Leam Richardson has been unveiled as the new Accrington Stanley boss. Richardson, 32, has always been the club’s number one choice to step up to succeed Paul Cook, who joined Chesterfield last week, and has been offered a two-and-a-half-year deal.
Leam Richardson has been unveiled as the new Accrington Stanley boss.
Richardson, 32, has always been the club’s number one choice to step up to succeed Paul Cook, who joined Chesterfield last week, and has been offered a two-and-a-half-year deal.
Richardson admitted he expected to be an assistant longer than his current nine months before becoming the number one at a club.
And, he says it has been a tough week making the decision, just because of the timing while it’s also believed Cook was trying to tempt his former assistant to join him at Chesterfield.
"I have been in discussions with the chairman Peter Marsden, managing director Rob Heys and others at the club and they have shown me they hold me in high regard and they have been extremely loyal to me and so it’s important to repay that," said Richardson, who has a young family and admitted that had also to be taken into consideration.
"It has been a tough decision for me. I have never been someone who has been driven by finances or my status.
"I don’t want to be manager for an extra few pounds or to say I am manager. I want to do it for the right reasons and at the right time.
"Last time when I was caretaker, when John Coleman left in January, I perhaps wasn’t as well prepared but I have learned a lot in the last nine months.
"There are a lot of good people at the club, in football and in my personal life, and they have helped to make the decision a lot easier.
"Peter Marsden and Rob Heys have treated me really well and shown a lot of confidence in me and put an offer on the table.
"I do want to be successful. I am 32, 33 soon, I have been thinking about management for 18 months and I still want to be doing the same kind of job in 18 years time so this is a big move for me and a big time in my career. That’s why I have had to think long and hard about it but I want it all sorted.
"This week has been hard – no one likes change – but I will be excited, optimistic and raring to go."
Richardson, who took caretaker charge for the 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers on Saturday, will be the second-youngest manager in the Football League behind Karl Robinson at MK Dons.
"We have had people who have expressed an interest, even ex-England internationals, but it’s entering the unknown when you bring someone in from outside," said Heys.
"We are confident Leam is the man to take us forward, we know he can do a job at Accrington Stanley. It is easy to be star-struck by big names but we know what Leam is capable of.
"We have offered him a two-and-a-half-year deal which means a lot more at Accrington than it does at other clubs – we are committed to working together and going forward together.
"The difference here is a manager can have bad results and it’s up to the whole club to put it right."
The club are also hoping physio Les Parry and coach Paul Lodge will stay at the Crown Ground while there are finances available for Richardson to bring in an assistant.
"I have been talking to people about being an assistant; some of them are in jobs and these are people I know I can pick the phone up and ask for advice but I would like someone in alongside me in the next few weeks, " he said.
Richardson has already started to put his own stamp on the club, bringing in Blackburn Rovers’ young striker Osayamen Osawe and extending the loan spell of Fleetwood defender Rob Atkinson with all Stanley loanees able to play in the first round of the FA Cup at Evo-Stik Premier side AFC Fylde on Saturday.
"They are a well-run club and we expect a competitive game," said Richardson, with £18,000 up for grabs for the winner.
"One of the most important things for us is to be professional and give them the respect they deserve.
"We know they will represent a big threat and they will want to be in the hat for the next round.
"If you get through the first round and get a decent draw in the second, then you dare to dream about the third round and the finances that a game against Liverpool, Manchester United or Arsenal could bring. It’s huge for us."
Meanwhile Richardson was looking at the loan market and the current Reds’ loan players, saying: "It’s something I have got to think about. See, it’s not easy being a manager!"