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Three former Mansfield players who enjoyed spells in England’s top division

Posted onPosted on 14th Feb

It has been a difficult period for Mansfield Town since their relegation to the Conference in 2008, but there are signs that The Stags are getting back to where they deserve to be. They were promoted back to the Football League in the 2012-13 season, and are currently just outside of the relegation places in League Two.

Like outsiders on the NFL lines, Mansfield is often overlooked in producing a promotion challenge. However, throughout the club’s esteemed history they have been able to call upon some special players, with some able to take their game to the next level and move to the top-tier of English football.


Colin Calderwood

 Colin Calderwood started his professional career with Mansfield Town. The central defender played for the club between 1982 and 1985 before moving to Swindon Town. Calderwood was instrumental in helping Swindon get to the Premier League, as the club secured promotions from Division 4, Division 3, Division 2, and the Old Division One between 1986 and 1993.

 However, he was snapped up by Tottenham Hotspur before Swindon’s first season in the top-flight, and he played for the North London giants between 1993 and 1999.

His final two seasons in the professional game were spent with Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest before retiring in 2001. 

Calderwood was also capped 36 times by Scotland during his career and was part of the squads for both EURO 96 and the World Cup in 1998. 

Before EURO 2020, he was part of the last Scotland squad to represent the country at a major tournament.


Alex Baptiste

 Local boy Alex Baptiste started his professional career with Mansfield Town and was part of the youth system before making his first-team debut in 2002. The central defender enjoyed loan spells with Tamworth and Burton Albion and played a role in the promotion-winning team in the 2003-04 season.

 However, his stay at Field Mill ended in 2008, as he was signed by Blackpool. Despite being used sparingly in the opening half of the 2008-09 campaign, he cemented his place in the starting 11 towards the end of the season.

Baptiste was rewarded for his performances and given a two-and-a-half-year deal with the club following their promotion to the Premier League after the 2009-10 season. 

The defender was a regular part of the team throughout their one-year stay in the top-flight in the following season and scored in Blackpool’s first Premier League fixture as they beat Wigan Athletic. Ultimately, his time at the club ended when they were beaten in the Championship playoff final in 2012, but he was signed by Bolton Wanderers. 

After leaving Bolton for Middlesbrough, he later played for QPR and Doncaster before returning to Bolton in 2020.


James Perch

 The career of James Perch has come full-circle. The 36-year-old was born in Mansfield in September 1985 but came through the youth set-up at Nottingham Forest before 1996 and 2004. He made his professional debut for the club in 2004 and made over 200 appearances for Forest before being sold to Newcastle United in 2010.

 It was a huge opportunity for the defender, as it gave him the chance to play for the North East giants on their return to the Premier League. His debut came on the season’s opening night, as the Toon were beaten 3-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford. 

Perch did make history in the Premier League though, as he became the first player to get booked in all five opening fixtures. His only goal for the Magpies came at Old Trafford against United in a 4-3 defeat.

 Perch was sold to Wigan Athletic in 2013 and scored in their FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester City. However, after two years with the club, he moved to QPR. 

After three years with the London side, he moved to Scunthorpe United before returning home to Mansfield in 2020. To date, he has played 29 games for The Stags and has scored three times for his local club.