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Archived News from February 2003

7th February 2003 13:10

Jealous Guy Dearden ... Team news ... Hot off the press...

BY IAN WILKERSON, Evening Post, 07 February 2003

Mansfield boss Keith Curle is demanding his players rise to the occasion for what he describes as a "massive game" for the club.

The Stags may be sitting two points behind Billy Dearden's Magpies but Curle is confident that his side will be able to take the opportunity to leapfrog their rivals.

The manager, who is still recovering from a calf strain and is unlikely to play in the big clash, believes his side can build on their midweek showing against Brentford, which they dominated but could only earn a goalless draw from.

He said: "I have talked to people this week about what they described as a big game.

"I think they are doing it a disservice. I think it is massive.

"The bigger players play in their bigger games and I know that I have got enough big players in my changing room to put in a performance with which the fans can be proud."

Some supporters may have been disappointed with the fact Stags failed to take their chances against the Bees but Curle believes that is an indication that his team is moving in the right direction.

He said: "Expectation levels are going to be high because I expect such high standards.

"I think it is easy to look at just one result and forget to take in the overall picture of what has happened in the last eight weeks that I have been here.

"In that time, we have played ten games, won four, lost four and drawn two, so I think that is looking quite favourable.

"The expectation has changed because we have played teams that have got a lot more points than us and we are disappointed that we haven't beaten them.

"I think that is a good sign because I am sure earlier in the season we would have lost against both Brentford and Wycombe.

"But it was good to keep two clean sheets and we are also creating plenty of opportunities so I am pleased with the way it is going."

Stags have not beaten Notts for 40 years but Curle believes his side have enough to secure their first victory since winning their other derby ??? 2-1 at Chesterfield ??? three weeks ago.

In preparation, he has concentrated on ways in which Stags can attack Notts rather than concerning himself with the opposite scenario.

He said: "Local derbies are about who is prepared to go the extra yard and, for my players, it will be about using that self-belief we have installed in them.

"It may be just about three points but I know it is more than that.

"Our team-talks have been concerned about how we are going to play.

"It is not about them, it is about us and we are going to go out there and be positive."

One big plus has been the addition of Adam Eaton, who was also on Dearden's hit-list, on a further month's loan from Preston.

Curle said: "It's been brilliant to get him, even if it is only for another month, and, when he played on Tuesday, it looked like he had never been away.

"He has got a great rapport with the fans and we know the qualities he can bring to our side and what to expect from him.

"He likes the environment around here and I think that is something you can say of all the players I have brought in.

"It is no secret that I would like to have him here permanently but, in the meantime, I want to keep him here as long as I can."

Iyseden Christie, who scored Stags' equaliser at Notts in November is making progress with a knee injury and there is also good news about Colin Larkin (hamstring) and Neil MacKenzie's knee.

Curle said: "The injuries are improving and everything coming out of the treatment room at the moment is positive and that is the way it should be.

"Nobody is going to be asked to do a job if they are only 90% ready to do it.

"That isn't going to be enough for anybody this club demands 100% fight and commitment."

Evening Post, 07 February 2003

Billy Dearden today admitted he is envious of rival manager Keith Curle - but insisted "I've no regrets."

The Notts County boss has seen former club Mansfield Town make 12 permanent signings since he left Field Mill.

As he prepares to return to his old stomping ground tomorrow for what is expected to be a fiercely contested local derby ??? and relegation dogfight ??? Dearden has still to bring a single player to Meadow Lane on a permanent basis.

Salt was rubbed into the wound this week when Stags signed Adam Eaton on loan, as the Preston player had been on Dearden's list of potential targets.

"Yes, I suppose I do look at the situation at Field Mill with envy, there is a bit of the green-eyed monster in there," admitted Dearden.

"They have signed a lot of players at Mansfield since I left, while I have not been able to sign any. We haven't made a single permanent signing.

