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Archived News from November 2006

13th November 2006 14:46

Evening Post, 13 November 2006

Peter Shirtliff tried to draw a line under last week's revelation that the club had agreed to sell captain Richie Barker to Hartlepool.

The club may have agreed to sell Barker to the north-east club in a deal which fell through, but the Stags boss again reiterated his desire to keep his captain.

He said: "Every player in the country has a price. But I want to keep Richie here and he wants to stay here.

"That's the end of it as far as I am concerned.

"The enquiry was made but didn't work out as things were not suitable.

"That should now be the end of it. Nothing could have been done before the January transfer window anyway.

"If I want him to stay and Richie wants to stay then why should we sell our captain, top scorer and a very important member of our squad?

"The bottom line is that if he was not playing well there wouldn't be enquiries into his availability."

Shirtliff was pleased with his team's performance which now means they have only lost once in seven games. But he said he was disappointed they hadn't scored earlier after dominating the first 25 minutes.

He said: "I was pleased with the players' effort and enthusiasm.

"We started the game brightly but the wind was a major factor on the game.

"We camped in and around their box for the first 25 minutes so it as disappointing we didn't score until the end of the half.

"But we were patient and we stuck at it.

"We have only lost one in seven games so we are in pretty good form."

Evening Post, 13 November 2006

Stags captain Richie Barker said he feared it would be a case of d??j?? vu when his side won a penalty on Saturday against Accrington Stanley.

The identical fixture in the league in September saw Barker's first-half penalty, following a handball, saved by Accrington goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin.

And Alan Sheehan had a second-half penalty also saved by the keeper.

But this time when Stags were awarded a penalty just before half-time - once again from a hand ball - Barker made no mistake. He smashed the ball down the middle, leaving Dunbavin with little chance.

Barker said: "I must admit when the referee gave it, I thought 'Oh no, not again'. It was pleasing for it to go in, but the main thing was the result.

"I practised penalties over the last few days. I wasn't certain before the game where I would put a penalty if I got one, but with the wind I decided to just put it down and smash it."

Barker said the wind made it difficult for both teams to play good football.

He said: "The game was a bit of a nightmare because of the wind. It made it difficult to play.

"They like to get the ball down and play, as we do, but it was hard to do that today."

Midfielder Giles Coke also said the weather at Field Mill affected the quality.

He said: "I think we played well considering the conditions, particularly in the first half. The wind made it hard for both teams to play.

"We are definitely interested in doing well in the cup. The players take these games as seriously as league matches.

"Everyone wants to play in the FA Cup and if we can get through the second round then we could get to play a big club."

Evening Post, 13 November 2006

The build-up to the match had been all about Richie Barker and the club's move to sell him, so it seemed inevitable he would score the winner on Saturday.

The Mansfield captain duly delivered as he struck home a penalty late in the first-half for the only goal in the FA Cup first round match against Accrington Stanley at Field Mill.

It was his 11th of the season and could help the club to go on another FA Cup adventure, as last year when the Stags were rewarded with a third-round trip to St James' Park to play Newcastle.

A similar cup run would surely be more lucrative for the club than the £80,000 they would have gained if the deal they struck with Hartlepool for Barker had not fallen through.

Barker was named man-of-the-match - and when it was announced over the speaker it brought a roar from the crowd.

It was a decision clearly intended to bring about that reaction - because as Barker himself admitted, he did not have a great game.

And while shouts of "Haslam out" and "there's only one Richie Barker" are not unusual at Field Mill, on Saturday they were particularly loud and frequent.

Around 100 fans in the Quarry Lane stand had organised a protest against the Stags chairman, who has remained quiet on the Barker affair.

A group wore T-shirts with letters spelling "Haslam Out" and their frequent chants were joined by fans in other parts of the ground.

At the end of the game they continued the protests outside Field Mill on top of the mound by the old training area.

The fans insist their protests are over more than just the plans to sell Barker and are the result of the way the club as a whole is being run. But news of the possible sale has clearly brought more fans into the protests.

Barker said he appreciated the fans supporting him, but said he just wanted to get on with playing football rather than being concerned by criticism of the club's chairman.

He said: "I appreciate the supporters getting behind me but as for fans blaming the chairman I prefer that sort of thing to happen outside the 90 minutes."

Barker's future at Field Mill is still uncertain, especially as the January transfer window approaches.

But the player again expressed his desire to stay at the club. He said: "I don't know what's going to happen to be honest. I didn't know it had started. Things go on that we don't know about. Chairmen speak all the time. I never said I wanted to leave and the gaffer said he didn't want me to leave, but you've got to understand money talks in football. We are not a multi-million pound club."

Midfielder Giles Coke said the news surrounding the captain had not affected their preparations for the match.

"We just get on with it and concentrate on the match," he said. "We want Richie to stay because he scores the goals."

Regardless of what happens off the field, Mansfield put in a good display to see off Accrington, with whom they drew 2-2 in the league in September.

Stags put out a strong side, making only two changes from the defeat at Bristol Rovers, with Danny Reet among the substitutes, after taking a bang to the head last weekend, and Stephen Dawson also dropped to the bench.

Michael Boulding returned to play left midfield with Gareth Jelleyman dropping to left-back and Chris Beardsley made only his fourth start of the season.

The Stags dominated the first 25 minutes, with Matthew Hamshaw and Boulding getting down the flanks to put in several dangerous crosses.

But they could not create a clear-cut chance and the game descended into a midfield battle.

The goal came from a slice of luck, as an Accrington player handled a lofted cross into the box from Jelleyman. But it was deserved because Mansfield had been the better side.

They pushed on in the second-half, but despite creating good chances they could not find the net.

Beardsley was lively after being giving a rare start up front and had a couple of chances to get on the scoresheet.

Solid defending from Alex John-Baptiste and Jon Olav Hjelde ensured Accrington had few chances to score an equaliser.


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