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Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

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Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby DoomMerchant » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:39 am

The last time I went to Sincil Bank was a cold Tuesday night in the Conference. It was a drab local derby and the crowd was a pitiful 2734, with 1100 Mansfield fans (I'm sure if it was on a Saturday there could quite easily have been more visitors than home fans). I vividly remember commenting to my mate and my eldest daughter: "these are finished, if we go up we'll never be back to Lincoln for a match."
There were times when Stags were in the Conference when I'd felt the same way. You could feel the doom and hear the death knell being rang. Fortunately we were saved but that familiar feeling was very evident on that night in Lincoln.

So to yesterday, and what a transformation. It seems like the town has gone City balmy: shirts everywhere, shop fronts sporting Lincoln colours, a vibrant stadium and a positive air throughout the place. The difference over 4 years is remarkable. Now it's easy to point out that Imps have had the perfect storm of: a young and talented management team, been unbeaten at home for a year, won a title and, of course, had the essential ingredient of a huge FA Cup run. But the way that everyone seems to have got on board is very impressive. And it shows you what can happen when all of the pieces fall in to place.

What I'd be interested to know is - how do the glory Premier League fans in Lincoln make of it? We know in Mansfield that the progress of our club is strangled by them. These people view the local club as a bad joke; it's inherent in Mansfield but can it be reversed?
I work with a Leeds fan from Lincoln, who has started attending Sincil Bank. He said to me weeks ago: "you have to understand that all of these new Imps fans haven't seen them lose. Some of them don't yet know what it's like to see."

It's an important thing for Lincoln to plan for a couple of things: How do they keep the majority of these supporters if the team begins to lose; or it the manager leaves and things change?

Equally it's important for all lower league clubs to research what's happening there and considering, if something likewise happened here, how do we embrace the situation and include positive measures to keep new fans when things inevitably go pear-shaped? Because we are all up against the shadow of the big clubs and their draw.

The Cowley's have actually saved Lincoln City and should be admired for what they've achieved at a club which was getting 2500-3000 gates. City fans who stuck by them through the non-league must be pinching themselves. Clubs across the lower leagues should be inspired by it and prepare for it possibly ever happening to them. There's little point in getting a massive spike in support, only to lose it because there wasn't a plan. Because as nice as it is right now for Lincoln, many of these fans are on loan - it's how you work, right now, to keep as many as possible for life.

It's also a big reason why the capacity at our own Field Mill (which itself can be vibrant or a morgue) should always be at its maximum and why Bishop Street should be redeveloped. It might be us requiring space for 10,000 fans in a year's time. Don't dismiss it as stupid, because I'm sure Lincoln fans would have given you a funny look a year ago over a similar suggestion.

Cap doffed to Lincoln. Welcome back to a much needed rivalry
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Wilfred » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:59 am

Top post young Doomy.

Even in the days of that Count from Calver I always tried to look for that little glimmer of hope, that bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

There are now reasons aplenty to look on the bright side. Time to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Spiritater » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:22 pm

What struck me was the amount of young uns attracted to t'Bank.
They've jumped aboard at a good time with being unbeaten at home for so long. What are kids prices at Sincil?
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby DoomMerchant » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:35 pm

Spiritater wrote:What struck me was the amount of young uns attracted to t'Bank.
They've jumped aboard at a good time with being unbeaten at home for so long. What are kids prices at Sincil?


Cheapest matchday prices for under 17s:
Lincoln - £7
Stags - £12

Cheapest Student/young adult prices:
Lincoln - £7
Stags - £15

Same old story that Mansfield Town/John Radford refuse to address.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Spiritater » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:49 pm

It'll have to be adressed Johnny.

JR was more than likely in attendance yesterday (unless he was at St Leger). Even he can't have missed the amount of youngsters in attendance.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Impy » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:12 pm

A really good post to read and I think it shows how far we have come in less than a year.

For the best part of ten years prior to last season we flirted with relegation from League 2, before being finally deservedly being relegated. The previous 4 years in the conference was nothing but torture, soon learning that clubs with less than 900 people were far better run, had far better players and finished in far better positions. We chopped and changed managers, signed every journey man possible under Holdsworth - tried the managers with former links with the club, even had a director running the side for 18 months with barely a pot to p*ss in. Before we fell on our feet with the Cowleys who along with investment from South Africa has galvanised the club.