"There is a list of players that we are looking at, targets we have had in mind for some time, but there is not a lot we can do about it.

"Adam Eaton was one of those on the list.

"We had not made an approach for him, we had not made any enquiries about signing him, but he was on our list.

"We cannot do anything while we are in administration. So I suppose you could say it was frustrating for us to see Mansfield go out and sign him, yes.

"But you get on with it don't you?

"My old Dad used to say if you can get out of bed in the morning and put your feet on the floor, it is a good day.

"We get out of bed every day and come to work, we get on with it. They are good days."

Dearden admits he is nervous about the reception he will receive at Field Mill, after leaving to join Notts in January 2002.

Notts swooped for Dearden at a time when Stags were still to offer him an extension to his contract, which was set to expire at the end of the season.

But the Notts man is hoping there will not be too much bad blood.

"I have never said that Notts was a bigger club, I don't think you can say that," he said. "I felt that there may have been more potential at Meadow Lane, maybe. But you can't say that one club is bigger than the other.

"But I don't have any regrets about leaving, I never have any regrets.

"I would like to think that most of the Mansfield fans, deep down, will know why I left Field Mill. I don't want to go into it in too much detail, but I think, I hope, most of them will know.

"My only regret - though I am not sure that is quite the right word for it - is that I have not been able to do my job properly here.

"My only disappointment is that my job has been restricted so much here. I have been restricted 110% as a manager, I have not been able to do my job since I came to Meadow Lane.

"But that is a different issue altogether."

In the meantime, Dearden is hoping Stags fans will look back on his time at Field Mill in a positive light.

"I hope I will get a decent reception, I suspect I will get some stick, I am expecting some, to be fair," he said.

"But I hope in general that they will understand, I hope they will also remember what we achieved when I was there.

"When I first went to Field Mill we had nine players on the books and both ends of the ground were boarded up.

"We had to beg, steal and borrow just to put a team together, but we did it.

"I was delighted that they managed to climb up into the Second Division, I really was. But I would like to think I played a part in that.

"When I go back to Field Mill, it will be to a nice, smart new stadium.

"I know you don't always get a good reception when you go back to your old club, but I am hoping they will remember some of this.

"I enjoyed my time with Mansfield and I hope they continue to do well - as long as it is not at Notts expense."


BY PAUL TAYLOR, Evennig Post, 07 February 2003

Notts County are walking an injury tightrope ahead of tomorrow's relegation clash.

Manager Billy Dearden has nine players on the Meadow Lane injury list — but is hoping that as many as four or five could be fit to face the Stags.

The Magpies will stage a series of fitness tests tomorrow, before naming their squad.

And Dearden is hoping for a boost.

"There are several players who we are hoping may recover in time," he said.

"We have eight or nine players struggling with injury, but of those, there are several who are in with a chance of playing.

"It is just going to be a case of keeping our fingers crossed."

The biggest boost could be the return to fitness of Danny Allsopp (hamstring) and Paul Bolland (groin), who made a significant impact after coming off the bench in the 2-2 draw with Crewe on Tuesday.

And Ian Richardson (knee) could also make a welcome return.

Stuart Garden (knee), Michael Brough (thigh) and Danny Stone (strain) will not return. But Richard Holmes (trapped nerve), Tony Hackworth (ankle) and Simon Ramsden (hip) could be involved.

Saul Deeney is also likely to be named on the bench, despite a foot injury.

Dearden is hoping for good news, as he is expecting another blood and thunder local derby.

"Perhaps the events in the last game, with them scoring a late equaliser, after a passionate match, have sharpened things up a little," he said.

"It is a local derby, but it is also made more interesting because both sides are involved in a relegation fight.

"Neither side is going to want to lose. Three points would make a significant difference to both of us."

Notts have not lost to Mansfield since 1963 and have won seven of the last eight encounters between the two sides - the exception being the 2-2 draw earlier this season.

