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Archived News from February 2012

4th February 2012 20:53

Sam Craven interview --->



Craven signs after successful trial
mansfieldtown.net, Tue 31 Jan 2012

Former Notts County defender Sam Craven has today signed for us until the end of the season.


The 23-year-old, who spent seven years at Meadow Lane, puts pen to paper with us following a successful trial.

Craven left Nottingham at 18 years old, and went on to play for FC New York in the USL Professional Division.

He told mansfieldtown.net: "I'm really happy to be here. To be back in English football and so close to home is 'quality'.

"I've been away (from England) for five years, and to return to a club like this is brilliant.

"There's more bite and aggression in the game over here, and that suits me," he added


Mansfield Town sign former Notts County defender Sam Craven
chad.co.uk, Tuesday 31 January 2012

STAGS' boss Paul Cox has signed former Notts County defender Sam Craven until the end of the season.


The 23-year-old, who spent seven years at Meadow Lane, puts pen to paper with the Stags following a successful trial.

Craven left Nottingham at 18 years old, and went on to play for FC New York in the USL Professional Division.

After signing on the dotted line, he told the club's official website, http://www.mansfieldtown.net: “I'm really happy to be here. To be back in English football and so close to home is 'quality'.

“I've been away (from England) for five years, and to return to a club like this is brilliant.

“There's more bite and aggression in the game over here, and that suits me,” he added


New Stags defender Craven so happy to be home
chad.co.uk, Thursday 2 February 2012

SAM Craven thoroughly enjoyed his five years is the USA – but Mansfield Town's new left back is delighted to be back in his home county.


“It's nice to be back home as I have family here who haven't seen me play for five years, so it will be nice to get the chance again,” said the former Notts County defender.

“I did have the choice to sign at one or two places over there but I am 23 now and thought if I am going to do it in England I feel this is the right time to come back.

“I am really looking forward to the next six months and it's really exciting. I am a left back but I have played at centre half too. I don't care where I play, I just can't wait to get stuck in whatever.

“I am not here to slip in and be part of the scenery. I am ready to go and I really want to play and work hard.

“We have a high quality of player here at Mansfield. This league is getting better quality all the time which I think is a knock-on effect of so many foreign players in the Premiership. Everyone has moved down a notch. I look at some of the players in training here at Mansfield and just wonder 'what are you doing playing in this league'?”

Craven has just ended his first professional contract with FC New York and said: “I enjoyed my time in America.

“The season is in the summer so the heat is really intense which makes the games slower than here. But technically and tactically they are much better than people here think.

“But the fans are not as passionate as here as they have other sports like American football and baseball. So it's nice to come back here and play in front of real fans again.”

Craven's arrival is a reunion with old friends too as he played with Lindon Meikle and Ben Hutchinson in the County U11 boys side.

He said: “I grew up with Lindon so it's nice being back with him. And I hadn't seen Ben for seven years so coming back was like I'd never been away.”


twitter.com/mbell392 matthew bell
Need OUT !!


Battle is on for left-back berth at Stags
Nottingham Post, Saturday, February 04, 2012

ONE has arrived at Field Mill from the cosmopolitan east coast of the United States; the other from the slightly less salubrious English north-west.


But both Sam Craven and Paul Edwards have exactly the same aim during their time with Mansfield Town – to make the left-back slot their own.

Former Notts County player Craven has returned to his native country and county after a five-year spell on the other side of the pond, most recently with FC New York in the USL Professional Division.

The 23-year-old trained with the Stags in the summer and has impressed since returning in the past few weeks, doing enough in a reserve game against Rainworth last weekend to earn a deal until the end of the season.

Edwards arrived last week on loan from promotion-chasing Fleetwood where he has been unable to get a game after missing the early stages of the Cod Army's campaign through injury.

But the 32-year-old impressed playing for Barrow against the Stags last season and has a wealth of experience for the likes of Swindon, Wrexham, Oldham and Blackpool after starting out at Manchester City.

With Joe Kendrick having left to join Blyth Spartans on loan and being told he has no future at the club, there is a real opportunity for both men not just to get some first-team football under their belt but also put their name forward to be part of the long-term future in north Nottinghamshire being mapped out by boss Paul Cox.

However, it will be no easy task for either man to break into the team at all, given the current state of affairs on the pitch.

Mansfield's 3-0 win at Ebbsfleet last weekend was their sixth game unbeaten since the start of the year and their second consecutive clean sheet – Luke O'Neill playing out of position at left-back and doing a good job too.

Yet Craven, in his own words, is not here just to be part of the scenery.

"I'm glad to be here and the good thing is that I have already trained with the lads in the summer and again during the trial period, so I'm not starting from scratch," said Craven.

"I made my first team debut for Notts County in a friendly when I was 17, but then I had a stress fracture in my back that I couldn't do much about which set me back.

"It was then I got a call with the chance to go out to Florida and it seemed the right thing to do. I was out there for five years.

"The game there is very athletic and they pay a lot of attention to conditioning and strengthening.

"Technically, it is probably better than people think, but maybe tactically it is not advanced.

"It is definitely not as die hard as over here because they have their others sports like American football.

"I could have stayed out there, but I decided that at 23, if I was going to do it in England, then now was the time to come back."

Craven has been delighted to walk into Field Mill and instantly see two familiar faces.

The former Beckett School pupil played at junior level with both Lindon Meikle and Ben Hutchinson.

He said: "I grew up with them in the city schools U11s side. I haven't seen Ben for about seven years and then I walked in and there he was.

