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Celebrating 60 years as a Mansfield Town fan

Posted onPosted on 21st Dec

Loyal Mansfield Town supporter Mike Collins is celebrating 60 years of following the Stags — and even trying to buy the club at one point with TEAM Mansfield — by sponsoring the match ball for his anniversary match.

The visit of Doncaster Rovers on 29th December will mark the milestone of Mike’s journey with his hometown club, which began on 28th December in 1963 when the Stags beat Hull City 2-0 at Field Mill.

Legendary striker Ken Wagstaff was among the scorers that day, but Mike, who was seven, admits he can’t remember much about the game.

“What I do remember vividly is the very strong smell of smoke, which dad informed me was from the Christmas gift cigars the men around us were all smoking,” he recalled.

“I remember us standing next to the old tunnel in the middle of the West Stand and I was so excited to be at a real football ground for a real match.

“That day Mansfield Town FC became my team. Sixty years later it’s still my team, despite the rollercoaster journey of following a club in the lower leagues.

“My first real memories were from three or four years later, standing outside the main entrance of the West Stand before and after games, waiting to get the autographs of my heroes. How I wish I’d still got those autograph books today!

“As a local lad, an early highlight of my own football career was playing at Field Mill for QEGS (Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School) at Field Mill in Mansfield Schools cup finals, and then being there to see my sons play and be mascots on the famous turf… such special days.”

More than 20 years ago Mike was a founder of TEAM Mansfield, a group set up by fans with the intention of buying Mansfield Town from its then controversial owner Keith Haslam.

Mike recalled: “Sadly we failed in its initial aim, but ultimately we were proud to help lead Stags to become one of the first professional clubs in the country to have a community shareholding for its supporters.

In the early noughties he was one of the club’s official photographers, and became the first life member of the Stags Supporters Association in 2019.

“During this exciting sporting journey I’ve had the privilege of gaining many lifelong friends through my association with the club,” Mike added. “As you can tell, the amber and blue has been ever present in my life and to the many wonderful Stags fans I have come into contact with over the last 60 years, thanks for your friendship, your kindness, and your support.”

Mike, whose family nickname is The Old Stag, founded Mansfield-based wealth management firm Mike Collins & Partners, which later became Collins Wealth Management.

He is also an honorary member of The Armchair Club, a group of businesspeople that has been raising funds for local sportsmen and women since 1982.