"Records don't matter in games like this," said Dearden. "To be fair it probably only gives them more of an incentive.

"But I am looking forward to it. We have sold nearly all of our tickets and will have a very good backing at Field Mill, probably around 2,300 fans.

"There is going to be a passionate atmosphere and hopefully a good game - and the right result."

NOTTS (from): Mildenhall, Ramsden, Nicholson, Fenton, Ireland, Bolland, Liburd, Caskey, Baraclough, Heffernan, Stallard, Allsopp, Deeney, Richardson, Hackworth, Holmes, Riley, Harrad, Francis, Bostock, McFaul.


Hot off the press...
Feature by Mark Stevenson, http://www.nottscounty-mad.co.uk

The Editor has caught up with some key figures in the Media this week and they give their comments exclusively to NCM, these include Colin Slater MBE, Robin Chipperfield (from Radio Nottingham), James Bradley & Steven Hartshorn from Mansfield 103.2 and John Lomas from the 'CHAD' Newspaper...

James Bradley: Commentator on 'Mansfield 103.2'

How has your season been so far then? This season has been very up and down for all stags fans.The euphoria surrounding last seasons promotion faded very quickly.It does seem of late that we could now survive.The sacking of stuart watkiss was a great shame,however keith curle has worked very hard to adress our defensive problems and teams no longer find the stags a soft touch.
Which chants are your fans likely to sing? I'm sure you'll here lots of yellows chants at saturdays game.You may well be reminded of our local rivalry in one or two unpleasant ways.
Have you improved since your visit to Meadow Lane in November? Without doubt the team defensivley are more resolute.We have also improved beyond all recognition regarding self beleif that the stags can compete at this level.
What did you rate to Notts when you saw them in November? To be perfectley honest I was very disappointed with notts in our away clash. I have supported mansfield for many years and i can't remember seeing a Notts team as poor as this currnet side.
Darren Caskey aside, i thought the magpies lacked that bit of panache that as been associated with your teams over the years.
Where do you advise Notts fans to park? Anywhere apart from the retail park at the back of the north stand,park there and you'll be emptying your wallet to some unscroupolous private clamping company.
How do you rate Keith Curle, your new Manager? Keith Curle is a very brisk and forthright character.He does things his way and is unswerving in his approach to the game.He has changed the whole persona of the club in the short time he has been there.
I for one feel he has been a breath of fresh air at just the right time.
I will however save the king curle chant until later in his reign.
What do you think to Bill Dearden? Billy has my utmost respect.A football gentleman (bet you've heard that before).I have a had a few ding dong interviews with the great man in the past,i can remember him throwing the microphone down on more than one occasion. I still beleive he is one of the few people who will go down in stags history as the man who gave all he had in his many spells at field mill. He is a fiercley proud man and that lends him too football fans.
Who should the Notts fans be watching in the Stags side? Thats simple all of them on their day can be outstanding.
Lawrence,your favourite Corden and christie who sadly is injured would be the names worth a mention.
What is the attendence likely to be? in the region of 7,000 would be my guess..
What do you like and dislike about Notts County as a club? In Notts i see a club who in many ways live in the past. Now before you all scorn me for that comment let me explain.
The alleged mismanagment of the clubs finances back up my view.For a club like yours to be in the sad plight it is,is criminal.
I won't get into the my dads bigger than your dad argument but if you look at the current status of our so called little club,you will see that there are ways to have a reasonably successfull club without breaking the bank.
Some of the notts players are payed very well, and that alone cannot guarantee you success.I would hate for notts or chesterfield to go out of buisness and so would most decent minded football fans,but it's time to cut your cloth people.
I tipped your lot for the play offs this season,how wrong could one be.
You have simply one of the best managers in the lower leagues.That can be your only bright spot on a dissapointing season.
Score prediction? Not a chance!!!!

