Wayne Corden 

Wayne Corden was a cult figure at Field Mill. He played for Mansfield from 2000 to 2005.

Below is a profile and interview we did with Wayne in December 2003.

Martin Shaw

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Corden celebrates a goal against Bury in 2003. Photo by Dan Westwell

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Details of his career so far

by Martin Shaw and Jeff Barnes, December 2003  

Birthplace Leek, 1st Nov 1975. Height 5,9, Weight 11,3.  

Port Vale: from trainee September 1994.

71 appearances (including 36 as substitute), 2 goals (in 6 years).

One of these 2 goals was against Arsenal in the FA Cup, to take a replay to penalties, which Vale lost.

 

Signed for Mansfield on free transfer, in June 2000, at the age of 24, by Billy Dearden, who told the media: “When Wayne became available, I knew I wanted him right away. He had a few setbacks at Vale through confidence or whatever. He hasn’t fulfilled his potential and I hope the move here will help him to do that. He is the type of player who excites supporters.”

 

In 3 seasons for Mansfield (2000 to 2003):

162 appearances (including 13 as substitute), 33 goals.

2000-2001: 5 goals.

2001-2002: 9 goals (including 2 penalties) (promotion season; Wayne was the only `ever-present` player during the season).

2002-2003: 13 goals (including 4 penalties) (relegation season; 44 appearances).

This season: 6 goals (so far, in less than half a season).

Note that there is a more or less increasing number of goals each season.

 

Martin & Jeff’s list of 5 most memorable goals (not necessarily the best):

Hartlepool H 4-3, Sep2000, the winner from long range, after being 3-1 down.

Cheltenham A 3-2, Aug2001, last minute winner.

Carlisle H 2-0, Apr2002, the first goal on the way to promotion.

Wycombe A 3-3, Aug2002, a stunner after 85 minutes to put us 3-2 ahead.

Port Vale, A 2-4, Nov2002, a goal against his former club.

 

(Stats up to and including 13 December 2003)

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Interview with Wayne Corden for FTYBR 

The interview took place in the foyer of the office at Field Mill after the home cup game against Wycombe Wanderers on December 16th 2003.  

The interview was arranged directly with Wayne by Jeff Barnes, and he and Martin Shaw (who also provided the statistical and historical information), did the interview together.  

Us: Wayne, thanks for your time tonight. Perhaps we could start with basic things to begin with. Are you married or do you have a partner?

Wayne: I am married, yes, for about 18 months – no children yet though, and I live in Leek in Staffordshire.

Us: How long does it take you to get from there to the ground and what is your normal working day like?

Wayne: I set off at eight o’clock in the morning, meet a few lads – Leroy, Tom Curtis and Chris Beardsley at Derby at nine o’clock and then we usually get here at about twenty to ten. It’s different on different days. On Monday, it’s short and sharp. Tuesday and Thursday are double sessions: in the afternoons we do weights and circuits. We get a day off Wednesday. So we train Monday, Tuesday, get a day off on Wednesday and then train Thursday and Friday, and then the game on Saturday when we get in about an hour and a quarter before kick-off time.

(At this point Keith Curle walks by and makes a snoring sound – we tell him that he’s next!)

Us: You were signed by Billy Dearden on the 6th June 2000. Obviously he was your manager at Port Vale as well. In those three and a half years, how has Mansfield Town changed from those early days since you first started?

Wayne: Obviously the appearance of the ground has changed. Since just before Billy came it was just the old wooden stand. It’s a lot more modern now and it was good because he said it was all going to be new so it was like coming into something that was going to be getting bigger and better. That’s how I saw it.

Us: And you believed him because you had worked for him before?

Wayne: Yes, he was the assistant manager at Port Vale. I like Bill and we get on well together.

Us: When you joined Mansfield it was reported that Brighton and Kidderminster were also interested in you – is that true?

Wayne: I’d heard rumours that there were a few clubs interested. I left Port Vale on a free so I never actually had talks with anybody. I spoke to someone at Kidderminster but nothing really materialised.

Us: Are you still in touch with Billy?

Wayne: Not really, I spoke to him right after he left. I’ve seen him since but I haven’t really spoken to him as such.

