Today’s first of our new Friday’s Former Stags series is striker Dave Caldwell.
Like Phil Stant after him, Caldwell was a cult hero with Mansfield Town fans for his aggression and will to win.
However, the Scot’s temper often got the better of him and the red mist saw him sent-off and suspended on many occasions – capped by an eight-game ban when he was at Torquay United.
He was booked 36 times for the Stags, sent off twice, and was hit with an eye-catching eight suspensions.
Born in Aberdeen in July 1960 he arrived at Mansfield for £25,000 from Inverness Caledonian in June 1979, aged 18, and stayed until 1984/85, finishing the club’s top scorer in 1983/84 with 21 goals.
The 1983-84 season had started badly when Caldwell was arrested (and subsequently fined) in September 1983 for missing a court case brought against him for failing a breath test, Caldwell walking out of court as he would have missed the team coach to an away match at Huddersfield.
He was eventually banned from driving for a year and fined £120, but allowed to pay £20 per week as his earnings were said to be less than those of the average working man
A month later he was sent off after only 14 minutes for punching a Reading defender and was promptly transfer listed by manager Ian Greaves, a decision which was unchanged by Caldwell scoring four goals in the next game.
A despairing Greaves said: “I am sick to death of his childish behaviour. His disciplinary record is appalling and no matter how hard we have tried, he has done nothing to put a stop to it.”
Caldwell remained in the side, in between suspensions, and continued to find the net.
Having requested a transfer, Caldwell went on loan to Carlisle and Swindon in his final season before finally moving across the M1 to rivals Chesterfield for £12,000 after scoring 66 goals for the Stags.
After that he had spells at Torquay and Belgian side KV Overspelt before a second spell at Saltergate saw his League career ended by injury.
He did try to play on and in May 1992 returned to Inverness Caledonian.
In 1994 he moved to the Aberdeen Highland League Club, Cove Rangers FC, combining that with working as a sales executive for an office equipment business.
Caldwell then took up a part-time role as manager of Highland League club Lossiemouth FC between 1998 and 1999 before accepting a job as group sales manager for Xerox Concessionaire in Edinburgh and leaving football altogether.
What are your memories of Dave Caldwell?
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