Steven Hartshorn: Co-Commentator on 'Mansfield 103.2'

Name and website? Steve Hartshorn, Editor of Follow The Yellow Brick Road and co-Commentator on the Stags for Mansfield 103.2 FM. http://www.ftybr.co.uk
How has your season been so far then? A mixed of horror and glory.
Which chants are your fans likely to sing? Anything anti-Spireite. Obviously Saturday they will have to make an extra bit of noise so that you County fans can here them clearly.
Have you improved since your visit to Meadow Lane in November? Vastly despite the league position. We have become harder to beat rather than a bit of a pushover.
What did you rate to Notts when you saw them in November? Possibly the worst County side I have seen for almost 30 years.
Where do you advise Notts fans to park? There are quite a few places around the ground, keep away from the back of the North Stand as sometimes you can get a nasty thing stuck to one of your wheels.
How do you rate Keith Curle, your new Manager? After the result against Chesterfield, he became a bit of god in these parts. If he can keep us up, then folks will call him a hero for all time.
What do you think to Bill Dearden? Hands tied. Poor bloke thought he was moving to a bigger club, whereas in reality he would have been better off stopping at the big club he was at.
Who should the Notts fans be watching in the Stags side? Lawrence, Corden, White, Disley, any in a forward position.
What is the attendence likely to be? Should be quite good. All ticket games at Field Mill do not always go down too well, but there should be almost a full house.
What do you like and dislike about Notts County as a club? Where do I start? Their fans seem to live in the past, a good thing due to their age I suppose. The thing Stags fans dislike about County is that they always claim to be hard done to. You never lose, you were just unlucky. The big club from Nottinghamshire attitude can often get our goat up, especially when things are not so good anymore. Time for County fans to take a bit bite of the reality pie.
Score prediction? A long awaited victory for the lads from North Notts. 2-1.

John Lomas: Reporter for 'The CHAD' Newspaper on Mansfield Town

Stags have improved a lot since the trip to Meadow Lane, particularly when player-manager Keith Curle has been on the field to calm things down. Day and Gadsby had their first shaky performances at Plymouth but otherwsie have played well. Bobby Hassell has been sorely missed and is getting fitter and better with every gamne. And the return of the outstanding Adam Eaton on loan at left back is another big boost today.

I have not seen much of Notts this season and it's hard to rate a side in a local derby as they can often be different to the run of the mill performance. Notts certainly looked good in patches but I thought Stags were more than worth their point on the day, even though it was a mile offside. But people I have spoken to in the last two weeks say Notts are as poor as they can remember them for years right now which is obviously down to Billy's hands being tied.

Curle has come in and shaken the club from top to bottom which it probably needed. He has even had walls painted and pictures put up to make it look 'more like a football club' and shown the door to a procession of plyers he considered not up to the task. The players he has brought in have been good and he seems to have good contacts. He is still learning as a amanager but exudes confidence which has passed on to the players. It's going to be tough and go to the wire but I think he will keep them up.

Bill is a warm and wonderful man who deserves better in life than being uanble to bring players in at Field Mill and then suffer the same fate at his next job. He has immense respect from players and the press alike and can take much credit for Mansfield's promotion last year even though he didn't stick around to see it through.

Notts fans should look out for new central defender Rhys Day from Man City who is being talked about as a possible full Welsh international for the Euro Championships, speedy new striker Junior Mendes signed from St Mirren last week, Adam Eaton on loan from Preston as a fine attacking left back, Iyseden Christie with 16 goals obviously (if he is fit in time) and Liam Lawrence (so influential down the right).