Us: Have you any idea how many games you have played for the Stags?

Wayne: That would be 150?

Us: That’s close, 163 after today. And scored how many goals, do you keep count?

Wayne: Yes, 33 … I have to go through the seasons – 5, 9, 13, 6 so far.

Us: We’ve noticed a pattern actually because when you were at Port Vale you scored just two goals in 71 appearances and then, as you’ve said: five, nine, thirteen and six in less than half a season, probably on target for fourteen, so it’s actually been increasing every season. Do you think there’s a reason for that?

Wayne: Probably, yeah, confidence-wise and getting established in the team. Last season was the best scoring season and it was in the second division so I had two seasons in the third but I’m off penalties now so to beat last season’s tally without taking penalties I would be happy.

Us: How did it end up that Liam is taking the penalties now?

Wayne: They keep bringing me off … (laughter)! I got substituted and we had a couple of penalties which Liam took as obviously I couldn’t take them.

Us: You have just turned twenty eight on November 1st. There are a lot of young players at the club and you are almost the senior pro. Do some of the young players come to you for advice on things?

Wayne: I do get asked now and again, things about contracts and the way that the PFA and pensions work, not that I know a great deal but I can advise them who to contact. The club’s PFA representative is Kevin Pilkington

Us: You’re relatively young at twenty eight, do you have a plan in your mind for how long you are going to continue to play professional football?

Wayne: As long as possible, every pro footballer would tell you that. Some people get fed up of it but I can’t see as how I’m going to get fed up of it. I can’t see me staying in the game doing anything managerial. My brother’s got his own business so I could always go into partnership with him, if he’d have me. He’s got a window cleaning round in the country and he cleans upholstery, carpets, curtains and things like that – it’s going well for him at the moment.

Us: We noticed you’ve been playing for nine and a half seasons and only had two clubs. That’s probably unusual in this day and age to show a bit of loyalty like that. Have you got an opinion about players’ loyalty?

Wayne: I think if players can move and get the best out of themselves they should, obviously everyone wants to play at the highest level and it is a short career. It sounds greedy but you’ve got to try and make as much money so you’re financially sound when you come to retire.

Us: You have played with a lot of players in that time – who’s the best Stags player you have played with, either now or previously?

Wayne: Chris Greenacre – he was an excellent striker who got his fair share of goals.

Us: When you are on the pitch do you hear individual crowd comments and do they affect you because you are a confidence player and I would have thought that if the crowd got on your back if would upset you?

Wayne: I try and block it out, but you do hear it if you have done something wrong and you are right next to them. It can be frustrating – I recently had a go at one of the fans and it was the groundsman’s best mate! I got told on Monday morning, but it was alright we just had a laugh about it.

Us: What about when the crowd are chanting your name – do you hear that?

Wayne: Yes, I hear that – it gives you confidence when you hear it.

Us: What have been your best and worst experiences in a Stags shirt?

Wayne: The best has been scoring the goal in the Carlisle game – it was a full house and we had to win to get promoted and hope that other results would go right for us, so when that went in it was a great feeling.

Us: We thought that would be way up there! Now on the worst one – how long did it take Pilks and you to make up after you gave the penalty away at Luton?

Wayne: (Laughing) Straight after the match. I knew what I had done as soon as it had happened. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. It was terrible as there was so much riding on the game - Pilks threw the ball at me! We had a word after but it was alright.

Us: You’re a great goal celebrator, notably the first one at Kidderminster this season and you also take it out on the away fans sometimes and taunt them a bit.

Wayne: Only if they have been getting on at me and if I score that is the way to answer them.

Us: So what is the feeling like when you score? Is it joy, relief?

Wayne: It’s both really – it’s a brilliant feeling when the ball hits the back of the net - you do feel a lot better when you score because you feel like you have done your job.

Us: How ambitious are you to play in a higher grade of football? I guess you hope that is going to be with the same club but if you get the opportunity to play higher I guess you’ll do that. Where do you think your level is as you are sort of in your prime now and for the next couple of years?

