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It's a nice stress for Reds' chief

THERE has been a lot made of football management stress - but Stanley boss John Coleman has it on both sides.

GET OVER THERE . . John Coleman shouts instructions to his players during the draw at Bournemouth
GET OVER THERE . . John Coleman shouts instructions to his players during the draw at Bournemouth

THERE has been a lot made of football management stress - but Stanley boss John Coleman has it on both sides.

Not only has he brought on Stanley in leaps and bounds over the last four and a half years as gaffer but he has also had to train to be a teacher - and sample his first year full-time in the job as Stanley hit the Conference.

After Sir Alex Ferguson's recent heart scare there is a lot of talk of the pressures of being on the touch-line. And Coleman admits it is hard having a double role. He teaches at St Aloysius Primary School in Huyton.

"It is stressful," admits the Reds chief, who had to break off to tell one of the kids not to climb on the railings. "But at the moment I am enjoying both so you don't notice it as much. I have very supportive staff at the school which is a big help. But you do have to be able to keep control of the kids and shout at them at times! And everyone can see it is stressful on the touch-line but it is only because, as a manager, you can't do anything about it.

"Once the lads run out, then it is up to them. But I am lucky here as well as I trust the players, I have a lot of faith in them and so far it has been a good season."

And he has been impressed by their professional attitude despite many of them, like the manager, having to hold down full-time jobs as well as playing at a high level week in week out.

"This weekend we play Saturday and Monday but I am not worried about the lads. I trust that they will look after themselves over the weekend and they aren't on my mind. I don't know how many other managers in the Conference can say that."

His players have certainly returned the faith by making the rest of the non-league world sit up and take notice by charging for a play-off spot in their first season in the Conference. And then of course there is the current FA Cup run which has forced the whole nation to remember that Accrington Stanley disappeared only temporarily in 1962 - they are back, bigger and stronger than ever.

Coleman admits he has enjoyed Stanley's run in the FA Cup where there have been several firsts for him. He had never taken a club to the first round as manager but the win over Huddersfield made sure his side sealed a second round spot. Then holding Second Division Bournemouth to a draw - and getting whisked off to be interviewed by Match of the Day afterwards - showed how far the manager and the Reds have come.

And now, if they can beat the Cherries in the replay live on Sky on Monday, they have another home draw against another Second Division side, promotion-hopefuls Colchester. It would be easy to get carried away but Coleman is making sure his - and his players' - feet stay on the ground.

"We are the only part-time team left in the FA Cup and it is credit to how far the lads have come. We can score goals at the drop of a hat which is a great asset to have. And we are difficult to beat - apart from the Telford game which I would like to see as a one-off. Now we have got to build on what we have achieved so far and see where it takes us. But we have a great team spirit here and I think that will take us a long way. It has certainly won us a few games so far."

Coleman continued: "But I must admit the draw was only of passing interest to me. We are in the draw in name only and if we don't beat Bournemouth it won't matter who we get. A big tie could have been an incentive for Bournemouth. If it had been Manchester United in the next round that would have been a massive incentive for them to beat us at our place."

But he knows that whatever happens on Monday night, he is proud of his players - and the Stanley fans.

"It will be a very difficult game. Bournemouth are a good side and we were hanging on in the second half. They had a few chances, although we could have nicked it at the death. But at home I think we will attack a bit more and you never know. I am sure they will feel they can play better, and certainly convert more chances so it is set up nicely. The lads showed tremendous character down there. Hopefully we can continue that and show it's not a flash in the pan.

"I think there will be a lot of people there for the replay, and hopefully the crowd will get behind us again. It's all a great boost for the club and hopefully we can take all of this into our league form as well."

  • UNIBOND side Radcliffe Borough had made an enquiry about defender Jonathan Smith but it was a definite no-go. "It was never going to happen," said Coleman.
  • STANLEY will entertain Fleetwood Town in the Lancashire FA Marsden Challenge Trophy Second Round. The Reds received a bye in the first round. All games will be played the second week in January.
  • STANLEY'S reserve team are in action at Leigh RMI on Saturday (ko 1pm). The Reds second string currently top the Lancashire League with 15 wins out of their 19 games. They won 1-0 on Wednesday night against Burscough thanks to a Lee Madin goal.
  • SHAUN Teale looks set to take over at Conference bottom club Northwich following the sacking of Alvin McDonald this week. McDonald had been in charge for just 11 games, his first game the 3-3 draw with Stanley.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
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Jon Macpherson
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Garth Dawson
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