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Archived News from January 2013

8th January 2013 18:59

Paul Cox on Radio 5 Live --->



Mansfield plan tribute to the 96

5th Jan 2013 - Latest News


Mansfield Town will pay a poignant tribute to the Liverpool fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough when the Reds travel to Field Mill for Sunday's FA Cup third round tie.


Cards bearing the names of each of the 96 supporters who died at the tragedy in April 1989 will be placed on the empty seats which separate home and away fans at the ground.

Paul Broughton, Mansfield's operations director, explained: "We wanted to do something in light of what has happened this year in terms of Hillsborough and as it's been so long since the two sides met.

"One of our fans suggested we place a name on each of the empty seats in the segregation section of the stadium. The idea sent shivers down my spine. It was an amazing idea."

Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said: "I felt moved when I heard that Mansfield had planned this tribute.

"To me, it sums up where we are at, in terms of how everyone around the country is starting to realise what we have known for a long time about Hillsborough.

"It will be a lovely gesture and I think it's entirely appropriate for us going forward in our fight for justice. It means a great deal and I would like to thank Mansfield on behalf of the HFSG for what will be a beautiful gesture to the 96."


FA Cup: Mansfield's Matt Rhead ready for Liverpool
By Owen Phillips
BBC Sport


When substitute Matt Rhead smashed through a crowd of players to head in a 93rd-minute equaliser in Mansfield's Town's FA Cup second-round tie against Lincoln, he had no idea quite how significant it would turn out to be.

Just over a month later, having negotiated a tricky replay against the Imps, the Stags are readying themselves for the dream tie against seven-time Cup winners Liverpool.

Rhead, a burly battering ram of a centre-forward, only embarked on a full-time football career in May. It was just days before his 28th birthday and, with a "really good job" and a young family, it was far from an easy call.

Matt Rhead
Matt Rhead
Rhead was born in Stoke, began his career at Kidsgrove Athletic and has been a regular goalscorer at non-league level throughout his career.

Following spells at Nantwich Town and Congleton Town, Rhead joined Eastwood Town and played a key part in their success under current Mansfield manager Paul Cox.

After three seasons with the Badgers - which included a run to the FA Cup third round in 2009 and helping the club climb to the Blue Square Bet North - he moved to Corby and then joined Mansfield on a short-term deal in January 2012.

Rhead, who was strongly linked with a move to League One sides while at Corby, finally started a full-time football career with the Stags when he signed a new contract in May just days before his 28th birthday.

He scored 12 goals in only 14 league appearances for Eastwood in 2010-11, and 13 goals in 24 appearances for Corby.

Rhead is a huge Stoke City fan and still goes when he can. He was at Wembley to see the Potters in the 2011 FA Cup final against Manchester City.

But the Stoke-born Potters fan is in no doubt he made the right choice - and not just because of Sunday's home game against Liverpool.

"It was a gamble but I didn't want to regret it, even though I didn't know how long it will last," Rhead told BBC East Midlands Sport.

"I was working for JCB as a team leader and I have a daughter and another daughter on the way in March so it was tough. But it was definitely the right decision; I am loving being full-time.

"So many people dream of playing football for a job and I just didn't want to turn down the chance. Playing Liverpool really is once-in-a-lifetime stuff and hopefully we can can pinch something."

Rhead had only been on the pitch against Lincoln for 10 minutes when he outmuscled a clutch of players, left one of his team-mates in a crumpled heap on the floor, and earned his side a 3-3 draw in that thrilling game at Sincil Bank.

And as Stags manager Paul Cox's 'Go-To' man if Plan A isn't working, there is more than a decent chance the 6ft 4in forward will get another opportunity from the bench when the Merseysiders visit the One Call Stadium.

But Rhead admits the transition from part-time to full-time footballer has not been the easiest, and he has struggled to win a regular place.

"It's been difficult to be fair - much harder than I thought it would be," he admitted. "I was only used to training twice a week but I have really enjoyed it."

He has only started 10 games this season but has made 18 appearances in total, scoring four goals. However Rhead's considerable aerial ability and sheer physical presence make him a vital part of the Stags squad.

Top scorer Matt Green and former Celtic striker Ben Hutchinson are likely to start up front against the Reds, with Jake Speight also in the frame.

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Stags-Liverpool tops Cox wedding

But Rhead's contribution to Town's Cup run has already been massive. Not only did his late goal against Lincoln keep them in the competition, but he played a key role helping out his defenders when his side were really under pressure in the replay.

Having had a few months tasting life as a full-time pro, Rhead, a well-known figure and regular scorer around the non-league scene, is now eager to push on.

"I bring something different when I come on but I seem to be getting overlooked as a starter at the minute," he said. "But my chance will come. Everyone wants to play but there are good players who are not even getting on the bench. Although it's frustrating, it could be worse. The manager knows what I can do."

Cox certainly does. He had Rhead for three successful seasons at Eastwood Town, where the striker helped the club win promotions and reach the FA Cup third round in 2009.

Under Cox, the Stags have built up a reputation in non-league circles as a long-ball team. And although, like Rhead's boyhood team Stoke, it is by no means always accurate, they certainly tend to favour a more direct approach.

The Stags will look to play on the deck when possible, but they make full use of Exodus Geohaghon's mammoth long throw and get the ball forward quickly to nippy front men.

Martin Shaw, BBC Radio Nottingham's Mansfield Town summariser
"Matt's performances have improved this season since he's gone full-time. He's excellent in the air, very dangerous from long throws and he got the winner direct from a long throw against Forest Green. I would think Matt Green and Ben Hutchinson will start, although Paul Cox could play the team that beat Alfreton. Matt normally comes off the bench if the team are losing. He's a real threat in the air and tends to win about 80% of the headers he has a chance of winning."

"We're not too different to Stoke in some ways," Rhead added. "If we get the ball in their box we'll score goals. We have good players. We are effective at turning teams around and creating chances."

Liverpool's recent 3-1 defeat at the hands of Stoke provides inspiration, with one of the goals coming from a trademark long throw.

"Teams get tired in last 20 minutes and if I come on, the boss tells me to do what I do and bring something different," Rhead added.

"The FA Cup is still magical for lower division sides. We believe that we have a chance. We wouldn't turn up if we didn't think so. They might rest one or two and not fancy it.

"Everyone is buzzing and if we can stay in the game I might get the chance."

Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel or whoever lines up at the back for Liverpool may not find Rhead's arrival particularly enjoyable if the game is tight, the wind is howling and the pitch is far from perfect


Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits top scorer Luis Suarez deserves a rest ahead of this weekend's FA Cup tie at Mansfield.

However, that does not necessarily open the door for new signing Daniel Sturridge to walk straight into the side as his replacement.

Suarez has scored four goals in his last two matches to take his tally to 18 for the season, which includes 15 in 20 Barclays Premier League matches.

The Uruguay international is pivotal to his side's chances of making a bid for the top four and a trip to a non-league club on a less-than-perfect pitch may be too much of a gamble.

Rodgers is keen to protect Suarez where possible - even though he knows the 25-year-old will want to play this weekend.

"The players are paid here to play wherever the club ask them," said the Reds boss.

"Every game is a massive game, whether it is Mansfield away or Manchester United away.

"Luis is a player who loves playing, that is why he is here: to play games and score goals.

"I speak a lot with him and I know from working with him he wants to play.

"He is an ultimate professional. There are no worries with him.

"But he's coming off the back of a real busy period where he's given everything in the games and scored goals.

"We have players coming back now, which is great, and having Daniel come through the door and Fabio Borini returning from injury (soon) will be great for us.

"We will pick a team which will hopefully win the game."

It remains to be seen when Sturridge will be given his bow after moving to Anfield this week on a long-term deal, with Rodgers saying: "Daniel is still catching up a bit on his fitness because he has been out for a period of time.

"He's looked good in the couple of sessions we've had but I'm not looking to rush Daniel into anything.

"He is not under big pressure to come in and perform straightaway, in particular because of the form of the team at the moment."

Sturridge's arrival from Chelsea is likely to see the 23-year-old given a chance to play the central striker role he craves.

That has been occupied brilliantly by Suarez so far but Rodgers does not see there being a conflict of interests or an impact on the Uruguayan's blistering form in front of goal.

"I certainly didn't bring in Daniel to affect anyone, it was to come in and make us better," he added.

"The types of players we are trying to bring in are those who are tactically flexible.

"Daniel can play off the right, left or central and that is exactly the same for Luis Suarez - and wherever he plays he gets goals.

"They are the types of players we want, players who are fluent in positions.

"We understand every player will have his best position but I didn't bring in any players to hinder us and Daniel will be a great addition to the squad and I am sure he will prove that.

"There is a difference between Luis and Daniel. Luis has scored goals but he is a different type of player and we have missed a presence always in the box.