Wayne: Well I think I did fine in the second division, I enjoyed it there. Obviously I didn’t enjoy going down but I felt very comfortable in the second division but you get punished for your mistakes more the higher you go up and we just couldn’t defend. I think we were second top goalscorers, so we proved we could score goals but we just weren’t good enough defensively - the whole team, not just the defenders.

Us: Quite a lot of the fans think you play better with an attacking full back behind you, as Liam has Bobby Hassell behind him, and we wondered whether you have missed Allen Tankard as you seemed to play well with him?


Wayne: He was a great player with a great left foot on him but he was troubled with injuries for a whole season and just couldn’t carry on, but Adam Eaton is an attacking full back and we work well together.

Us: Tony Vaughan is a different sort of player isn’t he?

Wayne: Yes, he’s more of a centre half than a left back.

Us: The current team we have now – better than the one that got promoted?

Wayne: I think it’s hard to say being without Chris Greenacre and players like Martin Pemberton who went to Stockport, but I think strength in depth is a lot better. If we had a few players out, we struggled in the third division when we were going for promotion last time but now there are players that can come in and do a similar sort of job.

Us: The trouble is that when you have one good goalscorer like Chris Greenacre, if he is off his game or gets injured, then there is nowhere else to look for the goals whereas we have a number of people who have scored goals consistently this season.

Wayne: Yes, Liam’s got fourteen now I think – there are goals all round the side, but Leroy Williamson hasn’t scored and he won’t like me mentioning that. We have a little dig at him although he did well to get us the penalty tonight.

Us: Was it a penalty? Did you have a good view of it?

Wayne: I was right behind it – he was going nowhere so I don’t think the lad should have dived in anyway. It’s hard to say, I’ve asked Lee and he says he doesn’t know. You see them given and you see them not.

Us: In terms of the connections that you have with the fans, we know you read the fanzine but are any of the players aware of Stagsnet?

Wayne: A few of the lads go on the internet – I don’t really bother with it to be honest because I think that can affect your confidence as well. I actually had someone write something on the internet about me the season we got promoted saying I wasn’t training with the first team but was training with the YTS on my own because I thought I was too good for them. It was a load of rubbish, I don’t know where it comes from, that’s why I don’t go on there.

Us: Because there is a bigger squad now than in previous seasons you are sometimes either on the bench or getting sacrificed if we need to throw another forward on for example. It must be frustrating.

Wayne: The gaffer is trying to get everyone involved. That’s one thing you can’t say about him – he’s not a negative manager. He throws subs on when things aren’t going well but it can be frustrating. Sometimes I am frustrated when I can’t understand when I am being brought off, but other times I can. When we are winning the match 2-0 and he wants to tighten things up I can understand that, but if we are drawing or losing 1-0 and we want to try and get something back by scoring a goal or making a cross then that’s when I get frustrated. I assess the match and sometimes perhaps think I should have come off but sometimes think I shouldn’t have come off.

Us: Does he explain to you, either at the time or later why he has done it?

Wayne: The gaffer doesn’t really have a word with you as such. Sometimes when you haven’t done so well and you think about it all Saturday night and Sunday it gets on my nerves because I can’t get it out of my head, because I know I’m better than what I have played, if I play badly I know I’m better than that.

Us: Have you got a cat you can kick at home?

Wayne: I’ve got two dogs but I don’t kick them and I don’t kick my wife either!

Us: How far do you think the current set up can go? The Chairman claims that there is a big enough catchment area to get us into the first division. Is that realistic?

Wayne: I think we get cash for going up and you have got to be ambitious and set your sights high and if we have a good cup run and get some cash we can try and get players in and set our sights for the first division obviously. If we tighten up in defence, there is no reason why we can’t push on if we get promoted. Confidence is high, we all think we have a realistic chance now, if you are there or thereabouts after Christmas you’ve got a chance. We are going for automatic promotion and a lot of managers are saying we are the best footballing team in the division which is a big compliment as well.

Us: We were going to go back and ask you about Port Vale because you scored a goal against Arsenal. Would you say that was the highlight of your career?

