Mansfield Town’s new singing section of supporters in the Ian Greaves Stand has won all-round praise for creating a superb , improved atmosphere at home games.
The singing has been loud, then drums have been beating, the new banners waving, and the players loving every minute since it was launched at the 11th hour before the win over Leyton Orient last month.
The section, sited in Q block in the West Stand Upper tier is the brainchild of a trio of Stags fans in Mitchell Bailey, Dan Maddison and James Perrin.
On the eve of the Orient game they arranged a meeting at the ground with CEO Carolyn Radford and director Steve Hymas to see if they could create the section to boost the atmosphere.
On top of that, chairman John Radford also put on a ‘buy one get the next match free’ ticket offer over four successive games.
“The desire from our point of view is to now see supporters return to One Call Stadium on a regular basis, having witnessed the capabilities, passion and quality of our players.
“From the fans I have spoken to, everyone has had a great time witnessing these matches with us at One Call Stadium when we’ve put these offers on.
“The new singing area is terrific, and has aided the players to earning some excellent results.
“We must commend all the faithful who have been singing their hearts out for 90 minutes, creating a great atmosphere in which the players are thriving.
“I’m told that the noise from One Call Stadium can be heard from miles around. This is what we want. All credit to the fans, stewards and everyone involved.
“Our club is in a great place right now, re-energised by our new manager and his new signings and now is the time for everyone to jump on this football rollercoaster with us and enjoy the ride.”
Mitchell Bailey, 30, explained: “The singing section came about following a discussion on Facebook between myself and Dan Maddison.
“We went to the Notts County game and were interested as to why we could get such a large following who sang throughout the game and created such a good atmosphere at Notts, yet we couldn’t get the same following at home.
“We spoke a couple of times on Messenger and decided that, with the ticket offer of buy one get one free being issued by the club, the best time to act would be at the Leyton Orient game.”
He continued: “I put a status on Facebook asking for everyone’s opinions and there was an overwhelming response with a range of ideas, on the back of this status we created the group ‘Improving MTFC for the fans’. This took off and had over 400 members in the first 24 hours.
“On this page it was suggested that we could make banners for the section between the stands. Designs were made and people’s reactions garnered.
“Following this we arranged a meeting with Carolyn Radford. This was attended by myself, Dan Maddison, James Perrin and representatives from the club.
“The ideas included the reallocating of season tickets so that any person who wanted to sing and really get behind the team could move from their current seat and sit together.
“It was decided by the club and ourselves that the Q Block would be the best position, this was implemented by the club and the staff in the ticket office were really accommodating.
“We also agreed that the banners could be put up and the drum and other items could be stored at the club, which was a real help, especially for Dan Betts, who had to carry the drum from home and back every home game.”
The idea grew with a ‘Go Fund Me’ page.
“Following the success of this meeting we again took to Facebook to share the positive reaction from the meeting with other fans and a ‘Go Fund Me’ page was created by another fan which numerous people donated to, this money was used to get the banners printed,” he said.
“Another fan from Facebook also purchased flags from the club shop which were collected and given to children sat in Q block by Dan Maddison. We met Tina Broughton and Alan Lakin to erect the banners before the Leyton Orient game.
“I don’t think it was any one person’s idea, more of a social media group effort by a number of people including Dan Maddison, James Perrin, John Anthony Edwards (setting up the fund me page and sorting designs for banners, managing to find yellow pages for ticker tape), Russ Clarkson (banner printing), Martin Lee (for the balloons) and Gary Hagan (for purchasing the flags).
James Perrin, 25, of Kirkby, said: “Dan and I spoke about the days we had in the QLE and how good the atmosphere was, even against teams such as Hayes and Yeading with 20 away fans we still sang our hearts out.
“We all agreed that everything for Mansfield Town right now is moving in the right direction and it was the fans’ turn to show John, Carolyn, the directors and the new gaffer that were right behind them. The first Saturday we did it, it was a huge success and I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for the next home game!”
“I guess my personal aim for this is ‘Field Mill needs to be the place to become 3pm on a Saturday’.
“My Stags’ supporting background started around 1994 (I was three or four). I can’t remember the game or anything but I think I used to just look around the stands more than actually watch the game.
“The Stags are such a huge part of my life and have been ever since my Dad took me when I was just a young boy. I go to every home game and try not to miss an away game but do tend to miss around six or seven games a season.
Daniel Maddison added: “My personal Stags journey started as a youngster with my Dad taking me to my first game at two years old.
“But I remember the love started with an away day friendly to Nottingham Forest in the mid 90s. From then I had a season ticket for many years in the North stand.
“I, like the others, have been the length and breadth of the country and followed them through the highs and lows, and that’s something that will never change, being a Mansfield fan is in your blood.
“The next step is to keep people coming through that door and getting more people involved.”