I started to write this with the view to publishing right away, but as my little monkey wanted to go the following Saturday, it says a lot of what Mansfield Town gives to a 9-year-old girl. So I've decided to add a little more.
For a change I manned the Saturday morning shift in store. The sun is shining and football is being discussed over a brew with customers. I knew that the other half will be having her nails or hair done later, so what to do? Stags are at home, the question is, would the little monkey venture to Field Mill? She is a Nottingham Forest fan, & since Fifa 19, a Real Madrid fan. No way will we be going to Spain and Forest are not playing till Monday night.
I sent a text and got a resounding yes comes back. Now if you didn't know, Mansfield Town is our local club & we do a bit of sponsorship there. A local club, local sponsorship & we know it's a very well run family club, so we put our pennies in.
This game was free for under 18's. Bonus. A couple of phone calls & messages and I manage to swing a couple of corporate tickets, courtesy of Park Lane Self Drive. (Another Sponsor).
It was a race to get there for 1pm after closing HQ at midday. In a flash the car was parked up, we swung our badges on and we headed straight to the 1861 Suite. For the record, Field Mill is the oldest Football Ground in the world. Statistics done.
The 1861 Suite looks inviting, it's well laid out, & full of guests. We take to our table and await the first course, while watching Burnley turn Tottenham over. (Think chances of a Premiership title for Spurs is over. Much to the disappointment of Anthony).
Stags may be in the lower tiers of football, but the corporate hospitality is second to none, & would not be far out of place in the Premiership. Stilton & Brocolli soup, followed by Beef Brisket, Mash & Vegetables. Well served & presented.
Feeling a little stuffed it was time to take our seats for this crucial game against Forest Green Rovers on our padded seats in the sunshine. A frantic first half saw the teams go in level. Just enough time for a civilised half time tea & a wander around before taking our seats for the second half. A spirited second half performance saw Stags snatch a late but deserved winner. All in all a fair result.
The following week we are back again, versus Cheltenham this time. P.S - I paid for this one which put us on a random table. We got to our table and was joined by Nico Leavers, a talented young boxer who is England Champion at his weight. Week 2 and another 3 Course meal, different from last week. To the game, Stags went in at Half Time at 2-0 up. Second half and its 2-2, at this point the monkey leans over & says "Dad, I am tense". Bloody hell, she's 9 years of age & tense at a Stags game. Just you wait till you are older & watching England in the World Cup. Stags come out winners at 4-2, so the little monkey must be the Lucky mascot.
Did the little monkey enjoy it? Of course she did. Mansfield Town FC has become a family club under the Radfords & an all-round pleasant experience for a nine-year-old girl. And me too.
Credit where credit is due. Pop to a lower league game & feel the atmosphere, which can sometimes get lost in the Premiership. Pick a game to go watch when you're next free and put a little back into your local club, Match of the Day isn't on till 10.30.