A buoyant Adam Murray spoke at length about his relationship with Stags fans this morning in a passionate interview ahead of this Saturday's trip to Plymouth Argyle.In it, he said that the supporters and players would help 'drive each other' and that he wouldn't change his rapport with the fans 'for the world'.
The boss began by clarifying his comments after our Easter Monday match at home to Shrewsbury Town, which were misconstrued in some quarters.
“It was a bit strange on Monday because I had a couple of messages saying ‘don’t blame the fans’ and I think some people took [his post match comments] the wrong way,” said Murray, at this morning’s news conference.
“I was a little bit disappointed for some people to think that I would blame the fans. For one: I’m not that stupid and two: I’ve got nothing to blame them for. All I would say is, be better. They tell me to be better and this is the way our relationship works.
“Sometimes it’s tough for people to take the fact that I do speak how I feel. I won’t give you the clichés or the boring stuff, otherwise it’s pointless me doing press [speaking to the media].
“It’s the way I am, and as a manager, that’s how I want to be. I want to feel the pain [when we lose], I want to feel the good times when we win.
“I don’t want to change my relationship with the fans. I want to tell them to be better, I want to push them. I expect them to do that to me, and my group [of players]."
As a player, Murray enjoyed a glittering career with the Stags: helping the club to promotion from Division Three in 2002, captaining the team to the FA Trophy Final in 2011, securing a third-placed finish in the Conference Premier the year after and skippering the team which lifted the title in 2013.
“They’ve [the supporters] written me off a few times: 'his legs are gone, he’s not good enough'," said Murray. "I’ve always come back fighting. I’ve told them they need to be better and they’ve always come back fighting. I’ve never blamed them and I never will; they’ve never blamed me and I don’t think they ever will.
“Over all that time, I’ve asked the fans to be better, and they’ve asked me to be better. That’s how we work and I think they understand it, I understand it. It’s one of them things; we want the same things.
“They’ve always made me be better than I’ve been as a player and now as a manager. I love it. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“What we will do is we’ll drive each other.
“I think what the fans know is that, after we’ve lost and I go home, it tears me inside out because this club’s my life, it has been for a long time. They could have someone to sit here just for the job or the money, but in me they know they haven’t got that. This is about the football club and what I believe is best for it."
Murray then praised his players' recent endeavours, as we head into the final five games of the season.
“I have a chairman and a board who are demanding, but they back me 1000%. I have a group of players who are 'unreal', and are fighting tooth and nail.
"If I were heading in to war tomorrow, I’d take every single one of them. We are as strong as we have been at the minute, as a team.
“The boys are giving 200% and can’t give any more for the cause. For me that’s the pleasing thing. Yes, we are lacking in certain aspects but we’re doing the best we can.
“As tough as it is at the minute, the football club is in a good place and I’m privileged to be sitting here
“I can’t wait for the future because even though it’s tough to see what lies ahead at the minute, what lies ahead is really positive.”
Ahead of this Saturday's trip to Plymouth Argyle, there may be late fitness tests for Ricky Ravenhill (ankle), Jamie McGuire (ankle) and Vadaine Oliver (shoulder).