Mansfield play at Field Mill, which lays claim to being the oldest professional football ground in the world (used for football since 1861). Mansfield didn’t start playing at Field Mill until just after the First World War when their rivals, Mansfield Mechanics, were evicted from the venue for not paying their rent.
Mansfield started life as the Mansfield Wesleyans. But when the local league they played in (the Mansfield District Amateur League) dropped the word ‘Amateur’ from their title, the Wesleyan church turned their back on the club and forbade them from using the word ‘Wesleyans’. As an act of defiance the club called themselves Mansfield Wesley in the early 1900’s. This isn’t the only brush the club had with religion at the time – in 1909 their chairman Fred Abraham and secretary James Marples resigned, later to be banned by the FA for serious irregularities. They had committed the (then) heinous crime of signing a player on the Sabbath (the day of rest).
The club, like many, has had its ups and downs. Some yo-yo’ing between the 3rd and 4th tiers of English football, a spell in the Conference (National League) between 2008 and 2013, and controversies with their owners. The club, now owned by John and Carolyn Radford, seem to be sailing in calmer waters these days.
Mansfield is a former market town in Nottinghamshire, just east of the M1. In more recent years, brewing, soft drinks and coal have dominated the town but there is little sign of any of these industries in the town now (other than the fact many Mansfield streets have suffered from mining subsidence). Rebecca Adlington, Richard Bacon, and Lib Dem leader Ed Davey all come from Mansfield.