A FIRST YEAR FULL OF SUCCESS
AFC Mansfield was formed in 2012 and joined the Central Midlands Football League, signing a 10-year rolling deal to play at the Forest Town Arena.
The newly-formed club - nicknamed 'the Bulls' - began their journey in the 2012/13 season, when they fought on four fronts and nearly won the lot.
Despite mustering 176 goals and losing just twice, the Bulls had to settle for a runners-up place to Dronfield, who dropped just five points all season to clinch the league title. But success would come in the Notts Intermediate Cup final where they defeated Beeston AFC, and a Floodlit Cup final victory over Newark Town would earn a cup double for the Bulls in their first ever season as a club.
It could have been a hat-trick of cup titles, but a tiresome nine-man AFC would be beaten in injury time by Clifton All Whites in the League Cup final at Alfreton Town.
MORE SILVERWARE & A RISE UP THE LEAGUES
The club entered the FA Vase for the first time in the 2013/14 season, and were eventually knocked out in a replay by step five side Huntingdon Town.
But much more success was to come later that season, as the Bulls clinched the Central Midlands Football League North Division title before beating Thorne Colliery in the League Cup final to earn their fourth piece of silverware in two seasons... Although a treble eluded them once again with defeat in the Floodlit Cup final to Bulwell FC.
In their first season in the Northern Counties East football League Division One, the Bulls came one game away from an FA Vase quarter-final by reaching the fifth round - a record run - but were knocked out 3-0 by Tadcaster Albion.
FA CUP GLORY & FURTHER PROMOTIONS
The next three seasons would be full of further success. In 2015/16, AFC earned promotion to the NCEL Premier Division with a second place finish, and a year later made club history with an FA Cup run lasting all the way to the Third Qualifying Round, where they would be knocked out by Stamford in a close 2-1 defeat.
The 2017/18 season was perhaps the best in AFC's bountiful but brief history to date, with the Bulls matching their FA Cup run from the previous campaign and clinching promotion to the Northern Premier League East Division - step eight in the football pyramid.
The Bulls got past Hall Road Rangers, Quorn, Dunkirk and Rushall Olympic before being beaten by National League North side Boston United in front of over 600 spectators in the FA Cup Third Qualifying Round.
Mustering 96 points and scoring 110 league goals, at first glance it would be expected that AFC won the NCEL Premier Division that season, but they actually finished in third behind Pickering Town on goal difference and league winners Pontefract who recorded a ridiculous 102 points.
Thanks to a reshuffle in the step above in the football pyramid, however, the Bulls were promoted alongside Pontefract and Pickering to the NPL East Division.
EXPERIENCING THE NORTHERN PREMIER LEAGUE
For the first time in the Bulls' history, they found difficulty in adapting to their new league despite a promising start to the 2018/19 campaign.
The ray of sunshine in the first half of their season was another impressive FA Cup run which ended at a much higher side in Kettering Town, who could only just edge past the Bulls with a 2-1 win despite a very nervy ending.
Manager Rudy Funk was sacked in February 2019 with the AFC bottom of the pile, and new boss Mark Ward steered his side to safety by 15 points, but ground grading issues meant that the club would be playing Step 5 football once more.
The Bulls now play in the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division, with Matt Chatfield at the helm as manager.