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Mansfield Town promotion was for fans, says manager Nigel Clough

Posted onPosted on 17th Apr

Delighted Mansfield Town manager Nigel Clough dedicated the club’s’ first promotion to League One in 22 years to the supporters.

There were wild scenes of celebration on the One Call Stadium pitch at full-time on Tuesday as the Stags beat Accrington Stanley 2-1 to clinch a place in the third tier of English football.

Automatic promotion was secured by an early own goal when George Maris saw his effort deflected in, and a 63rd minute strike from Stephen Quinn. That meant Tommy Leigh’s late goal for the visitors could not stop the Stags’ party – which had been set up by a fine 4-1 victory at promotion rivals MK Dons three days earlier.

Clough said after clinching promotion with two games to spare: “This is for the thousands that were here tonight. Some people have been supporting the club for 50 to 60 years – it’s for them. They have seen some quite low times here over the years, so it’s lovely they can enjoy tonight.

“It is a special night and an unbelievable achievement for Mansfield to be playing in the league above for the first time in 22 years.”

Referring back to the disappointment of recent seasons, when the Stags lost in the League Two play-off final and then missed out on the play-offs on goal difference to leave supporters dejected, Clough added: “We all left Wembley dejected two years ago, so it’s a little bit of payback for that as well.

“When you have been so close and finally achieve it, it takes a bit of time to sink in. It will take a few days.

“But the main thing is we got promoted. It’s taken us three years to achieve it, but we made it in the end.

“It’s taken three years and quite a bit of pain to get to this point.

“It doesn’t matter what happened in previous seasons – we’ve done it in this one.”

The manager was pleased that the supporters have enjoyed an entertaining brand of football this season, which has seen the Stags top the goalscoring charts and win praise for their style of play.

Clough added: “It has been an absolutely incredible season. To be top goalscorers in the league and (have) a very good defensive record says everything. From the first day at Crewe, we’ve set out the right way positively and tried to play.

“Some supporters have said to me it’s the best season they have ever seen at Mansfield, not just the promotion, but the football – and that is pleasing.

“People pay their hard-earned money to come, so we are very conscious in these times of how much people sacrifice. So (for them) to come away and say they have enjoyed it is as good as anything.

“Thanks to them for their support.”

Photo courtesy Chris & Jeanette Holloway / The Bigger