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Archived News from March 2013

Daily Mail Online: Carolyn Radford column
4th March 2013 22:46

CAROLYN RADFORD: Life in non-League? It's all fast cars and 70-year-old club secretaries... I knew Becks would go to Paris - it's handy for Posh's clothing line

Daily Mail online, PUBLISHED: 27 February 2013

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Mansfield chief executive Carolyn Radford returns for the Footballers' Football Column. After the glamour FA Cup tie with Liverpool, she discusses the transfer window, David Beckham's move to PSG and how her husband lost his car - but all for a good cause. She also invites Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington to help her local side now she's hung up her goggles.

We beat Barrow 8-1 at the start of February, and it was an astonishing result. It was amazing. Eight goals was pretty good for our goal difference!

We beat them 7-0 too last season and that was my first game at Mansfield, so I must bring good luck to us or some bad luck to Barrow.

But there wasn't too much gloating after the game. One of their players was actually taken ill but footballers are human beings at the end of the day so our physio helped look after him.

My husband John, the chairman, gave manager Paul Cox his old Aston Martin as a reward after the match. He'd said that if we scored five against Barrow he could have one, and we did! It's a nice incentive for Paul.

There have been rumours about Paul leaving the club and we obviously want to keep him. We were joking about the car on Tuesday and I was surprised how quickly we were able to get him a personalised number plate (below).

We have a really great relationship with our manager but we'd never hold him back. Hopefully he'll be with us for the foreseeable future and I think he'll be an excellent manager. But we want him to take us up as far as he can.

We had a good chat with Paul at a game last week. He's a loyal guy and I think it's the relationship between us all and the atmosphere that creates results.

I know football's not often like that but we want to have that solidarity and that unity. You look at somebody like Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and there's a lot to be said for having stability at your club. We try to do that and we'll always look after the people that are loyal
to us.

You look at Nottingham Forest and it's just madness. In my last column, they had just sacked Sean O'Driscoll after a 4-2 win over Leeds.

And now the replacement Alex McLeish has just walked out. It's a reflection of the people at the top and the way that the club is run.

That's the problem with the high expectations of foreign owners. In the Middle East football is very different, and sometimes those expectations are very hard to transfer into the British market. It's becoming more a case of wallet against wallet.

For us it's more important to have a loyal circle around you and to have the right mix. Paul's already got quite a good contract with us and the Aston Martin was obviously a nice incentive.

But Paul is very much about working relationships. He works well with John to discuss the tactics on the pitch. It's the right formula and there's no sense in changing it.

But we are realistic and we've always got contingency plans just in case people do move on. Nobody's ever irreplaceable and of course it would be a shame but I know we'd keep going. We've got a list of potential candidates in case it did happen.

Looking at potential replacements, it's John and I looking at people. We go on past results of teams, how they would fit with us, how they would work with the way we do things at Mansfield. It's very good to have a pleasant relationship with your manager, but it's a business at the end of the day.

There are a number of people who could come in but I don't think it will come to that.

We want to be able to say Paul will stay with us for a long time. We are very honest with each other and it's a chemistry that works.

Transfer deadline day was pretty quiet for us. We only did one bit of business, bringing in James Jennings on loan from Stockport County.

He actually went to school with my cousin but I didn't know him beforehand and there was no nepotism involved.

I had agents ringing me and they're obviously really pushy. We did look at a few people but in the end we decided to stick with what we had.

We've got a 70-year-old club secretary so it was probably a good job it was quiet! I leave the transfers to Paul mostly but I do get involved in contract negotiations and costs.

With transfers, Paul can always come to us and approach us. We don't give him carte blanche but we didn't do much because at the moment the team doesn't need much changing. We made that mistake in the summer.

The transfer window works both ways. It can be useful if you need a bit of a boost to the squad but we didn't have any offers either. It actually grounded our players a bit after the FA Cup match against Liverpool.

After that game we had quite a few egos in the dressing room of players dreaming of Premier League moves but there weren't any offers so they stayed put!

I actually predicted that Monsieur Beckham would go to Paris. It's very handy for Posh and her clothing line. They can just hop on a train back and forth to London. Obviously he's very generous donating his wages but I'm sure other sponsorship deals won't be charitably donated.

There will be plenty of other things for him to play for. You don't know the ins and outs. But I really do like Beckham. He's a good guy and very successful but I was very upset that he didn't sign for us. Maybe we could have been his charity...

Recently I've been talking to people within the Conference to make sure football is sustainable from the bottom up. With the ever-growing cost of everything, and clubs living beyond their means, we're holding a referendum to try and put things in place.

There are a lot of clubs going under, even at our level and some costs are getting absolutely ridiculous. Higher up you might get foreign ownership but at our level it's very straining.

So the Conference are trying to put in some checks and balances that should make clubs more accountable. Things like wage structures and not spending beyond your means. It's quite a serious vote with potentially some big changes.

Referees have a very difficult job but we should be using technology to help them. Going back to our situation against Liverpool in the FA Cup, when Luis Suarez handled the ball before scoring the winner, it still hurts.

We found that with a Premier League referee doing a Conference match, they are more familiar with the Premier League players so might favour them a bit more.

But it's a very difficult job and we need that technology in place because it's very frustrating when it's not fair. Obviously goal line technology would be helpful but it does depend on the decision that needs to be made. Video replays could help.

We're not often televised so you can only see what's in your line of vision. But against Liverpool we could clearly see what happened and on the replays too. It works in rugby and other games and I don't see why it couldn't be transferred across.

The decisions are so big now and when you're investing hugely there's a lot of financial impact resting on the big decisions. And it's a matter of principle as well.

In non-football news, Rebecca Adlington recently retired from swimming and she's a proud Mansfield girl. Maybe she could come and work for us now she's got a bit of time!

She's an incredible girl and very down to earth and our players could definitely pick up a few tips from her work ethic. Maybe she could do a bit of rehab work with our players in the pool! She's always welcome at Mansfield.



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