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Archived News from October 2009

21st October 2009 21:15

Holdsworth Quizzed At SSA Fans Forum.
SSA Fans Forum, Mon 12 Oct 2009

view by Craig Priest

David Holdsworth managed his first Mansfield Town game on the 17th January 2009. Since that time, the Stags have seen numerous changes to the squad and only two losses on the hallowed turf of Field Mill. Away from home things was going ok, but our fortunes seem to dip towards the end of last season.
After a month in charge, Holdsworth took time to meet the fans on an evening where fans & press packed into the XBar, now known as the Sandy Pate bar, to hear all about the new mystery man who was in the Field Mill hot seat. A brilliant evening where fans could have sat and listen to the early hours of the morning, An announcement was made early last month that David Holdsworth had accepted an invite to another one of these evenings, after the success of the last evening, I headed along to this event, to see if anything would be difference & of course bring you my take on the events just like last time, so sit back and enjoying reading.
The night got underway around 7.05pm, the SSA breezing through their agenda selecting new committee members via show of hand. Most people's hands shot straight up, almost on autopilot wanting to get to the main event. David Holdsworth walked in quietly at 7.25pm and got a warm welcome, newly elected fund raiser James Weaver was the first to great the gaffer, selling him tickets for the Christmas raffle!
The room was made up of the diehard faithful, I'm not sure many people actually knew about the event which is a shame. Unlike last time, no press were in attendance and the front of the room didn't seem like a press conference via the FA! People will argue that there was press in attendance; me! However I'm not working for anybody & this is purely for your entertainment!
Dean Foulkes from the SSA was acting as compere for the evening and asked the first question of the evening, a comedy question in the wake of the sacking of Notts County's manager; David was asked, “Has Sven been on the phone in the last hour gaffer!?” to which the gaffer chirpily replied “No Comment” which brought a much needed laugh & breath of relaxation to the room!
Questions are predictable to start proceedings, following the 2-1 Victory of 9-man Altrincham. “Why does it seem difficult for us to play against fewer players?” Holdsworth answered as ever with composure, agreeing that momentary lapses in concentration cost us, he said the blame didn't only lie with the back four, the strikers needed to take their share of the reasonability, not putting the chances to bed. Holdsworth was also keen to add that the side performed well tactically and protected the lead, earning the much needed points- boosting confidence on the road.
A Holdsworth story was around the corner, the following question player being “Have you been in a position with fewer players before, and what did you to adapt your game”. Of course Mansfield had been reduced to fewer players under Holdsworth's guidance, but the boss told us about a game he managed for Ilkeston town, playing Witton his side where down to 9men, he changed the formation and shut up shop, it was only in the dieing minutes when his side crumbled to a set-piece. To be honest, David had diverted the question but gave an answer that had supporters gripped as always.
As questions moved on, some about the performance of players, Louis Briscoe, Rob Duffy, Blair Sturrock & Daryl Clare amongst the names mentioned, only two questions stick in my mind.
Someone asked about the progress of Jon D'Laryea, now the longest serving player in the stag's current squad. “JD” as he is affectionately known, has been sent out on loan, currently performing well at Northwich Victoria. Fans wanted to know how he was doing and if he had a future at the club, Holdsworth gave yet another detailed answer in which the following was clear. JD needs to be playing football, he is a brilliant lad but needs to toughen up, he needs to become “Mr Nasty”. All Holdsworth could see, was just a quiet footballer walked through the stands week by week, which he didn't want so was grateful, as was JD when the opportunity arouse. JD will be assessed when he returns to Mansfield in January and will get the opportunity to become a regular if he has developed the right attributes. JD still trains with the Stags on a daily basis and is a respected figure with in the dressing room. One thing was clear; JD is very much a part of the stag's set-up.
The next question was one of great interest to me, “Why do physio Jason Truscott & first team coach Gareth Holmes, wear a headset during the game?” Holdsworth answered honestly, saying it allowed better communication. The prime example being at Barrow, Rob Duffy got an elbow to the face and required stitches. Holdsworth said that with respect the Barrow club doctor was slow, and he needed to keep 11 men on the park. Jason made the choice to say how long the stitches would take, too long for Holdsworth's liking, which is why Kyle Perry was introduced to the game.
More questions skipped by, touching on different subjects like the disciplinary record, use of fringe players for the FA Cup tie vs. Altrincham and the progress of young Conor Higginson who's on loan at Glapwell. Holdsworth said he would consider using fringe players, but he is weary of the game plan of Altrincham, and would not throw youngsters into battle if he didn't think they was ready.
Holdsworth also mentioned that he could do with a father figure at centre back, saying that although Garner & Graham are doing a good job, the defence needs to be bossed around- something he will address in the coming months.
I felt the evening went quite well, although I admit I didn't stay for the whole of the event. Holdsworth as ever was happy to spend time with the supporters and was thankful towards the fans. He accepted the criticism some fans had and agreed with what was said, however he always made it clear that he had complete faith in his squad and that they are a family. If anyone needed to be warned about discipline Holdsworth would deal with it, and if anyone needed a shoulder to cry on, Holdsworth would be there.
Another great evening and I'm sure the fans who stayed to the end will have headed home with a smile. If anyone can be a crowd pleaser, if anyone can tell a story- it's our manager, David Holdsworth.
Thanks for reading, I could have listened to the “messiah” for hours on end, but I, like you, have things to do!
Up the Stags!
Craig Priest.


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