Date: 6th August 2008 at 4:37pm
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JOHN Coleman believes that his nine years in charge of Accrington Stanley is something that he and his assistant Jimmy Bell can be proud of.

Nine years and three promotions after taking over at the Fraser Eagle Stadium, and Stanley gaffer John Coleman is still as eager as ever to succeed with Accrington.

The Liverpudlian born manager who is beginning his tenth season at the helm of Accrington Stanley Football Club after playing spells with Kirby Town, Burscough, Marine, Southport, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Rhyl, Morecambe and Lancaster can’t wait to get the new campaign under way on August 9.

“It`s something to be proud of.” said Coleman speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph.

“Myself and Jimmy Bell have enjoyed our time here and there aren`t many clubs that employ managers for this long. I`m the fourth longest serving manager in the league. It`s been an enjoyable task so far and hopefully it`ll continue to be that way.

“If you haven`t got that enthusiasm then you should pack it in. I`ve been looking forward to playing football (this season) as much as I can remember looking forward to playing football. I can`t wait for the games to come. The minute that you lose that it`s time to look for another job. I can`t see us ever losing that.”

The deadly duo of Coleman and Bell took control in 1999 of a club who were looking a little worse for wear following relegation to the Unibond First Division, but Coleman was always optimistic of bringing the club back to where they belonged. The Football League.

Coleman continued: “Well, obviously, we had our own ambitions, but maybe it`s happened a bit quicker than everyone anticipated. It`s been hard work, but I`ve always been an advocate that you can always raise peoples` expectations but you can`t lower them.

“I think the fans themselves wouldn`t have dreamt it all those years ago when we were playing Lincoln United first up and it`s hard to give them a reality check because you don`t want to go back to those situations.”

Whilst playing in the Unibond Premier and the Conference, it took Stanley three seasons to gain promotion to a higher division and low and behold this is Stanley’s third season in the Coca-Cola League Two, and Coleman joked that this year could see Stanley promoted through a matter of the cycle.

“Well if it goes to the cycle then we`ll win the League this season!” he laughed.

“All you do is do your best, and we`ve always had that philosophy. We`ve always not beaten ourselves up over results and focused on form and how we`ve been playing.”

“We`ve still improved our league position every year, and there`s no other team that has done that in the Football League. That`s an impressive record that we want to keep, but we also want to improve as a team and grow as a club and that`s difficult, but we`re doing our best to do it.”

Coleman is keen to improve the quality of football at the Fraser Eagle Stadium in the coming season after Accrington’s faithful only managed to see the Reds collect a handfull of points at the Fraser Eagle Stadium last time out.

“I`d like to think that if we have an objective this season it`ll be to play better football at home and give the fans something to be proud of.”

August 9 sees Accrington kick the season off in front of the club’s home support as newly promoted Aldershot Town visit East Lancashire, followed by a tasty trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the First Round of the Carling Cup three days later, but Coleman isn’t going to build up or let his hopes get down after the first few weeks of action.

“You just have to have a good season. Obviously a good start sets you up and gives you a platform. It`s like being a golfer and bogeying the first two holes; psychologically that can have a big effect on your round so from that point of view you`d like to have a good start to set you up to go onto better things.

“But we got the ideal start last season winning away at Wycombe and never really built on it so we`ll be taking it as a full season and hoping to improve on what we did last time and certainly to improve our home form.”