"What strikes you is that there are a lot of good players at this standard who you can't believe are playing at this level."

Edwards lives in Stockport and will be staying over in Mansfield during his temporary stint.

The former Manchester City trainee, who had to be content with a place on the bench for the 3-0 win at Ebbsfleet last week, in anxious to get some game time at Field Mill.

"I missed the first three months of the season and since then the lads at Fleetwood have done really well," said Edwards.

"I've got back fit and training but there hasn't been the opportunity to get in the team.

"I wanted to go out and play some football and that's when the idea of the loan first came about.

"There were one or two others who wanted to take me but Mansfield was definitely the club I wanted.

"I remember playing at Field Mill last season and they are a club that should be in the league.

"The way the club is set up at the moment, and the results they are getting, it's a great time to come in.

"Hopefully the team can push for the play-offs while I'm here. There is always someone who comes with a late challenge and I think that team could be Mansfield.

"I have got a lot of league games behind me before I came down to the Blue Square Bet Premier two seasons ago for a year at Barrow, which was really good.

"I would like to think that experience will serve me well."


Freeman's feat is the future trivia question
Nottingham Post, Saturday, February 04, 2012

NOTTINGHAM Forest defender Kieron Freeman has joined an elite group of footballers who have played for all three major Notts clubs – Nottingham Forest, Notts County and Mansfield Town.


But what makes Freeman's feat so special is that the Nottingham-born 19-year-old appeared for all three in successive weeks.

After playing for the Stags in the last game of his loan spell in a 2-2 draw at York, Freeman made his first start for Forest in the FA Cup draw with Leicester City.

He then made a loan move to Notts County and made history after making his debut in their 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth.

"My dad told me I'd probably be a trivia question one day," said Freeman, who has been at Forest since the age of eight. "I didn't really have a clue but we had a little laugh about it."

After impressing in the Forest youth academy, Freeman was named in the first-team squad for a Carling Cup tie with Bradford in August 2010.

Freeman was an unused substitute as the Reds were beaten by their lower-league opposition.

"To go out and play for your boyhood team is the greatest feeling," he said.

"I was on the bench against Wycombe and Steve McClaren gave me 20 minutes. I came on at left wing and really enjoyed it.

"All my family are Forest fans. It is still surreal for me. To represent any club is a big honour but to play for Forest is great."

Freeman made his full Forest debut against Leicester last month.

Freeman made nine appearances in his two-month loan spell with Mansfield in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

"I have to give a lot of thanks to Paul Cox for having the guts to take me on board," he said.

"They want to get into League Two and most managers want to play their most experienced players to get there.

"For him to take a chance on a 19-year-old lad, I owe him so much."

The Welsh U21 international joins an elite group of players that includes striker Trevor Christie, goalkeeper Darren Ward, defender John Thompson and former Forest boss Colin Calderwood, who have turned out for all three clubs.

Worksop-born Ward started his career with Mansfield and made 81 League appearances before moving to Meadow Lane for £150,00.

He made over 300 appearances in six years with County and 123 for Forest from 2001-2004. He was also capped five times for Wales.

Right-back Percy Mills, younger brother of Notts centre-forward Paddy Mills, joined Notts as a youngster and stayed for 12 years.

He made a remarkable 434 appearances, guesting for both Forest and Mansfield during World War Two. Two of his brothers were killed in the war. Current Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson is Percy's grandson.

Colin Calderwood has made a name for himself as a manager in recent years with Northampton, Forest and Hibs.

But Calderwood, currently assistant-manager at Birmingham, was also sought after as a player and was capped 36 times by Scotland.

He began his career as a junior with Mansfield in 1982, making over 100 appearances before joining Swindon, Spurs, Villa and Forest. He had five games on loan at Notts in 2001.

John Thompson joined Mansfield last year after being released by Notts, where he skippered the side. He captained the Forest U19 team and made 129 appearances from 2001-07.

Half-back Bill Baxter joined Forest as an amateur in 1936 from local football after catching the eye with Nottingham Schoolboys.

His career was blighted by injury and he made only 18 appearances. He turned out for Derby County and Leicester before joining Notts in 1946.

He went on to make 153 appearances before moving to Grantham Town in 1954. He died in 1992.

Another wing-half, William Corkhill, made 288 appearances for Notts. Corkill was 41 when he played his last game for County, at right-back against Barnsley, in 1951.

He also played for Derby County and Cardiff City and had spells as manager of Scunthorpe United and Bradford.

He was later appointed senior Notts FA coach and ran the Earl of Chesterfield pub on Carlton Road.

Nottingham-born forward Ted May, who started his career with Notts Rangers, joined Notts in their first season in the Football League.

He scored nine goals in 38 appearances before moving to Forest (9-5) and signed for Mansfield in 1893.

His twin brother William, also played for Notts. May died in Nottingham in January 1941.

Much-travelled striker Trevor Christie helped Notts County to promotion to Division One in 1981.

Notts doubled their money when they sold him to Forest for £165,000 after bagging 79 goals in 196 appearances.

He also played for Leicester City, Derby County, Man City, Walsall, Mansfield, Kettering, Hucknall Town and Arnold.

Jason Lee had also done the rounds before he signed for Forest in 1994. He went on to play for Charlton, Grimsby, Watford, Chesterfield, Peterborough, Falkirk, Boston United and Northampton Town before joining Notts County and Mansfield. He is currently back at Boston as joint-manager.

Right-winger William Hodder was another whose career was launched by Notts Rangers. He joined Notts in 1888 scoring three goals in 22 outings before moving to Forest. He signed for Mansfield in 1893



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