CAROLYN ARTICLES IN THE SUN
The Sun, 4 Aug 2017
DEER DIARY Mansfield chief exec Carolyn Radford reveals their summer secrets after Steve Evans amazingly bagged 13 of his 15 transfer targets
Incredible planning and a hectic pre-season have made the Stags League Two promotion favourites - here's how they did it
By Tom Barclay, 3rd August 2017
MANSFIELD have gone transfer crazy with 13 signings this summer, making them League Two promotion favourites.
Stags chief executive Carolyn Radford, 35, and hubby John, 51, have had a busy few months.
THE Radfords pulled off a coup in November when they convinced Steve Evans to take over as manager.
The larger-than-life Scot had enhanced his reputation with a decent stint at Leeds. For him to drop down to League Two, to take over after rookie Adam Murray left, came as a surprise.
Carolyn, 35, explained: “We just clicked with Steve. We tried with Adam, who came through at Mansfield and is a bit of a hero at the club.
“He didn’t have the contacts and was learning the role. We went from having someone with no experience to Steve.
“He is a traditional football manager, which is appealing.
“But Adam was starting out and had a lot on his plate. I don’t ever want to diss Adam, he did a fine job. It was a mammoth task for him.
“It has been great working with Steve and learning from him because he has been involved in the game for so long at high levels.”
GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS
EVANS identified his targets early on but did not go after them until the summer.
Thirteen new faces came through the door, including Scunthorpe’s David Mirfin.
Carolyn explained how persistence, geography and a little insider info helped bag nearly all of Evans’ hit-list.
The mother-of-three said: “Steve had a list with 15 players on it. We just went after them and we did it very quickly, which is the way Steve runs it.
“He knew four or five months ago who he wanted so we had been tracking them all. We had been putting the motions in place, ringing the players on holiday after the season.
“You have contacts so you put out the feelers. I know midfielder Neal Bishop’s wife, so I knew there had been issues at Scunthorpe with contracts and that some players weren’t happy.
“Mirfin is from Sheffield and we also looked geographically about where the players were playing.
“If they are down south, or on the coast, where are they are from? Are they happy? Would it make their life easier if they were near their wife and kids? Had they just had a baby and the wife wanted to be nearer her parents?
“I don’t know if other clubs think that way. Having a young family and being a similar age to some of the players, I know what is important in life.
“To do a job properly, you need a support mechanism.”
OUT OF THE FRYING PAN
TWO of the new boys came from Peterborough in striker Lee Angol and full-back Hayden White, who had spent the previous season on loan. Convincing the pair to drop down a division was impressive in itself.
The moves also meant Carolyn had her maiden business encounter with one of football’s biggest characters, director of football Barry Fry.
She said: “He was charming. He was testing me a bit as well, just seeing what I knew.
“He shuffled the paperwork around and got it confused and saw I could put it back. I don’t know if that was deliberate.
“Getting those two players from Peterborough was a real coup for us.”
A SUCCESSFUL start to the transfer window paled into insignificance when the Stags’ beloved academy physio Matt Salmon passed away, aged just 25, from cancer.
Carolyn said: “When we took him on, he said, ‘I’ve got cancer. The doctors said I’m going to live with it for a long time’. He was being treated continually and then out of nowhere he got a very bad infection.
“We spoke to him two days after he had his treatment and we were phasing him back into the club. Tragically, he died.
“I was in pieces at the funeral. He’d just got married and his wife carried the coffin. He was such a lovely guy.”
EVANS bagged most of his targets but a few slipped the net. Doncaster’s John Marquis won League Two Player of the Year but was not prepared to take a step down.
Carolyn is still getting pressure from fans to sign another striker. She said: “There are a couple more on the horizon.”
GOOD TIMES BREWING
CAROLYN has shown she is more than capable of running a football club after six years, making a mockery of those who said her appointment was a publicity stunt.
But she realises there is still much to learn and enjoyed receiving advice from Burton chairman Ben Robinson, 71, at the EFL Conference in Portugal earlier this year.
She said: “Ben’s a lovely guy and he was giving us tips on little tricks he does. Talk about making a profit - Burton do it beautifully. We would definitely like to emulate Burton or Bournemouth.
“Also, it’s nice to be a British owner. John is from Mansfield, so you can’t get more grounded than that.”
ON THE UP
HIGHER up the pyramid is exactly where Carolyn wants to guide Mansfield.
And the plan will not be complete if Evans merely takes them to League One.
She said: “Steve’s job is to get us promoted twice. Yes, it would be a disappointment if we didn’t get promoted this year.”
The Sun, 7 Aug 2017
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