Part One - The Formation (1897 - 1903)
by Paul Taylor and
has been written of the formation of Mansfield Town Football Club and
many dates been given, however most are apocryphal or at the very least
wildly inaccurate. Although organised football existed for many years in
Mansfield before this the origins of the present club can be traced back
to 1897 and the Wesleyan church on Bridge Street. The exact meeting
where the seeds were sown is now lost in the midst of time
and as such no exact date can be given for the formation.
However, team formed by Frederick Abraham and Thomas Cripwell and called
Mansfield Wesleyans eventually
became the Mansfield Town we all know and love.
the formation, in those early days no league was entered, the team
played only friendly matches plus the odd local cup tie. The team played
in the light blue and chocolate stripes and played almost exclusively at
a ground on Westfield lane. The first match was played at this ground on
4 September 1897 against Sherwood Foresters and
ended in a 2-2 draw.
Unfortunately no details survive of the XI that turned out that day but
we do know that the Foresters Statham put through his own goal and
Taylor scored the goals.
By the start of
1902/3 season the club had decided to enter the Mansfield and District
Amateur League and on 6 September 1902 the Club played its first ever
league game, a 0-1 defeat at the home of Mansfield Corinthians. The team
for this auspicious occasion was: Hodgkins;
Benton (Sid), Sadler; Hibbert, Trenam, Osborne; Martin, Tattersall,
Wilson, Gunthorpe, Abraham. Walter Tattersall (right) later went
on to played for Tottenham Hotspur and Watford. A week later the team's
second fixture, also away from home, was a disastrous 0-13 drubbing at
Shirebrook Swifts. For the record no Stags' first XI has ever suffered
such a stuffing since! The performances did improve and the season ended
with the team in a comfortable 7th position out of 12.