Mansfield Town have sacked manager David Flitcroft following their penalty shoot-out defeat in the League Two play-off semi-final.
In the announcement on the club’s official website, chairman John Radford said he decided with a ‘heavy heart that we part company with David and his staff.’
The club also confirmed that academy boss John Dempster had replaced Flitcroft in the Stags’ hot seat.
Our writers JG and Roy give their opinion on the news and discuss its implications for Mansfield going forward.
RT: So JG, David Flitcroft has paid the ultimate price for Mansfield Town’s playoff failure. Some Stag fans think it is a bit harsh, what is your view?
JG: It’s not harsh at all. Put simply; it had to happen. I’ve been quite vocal in my disdain for Flitcroft in the past and have drawn the ire of Mansfield supporters because of it, but they deserve better.
Their recruitment was excellent, and the players he had at his disposal should have walked League Two. Jorge Grant didn’t get a look in after signing, and the feeling I got from the performances is they weren’t playing for the manager.
They looked good at the back, that’s not up for debate, but why did he recall Conrad Logan when he had Jordan Smith on loan from Forest? He borrowed good Championship players and only found a place for Tyler Walker. Let me tell you this; Jorge Grant would walk into any other side in League Two, Lincoln included.
Now they’re promoting from within – is that a sign that the money might be drying up?
RT: I think you are right, with the players he had at his disposal they should have gone up. Losing their last three games blew automatic promotion, and it was always going to be challenging to lift the players for the playoffs.
The new appointment is fascinating and definitely a change of policy in terms of managerial recruitment. Radford failed with the tried and tested and is now giving a young, unproven coach in John Dempster a chance; I think it is a sign he is tightening his belt which might be tough for fans to take.
It all seems a bit of a knee-jerk reaction though. Don’t you think Radford would have been better off taking his time and thinking it through before making an appointment?
Dempster will be pitting his wits against some experienced campaigners in League Two next season and will have to learn quickly, and if they cut the budget is, I don’t fancy his chances.
JG: If you asked me, I’d say this has been in the offing for a while. Mansfield bottled promotion and the chairman will have known that if they didn’t go up, changes had to happen. If they had been promoted, he would have been forced to stick by Flitcroft, but now the decision has been made easy for him.
I respect the fresh approach. It’s targeted at coaching players, hopefully not just buying success. I feel they had a squad capable of winning the league, but they needed someone who could bring the best out of them. It could go one of two ways; it could be an innovative and refreshing approach by the Stags which leads them into the top three next season.
It could be a massive disaster though. Bradford City appointed internally last season, bringing a ‘bright young thing’ to the fore and giving him the top job. That experiment lasted a month or so, and they’ve paid the ultimate price.
Next season is going to be competitive in League Two; there are top managers in there like Darrell Clarke and Paul Hurst, big spenders like Salford and Forest Green and those clubs who have progressed steadily this season, Colchester, Crewe and Carlisle.
You have to wonder where Mansfield Town fit into all of that.
RT: All will become clear once the transfer window opens. Its usually a hive of activity at Field Mill but I’m expecting it to be much quieter this year.
League Two is going to be tighter than ever next year. Lincoln won the league with 85 pts, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s lower next season. There is so little between the teams.
If I were a Mansfield supporter, I’d be worried. I think the Club has taken a massive blow in not getting promoted and it will take a monumental effort to bounce back. Fans will look at the plight of Notts County and know how things can very quickly go disastrously wrong.