CHAD STAGS BEST XI EVER: Your verdict on Mansfield Town’s best side

Jimmy McCaffrey
Jimmy McCaffrey
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Our Stags’ Best XI Ever article inevitably provoked a lot of comment and argument among Mansfield Town fans.

It really is a tough task to get a side most agree with as few fans have seen legendary players in action from a long time ago and have only been able to read about their exploits.

Chris Greenacre.

Chris Greenacre.

But they have gone down in club folklore and it’s hard to ignore them.

Nevertheless, the feature provided a fascinating debate online – here are some of the highlights.

JOHN LOMAS STAGS BEST XI EVER:

GK: Rod Arnold

Dudley Roberts.

Dudley Roberts.

RB: Sandy Pate

CH: Kevin Bird

CH: Colin Calderwood

LB: Mark Kearney

RM: Liam Lawrence

CM: Peter Morris

CM: Paul Holland

LM: Wayne Corden

S: Harry Johnson

S: Ken Wagstaff

Subs (from): Phil Stant, Roy Chapman, Barry Foster, Dudley Roberts, Simon Coleman, Darren Ward, Adam Murray, Chris Staniforth, Teddy Harston, Ray Clarke.

Ian Stevenson

As a Stags supporter of the past I personally rated three players with outstanding talent - two of which you name, but for some reason Mick Stringfellow’s name didn’t make the squad. Peter Morris and Ken Wagstaffe were my other two.

Bungus of Boughton

For mer Mick Stringfellow has to at least be in the squad if not the XI. That said, Harry Oscroft, who went on to play for Stoke in the top division, and Alf Calverley, ditto with Arsenal, were also great left wingers. Sammy Chessell was a classy attacking left back when such a thing didn’t exist.

Tippy Tappy Football

Rod Arnold

Sandy Pate/George Foster/Kevin Bird/Barry Foster

Liam Lawrence/Gordon Hodgson/Paul Holland/Jim McCaffrey

Ray Clarke/Phil Stant

Subs: Kevin Hitchcock, Keith Cassells, Ernie Moss, Colin Foster and Paul Mathews (and possibly Dave Caldwell to add a bit of pace and entertainment up front).

I based my Best Stags XI on players I have seen who have generally played over 100 games for the Stags.

I discounted Duncan McKenzie as he never signed for the Stags and he only made 13 starts and played no part in any of our successes.

I do not even include him in my Stags Hall of Fame even though he was clearly an excellent player.

I did see Stuart Boam play as a very young kid but I cannot really remember him. I’m sure my Grandad would have put him in his Best XI as he always spoke highly of him.

He did play three seasons in Division Two and five seasons in Division One for Middlesbrough so he must have been a tremendous player.

If you were putting a Stags XI together who played at higher levels after playing for the Stags then you might select a different side.

Kevin Hitchcock

Alex John Baptiste/Stuart Boam/John McClelland/Colin Calderwood

Liam Lawrence/Peter Morris/Lee Williamson/Lindy Delepenha

Ray Clarke/Ken Wagstaff

Subs: Mick Saxby, Joe Beresford, Chris Greenacre, Michael Boulding, Lee Peacock.

Michael Boulding played around 47 games in the Championship for Grimsby and scored 15 goals. He then later played 35 times for Barnsley in the Championship and scored 10 goals.

One player who probably deserves to be in the squad based on playing at a higher level after leaving the Stags is Jake Buxton.

I had also forgotten about Mick Galloway who went on to play for Hearts, Celtic and Scotland.

John Hurst

I started watching MTFC when Albert Scanlon was at the club. I loved watching him. Kept an eye on his life on wiki. Finished his life on benefits in a flat - very sad.

Tommy Knox came shortly after – a good player as well.

Loved Dave Hollins - fantastic keeper for somebody who had a dodgy knee. Subs so hard to decide - maybe Stuart Boam, Rod Arnold Liam Lawrence and Nick Sharkey.

MTFC North Shields

First went to Stags in 1957 aged four and seen some really good and many terribly bad players.

My first team may not be everybody’s best or contain the obvious names, but is full of my favourite ball-playing crowd-pleasers.

It will be managed by the late Tommy Eggleston.

Goalie is Dave Hollins. Back four: Sandy Pate on the right, Tommy Stanton on the left with John McClelland and George Foster in the middle. Midfield: Peter Morris, Tommy Mitchinson, Dennis Longhorn and Gordon Hodgson. Up front: Duncan McKenzie and Ray Clarke. Subs are Rod Arnold, Dick Edwards, Stewart Boam, John Latham, Dudley Roberts, Jimmy McCaffrey and me (I want to play on Field Mill before they spread my ashes on it).

Ravostag

Having watched the Stags for over 50 years my team would be Arnold, Pate, Walker, Morris, G. Foster, Bird, Lawrence, Wagstaffe, Chapman, Hodgson, McCaffrey. Subs: Hitchcock, McKernon, Curry, Roberts, Stringfellow and Holland. Strange that John Lomas selected Wayne Corden?

