STANLEY chairman Peter Marsden is confident John Coleman has returned to the Reds a better manager than when he left.
Marsden revealed there were some big names among the applicants for the job after James Beattie left by mutual consent.
But Coleman, who steered Stanley to three promotions before leaving for Rochdale in January 2012, was the board’s unanimous choice.
And he made a stunning start on his return to the Reds' dug-out as Stanley won 5-4 at Northampton last Saturday.
“This is John Coleman Mark II,” said Marsden. “We’ve got the best of John Coleman Mark I, which is the guy who could fire everybody up, is incredibly passionate, mixes with the fans and would go down to the Crown for a drink.
“Accrington fans expect their manager – and even some of their players – to engage. That’s what we weren’t getting before and that’s no disrespect to the previous managers.
“I also think John’s mellowed a bit. It didn’t quite work out for him at Rochdale. But I think John realises that he needs Accrington and Accrington needs him.
“The chemistry only works if you put the right ingredients in and John Coleman is the ingredient for Accrington, in the same way he may not have been the ingredient for someone else.
“It’s like Keith Hill at Rochdale and Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. You could say John Coleman’s our Mourinho!”
While Marsden was unwilling to elaborate on what brought matters to a head with Beattie, he did admit his concern at the club’s average gate falling to 1,664 last season.
“I just think it suited both parties to move on in different directions,” he said on Beattie's departure. “It was down to a lot of things. James is well connected in the game and I think he’ll do great things.
“I felt the club was stagnating in all sorts of areas, probably more off the pitch than on it,” Marsden added. “The gates were slowly going down and there wasn’t the feelgood factor about the club. It was almost like hovering out of the relegation area was ok.
“Off the pitch, I think we were trying to become something we weren’t. We were trying to become a mini Bury or a mini Oldham. All we were then becoming was a second-rate version of that.
“When Accrington Stanley is going at full throttle, we take onboard the fact we’re just not like anybody else. It’s a club where the fans are really involved, it’s their club.
“Somewhere along the road we stopped engaging with our fans enough and we need this to get the gates up. We need gates in excess of 2,000 to start making a dent in the losses because we can’t carry on incurring the big losses that we have been.
“We had to do something and John knows what it’s all about here. He’s an engaging character and a great manager who’s very good at firing up the players but probably even better at firing up the crowd – and that’s what we want.
“We want somebody who’s the talk of the town and John is like that.
“It was an opportunity to find ourselves again because we’d got a bit lost and we had to get back on the road we all knew.”