Wife of Doncaster business boss defends football club over "prostitutes" row

The wife of a Doncaster business boss has defended her husband after accusations that glamour girl models used to promote his firm were being labelled as prostitutes.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 5th September 2016, 9:18 am
Updated Monday, 5th September 2016, 9:21 am
Carolyn and John Radford.
Carolyn and John Radford.

Carolyn Radford, whose husband John owns Doncaster-based One Call Insurance and Mansfield Town Football Club and whose firm also sponsors Rovers, has stepped into the row after fans slammed glamour girls wearing skin-tight, low-cut tops at games to promote the company as "sexist."

Mrs Radford, who is Mansfield chief executive, denied accusations from supporters that the club's use of promotional workers - known as "One Call Girls" was effectively referring to them as "call girls," or prostitutes.

Both Doncaster and Mansfield are sponsored by One Call Insurance.

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She said it was just a "play on words" and had nothing to do with prostitution.

The row erupted after Mansfield tweeted pictures and messages ahead of last Tuesday night's Checkatrade Trophy game with Rovers at the club's One Call Stadium saying that the girls would be handing out tokens for free beer.

However, Lisa Clarke, from the No More Page 3 campaign, said she believed the tweet's wording was "intentional" and that it was wrong to make light of prostitution.

She said: "I refuse to think for one minute the board didn't think about the second meaning of that name [One Call Girls].

The One Call Girls at the Doncaster Rovers photo-shoot.

"Prostitution, sex work, is a massive issue... it's generally surrounded by poverty [and] by exploitation."

The women are frequently seen at Mansfield's ground and Rovers' Keepmoat Stadium in tight Lycra cat suits with the sponsor's name emblazoned across their chests.

Mrs Radford said the promotional staff also work at the company headquarters at Black Back in Doncaster.

She said the tweets should have included the word "insurance" and this is where the controversy has stemmed from.

Both Doncaster and Mansfield are sponsored by One Call Insurance.

She said: "[My husband's] company has no connotations whatsoever to do with prostitution.

"We're not trying to demean women, we've never had this issue before and the girls have been doing incredible work. They actually enjoy it and they say they get a little bit of confidence... they want to do it."

She argued that a number of other sports use women in promotion work.

"Do we just sit down and watch the game and be quiet?" she said. "Or can we have more of a role in football?"

The One Call Girls at the Doncaster Rovers photo-shoot.

But Twitter users were unimpressed by connotations surrounding the “call girls” phrase and have branded the club “pathetic”, “chauvinistic” and “sexist.”

One user Matthew Gooding tweeted: “‘One Call Girls’. Stay classy Mansfield.”

Thom Airs put: “One Call Girls’?! As in call girls, as in prostitutes?! Christ.”

While another Phil Rolls wrote: “You don’t see any problem with this? On any level?”

And Jamie Ross commented: “Maybe Mansfield Town football club didn’t properly think through the name ‘One Call Girls’.”

The club attempted to play down the row by tweeting: “For clarity, as our fans are aware, the ‘One Call Girls’ is a byname given to the marketing promoters at One Call Insurance, our sponsors.”