The success has been massive winning the league and reaching the FA Cup quarter final. However, I think since appointed the Cowleys there has been a massive togetherness pulling the community together. They regularly attend local events, players are taking training sessions with local youth sides - it has all just come together. The population of Lincoln and the surrounding area has vastly increased since we had our last decent side in 2006. Incidentally then our average was nearly 6000 so we have been fairly well backed in the past.

There are as mentioned loads of kids at games now and the far end block of the main stand there is a junior imps club which is an adult and child under 12 for £11 with regular gift packs distributed throughout the season. These 900 tickets sell out like hot cakes and make it affordable for the families. The local pubs have also got on board putting marquees and improving the customer experience.

The bandwagon comment always makes me laugh as I would rather be sat with 8000+ supporters at home than 1700 watching bottom half conference football being beaten at home by Welling. And hopefully the news fans are inspired for the next generation.

In terms of League 2, I am positive the standard has dramatically increased since we were last here and you can't see an easy game round the corner. Yesterday lacked quality neither side created any chance it was just a good honest battle and in the end it was a perfect away result. I still fancy both sides to be in around the playoffs, we might just be a striker short until January however.

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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Martin Shaw » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:37 pm

Spiritater wrote:It'll have to be adressed Johnny.

JR was more than likely in attendance yesterday (unless he was at St Leger). Even he can't have missed the amount of youngsters in attendance.

he was
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby steiner » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:08 pm

We had the same during the Dave Smith and Peter Morris championship winning years of the 70s
As a kid during those times Field Mill always seemed packed to the rafters and the whole town wanted to be part of it,
The Stags are heading in that direction again today.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Spiritater » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:12 pm

So he'll have noticed then Marty. As Doomy has banged the drum on the kids thing an awful lot, JR needs to embrace the youth now while we are hopefuly on an upward trajectory.
It's no good trying to get them to come while we are totally Tyrone Thompson. I know we have the A block and it's a start but as Impy says there's plenty more we could do.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby die hirsche » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:22 pm

I know traditionally we have been similarly sized clubs but that's only because the Lincoln support has been so dog raspberries forever.

It's a city, steeped in history, beautiful buildings, a marina, a university, no 'big' team on the doorstep. All of those ingredients will never be something Mansfield can cook success from.

It's good to see Lincoln City thriving and a great original post from Doomy and there are things we can do better here, but it's not a level playing field.

With what has happened to Mansfield as a town over the last 30 odd years I think it's remarkable that we still even have a league club and more remarkable that we could have a successful club.

Whilst some bang on about apathy and low attendances I think we should be proud that we are still here, we still get the support and we still beat Lincoln City.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Stags 2002 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:37 pm

Doomy a very good post.

First of all what the club has and continue to do should be commended, the club has and continues to move forward with JR / CR at the helm. However as Spiritater says more could and should be done to attract future generations of supporters.

Attendances are and will continue to increase should a successful team be playing at the mill, this will naturally gain the attention of a few and will cause a snowball effect should it continue to bear fruit. However how can this be accelerated? In order to do this you have to think as Mansfield as a brand and brands require loyalty and good products to retain existing business and obtain further growth.

Say what you will about my personal experience however I have to give background in order to provide context. My first game was the FA cup second round match against Huddersfield in Dec 2001 which we won 4-0 (attending with my dad and I got hooked), we then started to attend regularly during that promotion season and got season tickets whilst we were in the second division after a few more years, the interest of attending waned with Haslam at the helm (but thats another story).

On and off attendances have followed over the years however fast forward to last season and the appointment of Steve Evans. This caught mine and i'm sure a few others attention, my first game last season was Notts County away however this time with the wife and kids in tow. Significant interest was sparked again and as a family we attended all the remaining games of the season that we could (only exception at home was when on Holiday over the Easter period).

We started off in the family block, for me a great introduction back into the stadium but block A isn't for me (Little atmosphere and open to the elements) and so we moved into the upper tier. The offers last season of buy one get one free did also contribute to regular attendance. However this season we have season tickets. In effect we have brought into team (Brand) Mansfield.

