Man­ager wants to avoid snakes!

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Sam El­liott

EVEN af­ter Mark Cooper’s ap­point­ment last week, it’s fair to as­sume there would be more laugh­ter and smiles in a tor­tu­ous hour-long EastEnders spe­cial than there is at Notts County at the mo­ment.

Their sea­son fell to pieces long ago, if it ever re­ally started. They are still search­ing for much­needed in­vest­ment. The fans who are still ac­tu­ally go­ing are ac­cus­ing play­ers of not car­ing about the club, and they’re go­ing through man­agers like Dot Cot­ton goes through cig­a­rette pack­ets.

The lat­est in­cum­bent is a man who has ev­ery right not to be par­tic­u­larly pleased with the cards he’s been dealt in re­cent times.

This time last year, Cooper was pre­par­ing his Swin­don Town team for a to­tally un­ex­pected chal­lenge for League One pro­mo­tion.

With their man­ager’s eye for loan ta­lent and im­pres­sive Non­League kids, the Robins were on the rise.

Yet Cooper, who took Swin­don to the play-off fi­nal on a shoe­string bud­get, was out on his ear in Oc­to­ber as the club couldn’t be­gin the new sea­son with the same pur­pose they had showed in the last.

He told The FLP: “Football is a game of snakes and lad­ders. If you land some­where you don’t want to land then down you go on that slip­pery slope.

“Then you have got to try and work your way back up.You have to try and avoid the snakes as best you can and get as high up on that lad­der as pos­si­ble. I’m not too proud to be manag­ing in League Two, the game is about hard graft more than any­thing.

“You’ve just got to try and avoid the snakes, and the dice be­ing rolled the wrong way.You’ve got to be ready to climb on back up if you get a bad roll.”

In­ter­est­ing use of the word snake. No names men­tioned, but Cooper has clearly been deal­ing with some slip­pery cus­tomers.

“You need to work with peo­ple you can trust in football,” said the 47-year-old, speak­ing in the team ho­tel be­fore the Mag­pies’ match at Portsmouth on Good Fri­day – which they lost 4-0 – af­ter re­plac­ing Jamie Fullar­ton, sacked af­ter just 69 days in charge.

“There are good peo­ple in the game and there are some not so good peo­ple. There are some peo­ple who like noth­ing bet­ter than to un­der­mine you at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, peo­ple who you think you can trust but it turns out you can’t.

“It was a dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ence at Swin­don and it’s still hard to get my head around.

“I wanted to get back in and I’m de­lighted to be given this op­por­tu­nity. This is a club which needs a lift. I need a bit of a lift but it’s my job to pick things up and get some re­sults on the board.”

There’s no sense of en­ti­tle­ment from Cooper, de­spite his easy-on­the-eye football pro­duced at the County Ground and his abil­ity to un­earth gems with what he de­scribes as “not a pot to p**s in”.

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