"Luis has proven he is a world-class operator but for us it is about the team.

"When he didn't play against West Ham (because of suspension) others stepped up to the plate and we scored three that day.

"It is about building a group which is competitive in training and hopefully that will spill onto the field."

Liverpool finally got Joe Cole's reported £100,000-a-week salary off the wage bill when the midfielder completed his move to former club West Ham.

However, it came at a price as the club had to negotiate a settlement to cover the remainder of his contract and even with the wage bill a little lighter Rodgers does not yet know whether that will allow him more flexibility in the current transfer window.

"I think for both parties it was the best solution. It hasn't quite worked out for Joe here," said the Reds boss.

"He is 31, has had the career he's had so he doesn't want to be sitting on the bench at Liverpool.

"He hasn't been an ounce of a problem for me at all and I wish him well because it's been a difficult period for him professionally and personally.

"I am sure he will go there and do very well."



World's media descend on Mansfield
4th January 2013

Journalists and media organisations from across the world descended on One Call Stadium yesterday, as the build-up towards our FA Cup Third Round showdown with Liverpool continued.


Boss Paul Cox captured the imagination of those who will be hoping we can pull off a romantic cup shock this weekend, by revealing that he is due to tie-the-knot with his long-term partner today.

Among those present at his pre-match press conference, which was held in the Kevin Bird Suite, were tabloid newspapers such as The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Mirror.
Sky Sports, ESPN and BBC Sport, amongst others, were also present to quiz our boss as he begins final preparations ahead of the eagerly-anticipated tie against Brendan Rodgers' multi-million pound stars.

Goalkeeper Alan Marriott, together with winger Louis Briscoe and defender John Dempster, also fielded questions from the assembled media, before they were filmed for various TV pieces.

Later in the day, Mark Clemmit visited the ground along with the BBC's Football Focus team to film a feature that is due to be shown in their programme this weekend.

On Sunday, several more members from both the national and international press will be at One Call Stadium for our Third Round tie against the five-time European Cup winners.

Both BBC Radio 5 Live and Talksport are to provide full match commentary, with famous faces who will be in attendance on the day, set to include John Barnes, Jan Molby, Gordon Strachan and Kevin Keegan


Paul Cox video interview =---->

Mansfield manager weds before FA Cup tie with Liverpool
Paul Cox and his wife Natasha Cox will celebrate his wedding, birthday and FA Cup dream all within two days

Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox faces one of the biggest games of his life on Sunday - but he had to fit in his wedding before that.

Cox will lead his non-league side out in a home FA Cup third-round tie against seven-time winners Liverpool.

But on Friday he married his partner Natasha Bertin after promising to bring the wedding forward if his side beat Lincoln City last month.

"I agreed to get married if we beat Lincoln in the second round," he said.

And if Cox did not have enough to celebrate it will also be his 41st birthday on match day.

The wedding in West Bridgford was followed by a reception in a marquee at a training pitch next to Mansfield's One Call Stadium, two days before kick-off in a dream clash against Liverpool.

Cox said: "The way it's fallen, it is going to be quite a weekend. But it will all be fabulous for me.

"To play Liverpool in the FA Cup is a dream and it is a great birthday present for me.

"It will be a massive game for the club. The players, chairman and supporters all deserve it."


Romantic Cox hopes for fairytale ending
3rd January 2013

Manager Paul Cox is hoping for a romantic FA Cup 'honeymoon' when we entertain Liverpool this weekend.


Our boss revealed that he is due to get married to his long-term partner tomorrow afternoon, to the startled worldwide media, who assembled at One Call Stadium earlier today.

He said: “Apparently I agreed to get married if we beat Lincoln [City] in the Second Round.

“I don't know how it came about, but after the win, Carolyn [Radford, CEO] and the chairman were congratulating me and said that they were looking forward to the big day – the wedding.

He added: “So the wedding is tomorrow and there'll probably be one or two more cameras there now, but it's something I'll embrace and cherish.”

The 40-year-old will be hoping for another fairytale ending, when his side face Brendan Rodgers' seven-time former FA Cup winners on Sunday – ironically the day of his 41st birthday.

Never before has a non-league club defeated one from the Premier League, but with the smell of romance blossoming in the North Nottinghamshire air, anything could be possible this weekend.

Cox continued: “I think the whole town is up for it. There's only a few days to go and everyone is ready for the big game. We want to give a good account of ourselves and make the supporters proud of our players.

“It's a fabulous time at the football club. We're coming into January, nicely placed in the league with three or four games in hand on most teams. It's a positive environment and we want to embrace it.

He added: “But any side that Brendan [Rodgers] puts out will be a great side. Liverpool are a worldwide brand and the whole squad is filled with quality footballers.”


The real romance of the Cup: Mansfield boss is married two days before Liverpool clash... and win pays for honeymoon

By Neil Moxley
4 January 2013

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2257318/Mansfield-manager-gets-married-days-Liverpool.html#ixzz2H2zYKni6

The romance of the FA Cup spilled over into real life on Friday as Mansfield manager Paul Cox said 'I do' just 48 hours before Sunday's third-round tie against Liverpool.

'It's the most nervous I've ever been and I've played in some big stadiums,' admitted Cox, who married partner Natasha after taking training in the morning.

'I enjoyed training the most I think as it took my mind off the afternoon. The wedding was a bit surreal. We had planned for a short, quiet, intimate wedding so it's been odd having so many people here.

'There were cameras and film crews but we embraced it. I took training this morning so it's been a busy day.'

Cox popped the question after the Blue Square Premier League's win over Lincoln in the previous round. The couple had been due to wed later this year.

Blue Square have promised to pay for the honeymoon should Mansfield succeed in their giant-killing bid.

Cox added: 'Some of the players came up to me this morning and said what a lovely day it was to get married. Blue Square have said they will pay for the honeymoon if we beat Liverpool. That would be nice but tomorrow is about the town and the club, not that.'

Emotions have been running high at Mansfield for other reasons too.

Happy couple: Cox will now hope to mastermind an FA Cup win over Liverpool on Sunday
Happy couple: Cox will now hope to mastermind an FA Cup win over Liverpool on Sunday

Manager of Mansfield Town FC Paul Cox and bride Natasha.

Manager of Mansfield Town FC Paul Cox and bride Natasha.

When John Dempster was mobbed by jubilant team-mates after the win over Lincoln, the defender's joy was tinged with sadness.

On the one hand, the Liverpool fan's looping header had set the club on the way to a historic date with his heroes.

Amid the celebrations, however, Dempster's thoughts also turned to a boyhood friend, who died a few weeks previously in as yet unexplained circumstances.

The opener was dedicated to him and remains so, even though it was eventually given as an own goal by the goalkeeper.

Inevitably, Dempster's focus this week has switched to the arrival of Brendan Rodgers and his star-studded team.

Brought up in Corby in Northamptonshire, he could have chosen anyone to follow

Double celebration? Mansfield take on Premier League side Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday
Double celebration? Mansfield take on Premier League side Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday

Double celebration? Mansfield take on Premier League side Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday

However, there was a link to a man who built the Merseyside dynasty which ensured that his eyes would forever turn towards Anfield.

'My dad hails from the same area in Scotland as Bill Shankly,' he said, 'it's a mining village called Glenbuck.

'Like a lot of Scots, he moved down to Corby to work in the steel industry and he was a Liverpool fan because of what Shankly created.

'When he was a kid, he wrote to the great man and what surprised us — although why it should I don't know — is that he got a response.

'The letters are still at home somewhere. It's a source of real pride for my dad and of course, there wasn't any other team I was destined to follow.'

When Dempster takes to the pitch, he will also be thinking again of his old friend.

Main man: John Dempster helped Mansfield through
Main man: John Dempster helped Mansfield through

'My goal was for a pal of mine,' he said, 'a lad called Andrew Brown. He played for Corby Town. We lost him suddenly and the results of the tests aren't back yet.

'We don't know what happened. As soon as the ball hit the net, I thought of him instantly — that goal was for him.'

And so to the tie itself. Dempster is hoping that Rodgers bloods his first-choice team.

'I certainly want to play against Luis Suarez and the England captain Steven Gerrard,' he said, 'I would imagine the club is targeting the FA Cup and I hope they play most, if not all, of their star players.

'We aren't expected to beat them, but I want to say that I played against all of those top boys.

'It's going to be a tough ask, Liverpool put out a mixture of their regular side and what you would call reserves in the Europa League and progressed, so that tells you how difficult it's going to be.

'But I can't wait. I signed for Crawley Town a couple of seasons ago when they drew Manchester United. I couldn't play because I was cup-tied.

'Someone told me that the only time Liverpool played here was 41 years ago in the League Cup. They drew 0-0 and lost the replay at Anfield.

