{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from April 2011

27th April 2011 10:59

New board members revealed
mansfieldtown.net, Tue 19 Apr 2011

We are delighted to unveil to you our new board of directors which has pledged to take us back into the Football League.


Together with Chairman John Radford, two new faces and three familiar ones will now steer us on the road to rejoining the country's elite 92 clubs and to future success on the pitch.

Following an appeal from the Chairman earlier this season for high calibre candidates to come forward, Mr Radford has now appointed Steve Middleton, Steve Hymas, Andrew Saunders, Mark Hawkins and Darren Bland as Executive Directors.

With all five immediately pledging five figure sums, these individuals with not only provide their financial backing but also a wide and impressive skills set and their self-evident business acumen.

Each and every member can boast a proud record in their respective areas of business and will now apply their successful backgrounds gained off the pitch to improving things on it.

With little need for introductions, supporters will be pleased to see the return of Steve Hymas, Andrew Saunders and Steve Middleton to decision-making level after the trio sold the club to John Radford last September. With the invaluable experience of having already run our club, their credentials are already there to be seen by all following their steady period at the helm in the aftermath of our relegation to non-league.

Mr Radford is also joined by local businessmen Mark Hawkins and Darren Bland. Mr Hawkins is well known to Mr Radford and they have been friends from childhood prior to the Chairman building his One Call Group and Hawkins branching out into insulation and growing the thriving company Survey UK.

Darren Bland is a prominent member of the local business community and has been a long-time fan and corporate sponsor with his business Blastline Ltd of Mansfield Woodhouse frequently taking up matchday sponsorship packages here at Field Mill. Mr Bland is also a Vice President.

Each member of the board is to be assigned specific roles by the Chairman to ensure that we operate as a viable and sustainable business for decades to come. This sound financial footing will enable us to operate the financial clout required to compete in this division and the leagues above as we move onwards and upwards.

In contrast to their differing areas of expertise, this new board are united by two powerful assets - their undisputable love of Mansfield Town and their burning desire to see us back in the Football League where we belong


Mansfield Town unveils new board of directors
CHAD.co.uk, Wednesday 20 April 2011

JOHN Radford today revealed his board of directors at Mansfield Town Football Club as the club prepare for next season's attempt to win promotion back to the Football League.


The Stags chairman has brought back three of the previous owners, Andrew Saunders, Steve Hymas, and Steve Middleton along with newcomers Mark Hawkins, a former business partner of Radford, and Darren Bland, a lifelong Stags fan, to try to move the club forward.

All have put in an initial five figure sum while Saunders, Hymas and Middleton already have substantial loans tied up in the club.

Plans include setting up a youth team for next season which will be a project overseen by Steve Hymas and Mark Hawkins.

The team will play in the Football Conference Youth Alliance and will be up and ready to go for next season, with a squad of full-time apprentices aged between 16 and 18 years-old being recruited.

“I always said I would put a bit of a board together once I had got my feet under the table and I feel now is the right time,” said Radford.

“They can contribute to the club with their different expertise and have also provided us with a bit more financial help.

“Three of them were here before and their experience will come in handy in the boardroom.

“It is all down to how many hours they can spare here as we have a lot of things we need to look at like health and safety, putting a new youth team into place and more help in looking for funding.

“There were a couple of unsuccessful applicants. I said I wanted a board of five including myself but we are already one over when Steve Middleton decided he wanted to come back on board at the last minute.”

Having a board is certainly going to ease the pressure on chief executive Steve Barker who has been running the club on a day to day basis and said: “This will make my job easier as previously I was the lone ranger here and there are a lot of issues to be looked at.

“Three of them have been here before and have lots of experience. They have been giving us guidance for the last couple of months so it will be nice to sit down with them in a boardroom.

“It has been a big learning curve for me. We have already made improvements and there are more to come. It's not just about the football.”

We want people to go home from here having enjoyed the whole experience.”


Bland seals dream move to Mansfield Town board
CHAD.co.uk, Wednesday 20 April 2011


NEW Stags board member Darren Bland says becoming a new member at the club is like a dream come true.

Mr Bland (44), who owns Blastline blast cleaning company in Mansfield Woodhouse, said joining the board had always been an was an ambition.

“I was born in Mansfield, educated in Sheffield and spent much of my life in Brighton, but I am still a big Stags fan,” he said.

“As a Stags fan what more could you want then join the board? I want to help the club go somewhere.

