Club Statement: NEFA Takeover Complete

Updated: May 23


AFC Mansfield are delighted to confirm that the North of England Football Academy has successfully acquired 92% ownership of the club.


OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS AS THE NEW OWNERS OF AFC MANSFIELD PRIORITISE PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

We are pleased to announce that The North of England Football Academy (NEFA) has successfully acquired 92% ownership of AFC Mansfield. The change will see outgoing Chairman Andrew Saunders remain as Club President. NEFA would like to place on record our sincere appreciation for everything that Andrew has achieved during his time at the Club. Andrew’s continuing involvement and input as Club President is greatly appreciated.


WHO ARE NEFA?


NEFA was formed in 2016 with a single ambition to provide the very best educational and career opportunities for its players and coaches. Based in Rotherham and now partnered with Notts County Football Club, NEFA founders (Spencer Fearn and Ryan McKnight) have a track record of excellence in player and coach development. NEFA currently have three ‘under-19’ teams and a ‘senior’ side that plays at Step 8 of the football league pyramid. Linked with leading education provider ‘LifeSkills’, NEFA work with over 60 young players each year.

https://nefa.co.uk/our-purpose/


WHY AFC MANSFIELD?


Incoming joint owner Spencer Fearn stated:

“I have known Andrew for over a decade. He’s built a Club to be truly proud of. The players and staff have the infrastructure and facilities to excel, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to take the Club on to the next level. Andrew, his committee, and dedicated team of volunteers have created a Club with real potential. The future is exciting for all of us. A future that is about providing real opportunities for young players and staff to follow their passion, develop their knowledge and progress in the game they love. We want to be known as the club of opportunity. The club that gives young, determined people that chance to progress in the game”.


WHO ARE THE TWO NEW OWNERS?


Spencer Fearn is currently ‘head of the academy’ at NEFA and has a wealth of professional experience within the game as a coach (Sheffield Wednesday FC); club management (Maltby Main; Frickley Athletic); club leadership/executive (East Stirling FC; Stockport County FC). As a student of the game, Spencer has graduated from the Cruyff Institute with a Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Management and is currently completing two football related master’s degrees before starting a PhD in October with a focus on coach education in football.


Ryan McKnight has spent his entire career working in football which ranges from being the ‘Editor-in-Chief’ of Football Industry Group publication, ‘FC Business’ to appointment as CEO of Stockport County FC (where at just 30 years old, Ryan became the youngest ever Chief Executive of a professional football club). Ryan’s industry insight has led to a range of consultancy roles in football including at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Port Vale. As well as his current role as CEO at NEFA, Ryan co-leads on the ‘Football Transfer Forum’ conference, in which he facilitates knowledge transfer amongst Sporting Directors, agents and other football industry professionals.


WHO IS THE NEW MANAGEMENT TEAM?


We welcome back John Stancliffe to the Club. John (aka Stan) will take up the position of Joint Manager with Spencer Fearn. 'Stan' who is a UEFA ‘B’ licence coach with an excellent reputation and knowledge of the non – league game is well known to all at the club. Making up the management team is UEFA ‘A’ and AYA licence Coach Ben Nicholson, who has spent his career working at Sheffield United, Chesterfield, Sheffield Wednesday and NEFA.


OUR FANS EXISTING AND NEW


Being a ‘Bulls’ fan means you are taking an active role in the improvement of young people’s lives. You support a Club that stands for second chances, for underdogs … and for hard work paying-off. We look forward to welcoming back our existing fans and making new friends in the community. We want to give Forest Town a Club that is fully engaged in our community and one that we can all be proud of.


THANK YOU


We would like to thank Phil Buxton and Joe Kearney for their work whilst at the club and wish them all the very best for the future. The contribution that Phil has made to the club as a player, captain and manager has been outstanding and they will both always be welcome at AFC Mansfield.


PRE – SEASON


AFC Mansfield have confirmed the following pre-season fixtures, with more to be announced shortly.


9th July – Home v Grantham Town U23s – 12 noon kick off

13th July – Home v Belper Town – 7.30p.m kick off

19th July – Home v Retford United – 7.30p.m kick off

23rd July – Home v Shirebrook Town – 12 noon kick off


AND FINALLY…


AFC Mansfield are always looking for volunteers to assist with the numerous roles associated with running a football club. If you are interested in helping the club move forward, please e-mail spencer@nefa.co.uk


Keep up to date by following AFC Mansfield via our website www.afcmansfield.net.


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