'I've been up there a few times. The most memorable occasion was that 4-3 game against Newcastle for my 13th birthday.

'Obviously, we'd love to win but we know there's a small chance of that happening. To be honest, though, I'd take nil-nil...'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2257318/Mansfield-manager-gets-married-days-Liverpool.html#ixzz2H2zYKni6
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Get that honeymoon bookied! Blue Square offer Mansfield boss Cox a dream holiday... if he beats Liverpool in FA Cup


By Brian Lee

4 January 2013

Bookmakers Blue Square will pay for Mansfield manager Paul Cox's honeymoon if he masterminds an FA Cup giant-killing of Liverpool.

Victory for the Blue Square Bet Premier outfit on Sunday would cap a whirlwind weekend for Cox following his wedding 48 hours before the big match.

The Stags boss took training on Friday before heading to Nottingham for the service and then back to the One Call Stadium for the reception.

Happy couple: Paul and Natasha's wedding was moved to just 48 hours before Mansfield squared up to Premier League giants in the third round of the FA Cup
Happy couple: Paul and Natasha's wedding was moved to just 48 hours before Mansfield squared up to Premier League giants in the third round of the FA Cup

Paul and his partner Natasha were due to get married this summer but decided to move the date forward after Mansfield beat Lincoln City in the previous round of the famous old tournament.

Blue Square Bet PR Manager Alan Alger said: 'It's a great wedding tradition to have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue – well this is the something blue and we hope the team win on Sunday and the couple get to enjoy a great honeymoon on us.'

Natasha and Paul, who also celebrates his 42nd birthday on the day of the game, had no plans for a honeymoon until the bookies stepped in.

If the Cup-set does happen, it's probably for the best if the newlyweds avoid Merseyside when looking at possible destinations.

Hello, is that the travel agent? Blue Square will pay for Cox's honeymoon - if Mansfield pull off an FA Cup shock and dump the Reds out of the tournament
Hello, is that the travel agent? Blue Square will pay for Cox's honeymoon - if Mansfield pull off an FA Cup shock and dump the Reds out of the tournament

Cox said: 'The way it's fallen, it is going to be quite a weekend. But it will all be fabulous for me.

'To play Liverpool in the FA Cup is a dream and it is a great birthday present for me.

'It will be a massive game for the club. The players, chairman and supporters all deserve it.

'I think the whole town is up for it. There is only a few days to go and everyone is ready for the big game. We want to give a good account of ourselves and make the supporters proud of our players.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2257122/Blue-Square-offer-Mansfield-manager-Paul-Cox-dream-honeymoon-beats-Liverpool-FA-Cup.html#ixzz2H31W8USM
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She idolises Thatcher, was arrested after a clash with police and caught up in stories about escort girls. Now Carolyn Radford is planning a warm welcome for Liverpool

By Ian Ladyman
4 January 2013

On the wall opposite her desk in her smart office at Mansfield Town, Carolyn Radford has hung individual framed photographs of the club's first-team players and coaching staff. They are directly in her line of sight every time she lifts her head.

They perhaps serve as an appropriate reminder that her job as chief executive at the Blue Square Premier club is actually about football. Since she joined the staff at the age of 29 in September 2011, not everything has been about that.

There has, for example, been fraud and there has been theft. 'When I got here I used to find bundles of money hidden in the tumble dryers,' she recalls.

In charge: Mansfield raised eyebrows when Carolyn Radford was appointed chief executive
In charge: Mansfield Town chief executive Carolyn Radford, in her Field Mill office, prepares to welcome Premier League Liverpool to Nottinghamshire on Sunday

There has also been personal controversy in the shape of an arrest and police caution after an incident with officers during a promotion play-off defeat at York City last May.

'That was wrong and is ongoing,' she says, her eyes narrowing just a little. 'That was all a bit “Andrew Mitchell”, should we say.'

And, sadly, there has been some salacious gossip, too. Not only did Radford get engaged to the man who hired her — 46-year-old Mansfield owner John Radford — just two weeks after starting the job, she then featured in tabloid stories alleging she had worked as an escort during her time as a politics undergraduate at Durham University.

No, in the 15 months Radford has worked at the One Call Stadium (Field Mill, to you and me) not much at all has been about the football.

This weekend, at last, it will all be about the football and Radford is laughing like a young woman on a night out. An eyes wide open, hands over the face kind of laugh.

We have been discussing the ways Mansfield may look to make life uncomfortable for Liverpool here in the FA Cup on Sunday.

'Maybe we will give all that stuff a go,' she chuckles when told of the cold showers and 'broken' radiators that used to await highfalutin' visitors to John Beck's Cambridge United in the 1980s.

'I will take some tips from the Daily Mail on this. Our away dressing room is actually very comfortable. Hot towels, clean showers.

'We will welcome them and make them feel at home but just not too much at home. It will be a shock for them. The pitch will be wet — for the diving. They are probably dreading it. They will be slumming it here.'

For most of our meeting this week, Radford does not laugh that much.

Still only 30, she is recovering from a cold that went some way to ruining her Christmas but is a welcoming and accommodating interviewee. She is, however, also a little nervous, sitting straight upright in her chair for most of the 45 minutes, and perhaps that is understandable.

At home: Radford has adjusted to life in football
Dressed for success: Radford's Mansfield face Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday

'I didn't know what I was going into when I got here,' she reflects. 'It was all completely crazy, really. It's very difficult sometimes but I can't do anything about it. What people say about me is something I have no control over. I try to do my best.

'But the other stuff (in the paper) was very hurtful. Yeah, very hurtful. Who am I, though, in the spectrum of things? Am I that important?'

When I ask — as I feel obliged to — if stories of alternative employment in Durham were true, she eyes me and simply says: 'No. I don't even want to think about it. Even talking about it now is upsetting me. There are times when you may fall apart. But it's like a family here. There is always someone to pick you up.

'Over there on the wall are a bunch of people who hopefully will be here for a very long time. There are other people who won't, who don't get it and don't have the honesty. Some of them aren't bothered about whether we are down or we are up. But for most, you know, we are very protective of each other.

'I just have to keep trying. I know and accept that I will be much more harshly treated than a 50-year-old male exec who comes in. All I know is that there are very few people who do what I can do.'

What Radford — who joined the club as Carolyn Still — does is run Blue Square Bet Premier Mansfield like a Football League club and then some. It is impressive. All of manager Paul Cox's players are full-time, the club has a youth academy, finally bought its stadium back from the previous owner last March and has recently opened a small school that offers education and guidance to children expelled from local schools. 'My mum helps out there,' says Radford with abundant pride. 'We are trying to engage the kids. It's purely educational. They aren't footballers.

'We have had classrooms built here and I am excited. This club can have a very important influence on people's lives.'

Radford studied law after completing her degree
Educated: Radford studied law after completing her degree
tie: Radford's fifth-tier club host the five-time European champions in Sunday's televised match

Radford's husband John — they married in the summer — ploughs in the region of £100,000 of his own money into the club every month to keep it moving forward. Radford is unpaid.

When she arrived just after the start of last season, all blonde hair and sun tan, eyebrows were raised.

Radford studied law after her degree and then worked in the fashion industry. She had absolutely no experience in football and early TV interviews show her looking uncomfortable and rather bewildered.

These days she is no longer blonde. I forget to ask her if that's deliberate.

Happily, though, she certainly has more poise and rightly makes no excuses for the glamour she has brought to the non-League circuit.

'There are connotations of women in football,' she says. 'People's perceptions of me weren't great when I came. A young girl coming in was hard for them and my credentials beforehand were difficult. All I will say is that I am not a face. This is what I do.

The happy couple: Radford and Mansfield Town chairman John Radford are married
Power couple: Radford (left)and Mansfield Town chairman
John Radford are married
'There will always be scepticism but actions will prove other people wrong over time, won't they? You just have to be yourself. One of my idols is Margaret Thatcher and she certainly was.

'Most women, when they go out of the door, ask themselves if their hair is OK. Why shouldn't I? As it happens, I wish I'd had time for a blow dry today. But I didn't.

'I'm not going to dumb myself down or “de-glam” myself just to suit other people. My husband bought the football club and put me in here basically to see what was going on.

Radford was the subject of gossip when it was alleged that she worked as an escort during her time at Durham University
At the helm: Radford is winning the battle to clean up behind the scenes at Mansfield

'There was fraud and stealing and all sorts. I was finding money hidden in tumble dryers and all over the place.

'There were quite a few bad eggs and many of those people are bitter and will happily attack you.

'I'm an easy target. I have had to suffer some of that and I think I always will. But this is our life. It's the lifestyle choice we have made.'

