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Wedding Bells Hinder Initial Impact Of Mansfield’s New CEO

September 27, 2011

The rumours that Carolyn Still is romantically involved with John Radford, the man who gave her the job at Mansfield Town Football Club, have hung around since her eye-catching appointment two weeks ago. Such rumours it’s safe to say have no real place in the game of football other than to glamourise and sensationalise the product on offer in a bid to make it sell to a bigger market. The news that the rumours are true & that the two are engaged to be married has had more of any impact on many people’s view of the hiring.

Removing the context of football, a woman applies for a job, gets it and then two weeks later it is announced that she is engaged to the person who hired her. The point is that it does add a tinge of disappointment to the whole charade with and without its context. While it’s far from the landmark moment in football that some feminists believe (Karren Brady anyone?), it was hoped that it would show that women do have a bigger place in the game than many traditionalists would have you believe and that it isn’t just a one-off token appointment. Sexism in football has been an unfortunately casual trait in the male sport with some believing it to be a sanctuary of manliness and machismo, where men sing and abuse away from the missus and the rigours of standard institutionalised life. The Andy Gray and Richard Keys sackings showed that sexism was no longer to be tolerated in the game’s broadcasted representation but it’s still there via the actual matchday experience. Like with anything it can be reduced but it will never fully be purged from the game.

Sexism always rears its ugly head whenever a woman even approaches a football but the hiring of Carolyn Still really did open up the debate with plenty of worthwhile (and not so worthwhile) opinions being aired and women’s roles in the male game being looked at closer. There’s no denying that Still’s physically-attractive nature certainly helped generate interest in the story and therefore the club itself. Still’s CV is not exactly shabby and football clubs always appear to be wanting to freshen things up, usually on a team management level admittedly but a fresh face can certainly help. A pretty one ensures that there will be admirers from a vain perspective and also detractors from the same perspective.

Still outlined her ethos upon her appointment and the impact which she has on club matters will not be known truly for a while yet. Mansfield Town’s broader media profile has certainly been boosted by her arrival as let’s face it, an attractive female face in the world of football club boardrooms is a diversion from the traditional norm.

“It’s a great privilege to be offered the chance to lead this football club. I intend to add vibrancy and fresh ideas to our approach off the field. I want to wake sleeping fans with a lot of different initiatives by liasing with them and finding what they want”
– Carolyn Still, http://www.mansfieldtown.net, 13th September 2011

While romance is in the boardroom, there is a football club in the middle of it. Mansfield weren’t long ago a Football League club but since relegation to the Conference in 2008, they have struggled although matters on the pitch have improved so far this season. Their manager is quick to downplay the expectations of supporters (a thought reinforced by recent defeats inflicted upon the Stags) but there is cause for optimism in the town of Mansfield. A 3-1 victory away at Wrexham tonight will certainly encourage positive thoughts for Mansfield supporters. Indeed the club set-up appears a lot more healthy and Carolyn Still could well prove to be an inspired addition at Field Mill particularly if it helps speed up the matter involving their ground. When quizzed in her first interview, Still said that the matter needed to be dealt with as soon as possible and should a positive conclusion be reached, it would go a long way to certify the abilities she claims to have for the role.

Unfortunately for Carolyn Still, the truth of her relationship with John Radford does mean that there is a shadow cast over her job no matter how much she protests at the genuine nature of her appointment. Such a shadow may well be unfair but such circumstances will only maintain a certain suspicion which will diminish over time, particularly if Mansfield become successful on the pitch. This is football after all not a soap opera, despite what some may lead you to believe.

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