Less than a month after the last season finished and I am already feeling excitement about the new season to come after Mansfield Town’s two new signings last week.
To manage to lure two 22-year-olds from a higher division, both of whom have helped their previous clubs to promotion out of this division, represents excellent business by Adam Murray.
Murray sees Bury’s Danny Rose as the first natural goal poacher the club have had since Chris Greenacre, which is some accolade to live up to.
And Burton Albion’s George Taft is a 6ft 5ins centre half who can also play left back – I wouldn’t like to be the right winger trying to get past a unit that size who is quick as well!
The great thing about these signings is that supporters of both clubs, on their respective web messageboards, have posted nothing but good about both players and didn’t want to see the back of them.
For Rose, the fact that Stags actually shelled out a fee – something done very rarely these days – shows how much Murray believes in what he has to offer.
Matt Green, with a full season under his belt after his bad injury plus a full pre-season, will be raring to go. So for him to have Rose and probably another striker, a target man, coming in to take some of the weight off his shoulders, Green must be relishing next season.
Rose could have stayed at Bury and tried to force his way back into their League One side.
But he wants regular football and he wants success – so how warming that he saw Stags as the place to do that next season.
Burton’s promotion to the Championship has probably helped the Stags to land Taft as the perfect replacement for the likely departure of Ryan Tafazolli – from Taff to Tafty!
Out of contract at Burton and having missed a chunk of last season with a serious knee injury, Nigel Clough had not closed the door on Taft and had invited him to join in with pre-season training to prove his fitness.
But, sensing his chances at Championship level next season may be limited with the Brewers, Taft has chosen to rebuild his career with Mansfield and has already had the knee pass the Stags’ medical.
He is only 22, a former England U18 international and Burton fans feel that, if he only add increased nastiness to his game, he could be a very good player indeed.
None of the players who were released by Murray post-season were a huge surprise, neither is Tafazolli’s intention to move up a division and pay packet size.
Reggie Lambe is holding out with other deals on the table but, with Murray in the market for up to three wingers right now, he could end up missing the boat by waiting too long.
I suspect his departure to play international football for Bermuda when Stags needed him for crucial League games won’t see Mansfield begging him to stay either.
But I was genuinely sad to see the departure of Matty Blair.
We only ever got to see his talents in glimpses towards the end of the season as he finally put his long-term injury behind him.
I suspect the deal put to him was less than he was getting last year and don’t blame him for heading to Doncaster where the budget is bound to be bigger.
From a media point of view he was one of the nicest guys you could hope to deal with, always smiling and keeping his sense of humour when he faced a lot of trying things in his own life with his injury and his brother’s illness.
But exciting wingers have always been my favourite players throughout my life and I look forward to seeing which entertainers Murray can tempt in to help the Stags finally start to get round the back of opponents on a regular basis next year.
Who do you think Stags should be chasing to complete their squad? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org