This week marked the seventh anniversary of John Radford taking over Mansfield Town Football Club – but his optimism and enthusiasm have never been higher.
“I’m fairly pleased with where we are at the moment, but I’m like a schoolteacher – I always think we could do better,” he told the club’s website www.mansfieldtown.net.
“It’s still early days and the teams are still jostling for positions, but there is definitely more to come from this team.
“I want automatic promotion this season, so I don’t want us to be too distanced from the top three – and we’re not far off.
“We have quality in depth, and you can see that from the people we have on the bench. As the season progresses, not every player for every team is going to be able to play every game because of injury and suspension.
“That’s why I believe the quality and depth of our squad will shine through.
“Every one of our squad has the quality, and many have played at a higher level and won promotions in the past. They know how to go about it and we have a manager who knows how to go about it too.”
Saturday’s 3-1 derby win over Notts County saw over 5,000 home fans turn out and Radford said: “The crowds are steadily improving and I think they will continue to do so over the course of the season, providing we stay in the promotion race.
“If you look down the road at Lincoln, they have shown what can happen if you keep winning in front of your home crowd – they had not been beaten in a year until we went and won there.
“The people of Mansfield deserve success and want success. They work hard all week and when they go to watch their team, they want to see it doing well or at least fighting hard, and this is what we have now.
“The one thing I have appreciated more than anything else is having that hardcore of 3,500 fans we now have who come week in, week out, rain or shine. They are my reward for taking over the club.”
Radford has pushed the boat out with the budget given to manager Steve Evans, in his first full season as Stags boss but with a string of promotions to his CV.
“He knows as a manager what he wants but, to be fair to him, he does give me options – he doesn’t force players on me,” said Radford.
“He suggests players who we should sign if we want to win promotion and when that’s coming from a man with the record of promotions that he has, you’d be foolish to ignore it.
“He’s as ambitious as I am and, like me, he wants to get this club in the Championship. We have the type of squad that, if it got up this season, would not need too many tweaks when gelled to go on another decent run in the league above.
“Would I back the manager again in January, and next season if we went up? Of course I would.”
See the full interview at https://www.mansfieldtown.net/news/2017/october/john-radford-interview/