If your still with me, the point i'm trying to make is that we've been on a journey from contributing nothing to season ticket holders in the space of 8 / 9 months, each step up-scaling our contribution to the club as we buy into the brand.

I have supported and followed the club for years (as many have), so I was probably easier to entice back to regularly supporting the club than your average premier league fan located in Mansfield. But in order to target those kind of people we need to offer something that supporting a team on TV can't and that's live football. The club should use this as a major selling point.

"Support your local team", "Watch live football" should be strap lines the club adopt.

That amongst other methods may gain interest, so we've got their interest they want to attend but don't want to pay £72 (two adults + two juniors on the day price). We don't sell out the family block to my knowledge, so make it so appealing that we do on a regular basis. My suggestion would be to reduce prices in block A to no more than £15 for an adult and junior ticket, the term being a lost leader, get people hooked and like myself and family they will move to other parts of the ground and spend more should they enjoy the product on offer including food sales etc.

We need a feeder system to get people in the door, once through that door that leads to the extra revenue further on in their journey.

Regarding the Bishop Stand here it is in all its glory below, although now derelict can we not use the space to the right hand side of it to build a temporary "family stand" covered to hold roughly 1000 fans? similar to the stand in the far corner at Lincoln, food sales could be made via the quarry lane stand.

Lets say the cost is £1m to construct (a club representative would need to give more relevant figures including legal fees etc) - again its only a temporary stand before a more sustainable redevelopment plan implemented so may be cheaper.

If half full regularly with 500 fans annual revenues would be £86,250 (500 x £7.50 x 23 games) ignoring any additional food sales, cup games revenue, pay back would be 12 years, again ignoring running costs of the stand. Shortened to 6 years if regularly full with 1000 fans, and shortened again should people move out of that stand into other areas of the ground and be replaced by others keen to attend and try it out for the first time.

Is there any way as fans we could contribute to the capital required through methods such as crowd funding? Are FA grants available to the club to help fund this also?

We've all brought into the club and what JR / CR are offering, for me its about getting people to notice brand Mansfield, wanting to try it, giving them an opportunity to do so, enjoying and wanting more of the brand and as they do up-scaling the contribution they make until the point they become season ticket holders. Then the cycle begins again as word spreads and other take note.

As the saying goes the customer is always right, it would be interesting to know if the club has actively engaged with people be it in town or on social media to find out through market research what would make them attend? What prevents them from doing so?

Hopefully the club take note as I think Doomy and others have hit the nail on the head.

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Last edited by Stags 2002 on Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:21 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Barrel of the Best » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:06 am

Lincoln is a city but it's population isn't much bigger than Mansfield and it's surrounding towns.
What is different is it is a Uni place which gives them a new audience to capture every so many years and as another poster said, there are no big clubs on the doorstep.
Having said that, most people I have met from Lincoln support other clubs.

I believe you have to be ambitious because ambition attracts positivity and positivity can snowball.
JR employing Steve Evans was an ambitious move and a statement of intent. In turn it attracts a better calibre of player and an increase of supporters.
Redeveloping Bishop Street would fit with all this.

People can put forward a perfectly valid argument that the stand isn't needed due to attendances, but that is negative and short sighted.
When Watford redeveloped their last stand they were a midtable Championship club and they didn't need it most games. Look at them now.
I don't get the logic of having a three part nice stadium with one rotting stand. It's like having a nice house but the back garden is a craphole. Put the TV cameras on that stand and we'll pretend it's not there.

I don't want to see Stags in debt but I want to see them think big. The bigger gates are possible, but not a necessity in Football anymore. Bournemouth are proof of this.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby one f in mansfield » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:42 am

Nearest other league club to Lincoln is 28 mile away and historically they have been at the same level until fairly recently .
Travel 28 miles from Mansfield and there are at least 6 other clubs .

Historically Lincolns support for their catchment area has been abysmal . They are now getting gates that they should have had for many years .
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby arsene wengers coat » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:27 am

Stags2002 is right.

The family section will be poorly populated when winter hits because its so exposed. If the corner gets filled with the hotel and we put additioanl seats in it then that will be an ideal location for families.

