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CEO says Mansfield can clinch promotion

Stags conduct pre-season in Malta

Carolyn Radford... Mansfield chief executive officer.

Carolyn Radford... Mansfield chief executive officer.

Carolyn Radford has been a pivotal figure for Mansfield Town FC since her appointment as CEO back in 2011 at the young age of 29. As the Stags head into their fifth League Two campaign in a row, Ms Radford is optimistic about the club’s chances for promotion.

Mansfield were recently in Malta for a one-week training camp and Ms Radford shared her thoughts about the club’s prospects with Gianluca Lia.

Mansfield Town is already a familiar name here as former Malta international Luke Dimech featured for the club between 2003 and 2005 but the Stags have other links with the island.

“Malta has been a natural choice for us,” Ms Radford said.

“Personally, we’ve been coming here for the past seven years now due to our insurance company because it is based in Malta. We love the island, the people and the climate. The team has been delighted with the facilities and also with the environment.

“Hopefully, this pre-season puts us on the right track in the league. At Mansfield, we believe that pre-season is there to bring the team together and I think Malta will be a really positive stepping stone for our campaign.”

In Malta, Mansfield’s senior squad figured in a friendly against a selection of Maltese players representing the Malta Football Players Association, defeating them 5-0.

Meanwhile, the Mansfield U-21s also travelled to Malta and took the field against St Andrews in a warm-up match, with the Saints emerging winners 4-2.

“Our aim is to progress and get promoted,” a determined Ms Radford noted.

“We have Steve Evans as manager… he’s well-established in the game with nine promotions in his CV. We know he has what it takes to steer Mansfield to the next level.”

We’ve raise the bar by a few notches at Mansfield Town and we are also looking to focus more thoroughly on the grassroots sectors and women’s football team.

The Stags finished 12th last season, just four points off the last play-offs spot taken by Blackpool who went on to pull an upset by clinch a berth in League One.

“As soon as the league was over we starting our planning to bring the best players we can,” Ms Radford, 35, said.

“We wanted to have our squad settled before the Malta pre-season camp. We thinks that coming here (Malta) would strengthen us as a squad. The bookmakers put us 5/1 favourites to get promoted and we hope they do not get it wrong.”

Having never been involved in football, Mansfield’s supporters had their doubts about Ms Radford’s appointment back in 2011. However, the charisma and dedication put in by owner John Radford’s wife translated the fans scepticism into optimism.

“The fans had their doubts at first but that’s normal I suppose,” she said.

“Now, I think they are pleased with what we are doing at the club to assemble a very competitive squad.

“We’ve raise the bar by a few notches at Mansfield Town and we are also looking to focus more thoroughly on the grassroots sectors and women’s football team. All clubs in the UK want to have their youth players reaching a certain level and then transfering them to bigger clubs.”

Ms Radford is the youngest CEO in the English Football League. In a male-dominated game, it has not always been straightforward for her, yet her commitment to the game and the club has seen her thrive in her role.

“There’s extra pressure sometimes when we come to deal with other club directors because I am a woman, and a mother as well. However, at the end of the day it is about getting beyond that border and move on, and I just keep doing my job,” Ms Radford contended.

Mansfield players trained at the MFA Ta' Qali training grounds.Mansfield players trained at the MFA Ta' Qali training grounds.

“Primarily, my job is to look after the football club and make sure that everything works, in particular financially. In addition, I work closely with the manager, always making sure we get the best deals for the club.

“Being young means that you are passionate, enthusiastic and bring the right energy levels. What I learned in my relatively short experience in football is that you never give up and carry on even if you lose on a Saturday. The Football League is a marathon full of obstacles so you always have to be on top of your job.”

Mansfield Town start their League Two campaign on August 5 with an away match to Crewe Alexandra. 

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