Keith Curle on how Mansfield Town helped shape his managerial career

Ex-Mansfield Town boss Keith Curle gives a thumbs up to the home crowd after receiving a round of applause -Pic by: Richard Parkes
Ex-Mansfield Town boss Keith Curle gives a thumbs up to the home crowd after receiving a round of applause -Pic by: Richard Parkes

Former boss Keith Curle says he enjoyed some valuable experiences at Mansfield Town - despite being sacked by the club for gross misconduct, bullying and intimidating.

Eighteen months after his exit from Mansfield, Curle won a case for wrongful dismissal.

But, despite the bitter ending to his time at the club, which saw him guide Stags to a play-off final defeat to Huddersfield in 2004, Curle says he learned a lot.

“It was where my managerial career started, and as an individual and manager I’ve learned a hell of a lot not only about myself but also the job,” he said.

“From the outside, as an experienced player, you think being a manager is very easy and just about Saturday afternoons at 3pm.

“Having had a number of players under me, and also a number of chairman, I have learned a lot, but I’m still enjoying the job.

“I’ve got some fantastic memories. I know I emptied Mansfield as a town when we went to the Millennium Stadium in the play-off final and got beat on penalties.”

The Stags’ ground is also significant in Curle’s Carlisle United reign, as his first game in charge of the Blues was at the One Call Stadium, a 3-2 defeat in September 2014.

United were rock bottom of League Two then, while today he is trying to boost their promotion chances.

And Curle believes the early period of the game will be crucial, with both sides low on goals and results.

“Both teams and managers have one eye on scoring goals,” Curle said. “It will be an entertaining game, and it could be that both managers understand it could be won in the first 20 minutes.

“They’ll be whipping the crowd up to get the intensity levels in [Evans’] players and on the front foot in the first 20 minutes. But we won’t take a backward step. We will be like for like.

“Steve Evans and his team have got Mansfield buoyant, rallied, and the supporters go there looking to see a weakness in the first 20 minutes knowing that’s when they’re going to try and exploit you.

“You have to stand up to Steve Evans, his teams and his tactics, and then play your football. You have to earn the right to do that.

“It can be a hostile environment, hostile touchline, hostile dugout, but we won’t shy away from that. He [Evans] has had success and promotions, and you’ve got to be respectful of that.

“Some of his idiosyncrasies on the side of the pitch can be not in favour with certain people. It doesn’t have an effect on me. Other people can get quite volatile and aggressive, that’s their manner. I think it’s very natural to him as an individual how he performs on the side of the pitch.”