I’ve watched every single one of 35 league battles between Notts and Mansfield played since 1963, all but two of them at either the third or fourth tiers.
The notable exception occurred in 1977-78, Mansfield’s one season at the second level of football’s pyramid after winning promotion from the old Third Division the previous campaign.
How do Saturday’s issues compare with all these which have gone before? Without a shadow of doubt - and I’ve been refreshing my memory through notes made at the time - this is the first time the points at stake have been so crucially important to both clubs, one striving to avoid relegation (Notts) and the other hoping to clinch promotion (Mansfield).
In short, there’s never been anything quite like it before!
Mansfield fans have done precisely what they were expected to do in such unique and dramatic circumstances - they’ve snapped up all the tickets made available to them.
And, with more than 10,500 tickets already sold in total, there promises to be a tremendous atmosphere for what is a huge match at Meadow Lane.
Back in 1971-72, when both clubs were inthe third tier, Notts drew first blood with a 2-0 win at Meadow Lane on 6 November. The official attendance was 16,905. In the return at Field Mill on 26 February it finished all square at 1-1 and the gate was only 121 less at 16,784.
Times may be different but the stakes are actually higher, far higher, than they were then so maybe it’s not at all absurd to expect 16,000 through the turnstiles on Saturday!
Click here to get your ticket.