RECENTLY-FORMED AFC Mansfield will kick off a new chapter in the club’s history with eventual progression to the Evo-Stick league their ultimate goal.
The club, which was formed by former Stags directors Steve Hymas, Darren Bland and Andy Saunders, will face Rainworth MW on 14th July in their first ever match as they hope to hit the ground running.
AFC Mansfield, who will be managed by former Shirebrook boss Mick Taylor, will play in the Central Midlands Football League from their new Forest Town Welfare home.
But rather than being content to simply make up the numbers in their innaugural season, the ambitious board of directors have targeted immediate promotion.
Said Steve Hymas: “The board really loves being involved in the day to day running of a football club and we have created AFC Mansfield in a very professional way and put a lot of work into the club.
“At this level we have got a good budget with the three companies of the directors backing the club. We have also got a manager who is from a higher level and players from a higher level.
“We are looking to get promoted this season and are hopeful that we can achieve this. We will have to see how it develops and I cannot wait for the first game to kick off at Rainworth.
“Rainworth are fitting opponents for us because we are looking to use them as a role model. They have made their way up the non-league football ladder in recent seasons and that is exactly what we aim to replicate.”
But despite the former Mansfield Town connections of the board of directors, Hymas insists AFC Mansfield is not intended as a rival to his former club.
“AFC Mansfield is not intended as a rival to Mansfield Town,” he said. “We will try to play games when Mansfield are away and hopefully we can pick up some of the Stags fans with no game to watch on a Saturday.
“This has given me a new life and a sense of energy. It is a project that the three of us (Hymas, Bland, Saunders) are all very excited about. We are really enjoying setting up the club and it’s a real buzz.
“We have had a good take up of players so far. There is a lot of interest in the club, not just from players wanting to play for us but from businesses in the area.
“We are offering an alternative football and hopefully we can create new interest in non-league football in the Mansfield area.”
The club will also play friendlies against Clipstone Welfare (away) on Saturday 21st July (3pm), Pinxton FC (away) on 24th July (7.30pm), Clay Cross Town (away) Saturday 28th July (3pm) and South Normanton (away) Wednesday 1st August (7.30pm).