Retford dream of return to glory days after One Call takeover

Retford United's Cannon Park ground
Retford United's Cannon Park ground

Struggling Retford United are hoping for a return to the glory days after being taken over by One Call Insurance Group.

One Call owner, Mansfield Town chairman John Radford, has taken over debt-ridden United and their Cannon Park ground under the One Call Trust arm for an undisclosed sum from Paul Dixon.

That leaves the club debt free and their ground returned to them.

Billed as the ‘biggest news in the club’s 30 year history’, the acquisition sees One Call Insurance managing director Nik Springthorpe working alongside current chairman Simon Brammer and taking financial responsibility for the club.

Springthorpe said: ‘Although this season ended in relegation heartache, we’re committed to creating a strong foundation to ensure the future success of Retford United.

“This begins with the acquisition of the ground, the clearing of debt and a promise to invest substantially into the club, improving facilities and ensuring operational stability.

‘On that note, we’ve already begun renovating a number of training pitches, which will enable us to bring the junior teams back to the home ground.

“Meanwhile we’ve set ourselves the target of converting the main pitch to 4G within three years.

‘The reaction from club staff and fans has been one of huge adulation and excitement, something that we’re truly delighted about.

“We’re committed to keeping everyone involved with our plans moving forward and hope to further ignite support for the club and grassroots as a whole, both in the local community and further afield’.

‘We’ll be back next season, gunning for wins, but most importantly, working hard to install consistency into our game. “Longer term, I am absolutely committed to bringing the glory days back.

“Retford went through a period of huge success between 2000 and 2009, winning six titles in nine years and we firmly believe that, with the right structure and funding in place, we can do that and more again.”

He added “My established relationships with backroom staff at Mansfield Town mean there’s enormous scope for collaboration.

“For starters, we’re in the process of planning a pre-season friendly. There’s also hope of doing the same with Derby County and Nottingham Forest among others.”

Strengthening the Doncaster based group’s commitment to the community, the acquisition will create a strong foundation for the club’s future; leaving it debt free and with the promise of much needed investment.

Meanwhile, the club’s home ground, Cannon Park, will be held in a trust within the One Call Group.

The move also strengthens the group’s commitment to sport, with its insurance arm, One Call Insurance, having already named Sports Aid as its charity of the year for 2018 and pre-planned a schedule of fundraising events with the goal of raising £50,000 to support promising young athletes from across the UK.

Retford United held an official club meeting last week, which provided an opportunity for staff, players and supporters to meet with both Radford and Springthorpe to discuss the future direction of the club.

United finished sixth in the Northern Premier League in 2010 under Peter Duffield and lost the Northern Premier League Cup Final to Boston United.

They have since been slipping down the football pyramid due to financial irregularities.

They took a voluntary two step demotion in 2011 and then won the NCEL Premier under Brett Marshall but could not be promoted due to the financial issues.

United were relegated from Step 5 (NCEL Premier) in 2017 and were relegated again from Step 6 this season (NCEL Division One).

They will start next season at Step 7 in the Lincolnshire League or Central Midlands League.