{ the news }
Stagsnet wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Archived News from May 2011

18th May 2011 0:11

mansfieldtown.net, 11am, 12 May 2011

We can announce that the contract of Duncan Russell as manager will not be renewed.


Despite guiding us through a memorable FA Trophy journey this season, our final league standing of 13th position in the Blue Square Bet Premier was disappointing and we believe a change of management is now required in order to achieve our goal of a top five finish next season.

Duncan took charge of first team affairs in December last year following David Holdsworth's mutual departure. His final league record as manager was:won 9, drawn 7, lost 11.

Chairman John Radford told http://www.mansfieldtown.net: "Duncan departs Field Mill with our very best wishes. We thank him for his efforts whilst with us, particularly the memories he has given us from this year's run in the FA Trophy. Unfortunately, league results have not been good enough and I feel we must make a fresh start ahead of next season to give us every opportunity of gaining promotion."

Paul Hall has been placed in temporary charge whilst our search for a new manager begins. We will not be rushed into finding a successor and will explore every avenue to appoint the right manager to take Mansfield Town Football Club forward.


Video interview - Steve Barker on managerial situation --->


Audio interview with Steve Barker by David Jackson here.


Barker: Why Stags boss Russell had to go
Evening Post, 12 May 2011

MANSFIELD Town's board did not believe Duncan Russell could get the results needed to guide Mansfield Town back into the Football League.


That is the reason chief executive Steve Barker gave for today's announcement that the club would not be renewing his manager's contract.

Russell guided the Stags to the FA Trophy final at Wembley, where they lost 1-0 to Darlington in front of almost 15,000 fans from north Nottinghamshire last weekend.

But Barker said the board could not ignore league results, that saw Mansfield slip down the table after Russell took over in November from David Holdsworth.

The record of the former member of Paul Ince's coaching staff at Blackburn, MK Dons and Macclesfield read nine wins, seven draws and 11 losses in 27 Blue Square Bet Premier matches.

Russell was told of the decision by Barker this morning after he had discussed the situation with chairman John Radford last night.

"It was a difficult decision to come to because as everyone knows we had a nice run in the FA Trophy which got us to Wembley and was very memorable for everyone at the club, including the fans," said Barker.

"But us Duncan Russell knows, and every other manager knows, it's a results-orientated business.

"When Duncan took over we were in 10th position and four points off the play-offs and unfortunately we look at the league now and we finished in 13th position and 17 points off the play-offs. That's where the decision came from.

"We sat down after Wembley and now is the time at the club we need to look at some fresh ideas and that's what we are going to do.

"What the fans think does enter your thoughts because without them we wouldn't have a club, but we looked at the results first and foremost and they really speak for themselves.

"We have to look at promotion and play-offs next season as a minimum – and that's why the decision was made."

Barker said Mansfield were quick to make a decision with Russell because they want to put plans in place for 2011-12 as early as possible.

The Stags hierarchy know they have to get the balancing act right between finding a successor quickly so that he has enough time to source players, but not rush into making the wrong appointment.

Barker added: "I think it's a very big summer for Mansfield Town. We are chasing promotion and everyone at the club and in the town wants that.

"We can't have everything up in the air like we have done in other seasons and that's why the decision was made this week.

"We don't want to make any rash decisions (on the manager). We want to make sure it is the right appointment to get us back into the league."

Barker played tribute to the part Russell has played for the Stags in the latter part of 2011-12.

"He is a good fella and he has given us some good memories at Mansfield, getting us to Wembley which is an achievement in itself.

"But the main aim of the club is to get promotion. I wish Russ all the best for any future job he gets."

Barker confirmed Russell's former assistant Hall is free to apply for the vacant position.

He said: "Everyone is in our eye so Paul, if he is interested, has to go through the same criteria of every other application we will go through."


League results cost Stags boss Russell his job
CHAD.co.uk, Thursday 12 May 2011

ONCE the emotion of a Wembley final had passed and the dust had died down, Mansfield Town's board looked at the final league position in the cold light of day and decided manager Duncan Russell had to go.


Last night Russell was told he would not be offered a new deal, a decision made public this morning, but the club have said they will not rush into a new appointment.

Fans had been calling for change after the club's worst-ever finish to a BSBP season and chief executive Steve Barker today said: “It was a difficult one as everyone knows we had a nice run in the FA Trophy and got to Wembley which was memorable for everyone at the club as well as the fans.

“But for Duncan Russell, the same as every other manager, it is results-orientated and when he took over we were 10th and four points off the play-offs.

“You look at it now and we are 13th and 17 points off the play-offs. That's what this decision has been made on.

“It was a board decision. The chairman spoke to him on the phone last night to tell him the decision and I then spoke to him face to face this morning to go through things and give him the respect he deserves.