OldStag

I would have thought Stringfellow would have been in. George Foster was my favourite centre half. Dudley Roberts the best header I’ve ever seen.

Ladybrook Yella

Strikers for me have to be - in no particular order - Chris Greenacre, Phil Stant, Keith Cassells.

Delboy Stag

A brave article from John Lomas, because no one, and I mean no one, will ever agree on an all-time best Stags team. Basically, because one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

Goalie? Dave Hollins, Kevin Hitchcock, Darren Ward? All are well capable of being named in any all-time Stags line up.

Left Back? Craig McKernon? So unfortunate to never get the chance to show the world what he could do. Forced into retirement at 23 because of injury, but I thought he was excellent in a Stags shirt, so much so that Arsenal forked out £200,000 to take him to Highbury.

Centre Half? John quite rightly mentions Birdie, Coleman etc, but I’d definitely have John McClelland as a possibility. So solid and totally dependable.

Gordon Hodgson? How could anyone ever leave him out of a Stags XI? No disrespect to Dutch and Muzza, but neither of them could have laced his boots.

Albert Scanlon? One of my all time faves. I just loved watching him.

So many excellent Stags Players over the decades makes it virtually impossible to name a definitive XI.

Now if it came to the worst players who ever pulled on a Stags shirt, there’d be plenty of candidates - Fraser McLachlan would probably be top of my list.

If John wanted to do the shortest story, he could name the most despised people ever associated with MTFC a toss-up between Keith Haslam and Carlton Palmer?

Skegbymick

Strikers: my dad would say Freddie Steele, I would say Bill Curry or Ray Clarke. My son would say Stant, Cassells, Greenacre. I would put Pate and Hodgson in any team. Goalie: my dad would say Dennis Wright, I would say Rodney or Hitchcock.

David Cooke

I agree with most of them but I think the winger is always going to be the contentious one. I would vote for Jimmy McCaffrey, and I never saw Harry Johnson so I would go for Ray Clarke.

Hedgehog1

What about Albert Scanlon – a Busby Babe?

Dudleys Head

For anyone old enough to remember him Gordon Hodgson would certainly be in their side. The fact that he arrived at Mansfield at all was in itself a minor miracle, let alone become a local who graced Field Mill for several years.

As a manager Stuart Boam was a disaster but don’t let that cloud your mind regarding his ability on the pitch. Foster and Bird became legends but Boam should have gone on to gain a few full England caps after he left us to join Middlesbrough. He was a cut above the others.

Dudley Roberts was a hero of mine so I try not to go on about him too much. McKenzie had the ability to make everyone else on the pitch look stupid at our level. Shame the rumours of him signing permanently never materialised.

Micksut

Dudley Roberts also should leap into any ‘Best Stags Team’ with ease, Duncan McKenzie too - even though he was only here on loan, he was the best player I have ever seen in a Stags shirt.

If we look at it logically, the team that got us promoted to the old Division Two was without doubt or argument the greatest ever Stags Xl - full stop.

There are quite a few in there that would not fit your criteria, but as this was the highest achievement of any Stags team, how can any of them be left out?

Mind you, to be fair, there are quite a few in that team that would not figure in anyone’s greatest Xl.

Kernow

Here is mine - Hollins, Pate, McClelland, Boam, Humble, Lawrence, Hodgson, Morris, McKenzie, Wagstaff, Harston.

Saw them all at their best, apart from Ted Harston who scored 85 goals in 75 games!

Robeyre

Think I’d have Brace and either Scanlon or Jim McCaffery to cross to Wagstaff. Never saw Harston so will have to leave him out and would leave Lawrence out as often erratic.

Geoffhill

According to Birdy and Fossie, McClelland was not that good. Ken Wagstaff should be in anyone’s team, Duncan McKenzie too. I remember going to watch the Stags at Northampton and McKenzie was on the bench. Six weeks later he was in the England squad. Funny old game innit?

Pemill

I can’t pick but it would be a mixture of players from Dave Smith’s/Peter Morris’s era in the mid/late 70s and Dearden’s 00/01 era.

I didn’t start going until the mid 70s so the likes of Waggy and such players pre-date me, but from what I read there are candidates from this era too.

Jay the butcher

My first game was in 1983 I think (5-0 home win v Hartlepool United), so my best 11 plus subs come after that date.

Hitchcock, Hassell, G. Foster, Coleman, Baraclough, Lawrence, Holland, Tony Lowery (never got the credit he deserved), Cordon, Greenacre, Stant. Subs: Darren Ward, McKernon, Disley, Kent, Peacock, Cassells.

Sina Stag

I can’t believe no one mentioned Chris Greenacre or Dave Syrett in their squad.