With everything that has happened this season, you’d be forgiven for not recalling the name of Pat Hoban. Pat Hoban is the metaphorical ‘fifth Beatle’, the one that could have been. Pat Hoban isn’t even a footnote in our season, but he did play a small part.
Last summer Pat Hoban was in the privileged position of being wanted by Danny Cowley. He wasn’t just wanted either, he’d practically agreed a deal. Mark Whiley at the Echo even wrote a piece talking about him signing a one-year deal, and that piece accidentally got published ahead of the club signing him. It was an embarrassing slip by the Echo, but it left us all waiting for the news to be made official.
Only the news wasn’t made official. Just hours after the Echo prematurely announced him joining us, he was parading around Field Mill with a Mansfield shirt. I don’t pretend to know what happened, but it seems that as the deal was all-but being signed he got a call from a Football League club, and in a massive error of judgement he rushed off down the A57 to put pen to paper there.
Pat ended up playing 24 times for Mansfield, ten of those coming off the bench. He bagged himself six goals, four in League competition and two in the Checkatrade Trophy, but in truth he never made it at Mansfield. Once Baron Greenback took over his chances became limited, obviously he is classed as one of the players that kept the Stags in League Two.
Today he was one of 13 players released by Mansfield, thus completing a miserable twelve months for him. He was minutes away from signing for a team that not only won silverware, but also the hearts of the nation as we beat Burnley and made the FA Cup quarter-final. He could have been a part of that, he could have been an Imp. Instead, he’s out of work.
This isn’t a gloating piece, far from it. I’m sure Pat is a decent striker and at Dundalk he was prolific as well. It serves more as a warning to players that often simply climbing the leagues isn’t a route to success. He’ll now spend the warm summer months searching for a new club, but he isn’t alone. Even at Mansfield he is now joined in his search by 13-goal leading scorer Matt Green, a far more attractive prospect for any potential suitors.
After turning down the National League last season, Pat Hoban will probably find it is his best, or only, chance to get regular first team football next season. I wish him luck.