Radford has fought numerous battles over the last 18 months and last week she fought — and lost — another. This one was about the football as she failed to get the go-ahead to use all of Mansfield's 10,000 seats on Sunday. She briefly considered bulldozing the derelict Bishop Street Stand and replacing it with a temporary structure just for this game. As it is, the capacity will stay at 7,500, costing a club with an average gate of 2,500 in the region of £50,000.

Shock? Mansfield hope to stun Liverpool
Shock? Mansfield hope to stun Liverpool

'We asked them (the authorities) but they wouldn't have it,' she says. 'It's really annoying.' Nothing has made as many headlines, though, as the night last May when Radford was arrested after clashing verbally with police at York City.

'That's something that is being dealt with,' she says, referring to a complaint she has made to the police. 'It was incorrect. One of my players was being ejected from the ground (after being sent off) and was surrounded.

'I was trying to remove him myself so that he didn't get himself in trouble. And then I am arrested. People who know me know the verbal abuse I apparently gave is not in my vocabulary.'

Ninth in the Blue Square, Mansfield warmed up for their big day with a 3-0 win at Alfreton on New Year's Day. 'Not many teams win there,' smiles Radford. 'Our aim is promotion. We look at clubs like Doncaster and Blackpool. We can do that.'

As our interview draws to a close, I relate the story of a high- ranking female official at Manchester City who was refused access to the corridor outside the changing rooms at Notts County two years ago and ask if Radford has experienced such problems.

'Yeah, sometimes,' she says. 'I guess I have come across it, like she did. You just have to deal with it. I'm not grumbling.

'People talk about sexism and it's wrong, of course. But if you allow yourself to be affected then you aren't going to do what you do to the best of your ability.

'I haven't had it too bad, really. I haven't been banned from a boardroom or anything. Nothing as drastic as that.

'Unless, of course, you count leaving a ground in a police van.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2256783/Mansfield-chief-executive-Carolyn-Radford-interview-ahead-Liverpool-FA-Cup.html#ixzz2H2wtJxe4
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Mansfield Town v Liverpool, FA Cup third round, 4pm Sunday 6 JanuaryFootball's youngest CEO stands by her MansfieldCarolyn Radford, who took up her role with the Blue Square Premier club aged 29, is embracing the Cup visit of Liverpool


Jamie Jackson
The Guardian, Friday 4 January 2013 23.00 GMT carolyn radford
Mansfield Town's chief executive, Carolyn Radford, awaits the arrival of Liverpool at Field Mill for their FA Cup third-round tie. Photograph: Christopher Thomond
Carolyn Radford does not take long to show her steel. Mansfield Town's chief executive reacts with a mix of anger and sarcasm to being asked why she and her now husband, John Radford, who owns the club, did not disclose their relationship when he appointed her as English football's youngest CEO in September 2011, when she was 29.

"Just because it's not really relevant," she says. "At the time it wasn't some contrived decision at all. Why are you asking. Because? Because? Because? Sorry, I apologise about that and I'll tell you future statuses when they happen. You'll be my first to know."

To the suggestion that the non-disclosure made it appear as if there was something to hide Radford, who got engaged two weeks after becoming the Stags' chief executive, says: "No. It was just one of those things. I came into this business to try and sort the place out and it all happened so very quickly I didn't know there was going to be so much interest, to be honest. I was completely overwhelmed and shocked [by the reaction]. I just do my job. I know this kind of comes with the territory and everything. But it's not something that I court and it wasn't anything, there's nothing contrived with not telling the world our relationship status."

Mansfield, ninth in the Blue Square Premier, welcome Liverpool, the five-times European Cup winners, for a classic FA Cup third-round encounter that is being televised by ESPN as the stand-out tie on Sunday afternoon. The occasion is a welcome reward for Radford and her husband, a Doncaster-based businessman who bought the club two years ago and who earlier this year secured its future by buying Field Mill, the ground, back from the former owner, Keith Haslam.

Radford, whose former career was in fashion working for the Gucci group, brings glamour to a male-dominated industry. Her colourful profile has been augmented by a number of stories, some of which are truer than others. Of accusations by the Sun in 2011 that she worked as an escort when a student at Durham University, for example, Radford says: "Absolutely not", with the club stating these are the matter of a legal challenge.

On 2 May Radford was arrested and cautioned by North Yorkshire Police "for using threatening words and behaviour" during a Blue Square semi-final play-off leg at York City. The incident occurred after Radford went to support one of Mansfield's unused substitutes who was ejected from the ground by police. Now Radford suggests there was unfair treatment, saying: "That is something that is being dealt with that I can't comment about." Radford's career began after she studied politics and law. "I was at the Lincoln game [during a previous FA Cup round this season] with one of my friends from Durham, we both studied politics together and she is now a candidate for Labour – Lucy Rigby. She went off working for a Magic Circle law firm and I was working in fashion. We never thought we would be sat there vying for our teams to win. You never know what you're going to set out to achieve.

"Politics in football is very different to politics in the real world but it's always handy to work in different situations. Football clubs are at the heart of the community. I'm not particularly a football fan but my husband is. I don't get involved in tactics so only really focus on the business and how to take us forward and where the money is going – it's very personal when the bar staff overpour. I have to tell them to keep the measures smaller."

Among the companies that made Radford's husband, who bought Mansfield for £1 in 2010, a millionaire is the One Call Group, an insurance company which is the shirt sponsor of Doncaster Rovers. According to Radford, her husband owns about "20 other companies", though there is no money to be made from Mansfield. "It's never going to wash its face at the moment but in the future it can come very close," she says. "It's very difficult when you look at the figures – often they don't add up, you are trying to find a way to make it sustainable and I don't know if it ever will be, especially in this league that we are in now.

"It's impossible unless you use a youth initiative [to develop players], which we are now really working on. That's a model but realistically I think as you move up the different leagues you get more TV rights, you get all the other aspects, the commercials that make up the chunk of the pie that can help make it less of a money loss."

While Radford believes the Stags could go as high as the Championship, the current FA Cup run, which has already featured wins over Workington, Slough and Lincoln, will generate at least £200,000. "Something like that, yes," she says. "It's not a lot when that probably covers the wage bill for a month. We've got a 10,000-seater stadium but we've had to reduce capacity for the tie which is unfortunate. We tried to keep the ticket prices as fair as possible because, even though it's a Premier League side, we don't want to out-price our very loyal fans, so it's £2 more than the usual ticket price.

"Then we have ESPN and they have put in over £100,000 which is fantastic, a great windfall, but more than that, more than the financials, it's a true honour to have such an international brand like Liverpool coming to our mediocre stadium."

It becomes clear while talking at the One Call Stadium, for which "modest" might have been a more diplomatic description, that Radford is still grappling with football's fierce spotlight. Karren Brady, whom Radford has never met, is one woman in football who could offer advice. The West Ham United vice-chairman represents the nearest parallel with Radford's entrance into the game, having begun her career at 23 when becoming managing director of Birmingham City 19 years ago.

Radford says: "I didn't really predict the reaction to John sending me in to see what was going on, [how it] would create such a furore. I just keep my head down and keep plodding on." Why was her appointment a big deal?

"Because I'm a beautiful young woman," she says, before quickly adding: "I'm joking there. The bottom line was this was our life and this was our football club. John and I have been on a strange path but we're here now. It was never a concerted career path but I kind of got in here and have done what I can do and will carry on doing that. I'm from Charnock Richard [near Preston] and used to serve coffee in the service station in the summer when I was young. [After university] I worked in sort of the commercial side of fashion for the Gucci group which owns Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, YSL and Bulgari." Work brought Radford together with her future husband – "We met through fashion because I helped him out on a brand that he [was] building about three years ago" – before he introduced her to football. "The first football game that I came to was here," she says. "It's kind of crazy but it's a wonderful opportunity. It's a great draw and we're really embracing it."



Mansfield Town chief executive Carolyn Radford ensures girl power is thriving ahead of FA Cup tie with Liverpool
Maid-of-honour at the manager's wedding on Friday; chief executive as the club host Liverpool in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
Carolyn Radford - Mansfield Town chief executive Carolyn Radford ensures girl power is thriving ahead of FA Cup tie with Liverpool
Driving force: Mansfield Town chief executive Carolyn Radford Photo: FIONA HANSON
Jason Burt By Jason Burt
11:59PM GMT 05 Jan 2013
Comments14 Comments
It has been a “crazy” few days for Mansfield Town's Carolyn Radford, who, at 30, is also the youngest chief executive in football. She is also the owner's wife and 16 years his junior.

The wedding of Paul Cox, Mansfield's manager, was also a whirlwind. Planned for the summer, after the end of the football season, of course, the nuptials were hastily brought forward because of a light-hearted deal struck with his female boss: if the team beat fellow Conference Premier club Lincoln City in the second round to earn the plum tie hosting Liverpool, the wedding to his bride-to-be, Natasha, would take place now.

