The Stags’ first season back in the fourth tier was marked by new chairman Keith Haslam’s appointment of Andy King as manager following the disappointing start made by George Foster. The new gaffer’s side sat in mid-table after a 1-0 defeat away to Torquay United on New Year’s Day and a disappointing 2-1 home reverse to Chesterfield the following week.
The club looked short of a promotion chase throughout the campaign with form coming in fits and starts, and a lack of firepower following prolific striker Phil Stant’s pre-season departure.
The squad was not short on quality, however, and stars such as Aidy Boothroyd, Steve Parkin, Kevin Noteman and new attacker Stuart Hadley briefly elevated the club to within five points of the play-off places in April.
But, after successive defeats to Rochdale, Gillingham and Darlington, the Stags finished in 12th position after a final day win at Walsall. Paul Holland once again collected the player of the year award, and Steve Wilkinson was the club’s leading scorer with eleven goals.
Close season departures included Wayne Fairclough, Kevin Gray and long-serving midfielder Ian Stringfellow, who left Field Mill after nine years and 163 appearances.
New signings ready for King’s first full campaign in charge included Ian Baraclough, John Doolan and Mark Peters. The side quickly gelled, with strong form in the early weeks of the season. A 1-0 away victory at Chesterfield was coupled with magnificent form in the Coca Cola Cup, which culminated in a stunning 1-0 early autumn victory over Premiership Leeds United.
But cup form took its toll. The club’s win over Leeds, as well as FA Cup victories over Northwich Victoria and Halifax Town caused Mansfield’s league form to stutter. Another mundane mid-table finish looked likely.
But a rallying set of results towards Christmas did much to change the mood, starting with a tremendous 4-2 Field Mill victory against the Spireites – in which eventual top-scorer Wilkinson bagged a hat-trick – that saw King’s charges enjoy an incredible festive period.
Five successive victories in all competitions included a 7-1 Boxing Day annihilation of Hereford United and a 5-2 away victory over Scarborough just a day later. The high-scoring side never looked back until experiencing heartache in the 1994/95 play-off semi-final derby against Chesterfield.
- A memorable year in the 22-team Premier League helps curb fans’ frustrations at England’s failure to reach the summer’s World Cup, with champions Manchester United led by Eric Cantona’s 25 goals. Meanwhile, the Red Devils defeat Chelsea 4-0 to claim their 8th FA Cup.
- Brazil win the World Cup for the fourth time, beating Italy in a penalty shoot-out at Los Angeles’ Pasadena Rose Bowl stadium, as the tournament is held in the USA for the first time.
- Alan Shearer returns from injury to score 31 goals for Premier League runners-up Blackburn Rovers. His tally is only beaten by the 34 goals scored by Newcastle United’s Andy Cole.
MAY Nelson Mandel a becomes South Africa’s first black president after free elections are held in the country for the first time, following the end of Apartheid
MAY The Channel Tunnel between England and France is opened by Queen Elizabeth II and President Mitterand, having cost almost five billion pounds to complete
JUNE Millions of Americans watch live as sports superstar O. J. Simpson flees from police in his white Ford Bronco, after being accused of the murder of his ex-wife and her lover.
- Mike Newell and Richard Curtis’ Four Weddings and a Funeral is a runaway and unexpected box office success. Made for less than three million pounds, the Hugh Grant-starring romantic comedy becomes the highest-grossing British film at the time.
- The ‘Disney Renaissance’ continues with the release of The Lion King achieving unprecedented commercial and critical success. The coming-of-age drama remains the highest-grossing hand-drawn animation in history.
- The sitcom Friends makes its debut – it will go on to be one of the most successful television shows of all time, being syndicated around the world to the present day.
- Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, pioneer of grunge music and idol to millions, is found dead from a gunshot wound at his home in Seattle.
- Carry On up the Charts, the first greatest hits album released by The Beautiful South is second to Bon Jovi’s own best of collection Cross Road in end-of-year top album sales.
- Mancunian band Oasis release their debut album Definitely Maybe, sparking the Britpop revolution as it follows the success of Blur’s Parklike.
Memorable Number Ones
Love Is All Around – Wet Wet Wet
Saturday Night – Whigfield
Stay Another Day – East 17 (Christmas Number One)