Bland seals dream move to Mansfield Town board

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NEW Stags board member Darren Bland says becoming a new member at the club is like a dream come true.

Mr Bland (44), who owns Blastline blast cleaning company in Mansfield Woodhouse, said joining the board had always been an was an ambition.

“I was born in Mansfield, educated in Sheffield and spent much of my life in Brighton, but I am still a big Stags fan,” he said.

“As a Stags fan what more could you want then join the board? I want to help the club go somewhere.

“It is a dream. I would give my right arm for this club. I am going to be doing a mixture of operations and commercial.

“We will do everything we can as we want out of this league. It is not about our egos, it’s about the fans and doing it for them.”

“Mark Hawkins (45), who runs government grant company Survey UK, said: “I went to school with the chairman, we grew up together and then went into business together when I was in insurance for a few years.

“But I diversified out to Government grants and other things, including running Drezden Colts U16s, one of the best junior football teams in the country.

“I will be keeping an eye on local talent and already know most of the best 12-17-year-olds coming through.

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“I just want to be part of something here that is going to take off very shortly. I love football, especially Mansfield Town.”

Property developer Steve Hymas (40), whose company Hymas Homes are shirt sponsors, said “Anything I can do at the club I will always help out. John Radford took it all on himself and now needs a bit of help.

“Steve Barker has been under pressure at times and there are things we could do to help him.

“I am going to set the youth team up. We have entered the Football Conference Youth Alliance and will be up and ready to go for next season.

“We will bring in 20 apprentices aged 16 to 18 on a full-time course and hope we get a few Tom Naylors out of that.

“I felt a bit frustrated in the first place having to hand the club over, though we knew it was going into good hands. It is unfinished business as I want to see us back in the Football League.

“I have a good business mind and I hate to see money wasted. You can always run things more efficiently.”

Steve Middleton (52), is managing director at Lukes and Godwin Ltd electrical contractors where he has a staff of 50.

“From the first day I joined this club as one of the ‘Three Amigos’ we had a vision and we still have to carry that out,” he said.

“I will still be the quiet one. But after nearly three years here I know what goes on in football and this summer we will regroup and take it forward.”

Andrew Saunders (55), insurance broker with his own Andrew Saunders Insurance Ltd, was Stags chairman earlier this year and said: “I have supported this club since 1966 and we had two really good years when we originally bought the club.

“But we got to the stage where the directors really couldn’t support it anymore and we managed to get John Radford involved, who can take this club to the next level.

“Now he is looking for people to help and when he asked myself and the other two I was only too willing to be involved again.

“The idea is to get this club back to where it should be – the Football League. As far as I am concerned that will be next year.

“I know we have issues to resolve like the ground. But I am sure that will be sorted sooner than later.”