For a marquee name such as Liverpool, there is also a marquee - a huge tent erected next to the car park at Mansfield's One Call Stadium, more popularly known as Field Mill.

On Sunday, it will host the hospitality guests ahead of the match; on Friday there was the wedding breakfast. “Two birds with one stone,” Radford said. “It [the wedding] was kind of like a bet, well not a bet, as they were always going to be married, but we brought it forward. We've got a marquee being put up so we are going to utilize it for both events!”

There have been those who say Radford - with a degree in politics from Durham University but a background working for fashion houses such as Gucci and Bulgari - is more suited to organising a wedding than running a football club. But she has heard it all before. And much worse.

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The whispers started from when, in September 2011, Carolyn Still, as she was then, was appointed chief executive - whispers that her relationship with the club's 46-year-old owner John Radford, a self-made millionaire and entrepreneur, who juggles “more than 20 businesses”, was more personal than professional. Within two weeks, however, and the couple's engagement was announced. They married last summer.

Understandably, it is not a subject that Carolyn wants to dwell on, dismissing its relevance, although there is an irritation that her appointment, and the publicity surrounding it, led to stories being “raked over” about her private life - including claims, vehemently denied, that while a student she supplemented her income by working for an escort agency.

“It's been extremely hurtful some of the things I've had to overcome,” Radford admits. “But there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. People have said, 'who am I? Who is this club?' And maybe we don't have the protection mechanism that perhaps other people have. And maybe it allows carte blanche for things to be said. It's been really hurtful and difficult for me sometimes and I do shy away from the media but, with a game like this, I'm the figurehead of the club. However, on a day-to-day basis, when I'm tearing through hundreds of emails, I try not to think about where the next blow will come from.”

Sitting in her neat office at the stadium, Radford admits that the “hardest thing” she has had to overcome was that “scepticism” that followed her appointment and threatened the impressive job she has since done in turning the club around. “When people meet me, though, they realise there are no airs and graces, they can see I work hard and some of the assumptions can be frustrating. But we have such busy lives, John and I, that I don't have time to start thinking about what people are saying.”

Football has been a hard environment to work in, especially for someone who confesses that it was not a game that she knew. “And there are still very few women in football and I don't know the reason for that.” Radford said. “Maybe it's because it's only men out there on the pitch and it's as simple as that, but football has to move with the times. This boys' club culture is not tolerated any more. People still tip-toe around the issue.” Inevitably, she has also had to deal with “patronising” agents “trying to pull the wool over my eyes” in player negotiations.

John Radford took over Mansfield - his hometown club - in September, 2010, pledging to invest £500,000 - in reality he has ended up paying around £100,000 a month - and gain promotion from the Conference Premier after a 77-year stay in the Football League came to an end in 2008. In March last year, Radford also bought back the stadium from the club's former owner, Keith Haslam, while last summer there was a boardroom split.

“Coming into the world of football it has been very difficult to comprehend, because it's not a usual business,” Carolyn Radford said.

“It's not glamorous in the slightest and it can be hard when you are not getting the exposure. There's a huge gulf. From a business point of view, it's quite difficult sometimes but it's a case of just believing in that final picture that John and I have painted in our heads and keep going until we get there. It's going to be a long slog, but I believe I'm the only person who will be able to lead us into that situation through having the youth, the drive, the guts to take the decisions that others might not be able to take.

“I find that natural. It's an instinct and sometimes it scares people with the decisions I take. I have a propensity, like John, to predict certain things before they kind of happen. It's instinct about people and what we might come up against and then it's just problem-solving from the top. It's a different place here now than it was a year ago.”

Mansfield is more professional - not least because all the playing staff are. Wages, good wages at that, are paid on time; there is a youth academy and investment in the stadium - although also frustration that capacity has been reduced from 10,000 to 7,500. Tickets have been raised just £2 for Sunday's FA Cup tie and demand has been phenomenal. Fans camped out overnight for the “few hundred” that went on general sale - and they were snapped up within the hour.

“There's been such a euphoria, such a buzz,” Radford says hoping it will provide a longer-term benefit to the town. It was the same when the draw was made - and she was sitting with her step-father, Paul, who happens to be a Liverpool fan. “It will be some achievement to turn the club around,” Radford says.

“But moments like this make it worthwhile. I'm genuinely excited about having Liverpool come to us and I know, however hard it's been at times with what's been written and said and some of the problems I've had to deal with, that I'm in a very privileged position.”


Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers does his homework on Mansfield Town

by Philip Kirkbride, DPW West
Jan 5 2013


BRENDAN RODGERS' attention to detail meant there was never a chance that he would overlook Mansfield Town.

The Liverpool manager has been professional in his preparations for tomorrow's FA Cup third round tie with the non-league side.

And as Liverpool get ready to face a club 93 places below them in the football ladder, Rodgers' research has been thorough.

Those who know the Reds manager best say it is typical of the man.

When asked what he had learnt about the Stags, Rodgers' response was impressively detailed and his message strong.

“We've prepared exactly the same for Mansfield as we would for Manchester United,” stated Rodgers.

“I don't think you can under-prepare because that's when it can shoot you in the foot. They play 4-4-1-1 and are direct.

“They have a centre half who throws it into the box a mile and they are organised.

“(Matt) Green up front has good mobility and moves.

“They are ninth in their league and just four points off the play-offs.

“So are homework has been complete and full, we don't underestimate any opponent.”

There have been concerns over the state of the One Call Stadium pitch this week with groundsman Michael Merriman working round the clock.

Mansfield were forced to postpone the New Year's Day game with Grimsby Town because of a waterlogged surface and manager Paul Cox admitted to having worries earlier his week.

Rodgers remains confident the surface will not be an issue for his team who are used to playing on pristine pitches.

“The last time I saw the pitch in the Lincoln game (in the second round) it looked in good condition,” he said.

“There has been a bit of rain since and they had a game called off on Saturday but we have to adapt to every condition.”

Liverpool are brimming with confidence at present having won three of their last four games, scoring 11 times in the process.

With Rodgers eager to establish consistency in their play, the manager believes a run in the FA Cup can only help.

“This is a tournament we want to do well in,” continued Rodgers.

“Sometimes these early rounds can be the most difficult. I'll do what I've always done - pick a team to win.

“It's a competition that this club has won a number of times in the past and it's a trophy everyone in British football associates with.

“It's a tricky tie - that's why the cameras are there, hoping for an upset.

“It's about being professional and doing our job. If we do that, we'll be fine.

“They are still difficult games - you've got to make sure you get your approach right. If you do that, you hope your qualities come through.”

Reds midfielder Jordan Henderson believes the game will be akin to Mansfield's Cup final, so Liverpool must match their Conference hosts for desire. His manager has echoed those sentiments.

“It's real football,” said Rodgers. “You get guys that are working hard at that level, in not always the best conditions.

“It's a final for Mansfield – you saw their faces after the Lincoln game when they qualified.

“For them to play against Liverpool, a club with such prestige, they're going to give their maximum.

“For us it's a game to continue our good form and momentum – we'll look to go there and do a good job.

“There's no doubt the cup gives you momentum.

“When I went to manage Watford it was around November and a difficult period for us.

“But we made some signings in the January and started a cup run.

“We eventually lost out to Chelsea but winning those games helped us build a momentum in the league.”

He added: “We've got two trophies to play for this season, and we're looking to push on in the league as well.

“We're hoping every game is a cup final for us between now and the end of the season.”

Southport FC boss warns Liverpool FC about Mansfield Town's long-throw specialist

by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
Jan 5 2013

SOUTHPORT manager Liam Watson has warned Liverpool they are facing a side built in the image of Stoke City in tomorrow's FA Cup tie.

The Reds go to Conference side Mansfield Town in the third round with Watson able to offer manager Brendan Rodgers some first-hand advice about what to expect at the One Call Stadium.

Mansfield boss Paul Cox was at the Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day to watch Liverpool succumb to Stoke and Watson believes his Stags counterpart will have taken heart from the game.

In defender Exodus Geohaghon, Watson says, they have someone who can rival the long throw of Rory Delap and the Port manager says Mansfield have plenty of muscle in midfield and variety in attack.

Although Watson is confident Liverpool have done ample homework on Mansfield he still says if the home side take the lead tomorrow, then Liverpool could be in danger of a Cup upset.

“They will get the ball forward quickly and are very organised from set-plays,” said Watson, whose side lost 1-0 to Mansfield in November.

“I spoke to Paul Cox earlier this week and he had been to watch Liverpool against Stoke City on Boxing Day.

“It was probably a good game for him to have watched because there is a lot of Stoke City in Mansfield and so it will have shown him how best to get at Liverpool.

“Exodus Geohaghon has got a massively long throw. A throw-in like Rory Delap's that I'm sure they will use to good effect.

