League Two Music – #20 Mansfield Town

Jealous Mind – Alvin Stardust (1973, Magnet Records, Taken from ‘The Untouchable’)

Every team in football has its rivalries.  Some are obvious, two teams from the same city playing each other for instance.  Those games tend to turn out to be the football equivalent of two peacocks strutting their stuff for bragging rights.  Some rivalries hark back to important matches in the past or from particular squabbles between fans (Gillingham and Swindon for instance, hate each other because of an ill tempered play off match which saw fans scrapping on a railway line near the ground).  Some rivalries are bizarre (Palace and Brighton for instance only started hating each other in the seventies after managers Alan Mullery and Terry Venables had a row) but very few rivalries between teams have absolutely nothing to do with football (and yes I hear you Glasgow and Edinburgh teams – I’m not going there).

Welcome then to the stage, Mansfield Town.  A team who have, like so many others, for the last sixty years or so flitted between Leagues One, Two and the National Conference (one season in the second tier aside).  Mansfield are from Nottinghamshire and are geographically close to about seventeen different sides, many of whom they play on a regular basis, and give them plenty of local(ish) derbies. 

However, the closest side to Mansfield are Chesterfield – a team that are currently riding high in the National Conference and the hatred between Mansfield and Chesterfield, not only in football but as towns in general, is off the scale – hatred to point of that if you lived in Chesterfield and told your dad you were marrying a lass from Mansfield then you would be ostracised from your family forever, and, it is all Margaret Thatcher’s fault.  Sort of.

Because you see both Chesterfield and Mansfield are proud mining communities (or they were, right comrades?) and in 1984, miners from all communities downed their tools in protest at plans made by the Thatcher government to close a number of pits.  Over in Chesterfield (which is in Derbyshire), the miners walked out and stayed out for over a year, but in Mansfield, the miners went back to work (because they were skint) and from there a rivalry between two football teams grew into anger between two football teams and two towns (and I’m aware that I have massively simplified this and the impact of the miners strike).

Right now, Mansfield Town sit eighth or ninth in League Two and have enough games in hand to make a late charge into the play offs.  They have under the shrewd management of Nigel Clough emerged as one of the best footballing sides in the division.

Musically, we can thank Mansfield for the glam rock brilliance of Alvin Stardust (real name Bernard Jewry) well sort of.  Stardust was born in Middlesex and moved to Mansfield when he was a young lad.

Someone who was born in Mansfield is John Balance who was the singer in post industrial act Coil and also a member of the vastly under related Psychic TV.  In 1986, the band released the album ‘Horse Rotorvator’ which one reviewer called “An album of refinement of brute noise and creepily serene arrangements into a truly modern psychedelia, from tribal drumming and death march guitars to disturbing samples and marching band samples and back“.  Which makes it sound a lot better than it actually is, sadly.

Circles of Mania – Coil (1986, Some Bizarre Records, Taken from ‘Horse Rotorvator’)

Finally, Mansfield has given is B-Movie who were also signed to Some Bizarre and had a fair bit of success in the early eighties with their New Wave leaning songs.  They have a decent back catalogue but my personal favourite is this

Nowhere Girl – B – Movie (1980, Some Bizarre Records, Taken from ‘Forever Running’)

Which brings us nicely to this weeks previously unheard band who for the second or third week in a row I have actually heard of and aren’t actually from the town that I have been researching because the town I have been researching seem to have no emerging new bands at all.  Anyway, here’s Leciester punk band Socks in Bed, who are pretty good as it happens.

Radio Silence – Socks in Bed (2021, Unknown Label, Single)

Next Week – Sutton United

Coming Soon to Sundays – Fantasy Festivals – a series in which a bunch of bloggers, rock stars, minor celebrities, friends, family, and some others, curate for one day only their own festival.  Well that’s the plan anyway.  I’m still designing the concept – but if you want to take part, please get in touch.


1 Comment

  1. martin says:

    B-Movie make an interesting comparing their early Dead Good Tape versions of Remembrance Day and Nowhere Girl vs the way more polished Some Bizarre versions (the album version of the latter is yet different) – but then my favourite is the Marilyn Dreams 12 inch.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s