Notts County is a grand old football club with a grand old tradition. I used to go and watch them with my late father in the old Fourth Division days and saw them rise all the way to the top flight. I also covered a few games when on the Evening Post and did Neil Warnock's column with him.
Although I went to Forest during the glory years as well I have always had a soft spot for Notts through my father supporting them and it was a year to remember when both Nottingham clubs were in the top flight. It's such a shame they are in crisis again. I hope someone can pop up with some money (not Aaron Scargill) and get them back on their feet. It would be lovely if Notts and Stags could survive in Division Two this year as that always keeps the rivalry going and a good income from the two gates. It's been interesting listening to the debate on BBC Radio Nottm about which is the bigger club. Certainly on tradition and history it would be Notts. But Stags also have vastly improved facilities and no club can afford to rest on their laurels. Notts have no firm guarantees that Stags will not become the bigger club in the county and they are as close now as they have been for a long time with Stags in the black financially, a good manager and the nucleaus of a decent squad.

Robin Chipperfield: Mansfield correspondant for BBC radio Nottingham

How do Notts and The Stags compare to each other...

They're very similar in style ... in that when they both play at their
best look unbeatable. When they both play quickly, with a quick tempo,
they're at their best. If they drop the pace, and let the opposition have
the ball, they'll more often than not, get beaten.

Who is the bigger club...

I'm not going to get into the "bigger club" argument! I'm not sure it
really matters. I honestly hope, though, that both clubs stay up. Its better
for the county, better for the fans to be playing in Division Two. And its
also better for Radio Nottingham in the end, if our clubs are at a higher

What do you think to Keith Curle...

Mansfield have improved defensively under Keith Curle. They simply
couldnt afford to carry on as they were, shipping goals left, right and
centre. So, they're more organized at the back, and they're even better when
he plays - he commands the whole side on the pitch.

Key stags players...

I think Liam Lawrence and Wayne Corden are the key to how Mansfield play.
I mentioned earlier that the Stags play better, when they play quicker ...
and Lawrence typifies that. His hustling and wing-play create problems for
other sides, and Corden can put in as good a cross as any winger in the
division. On his day, Corden is a matchwinner.

What do you think to Notts this season...

I've seen quite a lot of Notts this season, and they amaze me. Having
recently seen the games against Stockport and Crewe, the first halves of
those matches show why the Maggies are in trouble ... yet, frustratingly,
the second halves give a glimpse of what can be achieved. Why are football
clubs always like that?! If a team is rubbish throughout, it would be far
easier to accept!!

And the scoreline...

I have to be honest, and say that I feel that Mansfield will win. With
home advantage and the momentum they have, I'm sure that the Stags will be
bookmakers favourites. But I'm sure that it'll be another terrific game -
the match at Meadow Lane was a typical derby, and a great spectacle. More of
the same please!

Colin Slater MBE: Notts County correspondant for BBC radio Nottingham

What did you think to the Stags back in November....
Mansfield deserved their point at Meadow Lane, even though it was secured with a hugely controversial late goal. The Stags have some young players who always impress me when I see them. Liam Lawrence, for one, never disappoints me.

Who is the bigger club...
Notts are in my view the bigger club of the two, looking at past records and assessing the potential of the two clubs. For example, Mansfield have never played at the top flight and you don't have to go very far back in their recent history to find when Notts did so. Moreover, Mansfield have spent very little time out of the bottom two divisions of the League. This is not to decry that they have produced some marvellous players, notably Kenny Wagstaff, enjoyed good seasons and generally been a well-run club. But this doesn't make them the bigger of the two!

When do you think Notts will be out of Administration...
Not this month, because even if a successful takeover bid is tabled there's a lot of work to follow before the High Court will discharge Notts from administration. So I think it will be March at the earliest. It's just important to get all this sorted out before the transfer deadline. Notts have far too thin a squad for the important run-in at the end of the season.

Is it likely that Dearden could get a player in the side before Saturday...

It's possible that Notts will have a new player in their ranks for the trip to Mansfield. They desperately need to bolster their numbers.

And the scoreline...

I cannot see Notts winning it and believe they would be reasonably happy with another point from, say, a 2-2 draw – based on the fact that Notts and Mansfield are not good at keeping clean sheets but have the ability to score.


Latest | February 2003