Passionate Stags' manager Adam Murray today outlined his vision for the club in an insightful interview at One Call Stadium.
Speaking with real fervour at this morning's news conference with the local media, Murray was keen to express his determination to shape the club’s future, and do whatever it takes to make the club more successful, whilst balancing ambition with reality.
Reflecting firstly on Stags' last match, a 3-2 defeat at home to Accrington Stanley, Murray said: “To put it simply, we need to be better in a lot of aspects. We got off to another poor start [against Accrington], got ourselves back into the game [but] the game was way too open. When you’re playing against teams like that with no fear, it’s always a danger.
“The weekend has been a blessing in disguise, it’s been a [chance to] refocus in everything – it’s been a real good 72 hours for us as a group. I honestly think we’re at a crossroads as a football club.
“If it kills me, I’m going to make this football club successful and competitive – that is the bottom line of it. I need people to get on board with that, let’s ride it together. If the culture doesn’t change, the next 20 years will be the same as the last.”
And Stags’ boss was keen to emphasise that old habits must be binned if the club are to go forward, and knows patience is required as they take strides to improve further.
“When you look at the last 20 years as a football club; in the league it’s got one promotion then got relegated straight back [to Division Three]. Then it spent five years in non-league, and it’s been an average to a poor League Two club.
“I want it [to be successful] more than anything. We have to change [the] culture.
"You can bring another manager in, you can bring another set of players in, it’s going to go down the same trend. You look at the successful times, it was the club’s own [the young local players] that did it.
“I’m going to take this football club forward; not just for a one-off season, but for a period of time – we’re not going to be average, we’re not going to be poor, we’re going to be competitive. But to get there, that takes time.”
Murray added: “When we take one on the chin [a defeat], let’s react differently now – because I ultimately believe [that] these players and me as a manager are going to make this football club successful. I always said when I got this job, I’d give the football club and its fans something to be proud of.
“We got used, last year, at the football club to getting battered. As a manager, probably because I’m too close to the club, that tore my heart out."
Speaking further, Murray reaffirmed the confidence he has in himself and the rest of the club’s staff to advance on the club's current position of 12th in the league, with only a four point gap between the Stags and the play-offs, and called on the town of Mansfield to play their part as well.
“Our expectation as a football club [is that] you’ve got to beat everyone in this league. We’re trying our best here, we will ultimately get to where we need to be. It can go the same as it always does, or we can go, ‘do you know what, let’s make this different now’.
“I believe in these players, I believe in this football club and I believe in myself.
"The chairman puts on a ‘pound for a game’ [for children] on Saturday, [and] we get less fans – that doesn’t make sense. People have got to go that extra yard.”
Looking ahead to the next ‘kids for a quid’ game at One Call Stadium with Stevenage on Saturday afternoon (3pm), Murray said: “They’re a little bit inconsistent; [they’ve] got good players when you look at it. I’m not going to stop thinking about it [the opposition] but we’re putting our focus on us for the next 22 games.
“For 16 games our focus for the squad was on us – we stopped winning for a couple of games so I changed the focus to the opposition - my biggest mistake. When we’re at it, we’re one of the best teams in this league.”
You can watch Adam Murray's news conference, in full later, on Stags Player.