All looking rose-y in the Stags garden this summer

The League Two play-off final was just a couple of weeks ago, but already my anticipation for the new season has been whetted.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 10th June 2016, 10:38 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 12:01 pm

Mansfield Town have made a real statement of intent with their five close-season signings so far.

George Taft, Danny Rose and Rhys Bennett have all won promotion from League Two. They are all relatively young and hungry. They could – and in Rose and Bennett’s case already have - play at a higher level.

Added to their quality through the spine of the team have been two exciting additions on the wings.

Mansfield Town v Luton Town - Skybet League Two - One Call Stadium - Saturday 23 jan 2016 Matty Blair battles with Cameron McGeehan

Ashley Hemmings and CJ Hamilton could provide the X Factor, according to manager Adam Murray, and have the potential to be fine replacements for the somewhat unexpected departures of Matty Blair and Reggie Lambe.

Interestingly, Murray praised owner John Radford and his chief executive wife, Carolyn, for going the extra mile to help persuade Rose to join the Stags – and for paying a transfer fee, something that is becoming more unusual in League Two.

The owners were also prepared to ‘splash the cash’ to keep player of the year Ryan Tafazolli before the player of the year opted to play at a higher level.

I was talking about the amber and blue in the office the other day and we all agreed that for the first time for many years there is harmony on and off the pitch.

Mansfield Town v Luton Town - Skybet League Two - One Call Stadium - Saturday 23 jan 2016 Matty Blair battles with Cameron McGeehan

For so long in the past there has been - rightly or wrongly - disatisfaction with the owner or the manager or the players.

Even after John Radford had saved our Stags - and make no mistake he did save our beloved club - there were rumblings of discontent on the terraces with the direction on the pitch, particularly after promotion back to the Football League was achieved.

There were also rumours of some conflict behind the scenes.

Now with an ambitious new manager who has just successfully put his toe in the managerial water for the first time, it feels like everyone involved with the club is pulling in the right direction, from the fans right up to the top.

Murray’s summer signings and decision to try to keep the majority of last season’s squad fill me with optimism. Those players who opted to stay will, like Murray himself, be so much better for the experience of the last campaign, both its peaks and troughs.

Just look at some of the teams who did well last year and you will see that, like promoted Northampton for instance, they built their success on the backbone of their players from the previous season.

It is becoming more unusual for players at League Two level to stay for long at any one club, but those clubs that retain them do seem to be rewarded for it and get better value for their investment – a feature highlighted by Murray after his signing of Rose.

The two new widemen will replace Lambe and Blair, who rejected new deals.

I am not too sorry to see Lambe go, but Blair is a different case.

The Stags stuck by him through a long injury spell, so for Blair to have chosen another League Two club over staying at One Call Stadium is a big disappointment and a slap in the face to the club and fans.