“The long throw will come in to play and Paul will have seen how Kenwyne Jones caused Liverpool problems.

“Field Mill is not the biggest pitch in the world and so if Liverpool are not up for it tomorrow then it could be a tough afternoon for them.

“I don't believe Liverpool will be underestimating Mansfield but it won't be an easy game.

“But if they take the lead then they get can build a head of steam up, then Mansfield will find it difficult.

“But, on the flipside, if Mansfield were to take the lead then the game becomes really interesting.”

Read more: Liverpool Echo http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-fc/liverpool-fc-news/2013/01/05/100252-32548435/#ixzz2H5sXQ1AV


Not quite rags to riches but Liverpool tie will tide Mansfield over says Carolyn Radford


Mansfield Town's 29-year-old chief executive is surprised at the amount of attention she's received

In football you almost never wonder how the subject of your interview will dress. The Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, strolls round Anfield in a quilted green jacket that would get him a walk-on part as “country solicitor in pub” on Emmerdale. Members of the Merseyside press corps can still recall the days when the Everton manager, Walter Smith, used to conduct interviews after stepping straight out of the shower. Naked but for a well-placed towel.

Carolyn Radford is not naked, although given the way Mansfield Town's chief executive has been caricatured as a one-time escort girl who married the millionaire who appointed her two weeks after she took the job, she might as well be.

She is wearing a black-and-white check suit and, since she once worked for among others, Bulgari, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci, it is worth asking where it came from. “Only from Zara” comes the reply laced with a giggle.

John and Carolyn Radford run Mansfield Town as chairman and chief executive, the Richard and Judy of football. John is a Mansfield man who made his money through insurance, which is why Field Mill is now officially and disappointingly known as the One Call Stadium.

John is a fan, though at 47 is probably not old enough to remember the quarter-final tie with Leicester in 1969 that represents Mansfield's high-water mark in the FA Cup, commemorated in framed back pages in Field Mill's reception.

He has poured considerable amounts of his own money into a club that is so stricken that the money they will make from tomorrow's tie with Liverpool will just about cover the wage bill for a month.

Carolyn has made headlines of her own. It should have been because at 29 she became chief executive of a reasonably well-known football club, which given that she has a degree in politics from Durham University and a masters in law should not be that surprising.

When Mansfield were playing Lincoln City in their second-round replay knowing that a home tie against Liverpool and around £250,000 was on offer to the winners, Carolyn found herself seated next to Lucy Rigby, with whom she studied at Durham and who is now the Labour parliamentary candidate for Lincoln.

Carolyn Radford's politics are founded in a deep admiration for Margaret Thatcher. This might not go down well in Mansfield, which has never returned a Conservative MP. It was once a town of mines, of DH Lawrence and a brewery that produced Marston Old Baily. No longer.

However, her marriage caused the kind of furore that accompanied the publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Carolyn, who met John through her work in fashion, had to protest she was qualified for the job and deny that she had ever worked for an escort agency. One day she will not have to answer these questions.

“I didn't really predict that John sending me in to see what was going on at Mansfield would create such a furore. I just kept my head down,” she said. “The bottom line was this was our football club. John and I have been on a strange path. I didn't know there was going to be so much interest. On my mother's life, I was completely overwhelmed and shocked.”

Carolyn is not a football fan but she is passionate about Mansfield to the extent of getting herself arrested at York in the Conference play-offs in May. She had an altercation with a policeman that she puts down as “an Andrew Mitchell thing”.

There are similarities with Karren Brady, who became chief executive of Birmingham City at the age of 23 and published a book, 'Brady Plays the Blues” in which she posed in a Birmingham kit rather more provocatively than David Gill would have done had he written about his years running Old Trafford.

Brady, whom her first manager, Barry Fry, described as “a hard bastard”, had no need of that Playmate of the Month image and nor really does Carolyn Radford. In March she and her husband celebrated winning back the leasehold of Field Mill which had been held by the club's controversial former owner, Keith Haslam, who in 2008 was beaten up in his own boardroom as relegation from the Football League loomed. It had taken two years and plenty of forensic accountants for John and Carolyn to secure the club's future.

Frankly, there might be better ways, even in Mansfield, to spend your money than keep pouring it into a football club that has never finished higher than 21st in the old Second Division and is losing £50,000 a week. “Sometimes, that's a hard thing to reconcile in your own head,” Carolyn said. “It is stressful for me and for John. But I think John can't quite believe what's happened.

“He had a little bit of a premonition about a year ago that we would be playing Manchester United or Liverpool. And I said: 'But we're at Tamworth now and I'm freezing'. And now here we are and it makes it seem worthwhile when you are bankrolling it all.”



FA Cup third round: 10 things to look forward to this weekendHastings' big battle at the Riverside, Wolves feel the pressure at Luton and Mansfield's manager targets winning wedding weekend as Stags take on Liverpool

4. Mansfield bliss?

Mansfield Town's manager, Paul Cox, will spend his wedding night trying to figure out how to shackle Jonjo Shelvey. That, ladies and gentleman, is the romance of the Cup. Cox gets married on Friday and will hold his reception in the marquee tent that has been specially erected beside the One Call Stadium for the visit of Liverpool in the third round. Brendan Rodgers's job is to spoil the celebrations and he may even deploy Daniel Sturridge to help him do that, giving the new striker a chance to start improving his decision-making in front of goal. But if the non-leaguers spring a surprise, Cox and co will be remembered till death do us part.



Mansfield manager Paul Cox is getting married today
Friday January 4,2013
By John Wragg

MANSFIELD manager Paul Cox will be taking part in his own special build-up to Sunday's FA Cup tie with Liverpool. What is it? Oh yes, getting married.

Cox had his stag do with friends and colleagues from the Stags last night. He will take training this morning and is then off to West Bridgford, in Nottinghamshire, to marry Natasha Bertin, his partner of five years.

Put the honeymoon on hold – Liverpool coming to muddy non-League Mansfield is one of the potential giantkillings of the third round – and it will also be Cox's 41st birthday. Talk about a full diary.

“It's going to be a hectic couple of days – but all good. It's a fabulous time,” said Cox, who has steered Mansfield to ninth in the Blue Square Bet Premier, 93 places below Liverpool.

“I shall be training in the morning – football comes first. Then I'll be flying off to get showered, changed and shaved. Then straight to the wedding. From then on it'll be a party in the marquee put up at the club.”

Cox made the wedding promise after Mansfield beat Lincoln in a second-round replay and earned this Liverpool dream tie.

“It goes back to my days at Eastwood Town when we got to the third round in 2009,” said Cox. “We beat Wycombe Wanderers, Peter Taylor was the manager and they were the only unbeaten club in the country at that stage.

“Building up to the game Natasha said: 'If you win tomorrow, you need to get me an outfit'. It spiralled from there and she did it again this season. She knows I am a bit superstitious.

“The chairman came up to me after the Lincoln game and said congratulations. I said, 'For winning the game?' He said, 'No on your forthcoming marriage'.

“It is all a bit surreal still, getting married and playing Liverpool.”

It has all fallen into place for Cox, who said: “It must be the magic of the FA Cup. I've been getting carried away with the razzmatazz of the football – and then she says, 'Yeah, but you said you'd marry me'. So I said, 'OK'.”

Now, how about a giantkilling of Gerrard, Suarez and Co as a wedding present?


Stags winger Briscoe insists - all the pressure is on Liverpool in Sunday's big FA Cup tie
chad.co.uk Friday 4 January 2013

STAGS winger Louis Briscoe insisted all the pressure was on Liverpool for Sunday's sell-out FA Cup third round clash at the One Call Stadium.


Briscoe, who scored the crucial goal in the replay with Lincoln in the last round, said: “My biggest game was the FA Trophy final at Wembley. We didn't really turn up that day but it was a great occasion. Sunday is definitely a bigger game but we are not expected to win it.

“At Wembley the pressure was even between the teams. But there is virtually no pressure on us playing against one of the best, and one of the biggest, teams in the world.

“We will be out there to enjoy it and be part of an amazing occasion.

“Of course it does put you all in the shop window. It is on TV and shown all over the world and there will be a full house here.

“This is not a pre-season friendly. Liverpool are going to want to win as much as us. But the pressure is all on them. They are a huge club coming to little old Mansfield and it's going to be a tough ride for them.

“We could come off the pitch having lost 5-0 and still be clapped off. There is no pressure and anything we do well against Liverpool will be a bonus.

“It is a massive competition and they are one of the teams looking to win it. So they won't take it lightly. Some of their main players will play, that goes without saying. They will be coming here to win.

“Everyone is up for a shirt in our squad and you can definitely notice the tempo in training has picked up. It is one of the biggest games in the club's history.”

