Mansfield Town boss Steve Evans was delighted to see Mansfield District Council this week give the green light to the club’s new training ground at Pleasley.
He also paid tribute to chairman John Radford and CEO Carolyn Radford for providing the bulk of funding for a new facility that could help unearth the Stags stars of the future.
The proposed plan for playing fields and a new modern pavilion with changing rooms, and parking for over 50 vehicles, was approved this week.
The council’s planning committee unanimously voted in favour of the plan to be built at Woburn Lane, calling it a ‘great community asset’. Incorporating changing rooms, communal facilities three full-size pitches and one half-size, the pavilion itself will cover one square kilometre.
“I don’t think people in the town realise how good that decision is,” said Evans.
Click HERE to read story on the new facility being approved
“First and foremost thank you to the council for passing it. If they didn’t pass it, wow it would have been a statement - almost we don’t want your football club.
“But I am told they passed it unanimously. They wanted it.”
There had been objections on grounds of increased traffic and Evans said: “There is always going to be objections from neighbours, and so there should be if people have got a reason to say this is why I don’t want it.
“People should always be heard. I am a democrat as a manager, as I prove with my staff, and I am a democrat as a person. I like democracy and people to have an opinion.
“But this is wonderful for the football club, which is such a major part of the community in Mansfield. It is such a major part of the town.
“For our kids and our futures, it is a facility that they will have many hours of pleasure out of and let’s hope it produces one or two Stags youngsters or youngsters from the town that may end up playing in the Premier League.”
Work will begin in May and Evans praised the financial backing of the the Radfords.
“You need someone to pay for it – and we are very fortunate to have John and Carolyn Radford. They can afford to say we want to build something and we are going to pay for it,” he said.
“I know there are some supportive grants and some initiatives to help with that, but the principle funding comes from two people – a wealthy family, but it has to be said a very generous family.
“They are not only generous to this football club. I spend a lot of time with them and I am absolutely flabbergasted by what they give to charity. It shows the quality inside the person.”
Stags have begged and borrowed for proper training facilities for years and Evans said: “You need a good training facility. It gets harder and harder to be successful in football.
“Rotherham United are a prime example. I think their chairman is just coming out in the next day or two to talk about what they are going to build, infra-structure wise, in training facilities.
“We had to endure not the best training facilities there and won back-to-back promotions. It’s tough.
“You want to give managers and coaches and players no excuses.
“Today that needs to be proper pitches, proper training facilities and a proper opportunity to compete with the best in your league.”