Former Mansfield Town midfield ace Ian Stringfellow enjoyed an emotional reunion with his former Boston United boss Steve Evans at the One Call Stadium last week.
Stringfellow watched Stags v Forest Green and will attend the home game with Luton before returning to him New Zealand home.
Stringfellow said he has much to be grateful for to Evans after becoming his first signing at Boston and also seeing Evans fix him up with his first taste of management at Wisbech Town.
“I had a fantastic time with them at Boston,” said Strinfellow.
“I was only there for just over season and we didn’t win anything.
“But when I went to play for Steve there we were near the bottom of the league and he had only just got the job a week or two before he called me to go and play.
“By about October we had shot up the league to second and it was great.
“I got on really well with him. He understood how to get the best out of me. By then I was getting on for 30, which isn’t that old. But he knew how to get the best from me and he knew how to put a team together. You could see that straight away.
“He’d come into a club that was struggling and within two or three weeks, with largely the same personnel and maybe two of us that he’d brought in, he had sorted the team out and we’d shot up the league.”
So after nine promotions, what is the secret of Evans’ success?
“It’s quite hard to define,” said Stringfellow. “If you knew what his secret was you’d be able to copy it. I just think he is a natural for management.
“His man-management is top class. He understand the game, he surrounds himself with good people and he is a good judge of a player.
“I first read it on the Chad web site that John Radford might be trying to get him and I just thought that would be amazing – fantastic for the club. I was really surprised we succeeded.
“As John Radford said, what you know when you get Steve in is you’re going to have excitement, things are going to happen, and it’s going to be a rollercoaster – which it will be. Lots of ups and downs.
“I just think Stags fans should roll up and enjoy it because it’s going to be an exciting two years – that’s for sure.”
He added: “When I left Boston, the other thing Steve did for me is fix me up with the Wisbech manager’s job when he let me go.
“That was all down to him. I took the job but wasn’t very successful unfortunately. Not a lot of what Steve did had rubbed off on me.”
While there his goalkeeper was current Stags keeper coach Ian Pledger.
“I had Ian there as keeper and to be honest he was probably our player. But it’s not good when your best player is your goalkeeper – he did have a lot to do.
“He was a really good keeper. I lost touch with him and didn’t realise he was into coaching until I saw he had popped up at the Stags.”
After Stags’ display against Forest Green Stringfellow said: “I was very impressed – not that it’s any surprise as I know Steve and Paul Raynor well from 20 years ago.
“What impressed me the most is that you can go 2-0 up in a game like that and then bring three good players on which shows the depth in the squad.
“I thought the Stags looked really good and there will be a lot more to come once things gel better they will get even better.”
He added: “It’s great to be back. This my home town. “We have got family here and I always follow what is going on. I always look for the results on a Sunday morning – New Zealand time.
“I always look to get the news and the clips and look at the Chad online.”
Evans was delighted to see Stringfellow again and said: “I have just been telling him some things he has completely forgotten about, like when he scored two goals on his debut for me and went on to score every other week – he was absolutely fantastic.
“It’s been wonderful to see him.
“You should never forget your former players. Your history never goes away.
“His 30-odd goals here for Mansfield Town will be in the record books forever.”