Just a few weeks into his role as Chief Executive at Blackpool FC, Ben Mansford has set out his and the owner's vision for where they want to take the club.
The former Leeds United, Barnsley and Maccabi Tel Aviv CEO sat down with the local press this week to discuss all.
Ben, what’s your first early impressions of the football club since joining?
It’s been really positive. I’ve been here just under two weeks now and played three, won three so that’s great to see. This has the potential to be a fantastic journey and there’s so much we want to achieve that we’ve got to have short, medium and long term goals. In the short term, we want to engage with supporters again and give this local community a football club to be proud of again. If we do that, we set the right standards on and off the field and we achieve the things we want to achieve then hopefully we can move this club in a real positive direction.
The training ground has always been a talking point for Blackpool for many years – how high on your priority list is the training ground?
It’s a big priority. I’ve been here less than two weeks, but I feel a real sense of engagement with Blackpool Council’s Neil Jack and his staff and obviously conversations have started with them. Simon Sadler has been involved in making sure those conversations took place and I’ve started to carry them on. I think a proper 21st century training facility for Blackpool Football Club’s first team and academy and the community trust where we can all be involved in football and sport across Blackpool is something I really think I’ve got to push on with in the immediacy of my appointment.
Will you be looking at other models from other clubs to base what the training ground and academy could look like?
Absolutely. We’re already involved with architects that have previously built the right type of training facilities for clubs that are as ambitious as us – some play at Premier League level. Simon Sadler and I have already visited one or two facilities to have a look, so we’re already on with that. With the people we have engaged with this process and the support that we are getting from the council in particular, I think we’ll show a real progressive design, but also get it built and get the fork into the grass.
When you first joined, was there anything that you pinpointed that you felt was the priority as well as the training ground?
I think we just had to engage with the supporters again, whether they’re sponsors, stakeholders, season ticket holders or lapse fans. The single most important thing for us to is to make this football club a place where people want to come and engage with the community. The important thing for me is to make this place the focal point of the town of Blackpool. I hope if we build a culture in the right way, then the results will come.
How much of a say will you have with on the field matters? Will you work closely with Simon Grayson on this?
I know there was talk of a Director of Football appointment previously, but I would consider myself a football CEO so I see myself able to help if Simon needs it. We’ve also brought in Tommy Johnson as Head of Recruitment and Jonathan Gibson as Head of Technical Scouting and I think all four of us will work together and be a good team. Therefore, I think the Director of Football role will be something we don’t see happening.