Briscoe will be well supported by friends and family. “I have a bus load of about 50 coming up from Burton,” he said. “It will be a great occasion for them to see some of the best footballers in the world.”

And he insisted that, whatever the outcome of Sunday's cup adventure, Stags could yet end the season as BSBP champions.

“After Sunday it's back to the league and last year this was our biggest time of the season,” he said.

“We won about 16 out of 20 games. We have games in hand and I still think we can win the league.

“It's not just about getting in the play-offs, that can be a lot of a lottery. Our main aim is to win the league and that is still not beyond us.

“I know that is a big statement from me and the boys but we believe we can do it.”


Exodus Geohaghon: racism nearly made me quit football

Exodus Geohaghon is looking forward to the greatest day of his career on Sunday, taking on Luis Suárez and Liverpool in front of a capacity 7,500 crowd in the FA Cup at Mansfield.

By John Percy, 03 Jan 2013

But the defender admits that he thought that a moment like this would never arrive for him after a racism row two years ago almost forced him into retirement.

Geohaghon was a Port Vale player when, after a 3-0 defeat at Accrington, he was involved in a tempestuous argument with his own supporters who he accused of racially abusing him.

Geohaghon, an ebullient character and a key part of Paul Cox's side who are looking to embarrass Brendan Rodgers' team this weekend, says that the incident changed his life.

The racial abuse, he says, he could handle. Like many black players in the Football League today he says racism has always been prevalent in England's football grounds. It was what happened afterwards that he found so upsetting.

He freely admits that he lost his temper that day at Accrington but remains bitter that he was unable to train with his team-mates while his club investigated his behaviour. The final humiliation, he says, was when he discovered his reaction was the subject of a Football Association probe. The Professional Footballers' Association and FA's joint investigation into the fans' behaviour, he says, “petered out” after he left Port Vale.

Now 27, he is rebuilding his career in north Nottinghamshire with the Blue Square Bet Premier team and determined to ensure that his name is written into recent history for more palatable reasons.

He said: “What happened to me probably happens all over the country, but people don't really hear about it. It's starting to creep in here, there and everywhere and it needs to be stamped out.

“Racism has always been there but people are speaking up about it now and beginning to realise something needs to be done. But the changes need to be made at home, I've said this time and time again, you can't really uproot people out of the stadium because everybody is entitled to their opinion. Some people just express it differently.

“It changed my whole outlook. Did I think about packing football in? Most definitely. But it's one of those things that you can't afford to let ruin your career. Some small-minded people want to cost you a lifetime of earning good money and doing something that you enjoy just because they've said something. But it's out of order.

“For them not to be reprimanded is probably the biggest thing. For the PFA and FA not to take any action against the club is probably what burns the most, more than what actually has been said. The club didn't get fined and I got myself investigated for my reaction. The PFA investigation really just disappeared and it went to a point where I went two months without playing football.

“Fans need to take a step back and really look at it. They pay to come and the boys give their all. If somebody came into their work and started slating them they wouldn't like it.”

But Geohaghon is well aware that racism has not been confined to the stands in the past couple of seasons.

There have been more high-profile examples of the English disease at Premier League level, with Suárez and John Terry both banned for racially abusing opponents last season. David Bernstein, the FA chairman, has insisted eradicating the problem is his top priority but Geohaghon fears the governing body is still in denial and not enough is being done.

Geohaghon insists he wants Suárez to play at the One Call Stadium on Sunday and will have no problem shaking his hand. “With Suárez it was a culture thing and some things that are appropriate for him and where he's from are not appropriate here,” he said.

“For him, it's a learning curve. It's down to the football club to educate the players when they come over. You go to certain places and it happens.

“You can see in Russia with Zenit [St Petersburg], they've got that situation there and it's down to the club to educate their fans and their players for what is acceptable.

“Hopefully Liverpool will put out their strongest team, with Suárez involved, and try and get a result here.”

It was 43 years ago, in a League Cup tie, that Mansfield managed a draw against the mighty Liverpool and, Geohaghon says, this meeting in the third round of the FA Cup has all the ingredients of another classic. The stadium's capacity has been increased but remains a hostile and unwelcoming venue for opponents – Mansfield lost only two home games last year.

“Liverpool are playing at the highest level, so even on a 70 per cent day they can come here and beat us,” he says. “But if we are on our 100 per cent day then their 70 per cent isn't going to be enough. They need a win.

“A draw is no good for them and we'll get all the plaudits and they'll get all the negativity if the result goes any other way but a win for them.

“If they go out there and start stepping in puddles and they don't fancy it we'll know straightaway. We need to get under their skin.”


Former Liverpool legend John Barnes believes Mansfield Town can upset the FA Cup odds against Liverpool
chad.co.uk, By Stephen Thirkill, Thursday 3 January 2013

FORMER Anfield winger John Barnes says minnows Mansfield can shatter the footballing odds and beat Liverpool on Sunday.


Lowly Stags face the Premier League giants and seven-times FA Cup winners at the One Call Stadium in front of a sell-out crowd and worldwide television audience.

But, despite Liverpool's improved form which has seen them defeat QPR and Sunderland 3-0 in their last two outings, Barnes believes Mansfield can give the glamorous giants a run for their money.

“It is going to be a tough game for Liverpool. Mansfield will be up for the game and looking to make home advantage count,” he said.

“Mansfield are like a league club to me, it does not seem right that they are in the Blue Square Premier, they want to get back into the league as soon as possible.

“Liverpool will probably make a few changes, like they did against West Brom in the Capital One Cup. Liverpool won that game and Rodgers will have faith in his squad.”

Barnes, who will be commentating on the game for ESPN, added: “Mansfield is a different type of ground to West Brom and the fans will be right on top of the players.

“Mansfield cannot outplay Liverpool, they have to come out of the blocks fast and be physical. They have to do all they can to make things uncomfortable for Liverpool, such as making the dressing rooms cold before the game.”

Barnes won the FA Cup with Liverpool in 1989 against Everton and 1992 against Sunderland during an illustrious career, which saw him capped 79 times by England.

And the former Celtic manager knows only too well the perils of cup giants underestimating lower league teams after his Celtic side were famously knocked out of the Scottish Cup in February 2000 by Inverness.

“The cup is all about the third round, semi-final and the final for me. The third round is brilliant because of ties like this,” said Barnes. “I have seen some great FA Cup matches down the years and there is no reason why this match cannot be similar.

“When Inverness beat us they were in the division below and were promoted that season. Anything can happen in football. Every year the FA Cup throws up shocks.”

Barnes began his playing career in 1981 with Watford and played 233 times for the Vicarage Road club over six seasons.

He then joined Liverpool in 1987 and went on to play 314 times for the Anfield club, going on to win the First Division title in the 1987–88 and 1989–90 seasons.

After retiring as a player, Barnes had a brief stint as head coach of Celtic in 1999–2000, working alongside Kenny Dalglish. He took over as manager of the Jamaica national team in 2008, but resigned six months later to become manager at Tranmere Rovers.

The match is a 7,500 sell-out. But if you have not managed to get tickets, the game is being broadcast by ESPN


Fulfilling a dream - Marriott
mansfieldtown.net 3rd January 2013

Goalkeeper Alan Marriott is relishing the chance to play against one of the world giants of football, Liverpool, in the FA Cup Third Round at One Call Stadium this weekend.


The 34-year-old, who has over 500 professional appearances to his name, has proved to be one of the most reliable and consistent custodians in non-league football in recent years.

Nevertheless, Sunday's televised clash against the Reds will be the first time that the shot-stopper has featured in the Third Round of the competition.

And Marriott has admitted that he can't wait for an occasion which he has longed for during his 16 year career.

He said: “It's a massive moment for me. I'm 34 now and coming towards the end of my career, but I've never played in the Third Round and it's something that I've always wanted to do.

“It'll be mind-blowing coming up against players of Liverpool's calibre.

“When you see the potential of players that can come up against you, it's hard to grasp the reality of it. For example, some of their players are worth £12 million pounds, which is probably more than our entire club.

“Whether they put out [Luis] Suarez, [Steven] Gerrard or some of the youngsters, they've got a fantastic squad, who will all be eager to prove that they're good enough to play for Liverpool.

“I'm sure they will come determined, professional and want to get a good result against us.

“But we also want to do our best. We can go out there and enjoy it, but there's no point in doing so if you don't have the belief that you can win, so we want to pull off a shock.

He added: “The fans have missed out on so many big games because of being in the Football Conference, so it's good to see them smiling again and it's given everyone a massive lift. It fulfils a lot of dreams for a lot of people.”

Prior to joining us in January 2009, Marriott enjoyed a short spell at Rushden & Diamonds, but is best remembered for his time at Lincoln City, for whom he spent nine years with.

