would be nice to have someone in place, if we can, by 1st January so that he can operate in the transfer window and bring in some new players."

Bury assistant manager and former Alfreton boss Chris Wilde - who also guided Halifax to the Conference play-off final - has been mentioned by some supporters.

However, former Stags terrace favourite Richie Barker has emerged as the clear early front-runner in the eyes of many fans.

They think the striker should be asked to return to Field Mill as a player manager, despite his inexperience as a manager.

Barker has always made it clear that he would love to return to Field Mill one day as the Stags manager, but he is currently on loan at Rotherham from Hartlepool.

In the summer - at the end of a court case between his agent and former controversial owner Keith Haslam - the striker told Chad: "I would love to go back to Mansfield Town sometime as manager. I have made no secret of that and there was even the odd rumour it might happen while I was there.

"It would be the perfect place to work for me."

Barker (33) was sold in January 2007 after what he described as 'probably the most enjoyable two years of my 17 years in professional football'.

Though he has no managerial experience, Barker has been taking his coaching badges for the past 10 years and gained his final qualification, the UEFA A licence, a few years ago.

One option for the club, if they wanted Barker and were able to secure his release from Rotherham, would be to team him up with a more experienced manager - but would that person be happy with such a partnership knowing that Barker would in effect be a manager-in-waiting?

One experienced manager who will come into the speculation is former Weymouth boss and Chelsea legend John Hollins - dismissed himself just a few days ago after a contractual row at Weymouth - whose brother Dave was a Stags favourite in the 1960s.

Ex-Cheltenham boss John Ward is also available and has an excellent record ay a lower level in the League - as has Steve Cotterill. Cotterill led Cheltenham out of non league football and into Division II and like Ward has recently been linked with the vacant BSP job at Oxford.

Former Stags boss Peter Shirtliff is a big friend of the Stags chairman, but it is unlikely that the club would bring him back for a second stint in charge of the Stags.

The club said on Wednesday evening that it did not have a replacement in mind and would be advertising the job.

But while captain Adie Moses and fellow senior pro Mark Stallard are in temporary charge, the new owners have made it clear they will take their time over appointing a replacement, if necessary.

Co-owner Steve Middleton told Chad: ""There will be no rush this time and there is no timescale over getting a new manager in.

"Now we have to get it right this time."

And chairman Andy Perry added: "We want to be appointing someone that the fans feel is the right person . . . the next step is a real big one for us."

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CHAD VIDEO: Barker return as Stags boss not ruled out by chairman, here
CHAD.co.uk, 11 December 2008 , By Tim Morriss
STAGS chairman Andy Perry has spoken today about the possibility of Richie Barker returning to Field Mill as the new manager of the Stags.
Barker is the fans' favourite to replace Billy McEwan, who was sacked late on Wednesday.

The former Mansfield striker - who recently signed a pre-contract agreement to join Rotherham in the January transfer window from Hartlepool - has previously said that he would love to start his managerial/coaching career at Field Mill.

Chairman Perry told Chad today why he had dismissed McEwan and that he wanted to see a new management structure - possibly a young, inexperienced coach alongside a more senior manager.

This could pave the way for Barker to return to the Stags, an idea Perry admitted 'was a great thought' - revealing that the club had previously with McEwan enquired about the possibility of bringing Barker back as a player earlier in the season.

However, the Stags chairman admitted that Barker's Rotherham deal appeared 'nailed on'.

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Moses and Stallard hope to steer Stags away from drop zone
CHAD.co.uk, 11 December 2008 , By Stephen Thirkill

NEW Stags management duo Ade Moses and Mark Stallard have today spoken of their determination to help steer Mansfield Town away from the Blue Square relegation zone.

Read at CHAD website here

The experienced players have been appointed as caretaker managers for this Saturday's FA Trophy trip to Wrexham following the sacking of Billy McEwan as Stags boss on Wednesday night.