“It is a dream. I would give my right arm for this club. I am going to be doing a mixture of operations and commercial.

“We will do everything we can as we want out of this league. It is not about our egos, it's about the fans and doing it for them.”

“Mark Hawkins (45), who runs government grant company Survey UK, said: “I went to school with the chairman, we grew up together and then went into business together when I was in insurance for a few years.

“But I diversified out to Government grants and other things, including running Drezden Colts U16s, one of the best junior football teams in the country.

“I will be keeping an eye on local talent and already know most of the best 12-17-year-olds coming through.

(continued on page 101)

“I just want to be part of something here that is going to take off very shortly. I love football, especially Mansfield Town.”

Property developer Steve Hymas (40), whose company Hymas Homes are shirt sponsors, said “Anything I can do at the club I will always help out. John Radford took it all on himself and now needs a bit of help.

“Steve Barker has been under pressure at times and there are things we could do to help him.

“I am going to set the youth team up. We have entered the Football Conference Youth Alliance and will be up and ready to go for next season.

“We will bring in 20 apprentices aged 16 to 18 on a full-time course and hope we get a few Tom Naylors out of that.

“I felt a bit frustrated in the first place having to hand the club over, though we knew it was going into good hands. It is unfinished business as I want to see us back in the Football League.

“I have a good business mind and I hate to see money wasted. You can always run things more efficiently.”

Steve Middleton (52), is managing director at Lukes and Godwin Ltd electrical contractors where he has a staff of 50.

“From the first day I joined this club as one of the 'Three Amigos' we had a vision and we still have to carry that out,” he said.

“I will still be the quiet one. But after nearly three years here I know what goes on in football and this summer we will regroup and take it forward.”

Andrew Saunders (55), insurance broker with his own Andrew Saunders Insurance Ltd, was Stags chairman earlier this year and said: “I have supported this club since 1966 and we had two really good years when we originally bought the club.

“But we got to the stage where the directors really couldn't support it anymore and we managed to get John Radford involved, who can take this club to the next level.

“Now he is looking for people to help and when he asked myself and the other two I was only too willing to be involved again.

“The idea is to get this club back to where it should be – the Football League. As far as I am concerned that will be next year.

“I know we have issues to resolve like the ground. But I am sure that will be sorted sooner than later.”


Youth system so vital to Stags' future

ADAM Smith has welcomed Mansfield Town's announcement they will re-introduce a youth team next season – insisting the impact made by Tom Naylor and Conor Higginson shows it is a must.

Both players have progressed through the ranks at Field Mill to become regulars in the first team squad at the back end of this season.

The Stags opted not to run a youth team at the start of the campaign in a bid to cut costs, prior to the mid-season takeover by John Radford.

But they are now reversing those plans and will enter an U19s team in the Football Conference Youth Alliance next season, as well as setting up an academy.

Stags winger Smith insists those moves can only benefit Mansfield as they build for a brighter long-term future.

"It's very important to have a youth system, because most players come through that. I did myself," said Smith.

"Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture and where you get good quality players from.

"Plus, it's always nice for a club and their fans when they get one or two home-grown local players in the team.

"Tom and Conor have come in and done a fantastic job at a time when we have needed every squad member to get through a busy period.

"What they have done shows it's important to have a youth team."


Stags now turn attention to setting up a reserve team
Evening Post, 25 Apr 11

JOHN Radford today confirmed there will be no Mansfield Town reserve team next season – but one is in the pipeline.


The Stags announced last week they are to restore their youth side, playing in the Football Conference Youth Alliance.

The club are also launching an academy under the leadership of director Steve Hymas.

Chairman Radford admits the club need to bridge the gap between youth and senior levels eventually.

But it is now too late to enter a reserve league in 2011-12, meaning fringe players are likely to have to rely on the Mansfield manager organising friendlies.

"The reserve team is not going to happen next season but that is something we want to happen quite quickly, within a year or so," said Radford.

"It is something I have got at the back of my mind but unfortunately we have missed the deadline for entering a league now.

"When I came to the club there was no youth structure in place, purely for financial reasons

"That has been the first step, when next season we can enter the leagues and bring some scholars through and hopefully find some little stars."

Radford knows the importance of the new venture, having seen home-grown talents Tom Naylor and Conor Higginson flourish.

He added: "It will be a bit of both, scouting the local leagues and trials, with the aim of bringing through 20-or-so scholars."



Latest | April 2011