Mansfield Town’s top 10 best ever managers in order of win percentage (Ranked)

We rank the 10 Mansfield Town managers with the best win percentages as of the end of last season.

Mansfield Town will be hoping their promising start to the 2023-24 season will eventually culminate in another promotion challenge.

The Stags have come close to securing a return to the third tier in each of the last two campaigns.

Mansfield were beaten 3-0 by Port Vale in the 2021-22 League Two play-off final, while they agonisingly missed out on a top-seven finish last term by a single goal.

Despite the disappointment, these are positive times for the club under Nigel Clough, who is now approaching three years in charge at the One Call Stadium.

But where does he rank in terms of the most successful managers in the club’s history?

Let’s find out as we rank the top 10 win percentages of Mansfield bosses – according to Soccerbase and Wikipedia – as of the end of last season.

10. Raich Carter – 41.7%

Field Mill 5

Kicking off the countdown is former England international Carter, who was appointed manager in February 1960.

However, he could not prevent the club’s relegation to Division Four in his first season in charge, and went about rebuilding the side.

Carter oversaw gradual improvement over the next two seasons and after a positive start to the 1962-63 campaign, in which the club would eventually gain promotion, he departed for Middlesbrough that January having won 63 of 151 matches in charge.

9. Charlie Mitten – 42.6%

Charlie Mitten

Former Manchester United forward Mitten (pictured with Mario Coluna and Eusebio) became player-coach at Field Mill in February 1956.

Then in the Third Division North, Mansfield would earn recognition for their entertaining football under his stewardship.

After guiding the Stags to a sixth-place finish in the 1957-58 season, in which his side scored 100 goals, he left the club to take charge at Newcastle United.

Mitten, who won 49 of his 115 games at the helm, would later describe the Mansfield job as “the best I ever had in football” in his biography.

8. Harry Parkes – 42.7%

Field Mill 6

Parkes succeeded Harold Wightman to take over the reins at Mansfield in May 1936.

The former Newport, Chesterfield and Lincoln boss guided the Stags to a ninth-place finish in the Third Division North during his first season at the helm.

After 29 wins in 68 matches, Parkes left Mansfield for Notts County in January 1938.

7 .Tommy Cummings – 43.3%

Field Mill 2

Former Burnley defender Cummings was appointed player-manager at Mansfield in March 1963.

Taking over from Carter, he helped the Stags gain promotion to the Third Division at the end of that season.

Mansfield finished seventh and third in their first two years back in the third tier, but then had to settle for successive 19th-place finishes.

Cummings managed 201 games, winning 87, before moving on to Aston Villa in the summer of 1967.

6. Peter Morris – 43.4%

Field Mill

Former midfielder Morris had made almost 300 league appearances for Mansfield when he was appointed player-manager in June 1976.

He certainly hit the ground running in his managerial career, guiding the Stags into the second tier for the first time in their history as Third Division champions.

But Mansfield were unable to build on that momentum the following season, which would eventually culminate in relegation.

Although Morris, who won 36 out of 83 matches, had already departed the club that February.

5. Nigel Clough – 44.6% (as of July 2023)

Nigel Clough

Mansfield became the fourth different EFL club Clough had managed when he was named the new boss in November 2020.

The son of the legendary former Nottingham Forest and Derby County manager Brian, he almost led the Stags into League One during his first full season, losing out to Port Vale at Wembley.

A single goal was all that kept Mansfield out of the play-off places last term, but his efforts were recognised with the rewarding of a one-year contract extension.

As of the end of the 2022-23 season, Clough had overseen 66 victories from his 148 matches in charge.

4. Paul Cox – 44.9%

Paul Cox

Mansfield were gearing up for their fourth successive season outside the EFL when Cox took charge in May 2011.

The former Eastwood Town boss almost guided the Stags back into League Two at the first attempt, suffering Conference Premier play-off semi-final heartbreak at the hands of York City.

But Cox and Mansfield made no mistake the following season, securing their return to the EFL as champions after winning 20 of their last 24 league games – including a club record 12 successive victories.

The club finished a respectable 11th place in their first year back in League Two, but Cox left in November 2014 having won 80 out of 178 matches at the helm.

3. Steve Evans – 46.1%

Steve Evans Mansfield

Former Boston, Crawley and Rotherham boss Evans was handed the reins when he replaced Adam Murray in November 2016.

A highly experienced manager in the EFL, he guided Mansfield to a 12th-place finish in League Two during his first season in charge.

Evans won 35 out of 76 matches – enough to take third place in our countdown – before departing the One Call Stadium in February 2018.

2. Dave Smith – 47.8%

Field Mill 4

Smith launched his managerial career at Mansfield, who had just avoided EFL re-election when he took charge in 1974.

A former coach at Newcastle United, he made a flying start to life as a number one. Indeed, he led the Stags to the Fourth Division title in his first season – the club finishing six points clear of second-place Shrewsbury Town, while remaining unbeaten at home.

Despite a difficult start to the following campaign, Smith oversaw a 19-match unbeaten streak that steered Mansfield clear of relegation danger and to a mid-table finish in the third tier.

He also guided Mansfield to the EFL Cup quarter-finals that season – their best performance in the competition to date – but would depart following a dispute with the club’s directors, having won 54 of his 113 matches at the helm.

1. Freddie Steele – 49.6%

Field Mill 3

Taking first place is former Stoke City striker Steele, who was named player-manager at Mansfield in August 1949.

He continued to shine in front of goal with 44 goals in 62 appearances, while the Stags finished eighth in the Third Division North in his first season.

Steele then oversaw a 23-match unbeaten run the following campaign, but Mansfield still had to settle for a second-place finish – seven points behind champions Rotherham United.

He left for Port Vale in December 1951 but, after 61 wins from 123 games in charge, is officially crowned the club’s most successful manager of all time.

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