Wayne: Probably was yes, third round obviously, we drew 0-0 at Highbury. It was brilliant at Arsenal, 38,000 or something like that. At Arsenal, we drew 0-0 at their place. It was 0-0 after 90 minutes at Port Vale. Dennis Bergkamp scored in extra time. Obviously all the crowd thought it was game over but luckily I popped up at the back stick and put one in – great feeling! I’ve got the video, photos of the game – everything.

Us: We don’t think you have ever scored a goal with your head, unless you know differently.

Wayne: Not professionally no.

Us: Do you notice ironic cheers from the West Stand when you head the ball – because if you do, that’s us! We even put it in the match report when you head it as it hasn’t happened very often.

Wayne: (Laughing) I’ve tried at the back stick but I just can’t direct it on goal.

Us: I don’t think you have ever been injured since you have been at Mansfield, do you think there is a reason for that because it’s pretty unusual?

Wayne: I do look after myself off the field as well as trying to on the field, but I do the right things off the field and hopefully everything will come together and touch wood I won’t get injured.

Us: You use both feet for shooting, do you have a preferred foot for shooting? And you play on the left wing so you can cut inside and shoot – why don’t you play on the right wing?

Wayne: I am mostly right-footed, but if it comes on my left foot I won’t turn it down. It’s just something that’s happened since I was fifteen or sixteen at Port Vale. I started playing on the left wing and obviously I did cut in and score a few goals.

Us: I have noted down the five most memorable goals of yours and three of them are actually left footed. Hartlepool 4-3, the winner from long range after we were 1-3 down – do you remember that one?

Wayne: Yeah – brilliant.

Us: Next – Cheltenham away 3-2, last minute winner. That turned out to be the crucial goal of the season, the Carlisle one we have already mentioned and then Wycombe away after 85 minutes, left footed, that put us 3-2 ahead. How gutting was it that you scored two great goals that game and didn’t win it?

Wayne: That’s what I mean, we score three goals away and still ended up drawing. We lost the goal to a throw in and it was ridiculous – we couldn’t defend.

Us: And then the final goal that I had in my list of five was against Port Vale, just because it was against your former club. Although we lost the game 2-4, was that a special goal for you?

Wayne: It was a good feeling when it went in – I hadn’t been back there and it was ironic that I should score so early on in the game. Yes, if I was going to choose my list of goals, it would probably be those five, with the Notts County one, which I enjoyed.

Us: Without naming names tell us something about a teammate that would surprise the fans.

(Keith Curle joins the conversation)

Wayne/Keith: Someone has a big tattoo on their back!

Us: What about something about yourself? You say you’ve got a couple of dogs. What type of dogs are they?

Wayne: I’ve got a Golden Retriever and a chocolate Labrador and I love taking them out for long walks on a cold winter’s day.

Us: If you had one message for the fans, what would it be?

Wayne: Just keep the faith and keep behind us. I know it gets frustrating at times, like against Lincoln on Saturday, but believe me the lads feel frustrated as well. So just get behind us and give us your support for the season.

Us: Do you notice the difference between home and away support because at lots of away games, it seems more intense there.

Wayne: It has been mentioned this year that the away support has been brilliant and I’m sure it’s going be good on Saturday at Hull. Yeah, we’ve got good away support.

Us: What did you think about the game tonight?

Wayne: It was interesting I thought. If we could have got another goal before half time, that would have killed them off, But coming in 1-0, they’ve always got a chance. In the first 15 to 20 minutes of the second half, we just can’t get going. It’s happened before actually. But then it shows a lot of character that we’ve come back to win 3-2. The atmosphere in the dressing room was great, everyone’s buzzing, shouting, and dancing by Junior Mendes.

Us: His middle name is Albert, did you know?

Wayne: (Laughing) No, I didn’t know that, I’ll mention it to him in training!

Us: And what’s Liam saying about his first hat trick?

Wayne: He’s got the match ball and he’s got all the lads to sign it. You can’t take the smile off his face now.

We finished off by giving Wayne some DVDs and photos of him in action, and a copy of the update of the history of the club which he gratefully received saying:-

Wayne: Thanks, I’ll read through that tomorrow as we have a day off.

Us: Thanks again. We’re off home now to do the report of tonight’s game for Stagsnet.

Wayne: Make sure you give me a good write up!

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