The Football League Paper - - INSIDE -

the de­ci­sion not to take the team. It was very much my own de­ci­sion and a very hard one.

“I never read his state­ment. I don’t read any­thing like that. He has his opin­ions, the fans have their opin­ions and the play­ers have theirs.

“I in­vited Phil round to talk in depth about the squad and each in­di­vid­ual player. I wanted him to know my thoughts.

“Peo­ple will make their own as­sess­ment of my time at the club, but I left them head­ing to the fi­nal and I firmly do be­lieve we would have been pro­moted if it hadn’t been for in­juries.”

Stur­rock left the Roots Hall side ly­ing ninth in the ta­ble, six points adrift of sev­enth place af­ter miss­ing out in the play-off semi-fi­nals last sea­son to to­day’s Wem­b­ley op­po­nents Crewe.

But the former Scot­land in­ter­na­tional says that he is not ready to re­tire and fan­cies an­other crack at foot­ball man­age­ment. “There was all sorts of things go­ing through my mind about what I was go­ing to do, but af­ter a long thought I’m to­tally com­mit­ted to get­ting an­other job in the game,” he added.

“It ob­vi­ously has to be the right one, but I want it to be as soon as pos­si­ble.

“I’d worked very hard over the past three years to keep the team up first and fore­most and in dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances I’m sure that we would have gone up with an 83point to­tal last year.”

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