During his glittering Sincil Bank career, the Bedford-born custodian kept 106 clean sheets from 351 league appearances to cement his place in the Imps' record books.

And having helped to deny his former employers the chance to meet Liverpool in Round Three, Marriott has revealed there have been some 'interesting' conversations with his Imps-supporting family members.

“My brother-in-law is a season ticket-holder and my missus' dad is a Lincoln fan too,” said our joint-longest serving player.

“So there have been some interesting conversations, or lack of conversations, rather, since the replay. I've had a bit of stick at my lad's school too, so I'm just keeping a low profile.

“My little boy actually can't stop talking about the game. He's the mascot on the day, and rather than Christmas, he's been on the countdown to the Liverpool game instead.”

“So this is extra-special as not many players get the opportunity to play against Liverpool. My career has been full of up's and down's and to have this in the later stages of it is fantastic.”

Only two years ago, the veteran pondered retiring altogether from football, amidst a series of injury problems that forced him to spend several frustrating months on the sidelines.

Nevertheless, Marriott, who is currently training to become an electrician during his spare time, recovered, and has since become firmly established as our number one 'keeper.

He continued: “A few years ago I had a few injuries and thought about retiring, but my family helped me through it.

“Everyone, from people who have bought things off me in the past, to the local shopkeeper, has been asking for tickets [for the Liverpool game] – it's been a bit ridiculous really.”

“I've had a few people who have followed me closely, and supported me throughout my career, so they'll be there and It's going to be a brilliant occasion.”


Mansfield Town goalkeeper Alan Marriott cannot wait to take to the pitch against Liverpool
chad.co.uk Thursday 3 January 2013

FORMER Lincoln stalwart Alan Marriott had some sympathy for his former club after helping Stags to knock them out the FA Cup.


And, as he looked forward to a career-high moment of facing Liverpool, Marriott admitted he has had to take some flak from Imps fans.

“My brother-in-law is a season ticket holder at Lincoln and my missus' dad is a Lincoln fan too,” he said. “So there have been some interesting conversations – or lack of conversations – since the replay, so I am keeping a low profile.

“I have also had a bit of stick at my lad's school with some snide comments from parents. But you have to do what you have to do as a professional.

“It was only the second time I'd played against Lincoln since I had nine years there.

“It was tough as I knew the financial state of the club and what getting through could do for them. But you have to do the right thing for yourself and this game is a dream come true for me and I hope I can take my little lad out as a mascot against Liverpool too.”

He added: “I have played in quite a few big games in my career like play-off finals. But the Lincoln game was certainly a different type of atmosphere.

“I have never been to the third round of the cup and not many players get the opportunity to play against Liverpool, so this is extra-special.

“We can go out and enjoy it without any pressure and the club should make some money out of it.

“Everyone gets the chance to play against players they see on the TV every week.

“Some friends who haven't got Suarez in their dream team have said can we do them a favour and take him out for the rest of the season.

“It is going to be a bit of a circus atmosphere here until 6th January, but we have to concentrate on getting league points as promotion is our main aim.”


Stevie Roden: What Mansfield Town need to do to beat Liverpool
Thursday, January 03, 2013
Nottingham Post

OBVIOUSLY, Mansfield Town upsetting Liverpool goes against all the odds. On paper, the Stags should not have a chance.


But Paul Cox and his side will be looking to stay in the tie for as long as possible and if, after an hour, they are level or there is only a goal in it, who knows?

Luis Suarez has been the Reds' talisman all season, scoring the bulk of their goals and if he plays, containing him will be key. How you do that, given he gives some of the world's best defenders a nightmare, is another question.

But maybe the Uruguayan will be on the bench as boss Brendan Rodgers, with a key league game with Manchester United to follow, is expected to give some of the fringe players a chance.

The likes of Steven Gerrard and Pepe Reina could be rested.

For Mansfield, it will be all about work ethic, harassing, giving Liverpool no time on the ball in order to force mistakes on what will be a very heavy, water-filled pitch.

That can only suit Mansfield, whose biggest threat will come in the form of set-pieces, with Exodus Geohaghon's long throw a key weapon and the service of midfielder Chris Clements.

With Matt Green, Lindon Meikle, Colin Daniel all possessing pace, it would not surprise to see some direct balls over the top, or if burly Matt Rhead starts or comes on, into his head, as the Liverpool defence has proved error-prone at times this season.

It can work if elsewhere on the pitch, the Stags are in their faces, roughing them up from the beginning.

It will take a mammoth effort, plenty of luck and the Reds to have an off day. But could Mansfield cause a shock? Well, it is the FA Cup . . .


Mansfield Town striker Matt Rhead claims bragging rights for Liverpool FA Cup tie
chad.co.uk, Wednesday 2 January 2013

LOUIS Briscoe may have been the match-winning hero in the FA Cup replay with Lincoln.


But big striker Matt Rhead keeps reminding him that it was his late leveller in the 3-3 draw in the first game at Lincoln that set up the replay and played a massive part in Stags preparing to face Liverpool.

“I keep telling Louis Briscoe it is because of me we are facing Liverpool but he is not having it,” smiled Rhead.

“It was a great night and a great occasion and I am thankful we won the game.”

Rhead is very appreciative of the noisy support Stags have had of late so soon after the side had been booed off the park on several occasions.

He said: “It's spiralled since Lincoln away. The fans have come down and got behind us and they've been amazing. It helps us go out there full of confidence.

“This cup run is a taster of what it might be like to go up. The lads are all champing at the bit to get the club promoted, though there is a long way to go to the end of the season still.”

Rhead is enjoying his first season as a full-time professional and added: “Going full-time this year, it has been brilliant being around the lads.

“My fitness is coming on and I've had a few opportunities to play though you obviously want to play every week if you can.

“Now I just want to push on and get in the team.”


Mansfield Town defender John Dempster and groundsman cannot wait to welcome boyhood heroes Liverpool
chad.co.uk, Wednesday 2 January 2013

FACING Brendan Rodgers' men at the One Call Stadium is a dream come true for everyone concerned with Mansfield Town.


But for two lifelong Liverpool fans on the staff – defender John Dempster and groundsman Michael Merriman – the draw was almost beyond belief.

“It was in the back of my mind it could happen when the draw was made, but it was only ever a minute chance,” said Dempster. “So when the Liverpool ball came out I was over the moon.

“But we knew we still had to get past Lincoln which is what made that goal celebration all the more special.

“They've given it as an own goal. But I was just pleased to get my head on it and direct the ball towards goal. The fact it hit the post and went in off the keeper doesn't make any difference to me. I was just pleased to see it in the back of the net.”

Dempster's father was born in the next village to Bill Shankly in Scotland and he has been a lifelong fan of the Merseysiders. “I have just followed in his footsteps,” said Dempster.

“I went to Anfield seven or eight times as a schoolboy before I signed as a professional for Rushden and Diamonds at 18. Then I had to concentrate on playing for the team that employed me, though Liverpool's was the first result I looked for afterwards.

“My best experience was on my 13th birthday when I went to Anfield to see Liverpool beat Newcastle 4-3, which was voted the best Premier League game of all-time, which was an unbelievable experience.”

Dempster added: “Since the win over Lincoln loads of my friends, who are Liverpool supporters, have been texting me asking for tickets, but I can't help them all. But I just might sort a ticket for my dad.

“We have seen the queues every day when we've come into training, but those on Thursday were a different level. It just shows the dedication of our supporters when they will camp out all night to see one of the biggest games in Mansfield's history.”

As to the game itself, he said: “It's the stuff dreams are made of and if we can make a game of it I would be happy.

“We only have a minute chance. But if we can prepare properly you never know. Stranger things have happened in the FA Cup.”

Groundsman Merriman said: “I have been a fan since I was 12 years old. I just picked them as a friend at school, Lee Hallam, was a fan and I was knocking about with him.

“I only watched them on TV until I was about 16 and then I went to my first game which I think was against SK Brann when Tore Andre Flo ripped us to bits.

“I started going to see more games with my girlfriend Zoe, who is now my wife, and we would go with a group of fans from Shirebrook market place.

“The trips were organised by Irene Gascoigne, who was a massive Liverpool fan.

“We went home and way for three or four seasons before I got this job.”

Merriman will never forget sitting watching the third round draw on the TV.

“It was unbelievable,” he said. “I was sat watching it at home with my wife and son and when Liverpool came out I didn't see the rest of the draw as we were just going mental.

“Then we had to go through the agony of beating Lincoln. I have never felt so ill in my whole life.

“I was at the Millennium Stadium and the play-offs but never felt this ill with the carrot of what was to come.

“I badly want Mansfield to win it, but a 0-0 draw would be great. Going back to Anfield would be the chairman's dream. He would be laughing.”



Latest | January 2013