Where Did it Go Wrong?
Where Did It All Go Wrong?
A question being posed by many over the past few weeks, and now even the local rag is wanting people`s opinions on why Mansfield Town aren`t still in the play off places, after such a promising start to the season.
I can clearly remember back in that summer month of August, and in particular getting ready for the opening day clash at home to Crawley.
I had purchased my excellently priced season ticket for £195, and was looking forward to making as many home games as possible in the season, the owners had done their bit, and although the 3000 target figure for season ticket sales, hadn`t quite hit the mark, there was still plenty of supporters willing to join me in purchasing a ticket, and the optimism for the season as the match kicked off, was very high indeed.
Upon purchasing my season ticket, I had not bothered at all to get it near to close friends, as I easily expected to be able to roam around the upper tier at free will, and sit where the hell I wanted. This for the Crawley game meant a seat in the singing section close to the North Stand end of the ground. The atmosphere was outstanding, and took us back a few years to the heady promotion days from League 2.
It wasn`t not long after this, that the owners made an error, and they haven`t made many whilst at the top, but in making it all ticket in the first instance for the Upper Tier, and telling people where to sit, the atmosphere from what was witnessed at the Crawley game was cut considerably.
Yes, the club needed to cut costs by removing the need for stewarding, but essentially you had a 9000 all seater stadium that was only a third full for home games, and you still couldn`t sit where you wanted.
It resulted in the singers being seated everywhere but where they wanted to be (ie together), and contributed to some muted home games as the season went on.
I clearly remember the team getting a standing ovation at the end of the opening game, with David Holdsworth getting a particular loud cheer as he stood in the centre circle applauding the support.
So why are we now in a position where the team play nothing but long ball and the supporters keep on booing and abusing the players? I don`t care what Holdsworth says in the media, the full backs in particular look to be instructed to get the ball in the air, everytime it comes near them.
We have seriously been found out, look one dimensional and the Hayes & Yeading boss, was spot on recently when he said we have no plan b.
I still have a gripe with Holdsworth over the treatment of Daryl Clare, here was one player who is proven at this level to score goals for fun. You can`t compare his current record with Gateshead, but look at his history in the conference.
Mind you, he certainly wouldn`t have fitted in with the current style of play, so is better off out of it. When you play with two strikers the size of Duffy and Perry, it sets the stall out for a direct style of play.
So have we played Direct since day one of the season, admittingly you tend not to notice as much, if the team is winning.
But, we did play some good stuff at the start of the season, I remember the weekend trip to Eastbourne, where we were still playing some good football. Crawley away even, when Speight saw a lot of the ball on the right wing, so it`s not a new ploy of just direct football.
Maybe it`s the pressure of needing the results has led us to just hoofing it, with Holdsworth instructing his players to get it forward quickly.
At the start of the season, the pressure is off, and the players were able to express themselves a little more, it is only now at the business end of the season that it has started to unhinge itself.
One of the major factors I feel, is the amount of players Holdsworth has used, in particular during the middle part of the season, which importantly was when things started to go off the rails. Even though we were still picking up points, the side changed from week to week, and we more or less became obsessed with how the other team were lining up, and then changing our starting eleven to suit.
In summary, Holdsworth needs to look at himself, see what was going right at the start of the season, and in some way get it back, otherwise if he is still in charge early next season, and the garbage shown recently is still being served, then crowds will fall still further.
Will I get a season ticket for next year?, at current entertainment levels, the board will need to make tickets available for £95, before they get the same numbers as this seasons.
That isn`t going to happen, personal reasons mean I can`t afford over £200 for one, so it`s back to picking and choosing my games, something I never thought possible, during the great opening day experience against Crawley.
Maybe I can even get to choose where I sit next season, there should be plenty of room at least.