There’s an awful lot of anger surrounding Mansfield Town this season.
We were barely up and running before some folk were venting their fury at Paul Cox and his direct style of football.
The mounting frustration boiled over during the JPT tie at Meadow Lane, prompting an equally angry reaction from those fans unhappy with the boo boys.
Now we have a section of supporters who are angry at the media for exaggerating their reports of fan unrest.
I really can’t fathom what everyone is getting so worked up about.
Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of anger over the years. Watching Keith Haslam take a very promising young Stags side and slowly strip it bare, in spite of our fervent protests, was utterly infuriating.
Hearing talk of a possible takeover by John Batchelor and his plans to rebrand the club Harchester United had me seething.
Watching our once proud league club struggling to achieve mid-table obscurity in the Conference sent me into apoplexy. Slowly the anger subsided, to be replaced by resignation and lethargy.
Before John Radford’s arrival the club was deep in a hole, with no obvious way out. In comparison, the current debate over hoofball versus tiki-taka really isn’t worth losing sleep over.
The vast riches associated with modern football have led to chairmen investing big money and demanding instant results and this impatience has rubbed off onto the fans. Managers come and go. Everyone wants to reach “the next level”.
Well there are only a fixed number of places in each division. For every club that moves up one has to move down.
No matter how much money is thrown at the game there have to be as many losers as winners. Followers of Lincoln and Grimsby will attest to that.
I was more than happy with our eleventh place finish in our first season back in the league.
This time around the playing budget has been slashed and our star asset has departed down the A617.
While the wealthier clubs in our division were hoovering up the proven League Two talent this summer, we were bargain hunting in Italy’s Serie C.
Our ragtag band of rejects and misfits have no right to challenge for promotion.
Paul Cox isn’t the messiah but he isn’t a very naughty boy either.
Would I like to see Mansfield play a more expansive, swashbuckling style of football? Of course. Do I think that John Radford has the clout to attract a manager capable of producing such a team, while also achieving better results? I’m not so sure.
The promotion side of 2001/2 played some wonderful attacking football that I will always cherish, but that was a blip.
For most of my life the Stags have been an average side, scraping by in the basement division.
I follow the Stags because they’re my home town team. I’m not in it for the glory! After all these years I still get the same pre-match buzz: the sense of anticipation, the glare of the floodlights, the smell of the Bovril.
All I want is to be able to cheer on my team, surrounded by like minded people. If we can also bag three points then so much the better.
Football is a precarious business, both on and off the pitch. A team’s form can collapse overnight.
Despite our reduced budget, John Radford is reputedly still pouring thousands into the club each month.
Where would we be if he pulled the plug? I shudder to think. It doesn’t seem five minutes since we were losing at Braintree.
The Football League felt a million miles away at that stage.
Those long, dark years are finally behind us and we’re back in in the promised land, winning football matches.
Regardless of whether or not you support Paul Cox, can’t we all enjoy that? I’m not a fan of the long ball game, but it will take more than a few agricultural clearances to wipe the smile off my face.
What do you think? Email your views to Stephen Thirkill