The Field Mill board dismissed the tough-talking Scot following a succession of poor results, which left the club with just four points out of a possible 30 and one place above the Blue Square Premier drop zone.

Stallard told Chad the pair were honoured to have been put in temporary charge and were now fully focused on getting results in the bag.

Stallard said: "We came in last night for a club function and found out the news. It was a big shock and it has just gone from there. It is a big change from being a player to having to come in and organise training sessions and pre-match meals. It is something we are still learning about.

"You pick up things from previous managers we have worked under and we had a good training session today and got a good reaction from the players. They looked sharp and we are happy with how things went.

"It is sad that Billy has lost his job, but unfortunately football is a results business and they dictate things. We are taking our new responsibility very seriously and want to do our best for Mansfield Town for however long we are in charge.

"It was not so long ago that we were at the top of the league with the same players and there is no reason why we cannot start winning again and climbing the table. We just need to get the players believing in themselves and give them more confidence and then things will improve."

It is not yet clear how long the pair will remain in charge of the side as the search for a new manager begins.

Moses, who played at the top level of English football, said the pair would give it their best shot until the situation was resolved.

He said: "I have gone from thinking about getting myself back to fitness to having to worry about organising training and picking the team and it is really unbelievable.

"(Chairman) Andy Perry asked if we would take charge of the team for Saturday and it is a tremendous honour to be given such a role and the backing of the chairman in this way. We got a bit of stick and banter from the players this morning, but they have responded very well and we are delighted with their attitude.

"Me and Mark are good friends and we will work together and decide formations and starting line-ups together. We have been given a job to do and we want to perform to the best of our abilities in our new role."

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Stags caretaker bosses ready for challenge
Evening Post, December 11, 2008
Mansfield's joint caretaker managers Mark Stallard and Adie Moses believe they can get the club back in the winning groove.

Full story at Evening Post website here

Eight defeats in ten Blue Square Premier games saw Billy McEwan sacked yesterday.
The experienced duo have since stepped up to run first team affairs until a new boss has been found.
Their first task was to take training today as they prepare the team for Saturday's FA Trophy first round clash at Wrexham.
The duo know they have taken the reins at a difficult time for the club but are still optimistic about the upcoming games.
%3Cbody%3E%3Cdiv%20id%3D%22adDiv%22%3E%3CA%20HREF%3D%22http%3A//ads.anm.co.uk/ADCLICK/CID%3Dfffffffcfffffffcfffffffc/AAMSZ%3D452x118/SITE%3DTHISISNOTT/AREA%3DFOOTBALL/SUBAREA%3D/ARTICLE%3D541784/acc_random%3D4401266773/pageid%3D/RS%3D10307.%22%20target%3D%22_new%22%3E%3CIMG%20SRC%3D%22http%3A//iad.anm.co.uk/anmdefaultad.gif%22%20ALT%3D%22%22%20border%3D0%20style%3D%22margin-bottom%3A%200px%3B%22%3E%3C/A%3E%3C/div%3E"There is no magic wand and no easy solution, it is not going to be easy for whoever comes in," said striker Stallard.
"But we have reiterated to the players that we have to get the belief back and play with confidence.
"Other than the confidence issues, there is no reason why this team can't get back winning games and we hope to start with that on Saturday.
"It is the same team that was winning games at the start of the season and went to the top of the league and we have to try to get back to playing like that.
"Our league position needs to be addressed and we have to try to lift the players and get them out of this trough in form."
Defender Moses added: "It is hard to come in with the circumstances as they are, but when you are asked to do something like this, you want to help out.
"I feel honoured that the chairman has come to us and now we are doing it, we want to do a good job for the club.
"There is a lot of responsibility that comes with this. It shows the chairman holds us in high regard and we want to repay that faith."
Mansfield reserves lost 2-1 at Port Vale yesterday in a rearranged league match.
The game saw Michael Blackwood play 45 minutes and get on the scoresheet as he continues his comeback from an ankle injury.

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