John and Carolyn Radford never got enough credit for rebuilding Mansfield Town - says former boss

Owners John and Carolyn Radford never got enough credit for rebuilding Mansfield Town, according to former boss Paul Cox.

Chairman John Radford, Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Radford and boss Paul Cox on their way to guided Stags back into the EFL..
Chairman John Radford, Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Radford and boss Paul Cox on their way to guided Stags back into the EFL..

Cox famously steered Stags back into the EFL during his second season in charge to end a bleak spell in non-league football for the club.

But the current Kettering Town boss still believes the part played by the Radfords in achieving title glory has never been fully appreciated.

“John Radford deserves an amazing amount of credit. He was pivotal in Mansfield Town’s growth,” he said.

“The owners put a lot of money into the club in those early days, but a lot of people don’t realise just what the owners did during those early days.

“I can remember Carolyn making sandwiches with my wife for the players.

“John was also very very hands-on and I think they probably enjoyed it more when it was more hands on.

“They put the finance in place to achieve the results, but we were just like one big family at the club.

“I read a lot about John and Carolyn. I know they get a lot of pats on the back, but I still don’t think they get enough credit for what they did in the early days.”

Cox took charge at the One Call Stadium in May 2011 and quickly set about transforming a side that had finished the previous season in 12th place and 17 points off the play-off places.

And, although he admits he had the budget needed to achieve the promotion goal, he is quick to emphasise just how much work went in off the field.

“The early years are what built the football club,” he said. “There was no youth structure in place, I had to put in the foundations with the local colleges to get the youth team up and running.

“The thing that disappoints me is people calling us ‘Moneybags United’ - because it wasn’t like that.

“Don’t get me wrong. we had a healthy wage bill, but we were like one big family and that epitomised what we were trying to build at the club.

“I don’t think a lot of the fans realise some of this stuff. When you look back on it, it was fantastic.

“Everyone had an equal part to play, from the groundsman and other people that helped us out up to the owners.

“We built the football club as one big family and I knew after that first season that we would be successful.”

But the former Eastwood boss will always hold a special place in his heart for the ‘amazing’ man-management skills of John Radford.

“John had the ability to come and speak to me when I was at my lowest, added Cox.”We had just been beaten 4-1 at Cambridge.

“I arrived back at the ground to see a ‘Cox out’ flag being put up where I parked my car, which is not nice.

“During that period when we weren’t winning consistently, John gave me a phone call and asked me to go for a pint.

“He asked me if I was worried that we weren’t winning, I said I was worried because I’m a bad loser and I take it very very personally.

“He told me not to worry because he was never going to sack me. After that I went out of the pub and told my wife to prepare for me to get the sack.

“I am best when someone manages me really well and John had that amazing ability to make me feel a million dollars or to bring me back down to a level playing field.

“He had an amazing way of doing that and it was a big part of the success that we had and something that I will never forget.”

Cox was speaking to the Mansfield Matters Podcast - you can hear his interview in full on Saturday at 3pm by visiting

The interview forms part of the pledge of three Stags supporters' who are filling the void left by Football by creating new podcast content, including interviews with former players/staff, and much more.​​​​​​​

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