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13th April 2018 11:43

Sunday Mirror, 8 APR 2018

"Everyone has to start somewhere": Mansfield Town chief Carolyn Radford ready to appoint female manager in the future
Radford reckons she’d have no qualms about putting a woman in charge of her first team somewhere down the line

By Tom Hopkinson, Sunday Mirror, 8 APR 2018


Mansfield Town's chief executive officer Carolyn ­Radford says she’s ready to appoint a female manager.

The Stags’ new boss David Flitcroft needn’t worry - his position isn’t under threat.

But Radford reckons she’d have no qualms about putting a woman in charge of her first team somewhere down the line, if she was the right person for the job.

Radford said: “We’re unlikely to have a woman manager in the next 10 years, but we will see it in the future.

“Would I be brave enough to put a woman in charge of my team? I would, yes. I’ve got to. Solidarity of women.

“It purely has to be based on ability, and then experience as well, so you have to get the ball rolling. Managers can come through with no experience - Kevin Nolan at Notts County had next to none and there are loads of others. Everyone has to start somewhere.

“Women are on the coaching staff with some clubs and they are coming through.

“Whether it’s as medical staff, fitness coaches or on performance analysis. Our performance analyst and physio are both female. Traditionally, 10 years ago, I doubt there’d be many women working throughout a football club.

“So me being there, doing the ­interviews and seeing that I’d probably push more for the directors to go for a female... we can bring a lot to the table.”

Radford has been CEO at the League Two club that her husband John has owned since September 2011, but she isn’t sure the game has moved on in terms of its attitude to women during her reign.

Radford added: “I don’t think that there has been much change. I just work in my bubble and it’s absolutely fine, I have no ­issues at all with the players.

“They are always nice to my face,” she said, laughing. “But one boardroom I was in, I won the 50/50 draw... and when the woman came over to give me the money, I was like, ‘Wow, this is great, I never win anything…’

“And the chairman came over to me and said, ‘One more word and you’re out’, and he pointed to the door.

“I thought, ‘Well, if I was a bloke, an executive, would you have come over and behaved that way?’ People are sometimes quite ­patronising but sometimes it’s better that people have a low opinion, because then you can surprise them in a little way.”

Radford, who has a degree from Durham University and is a trained lawyer, is working hard to make Mansfield’s Field Mill ground a more inviting place.

And a major part of that process, she hopes, will be a new hotel, which plans were submitted for last month. Under the Hilton chain ­umbrella, it will be part of the ­stadium complex.

She added: “Mansfield was down on its knees, the club was down on its knees. We’ve put our heart and soul into it, our children’s inheritance, if you like. And if the hotel goes up, it will really make the ground look better.”

Radford’s ambition is to get Mansfield into the Championship - and for football, as a whole, to become a little less stuffy.

She said: “It’s good to move things on. Football is an entertainment ­industry, at the end of the day. You look at American football and the way that is such a huge industry.

“Sometimes football is very ­serious and glum, and it doesn’t ­necessarily need to be like that.”

Radford’s match-day travel­arrangements are certainly more entertaining than most - the 35-year-old and her husband, who she has three young sons with, often travel by helicopter.

Trainee pilot Radford said: “It’s great. You get to places quite quickly and you have to focus very much on the piloting. If you don’t, you die!

“Driving a car takes concentration but piloting is on another level. It’s a good way to wind down after a game when you’re up above the clouds.”

So does that mean a few loop-the-loops if Mansfield have won?

“No,” she said, with another laugh. “Definitely not.”



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