“He is a great fellow and getting Mansfield to Wembley is an achievement for himself. We wish him all the best for any future jobs he gets.

“I also want to thank all our supporters too for their backing last season and at Wembley. To see them all there was very emotional for me.”

For a time it seemed chairman John Radford would give Russell another year and comments he made on the radio suggested it was heading that way.

But Barker said: “The board have been reviewing everything. I think the euphoria of Wembley overshadowed some parts and comments were made. But Saturday is done and gone now and we know this club needs to freshen its ideas. This is a very big summer ahead for this club. We want a promotion push.

“Obviously we take on board what the supporters think too as, without them, we wouldn't have a club. But their comments on Duncan were not the sole reason. The results speak for themselves. It was easy sometimes to get smokescreened by Wembley.

“It was an absolutely brilliant day but promotion remains our main aim.”

Stags are now expecting a flood of applications with former Eastwood boss Paul Cox plus Dave Penney and Martin Foyle, seen at recent games, among the likely contenders.

“We will sift through the applications and take each one on its merit,” said Barker.

“We have to be looking for promotion or play-offs as a minimum. That is the target.

“You have only got to look at the town and the support we took to Wembley. I know the support is there and we potentially have a great future ahead of us.”

One sticking block continues to be the fact that Stags don't have a 10-year lease on Field Mill and are trying to reclaim the ground from landlord Keith Haslam through the courts.

Although the club insist they have a 'plan B', fans are worried the new campaign could end up being a season of, in effect, 'friendlies' with the club unable to go up without a ground, which could put off a potential new manager.

If the ground is reclaimed Mr Radford has said he will put up a £2m promotion war chest. But, if the ground saga drags on, a new manager would still be expected to have them up there in the play-off reckoning with maybe only a quarter of that to spend.

“I hope the situation won't affect potential managers applying,” said Barker. “We are very confident we will get the ground back though the courts or through negotiations outside the courts.

“Candidates will be asked how they would go forward with different scenarios on budgets.”

Despite comments made to the contrary by Mr Haslams' legal representatives, Mr Barker insisted an out-of-court offer had been made and turned down to the landlord.

He said: “We made an offer to Mr Haslam after the court case but it wasn't agreed. I hope we can sit down and negotiate. But we do have a plan B which I can't go into.

“I can definitely say an offer was made at court when he asked to be given 14 days grace from our lawyers pursuing our claim.

“When our lawyers spoke to his lawyers after that 14 days they said we don't know why you are even asking as Mr Haslam said he had rejected it there and then which wasn't what we heard.

“We will just have to wait and see. We hope he will sit down and negotiate a price in both parties' interests. We will look to talk this summer.

“But we won't be held to ransom by Mr Haslam and if need be we can put 'plan B' into action by the end of next season.”

Assistant boss Paul Hall has been made caretaker-manager for now and would love the job full-time, saying: “I will be throwing my hat in, I have to. But I know there will be bigger hats in there too.”

Barker said: “Paul, like everyone else, is in our eye, and if he goes for it he will have to go through the same criteria as the other applicants have to go through.

“We have to get this appointment right. We won't be rushing into it. I don't want to put a time limit on the appointment.

“We want a successful manager. We don't mind what his style is. Managers are different. Steve Evans at Crawley is very aggressive and vocal while Sven Goran Eriksson is very quiet and laid-back. As long as they are successful they can be any combination of those.”

Stags today announced that Kyle Nix, Paul Stonehouse, Niall O'Rafferty, Mark Preece and Tyrone Thompson will not be offered new deals. And more could follow them out the door with other players still to be spoken to.

This quintet were told they were going by Russell just before also left the club, but Barker said: “We have sat down and spoken to Paul Hall and those players will stay released. It will be down to the new manager if he wants to bring them back in.

“We have a squad of nine players which needs some players of the right calibre added to it.”


Next boss will be the one to lead Mansfield back into Football League
Evening Post, 13 May 2011

MANSFIELD Town's next manager will be the man to lead the club back into the Football League, chief executive Steve Barker today predicted.


The Stags have not renewed the contract of Duncan Russell – who left the club yesterday after taking over from David Holdsworth in November – stressing that league results were simply not good enough.

During his tenure, the club slipped from 10th spot in the Blue Square Premier to a 13th place final finish, 17 points off a play-off spot.

Mansfield have placed assistant boss Paul Hall in charge why they search for a successor.

No timescale has been placed on finding the right candidate, but the club are aware that things cannot linger for too long with the new man needing time to bring in new players and plan for next season.

The decision to axe Russell was a joint board decision, not chairman John Radford's alone, confirmed Barker.

And he said the fans could trust the club to pick the right person this time.

"We want to make sure this is the right appointment to get us back into the league," he said.

