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Club News


12 September 2019

There will be a familiar face in the Mansfield dug-out on Saturday when Stags' boss John Dempster returns to Crawley.

Signed by Steve Evans during the 2010-11 season from Kettering, who were also in the Conference that season, John was cup-tied for the FA Cup run which culminated in the fifth round tie at Old Trafford.

He made his debut in a 3-0 home win over Cambridge United in February 2011, and went on to play nine games that season, scoring his first Crawley goal in a 5-2 win over Hayes & Yeading in March.

He was in the line-up for our first two games of the following season - a 3-2 win over AFC Wimbledon in the preliminary round of the Carling Cup - and the 2-2 draw at Port Vale in our first match in the Football League. Unfortunately, he was also sent off late on at Vale Park as the home side scored a late equaliser.

He played three more games but Evans then signed Claude Davis and with Pablo Mills, Charlie Wassmer and Kyle McFadzean also vying for a place in the heart of our defence he found opportunities limited. 

After a loan spell with former club Kettering, John made his final Crawley appearance as a substitute in the 2-0 win over Bury at Gigg Lane in the FA Cup first round in November 2011.

A fortnight later he was making his Stags' debut in a Conference game at Bath City.

John went on to make more than 90 appearances for Mansfield before switching to coaching in 2015 in the club's Academy. 

He had two spells as caretaker manager before becoming permanent boss this May. 

Ahead of Saturday's match, Dempster said: “I wasn’t there for a great length of time, but the time I had there I really enjoyed.

“It was a successful time under Steve Evans. We had back-to-back promotions from the Conference and then automatic promotion on the last day in League Two.

“They were happy times. We had an incredible team spirit with some brilliant characters – it was almost ‘Crazy Gang-like’ at times.

He added: “I look back with fond memories but also realise the similarities to us.

“There have been loads of changes on and off the pitch since I was there, so there won’t be too many familiar faces. But I am not going there for a ‘mothers’ meeting’ and to shake peoples’ hands. We are going there to hopefully bring three points back to Mansfield.

“We don’t fear anyone in this league and we will be going there to try to get the maximum return. If we are at our very best I am sure we can do that.


“Their form at home is good, so it’s a massive challenge, but we’re going there hoping to upset that. I have had them watched several times and they are a very mobile team.

“The loan signings that they have injected into the squad have improved them no end

“So we’re going to have to be on our mettle to go there and bring the points home as the reports we’ve had have been very positive."

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