Charlie Mitten dies aged 80

Former Mansfield Town player-manager Charlie Mitten died on January 2nd 2002 at the age of 80. Mitten joined the Stags in February 1956 at the age of 35, and was at Field Mill for over two years, leaving in June 1958, to become manager of Newcastle United. He played exactly 100 league games for the Stags plus another 6 in the FA Cup, scoring 25 league goals and 2 FA Cup goals, from the outside left position.

Mitten had risen to fame at Manchester United, where he scored 50 league goals in 142 games, and another 11 cup goals. His finest moment was playing a part in the 1947/48 FA Cup winning side under Matt Busby, beating a Blackpool side that included Stanley Matthews and Stan Mortensen by 4-2 after trailing 2-1 with 20 minutes left. He left Old Trafford in 1950 to join Santa Fe in Bogota, Columbia, with a signing-on fee of 5,000, a flat and a car. This was a controversial move because Columbia did not belong to FIFA and hence he was considered a football outlaw. After a season in Columbia, he, along with all of the foreign players, was forced to leave. On return to England, he was banned for six months for having gone to Columbia, and then he joined Fulham.

Mitten’s son, John, also played for the Stags - just three games as a 16 year-old whilst his father was player-manager, although they did not play in the same side. John followed his father to Newcastle in 1958 and later also played for Plymouth and Exeter, as well as playing county cricket for Leicestershire.

Compiled by Martin Shaw and Paul Taylor