COLEY MOLEY... JOHN IS B-ACC!
ACCRINGTON STANLEY have reached their ceiling? Don’t let returning manager John Coleman hear you say that.
The 51-year-old is back at the club he helped take from the Northern Premier League first division to the Football League – and he’s not made a second coming to be satisfied with just keeping them from returning to Non-League football.
Coleman, who left the Crown Ground to manage League One Rochdale in January 2012, has spent 13 years at Accrington plotting promotion after promotion.
The former Morecambe, Macclesfield and Southport striker replaced James Beattie, who suddenly quit the day before Stanley’s 1-0 League Two win over AFC Wimbledon last Saturday.
Coleman said it “wasn’t an easy decision” to come back despite the emotional pull – especially as some fans are still sore about his exit nearly three years ago. He told The FLP: “I had a lot to consider. I had a good job as manager of Sligo Rovers, a club in the Premier Division of the Northern Irish League.
“It’s lovely there, the people are fantastic and the football is very good, but the lure of the English Football League was so strong for me.
“People will say, ‘But Accrington have reached their limit, they can’t go any higher’. I think that’s rubbish. When I started here in 1999 everyone said there was no way we could get back to the Football League and stay there for so long, but we did and we’re still alive and kicking.
“The first aim is to establish ourselves in the top half and then we can try and really take the club forward.”
Coleman has warned League Two he’s a much more savvy manager than when he left, and wants to build bridges with the small percentage of supporters that may not have forgiven and forgot his exit to Spotland.
“It’s been a long journey with Accrington Stanley,” he said. “I’m wiser, I have had some experiences, good and bad, and I’m back here stronger for it.
“I left a few years ago because it was a big opportunity for me at Rochdale. Some supporters are still disappointed that I left because I went to our neighbours, but I want to win them back around. The only way to do that is to win football matches.
“This is a club close to my heart, it always has been and I think we can bring success here. I’m ambitious and can’t wait to get down to work.”
Coleman confirmed caretaker manager Paul Stephenson, who worked with him in his previous spell at Accrington, will remain on the coaching staff.
FIZZY POP: John Coleman and No.2 Jimmy Bell celebrate promotion to the League in their first spell at Accrington