But the bottom line comes down to price vs enjoyment.

If its cheap for the amount of entertainment and value, people will come. Atthe moment it appearsa tad too expensive and the quality on the pitch isnt good enough to warrent the cost of matchday tickets for families and flaoting fans.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby DoomMerchant » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:19 pm

Spiro has a real point regarding the youngsters. It really was noticeable just how many kids were everywhere, inside and outside of Sincil Bank. Compare that to a regular fixture at Field Mill - dominated by the middle-aged and pensioners.

I rattle on about this because I have a twelve year old who regularly remarks about where are the other twelve year olds are?

As it stands, compare how Lincoln are attracting their next generation against us. We are failing hugely.
In a decade's time Imps will have hundreds of newer fans paying adult prices. We will still rely on the middle-aged and pensioners.

For a successful businessman, who has made remarkable strides with our football club, JR is failing year on year with this Achilles heel at the club. Forget the family ticket, that would have been zero use for me in 1985 with parents who wouldn't have been seen within a mile of Field Mill.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby london amber stag » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:10 pm

steiner wrote:We had the same during the Dave Smith and Peter Morris championship winning years of the 70s
As a kid during those times Field Mill always seemed packed to the rafters and the whole town wanted to be part of it,

The Stags are heading in that direction again today.


I was one of those kids and still love my club. I used to so look forward to Monday night night matches kicking off at 7:30pm. The old dear who lived on Bishop St always stoked her fire bang on ko and smoke billowed across the pitch!! Happy days when kids only got a Waggon Wheel at Field Mill!
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Barrel of the Best » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:34 pm

one f in mansfield wrote:Nearest other league club to Lincoln is 28 mile away and historically they have been at the same level until fairly recently .
Travel 28 miles from Mansfield and there are at least 6 other clubs .

Historically Lincolns support for their catchment area has been abysmal . They are now getting gates that they should have had for many years .

Fair point but despite a big catchment area Lincolnshire isn't densely populated. Unlike a 28 mile radius of Mansfield which includes densely populated cities like Nottingham, Derby, partly Sheffield and large towns like Chesterfield and Worksop. More teams and way more people.
If it went on catchment areas Carlisle United are 59 miles away from the next English Football club.

I'm not gonna sit here doing the maths but I'd gamble it all balances out between the two clubs.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Sneag » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:07 pm

Spiritater wrote:So he'll have noticed then Marty. As Doomy has banged the drum on the kids thing an awful lot, JR needs to embrace the youth now while we are hopefuly on an upward trajectory.
It's no good trying to get them to come while we are totally Tyrone Thompson. I know we have the A block and it's a start but as Impy says there's plenty more we could do.



This 'tater post is even better than the best one!

Get the unaccompanied kids in, it's not like we don't have the room.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Spiritater » Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:44 pm

Sneag wrote:
Spiritater wrote:So he'll have noticed then Marty. As Doomy has banged the drum on the kids thing an awful lot, JR needs to embrace the youth now while we are hopefuly on an upward trajectory.
It's no good trying to get them to come while we are totally Tyrone Thompson. I know we have the A block and it's a start but as Impy says there's plenty more we could do.



This 'tater post is even better than the best one!

Get the unaccompanied kids in, it's not like we don't have the room.


Oh give over Sneagers you'll make me blush. :lol:
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Tippy Tappy Football » Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:34 pm

I was thinking that we could all do our bit by bringing a friend. However the problem with all seater stadiums is that there is often not a spare seat where your friend could sit next to you. This is where clubs miss out on the social aspect of terraces where you can roam about and talk to different people and friends can easily stand together.

Perhaps the club can set aside certain areas in the stand which are unallocated seating and friends can sit together.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby Captain Cunno » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:50 am

Maybe one of the three offers this season could be a kids for a quid deal but we actually monitor the increase in kids attending.
Just to see how many kids out there are genuinely bothered about watching their local side for a quid.
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Re: Imps Should Provide An Inspiration

Postby The One » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:04 am

Found this on MK Dons site whilst looking at hotel proposals

Under 12's free plus if they members get free shirt

https://www.mkdons.com/tickets/season-t ... s-go-free/
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