AFC Mansfield was formed in June 2012 by three former directors of Mansfield Town before signing a 10 year deal to play at Forest Town. Founded as a community club, fans, players and officials deliberately set out not to be a rival of Football League neighbours Mansfield Town.
Nicknamed The Bulls, the new club were immediately given a place in the Central Midlands League, kicking off their first season in the North Division and collecting their first piece of silverware, the Notts Intermediate Cup. Despite losing just two games all season and amassing 176 goals for and just 20 against they finished as runners-up before winning the North Division in 2013–14 and earning promotion to Division One of the Northern Counties East League. They also completed the double, winning the Central Midlands League Cup, beating Thorne Colliery 2–1 in the final.
The club finished seventh in the NCEFL's Division One in 2014–15. The following season saw them finish as runners-up, earning promotion to the Premier Division. They also competed in the FA Cup for the first time, losing 2–1 at South Normanton Athletic in the extra-preliminary round. The club finished third in the Premier Division in 2017–18, missing out on promotion on goal difference. However, after Andover Town refused promotion to Step 4, AFC Mansfield were promoted by the Football Association instead to take their place in the Northern Premier League's East Division for season 2018-19.
Managed by former Scarborough Athletic boss Rudy Funk, since their early days the Nottinghamshire club have run a number of age group teams and now boast nearly 20 community-based teams from U9s through to the first team.