Ex-Stag Ryan Williams ends his spell at AFC Mansfield

Experienced and much-travelled player/coach Ryan Williams has parted company with AFC Mansfield after a successful spell that helped the club climb the non-league ladder.

Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 11:48 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 11:51 am
Ryan Rhino Williams, who enjoyed a fruitful professional career and also won a cap for England U18s, is pictured in action for non-league AFC Mansfield.
Ryan Rhino Williams, who enjoyed a fruitful professional career and also won a cap for England U18s, is pictured in action for non-league AFC Mansfield.

The 38-year-old Williams, a former professional with the likes of Mansfield Town and Chesterfield, has cited “work and travel” commitments as the main reason behind his decision to leave. He lives in Hull.

“I still love my football and will probably play for somebody local to Hull for the rest of the season,” said Williams, known as ‘Rhino’. “I have really enjoyed my time at AFC and will leave with fond memories. We achieved a lot in a short space of time and I believe the club will go on to be even more successful in the future.

“I will be down to watch a game soon, just to make sure the lads are keeping up the standard we have set over the last two seasons! Good luck to everybody at the club, and a big heartfelt thanks to all.”

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Sutton-born Williams, who won a cap with England U18s, began his long career back in 1995 with Stags, for whom he made 26 appearances. He then had spells with Tranmere Rovers, Chesterfield, where he scored 13 goals in 74 games, Hull City and Bristol Rovers before switching to the non-league game. After time with Aldershot Town and Weymouth, he returned to Field Mill in the Conference in 2011, making 41 appearances.

He linked up with AFC towards the end of the 2014/15 season to work alongside manager Rudy Funk. “I had been told good things about AFC, and I wasn’t disappointed when I signed,” Williams said. “It is a well-run club with some fantastic people behind the scenes.”

Williams made 92 appearances for AFC, scoring 27 goals and creating countless assists. He helped the club gain promotion to the Northern Counties East League’s Premier Division last season and reach the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Cup and last 32 of the FA Vase this term.

“He leaves us with great memories,” said a club spokesman, who praised his professionalism. “His performances at times were real class and he has, without doubt, moved the club forward in the way we play and conduct ourselves on and off the pitch. He was always first to training and never missed a session, despite the lengthy journeys he had to make.

“It is with great regret and sadness that he is leaving. He will be sorely missed and it will take a lot to fill his boots.”

Williams added: “Work and travel have taken their toll and I feel I need to be a little more local in what I do going forward. Rudy and chairman Andy Saunders are fully understanding and we part on the best of terms.”

AFC’s Vase run came to an end on Saturday when they were beaten 1-0 in the Fourth Round by Sunderland RCA. In front of a crowd of 140, the only goal was scored by the visitors’ John Butler in the 38th minute.