HOLDSWORTH BREAKS SILENCE OVER DEPARTURE
BBC Radio Nottingham (David Jackson) interview with David Holdsworth, 6 Dec 2010, is here
Holdsworth breaks silence over Stags departure and accuses club of lacking loyalty
Evening Post, 3 Dec 2010, By matt halfpenny
DAVID Holdsworth today broke his silence on his exit as Mansfield Town manager by insisting the club failed to reciprocate the loyalty he showed them.
He was axed after a run of just one league win in eight games that coincided with the arrival of new owner and chairman John Radford.
Holdsworth says there were several times when he could have taken other jobs but chose to stay with the Stags.
He is disappointed the club did not stick by him when he had a difficult spell following a bright start to the Blue Square Bet Premier season.
"I had three opportunities to move into other jobs while I was at Mansfield but my loyalty showed through," he said.
"I could have taken up a role at a club in a higher division in the summer but I wanted to finish the job I had.
"People at the club at the time, like Andy Perry, knew that was the case and we spoke about it. But I spoke about loyalty when I arrived at the club and I meant it.
"I think you should stick with people through thick and thin, but I didn't get that loyalty back.
"I felt we had got through our most difficult period and after Christmas there was a run of fixtures where we could get back up into the play-offs, but I didn't get that chance."
Takeovers often see a new chairman quickly change the manager and Holdsworth admits he did fear that he would be a 'dead man walking' once Radford took over the helm.
He said: "Some managers are given time by their chairman to get it right, like Sam Allardyce (at Blackburn) and Roy Keane (at Ipswich).
"I knew from day one that Mr Radford had connections with other people but I never worried about it because I backed my own ability.
"Mr Radford will now appoint his own man. Some chairmen want to make an impression and he has gone that way."
'Tinkerman' tag is not deserved – Holdsworth
Evening Post, 3 Dec 2010
IT was perhaps the accusation that most hurt David Holdsworth in the immediate aftermath of his Mansfield Town exit.
Chairman John Radford made it clear that one of the main reasons he sought a change in the Stags' management was that he felt the team was being chopped and changed too much.
The 'tinkerman' claims were backed up by those who pointed out Holdsworth brought in close to 70 players in less than two years at the helm.
But the man behind that conveyor belt of ins and outs is indignant: he believes he had no choice.
With the state of Mansfield's on-field fortunes and off-the-field finances in a state of flux, Holdsworth says new personnel were necessary not only to keep the club competitive in the Blue Square Bet Premier, but also solvent and in business.
"I was disappointed with Mr Radford's comments because he suggested I brought in too many players too quickly," he said.
"But we profiled the key players to bring in and I did it with his blessing and approval. I got players I would have liked to bring in over the summer, people like Rhys Day.
"We need changes because he had had five players sent off and another eight out on loan at that point – anyone could see that.
"We were clearly not strong enough defensively and it needed shoring up. We had no cover for Gary Silk, for instance, and I think the acquisition of Steve Cook has proven to be a sound investment.
"Looking further back, when I took the club on we were needing snookers and I got the club out of a precarious position. I don't think anyone was arguing with me changing it around at the end of that season.
"By the end of last season, the financial situation had changed considerably. Others, not me, put us as between 10th and 14th in terms of the biggest payers in the division.
"I was told come May that all those players out of contract I couldn't offer new deals to because we couldn't afford to pay them throughout the summer.
"It meant those players could look elsewhere, leaving me with a lop-sided squad and needing to go and get more new faces in.
"That was a decision taken above me. I had to replace the players who left later in the summer.
"I was disappointed to sell Jake Speight for such a small price. I pre-warned the club he needed a contract offer.
"Losing someone who now know can score you 20 goals in a season is going to hurt anyone.
"People have to recognise there are factors that made it necessary to change things up."
Holdsworth was relieved of his duties after a run of just one victory in eight league matches – a 2-0 success at Kettering Town .
It followed a bright start to the season that saw the Stags briefly head the Blue Square Bet Premier with a 4-0 triumph over Eastbourne Borough at the end of September – the very day Radford's acquisition of the club for £1 was announced.
The former boss puts Mansfield slump down to a combination of a tough run of results, together with a pile-up of injuries and suspensions.
He said: "Two months ago I sat down with the players and said the two months coming up would be the hardest part of the season – and it's proven to be the case.
"The run of ten games where we had five sendings off was always going to be a severe handicap in getting results.
"The suspensions that followed and the injuries were certainly costly as well. Losing Paul Connor was always going to be hard and at one point we were operating with only one fit striker.
"We had no reserve team and people want to go out on loan. Some players had only played one game in three months.
"Then when you have injuries and suspensions you have to bring others in and some of them had not necessarily played much football."
Holdsworth revealed he did not actually talk to Radford directly about his exit, only speaking with the chairman at the start of that week after the 2-1 defeat at Forest Green Rovers that proved to be his last game as boss.
He said: "On Monday morning I had spoken about the situation and it had been fine, but it didn't work out that way.
"I was glad it ended amicably, but I have not spoken to John Radford at all.
"I did send him a message on the Saturday morning, but my departure was all done with Steve Barker (chief executive), who I get on well with.
"It was Mr Radford's decision and he went about it in his own way."
Holdsworth feels the demise of Mansfield 's development set-up – abandoned for financial reasons by Radford's predecessors – was a big loss.
"When I came to the club there was a reserve and youth team in place," he said.
"I wanted to establish a route of progression and I think that has benefited the likes of Tom Naylor, Conor Higginson and Ben Turner.
"When we lost the reserves and youth, we lacked the resources we need to take young players on. The structure fell apart because of a lot of finance.
"It is going to be very difficult for the club to bring through any decent young talent as it stands."
Holdsworth is interested to see how some of the players he brought to the club will fare amid a change of management and increased expectation.
He said: "I tried to bring in good, young forwards, like Danny Mitchley, Louis Briscoe, Luke Medley and Lee Gregory.
"I think they are good players for the future but whether that future is at Mansfield depends on who comes in.
"Do you go out and do what Crawley and Luton have done and pay a fortune now? I know I didn't have that option in the summer.
"The fact is Mr Radford wants success and is prepared to pay for it, Hopefully the manager will have more than eight games to implement his ideas."
Despite how things have worked out, Holdsworth has no regrets about his Field Mill tenure.
And he does not blame his squad of players for putting him out of a job.
"I came with the club in a terrible predicament and I left them in a very health position, four points off the play-offs," said Holdsworth.
"I enjoyed a lot of aspects and I think I left a lot of disappointed players because I had a good relationship with them.
"I wish them all the best and I hope they go on to do well. They have now got a very healthy squad at Mansfield and I certainly believe that after Christmas they have a run of games where they can get into the play-offs."
But will Holdsworth jump straight back into the thick of management? As yet, he is undecided, but will not rush into anything.
He said: "I have got various other business opportunities but there are some fantastic people in football and I have had a lot of messages of support.
"I am going to take a holiday and when I am ready I may take up another coaching or management role at one level or another.
"I have certainly learned a heck of a lot about the division and its players.
"I will definitely keep in touch with the game whatever happens because I love it."
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