"We believe as a board we will get it right and make the one that will get us promotion."

"You want a manager in there quickly, but it's crucial that the next candidate we get is the right one. It's a two-way thing.

"We don't have any names in mind already – it's a completely blank canvas.

"We have got a squad of nine already under contract, so we have a nucleus of a squad for next season. I think it's adding to that squad and, no disrespect to some of the players leaving, but we need better quality.

"Everyone has got their own individual talents. Steve Evans is very aggressive and vocal, while Sven-Goran Eriksson is very quite and laid back.

"As long as they are successful it can be anyone. I'm not going to say it has to be a (former League One and League Two manager), we will take every application at its merit."

Barker hopes the uncertainty over the ownership of Field Mill will not put off potential managers.

He is still optimistic the ground can be acquired from landlord Keith Haslam before the start of next season.

Barker said: "I can definitely say there was an offer (to buy the ground) last time we were at court.

"He (Haslam) asked for 14 days' grace from us pursuing our claim, but after those 14 days his lawyers said he had rejected the offer there and then in court.

"We are always open to sit down and negotiate a price and I would like to think it would get sorted this summer, but we aren't going to be held to ransom.

"I would like to think the issue won't affect the calibre of manager interested in the job.

"We are very confident of getting the ground back either though the courts or negotiation outside the courts.

"If I was a manager I wouldn't hold that against a club and we have already had applications coming in through the a-mail system."

Radford has pledged to plough £2 million into the playing budget if Mansfield do kick-off 2011-12 owning Field Mill.

But Barker says possible different budgets will be discussed during the interview process.

"What we will be doing when we get down to selecting a manager is discussing the budgets and going through each scenario with that potential manager," he said.

"That is how the new manager is going to get picked. It's not a case of turning round and saying: 'here's £2 million, what would you do?'

"It's more a case of saying: 'here's scenario one, two and three, how would you go through that?'

Barker insisted the club did not have a pre-determined number they wish to have on their final shortlist.

He said: "Hopefully there will be a lot because that will mean there are some very good applications.

"I can't say how many. It's a matter of going through and seeing the calibre of the applications and then we can then decide a shortlist and let people know how many are on it at that point."


Russell and five players leave
themansfieldtownway.co.uk, May 13th, 2011

Duncan Russell is heading out of Field Mill after a 3-2 vote in favour not renew his contract by the board of directors. Five players have also been told that there futures lie elsewhere.


On Tuesday Russell and the majority of Mansfield thought that his contract was going to be renewed. But how wrong we were. Despite very strong internet rumours saying he had the job, the board have voted to get rid of him and have placed Paul Hall in charge until a new man has been found. I think it goes without saying that we all breathed a big sigh of relief when the news broke this morning. In a poll that was carried out on the messageboard a majority of 223 said that they didn't want him as manager, although 73 of them said they wouldn't mind him stopping on at the club in some other role.

After telling Russell he wouldn't be getting a new deal, the club moved swiftly onto telling 5 players that they too, would be leaving the club. Stonehouse, Preece, Thomspon, Nix and O'Rafferty have all been shown the door. On the club website it says that the board of directors have made this decision too, and they've got it spot on. Stonehouse hasn't really had a decent run in the team but didn't look anything special to me. I've not seen Preece play but he signed last summer and started his first game for us in April, which says it all about his injury problem I think. I can hardly say i'm surprised that Tyrone Thompson will be leaving. We've had some bad players in our 3 seasons down here but that lad took the biscuit. I've never seen a central midfield look so uncomfortable on the ball!

Probably the biggest name to be leaving in that list is Kyle Nix. On his day he is quality. Shame those days are far too rare to come around. With his inconsistency and his injury problems he's not really done much for us this season. Don't get me wrong, he has bags of ability but at times he goes missing in games which has probably cost him here. If he managed to get a solid season under his belt he could easily hack it at the level above. One thing I will miss is having a left footed central midfielder, because it added a good balance to our midfield. He'll get fixed up at another club without a doubt. The last player to be heading out is Niall O'Rafferty. It's always a shame to see the younger players go but he looked nothing special when I seen him play, and if we're serious about challenging next season then we need better quality. Unfortunately there is no room for sentiment in football.

The fun begins now for the club who will no doubt have a load of applications to make there way through over the next week. It'll be a busy time for the club, but Steve Barker has said “we will not be rushed into finding a successor and will explore every avenue to appoint the right manager to take Mansfield Town Football Club forward.”

Ronnie Moore, Sammy Mcilroy, and Dave Penney seem to be the fans favourite. Who would you like to see in charge of the club? For me I would try and prise Justin Edinburgh away from Rushden and Diamonds. I know they're having a bit of a tough time at the moment and the last thing they'll want is somebody trying to pinch their manager, but he's worked wonders at that club. He knows the league and plays good attractive football. He had Rushden up there last season when they had a decent budget and hasn't done bad this time round considering his budget was slashed in the summer. I think the majority of us will be pleased just as long as we don't go for the 'cheap' option again. Getting a good manager in could help boost the crowds for next season!


