Blackpool FC chief executive to talk to businesses about vital community ties
One of the top men at Blackpool FC is to talk about how important it is for a business to be connected to its community.
Blackpool FC chief executive Ben Mansford will address a meeting of business leaders from across the area at the Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network event to be held at the football club.
The network is encouraging more businesses and organisations across Blackpool and the Fylde Coast to get involved and play their part in making a positive difference in the community.
It’s an ambition which is close to Ben’s heart, having been appointed in 2019 by owner Simon Sadler to help the successful transformation of the Bloomfield Road club following the Oyston years.
Simon, Ben, head coach Neil Critchley and their team have turned the Tangerines around from the previous regime’s days of fan boycotts and community apathy to today’s togetherness where all involved with the club are proud to share in the Seasiders’ success.
With Pool having won promotion from League One in May and making a positive start to life in the Championship this season, Ben is already seeing the positive impact the club is having on the community.
He said: “Every football club should be at the heart of its community. Football clubs are community assets for the good of the town and the community.
"They are one of the most high profile entities within any community and are responsible for a real feel good factor among people in the area.
“I think it’s significant that Simon Sadler wants to be known as the ‘custodian’ of the club, not the ‘owner’. He was very clear as soon as he came in that he wanted to give the supporters a club to be proud of again.
“He inherited a club that had been grossly underinvested in. The stadium was not fit for purpose, the staff were demotivated and undervalued and the supporters had been disenfranchised for some time.
“We wanted to make sure everything was professional, from the online store to the CRM system, and the media output. We wanted to make sure everything was more accessible and foster that togetherness.
“It’s very important for any business to sit down and work out where it is going, and how it is going to build its people to get there, and have that clear objective. Simon wanted to get promoted from League One in three years, and we did it in two.
“On the pitch we wanted to make sure we had good quality coaching, good quality recruitment and a good quality academy. Neil Critchley (Head Coach), John Stephenson (Head of Football Operations) and Ciaran Donnelly (Academy Director) are in the three positions we have put in place, the three pillars of what we are trying to achieve.
"It’s testament to Simon, to Neil, John, and Ciaran the progress we have made.
“Neil is someone the supporters can relate to. He is honest and humble. He cares. And he gives all he has got.
"He and the players who give their all and continue to punch above their weight are bringing back the values of Blackpool which reflect the town, whether that’s from 1953 and Sir Stanley Matthews, the attacking style under Ian Holloway or the one-club man Jimmy Armfield, it’s putting the style and putting the passion back into Blackpool with that hard work and excitement and flair, and creating that identity where everyone can come together and get
behind the club and the team and support what everyone is trying to achieve.
“We want to do much more, such as the training facility, the matchday experience, the fan experience. There’s lots more work to do.”
Reflecting on what aids success, Ben said that connectivity with the local community as vital for any business and any organisation.
“You can’t achieve this alone,” he said. “You have to network. You have to stay connected and understand the challenges everyone is facing, whether that’s your clients, your suppliers, your industry, and everyone across your community.
“You are only as strong as your team. That’s not just your own internal team in your organisation, that’s those in the wider community. It’s important for all businesses and organisations to understand that they are part of a bigger team, and that connecting with the community will make them stronger.”
The Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network networking event will take place at Bloomfield Road on Wednesday, November 10 from 8.30am to 10am.
To find out more about the network contact [email protected] or call 07734 495212.
The Fylde Coast Responsible Business Network was created, and is supported, by the Blackpool Pride of Place Partnership, which is a flagship initiative of Business in the Community whose patron is HRH The Prince of Wales.