Blackpool CEO Ben Mansford relishes the challenge ahead at Bloomfield Road
Ben Mansford believes he is well equipped to take Blackpool FC forward following his appointment as chief executive.
Mansford, 40, has worked in football for nearly 20 years and left Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel to take up his position with the Seasiders.
And he believes this wealth of experience will stand him in good stead for success with Blackpool.
Mansford told The Gazette: “I feel as though I’m the man for the job and I can lead this club forward – but I’m equally respectful that I’m not a Blackpool fan, even though I’ve quickly become one.
“This is just a massive challenge but I’m up for it.”
Speaking of challenges, Mansford has challenged the club to meet the expectations of the fans and to foster a strong spirit across the community.
“The single most important thing for us is to make this club a place that people want to come to, to make Blackpool FC the place to be – the focal point of the town,” he said.
“I hope if we cultivate the right culture and environment, and engage in the right way, then the results will come.”
Asked how his move to Blackpool came about, Mansford explained: “As can happen in a lot of walks of life, someone knew Simon (Sadler, owner) and I and suggested we should get together.
“Simon and I had one or two mutual football contacts and I was asked if I would be interested in having a conversation with him. I knew about where Blackpool had been and the challenges it had.
“Simon and I had a couple of half-hour conversations, then when we were both over here we spoke for three or four hours. I decided from that point it was something I’d like to do and do together. The rest is history.”
As to what impressed him about Sadler, Mansford explained: “Just his desire to do the right thing, to give me and the rest of the staff here the scope to succeed.
“He’s so passionate about making this football club one that everyone in the local community can have a sense of pride again – to really put Blackpool back on the map.
“His energy and his enthusiasm was really infectious and that’s a lot what I’m about.
“For me he’s the type of guy you would want to work for and want to own your football club.
“I hope he saw in me someone with a reasonable track record of going into places and adding energy. I’m no magician but I’m very good at building teams and getting people to work together, with the confidence to do their jobs properly.
“If we build the right team and everyone works together to create the right culture and environment, that’s very much what I want to bring to this club.”
And what are his first impressions of Blackpool?
“I’m from Hull and I’ve worked at Maccabi Tel Aviv, so I’m used to being near the sea and the beach.
“I guess Simon was a little bit concerned because Linton Brown, who has also joined (as chief commercial officer), is also from Yorkshire. Two lads coming across the Pennines ... he couldn’t have many more!
“I’m a northern lad, so Blackpool always holds that special feeling. I celebrated my brother’s 21st here many years ago and that was my first real experience, although I’m not sure how much I can remember about it.
“But, in all seriousness, I’m just pleased to be back in the North and hopefully – apart from the cricket – I’ll support things that go on in this area.
“I had a little walk around the town the other day and as a lad that loves his fish and chips I’m dead happy to be here.”