Steve Hymas on Stagsnet messageboard, Fri May 13:

5 votes, 1 abstained

In response to:
"Duncan Russell is heading out of Field Mill after a 3-2 vote in favour not renew his contract by the board of directors."

Chairman: John Radford. Directors: Andrew Saunders, Steve Middleton, Steve Hymas, Darren Bland, Mark Hawkins.


Axed Russell had outlined his vision to take Stags forward but will never get the chance to fulfil it
Evening Post, by Matt Halfpenny, 14 May 2011

AS Duncan Russell sat in the safety control room that doubles up as a press conference suite at Field Mill on Tuesday, he discussed with considerable passion and verve his vision for Mansfield Town in 2011-12.


He spoke of his desire to build on the strong backbone to the squad already in place with Alan Marriott in goal, Rhys Day and Tom Naylor at the back, Adam Murray and Louis Briscoe in midfield and Paul Connor up front.

He enthused of his desire to utilise his fitness expertise to get the players in prime physical shape, insisting they had, at times, been found wanting on that score.

And he admitted there would have to be 'wholesale changes' to a squad which had finished a disappointing 13th in the Blue Square Bet Premier table.

In a nutshell, he believed he could lead the Stags into the play-offs or better next season, given a half-decent budget.

But Mansfield's board, led by chairman and owner John Radford, clearly did not agree.

Immediately after the Stags' last-gasp 1-0 FA Trophy final defeat to Darlington on Saturday, Russell insisted that noises were being made about him being given a new one-year deal.

It was a similar theme when he discussed his situation again earlier this week, having been appointed only for the remainder of the season following David Holdsworth's exit in November.

Whether Russell genuinely believed he was on the cusp of getting the nod or he was just pushing his case, we will probably never know.

But either way, by Thursday morning, he was being shown the door, having formally been notified by chief executive Steve Barker.

As far as the club are concerned, there is one simple reason for his departure: poor results.

Yes, they did take into account that Russell had scant support of the terraces, having regularly been booed during matches.

It was a situation that had led many supporters to say they would not renew season tickets if he remained at the helm.

Yet when it came down to it, a record of nine wins seven draws and 11 defeats in the words of Barker 'spoke for itself.'

As he pointed out, the Stags were tenth and four points off the play-offs when Russell took the reins, initially on a caretaker basis.

By the end of the season, they had dropped into the bottom half and were 17 points off that target.

Even Mansfield's form in the FA Trophy – for which they reserved some of their best performances – was not enough to save the former soldier.

Indeed, it is unlikely that a Wembley win would have made that much difference, given the club have continued to stress the league is of absolute priority.

Why the Stags were so disappointing under Russell is not quite so clear-cut, especially as he did seem to galvanise spirits in the dressing room, according to a number of players.

Perhaps his biggest failing, though, was his failure to land any significant transfer targets in January, which left the squad desperately threadbare during April, when the Stags contested no less than ten league games.

Having released a number of players to cut the wage bill, Russell was unable to recruit an adequate number of replacements to keep players fit and fresh during the run-in.

And although, back then, he could not have predicted Mansfield reaching Wembley, he did know there was going to be a huge backlog of games after the winter snow.

Even after missing out on big names Lee Hendrie and Leon Knight, he would have been well advised to have other, less expensive signings in the pipeline.

Dan Spence, as well as David Grof and Louis Moult on loan, were brought in, but they proved to be insufficient to tide Mansfield over.

More loans before the March deadline would have helped, too, but that was another opportunity missed.

Russell always stressed he did not want to waste the chairman's money and would only bring in better than what he had got.

But, in the final reckoning, Mansfield simply needed more bodies in the building.

Russell had a habit of shaking hands with each member of the media each time he attended a press conference.

Little did all present realise that his familiar greeting at Tuesday's get-together would be his last


Chairman thanks Russ for efforts
mansfieldtown.net, Fri 13 May 2011

Chairman John Radford has placed on record his thanks to Duncan Russell for his efforts during his time as our manager.


Further to yesterday's statement, Mr Radford has today added: " 'Russ' leaves us with a memorable FA Trophy run which we will remember for a long time.

"He initially took over in December and stopped the rot after a poor run of games which saw us win just once in eight league outings. He reduced the squad in size, which was certainly required and I am grateful to him for steadying the ship when we were evicted from Field Mill in the first month as caretaker manager.

"Russ was very well thought of by everyone at the club and we wish him all the best for the future."



Latest | May 2011