Mansfield Town Football Club today paid warm tributes to former Stags boss Duncan Russell, who passed away on Friday after a short battle with cancer.
After joining the club as assistant to David Holdsworth in May 2010, Russell went on to become manager after Holdsworth’s sacking in November that year and eventually led the Stags to Wembley, where they lost the 2011 FA Trophy final 1-0 to Darlington after Chris Senior scored deep in extra-time.
But he failed to get them out of the Conference and his six-month tenure ended when his contract was not renewed.
Chairman John Radford led the tributes, saying “I am very sad to learn of Duncan’s passing.
“He was a wonderful man, with a fine sense of humour and determination of spirit.
“He was very proud to manage our football club and that he led the Stags to Wembley was doubtless the highlight of his football career.
“It was an excellent achievement, and he will always be remembered by everyone at the club for this feat.
“We met with Duncan a few months ago near his home in Derbyshire and he was, typically, in an optimistic and buoyant mood, given that he had then just been given the news by doctors about his health.
“He spoke warmly of the club, the manager and our fans and we reminisced with fondness about his time as manager.
“Both Carolyn and I hold Duncan’s family in our thoughts and prayers at this sad time. Football has lost a lifelong student of the game and we have lost a gentleman and friend.”
Manager Evans added his own thoughts, saying: “It is very sad isn’t it? And at 59 years old.
“His family may have seen the day coming because of his illness.
“I didn’t really know the man very well, but he had been in to see me on two or three occasions in the past few months and you could see what the football club meant to him.
“You could see him as a person and a man. Of course we had come across him on the opposition bench and he was always a gentleman.
“They say God always takes the best young. He was a good man and our thoughts, prayers and condolences go to his family.”