It took 12 games between us and Mansfield Town until we produced a draw; a sign that one of us normally comes out on top. Our first encounter came during the 2008-9 Blue Square Premier campaign; The Stags dropping down from League Two. While draws were a rarity between us, goals weren’t. And there have been plenty of memorable ties over the years; not least our 3-2 win at their place during our 2009-10 title-winning campaign after being two down. That season saw us go up, as you’re no doubt aware. Four years later, the Nottinghamshire club regained their League status.
Mansfield Wesleyans. In the grand list of teams who we’ve played over the years, some have weird names. And there are some who started out with weird names. The Stags are what you’d call one of the latter; drawing their name from the local Wesleyan church. That was in 1897 – when strange names were almost par for the course. The club and the church split in 1906; the club calling dropping the “ans” and going by the name Mansfield Wesley. Four years later, it was all a little bit much and they switched to Mansfield Town.
That move, incidentally, pissed off Mansfield Mechanics; a side who history… doesn’t remember.
In the mid-1920s, the club won back-to-back Midland League titles. But the Football League channelled their inner Shania Twain and told the Stags that don’t impress them much. Thankfully for the Nottinghamshire club, the League relented a few years later; electing them into Division Three South in 1931. Just to point out the word “south” there, if you weren’t paying attention. Clearly, they weren’t northern enough. Or sat on the boundary line. In 1932, the Stags were put in Division Three North. In 1937, they switched back. And, in 1947, it was back to the North.
It’s all academic anyway. In 1958, the regionalisation of the Football League was canned. The Stags got a place in the third tier. But they titted it up and were relegated to Division Four in 1960. We’re not going to get too forensic here as the Stags were not averse to bouncing around the bottom two divisions. The only time this wasn’t the case was back in 1977. As champions of Division Three, the Stags earned a place in the second tier. Glory glory Mansfield Town, eh? Except, no. By 1980, they were back in Division Four.
Why do we know the Stags?
The 1980s and 1990s saw yet more promotion and relegation between Divisions Three and Four – or the equivalent names once the Premier League invented football. In 2003, the Stags had a duff season and were relegated to what was now Division Three. They nearly made an instant return; losing on penalties to Huddersfield Town in the playoff final. Believe it or not, that would be their final ‘high’ point for some time. After a string of mediocre finishes, the luck went completely AWOL in 2008 and the Stags were out of the Football League for the first time in 77 years.
Mansfield Town Travel Information – Distance: 152 miles
From Stevenage, travel north on the A1(M) and A1 for Mansfield. And you pretty much don’t need to do anything until you reach the A46 exit for Sleaford/Lincoln/Newark (A17). That’s about 95 miles down the track.
After leaving the A1, take the third exit at the roundabout. Join the A46 for a couple of miles, before taking the third exit at the next roundabout for the A617. It’s two roundabouts and 16 miles later that you’ll come to another roundabout; this time taking the third exit for the A6191.
It’ll be about a mile until you reach a turning for Berry Hill Lane. Turn down here, and continue over two roundabouts close together. Shortly after, make a right onto the A60. Just after you pass a Currys PC World in 0.6 miles, take a left – at which point the stadium should be visible.
There’s a small car park at the ground that operates on a first-come, first-served basis. It’ll cost £5 per car and the advice is to get there as soon as you can. You might wish to see if you can find some local street parking or use local Pay and Display car parks.
Don’t park in the neighbouring retail park, however. You could get a ticket.
Services to: NOTTINGHAM (for PETERBOROUGH)
The station is not too far away from the ground. When you leave the station, head towards a retail park at the other side of the A6009 and you’ll be able to see the ground. Turn left down the A6009 dual carriageway, crossing wherever possible and continuing straight along Portland Street until you reach Quarry Lane. The walk should take 10 minutes to get from station to ground.
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