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Accrington Stanley

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1Accrington Stanley  Empty Accrington Stanley Thu Mar 07 2024, 12:05



I thought this was interesting - the owner of the club has put out a statement as to why he sacked the manager.

Ok nothing much new in clubs doing that but this time it is a bit different it two respects, the first is about internal politics being played, seemingly from the manager to get himself a much longer contract - and in a way trying to use his popularity with the fans to 'blackmail' the owner to get the longer contract - or else... type thing.

The second being the hole a club owner gets into - in this case the club is up for sale - there is no interest - and the club is losing money - does he reach deeper into his personal wealth to pay the bills, or walk away and let the club potentially go out of business - all this similar to how it ended for Eddie Davies with us.

NOTE also at the end the owner states he's removed himself from Twitter because he knows he's going to get a mountain of abuse from the multitude of social media morons (my words not his).

Anyway -

STATEMENT: Chairman, Andy Holt, in His Own Words and Unedited

An update from me… regarding the termination of John Coleman’s and Jimmy Bell’s contracts.

I am now in a position to share some basic detail behind my decision to not renew the contracts.


A. Last year the recruitment of players was dreadful. Many performances were very poor, injuries were many. We were relegated from League One. During the season Jimmy often complained too many players were being engaged with not enough quality.

It undermined my faith in them.

B. At the end of last season, I had a meeting with John to discuss this current season. Whilst I was in that meeting, Jimmy was ringing another director saying ‘with that team we’re being relegated again’ or words to that effect.

C. The Board’s position was that they should be terminated. Their performance merited it.

D. It was discussed and suggested that they deserved credit for past historic great work at the club, they deserved a last chance.

E. This was communicated to them verbally in a meeting involving me, John, Jimmy, and Dave.

The crux of it was to give them a chance. We’d review around Christmas 2023 and if we looked safe, we would extend their contracts for another season. The extension would be for one season only but could be repeated indefinitely if we got back to our normal performances.

F. Despite this Jimmy went on Radio Lancashire telling the world how it was ‘their club, they built it and that they wanted three or four-year contracts.

This was deliberate and in my mind was done for one or more of the following reasons:

- To leverage their long-held support with many fans in order to pressure the club. As show of strength.
- To use this leverage to get new contracts of a longer period than that was on offer. The offer was a 12-month extension if we looked safe, despite Jimmy’s claim we would be relegated, which if it had happened, would have made them unaffordable and threaten our club.
- To announce their availability to the world as managers.

G. The calling me out in Andy Bayes’ interview was GUARANTEED to divide our club. I communicated this to our managers at the time and told them they had ‘killed me’ as owner of the club. A selection of fans would demand I give longer unsustainable contracts, others would say I should have terminated earlier.

This divide has been evident from that day to this. Even after the termination of contracts the fan base is still divided and more so than ever.

They had to retract the statement giving a united platform for owner and manager to sing from the same hymn sheet.

They refused to do so. Despite months passing by with opportunities daily to right this issue, it never came.


It has been said that I got up ‘out of the wrong side of the bed and sacked them’.

This was not true. The last day in February this year was always pencilled in as a back stop date. The reason is that many players are running out of contract, and the manager, whether it be John or Jimmy or another, wouldn’t have had time to set up for next season.

Around 10 days before the final day I spoke at length with Coley [the manager John Coleman], it was still a condition that a statement had to be put out allowing me to rebuild a united front for the club. It NEVER came.


I WhatsApp messaged and texted both John and Jimmy at around 9am telling them of the decision. I also informed them the club would put a statement out soon.

The reason it was put to them in this way is that, had I discussed (again) with them a mixed message could have resulted. Both messages to them and that put out by the club may be used against the club, so it had to be simple, straight forward and seemingly cold.

Finally, MY comment.

I have worked with John and Jimmy and most of the time it was great, and fun.

They performed badly in our relegation season, I didn’t sack them like EVERY OTHER OWNER would have.

They made serious mistakes and despite this I didn’t want it to end. They went public and divided our fan base probably forever, an action that I did NOT deserve, having looked after them extremely well in my time at the club.

I knew without retraction our relationship was over. Despite having months and months to do this, they didn’t.

It was a combination of poor performance and the public disagreements that resulted in the end.

Their performances led to losses last season of £600,000 followed by this season of £1,000,000. Losses that I have a choice, either fund the club or put administrators in.

I chose to fund the losses because I still believe Accrington deserves and desperately need a great club.

But the continued funding of these losses stops at the end of this season.

I lost confidence in them after nearly two full seasons of poor performances.

I lost faith in them because they seemed to lose the fire in their belly’s.

I lost trust in them because they divided our fan base, when they knew full well I was doing my upmost to work through the problems. I am off Twitter for now because I knew how a good number of fans would feel. I’m not getting into a slanging match.

For me to continue to work with the club I have to be happy. Why would I put money into a club to be unhappy?

Now then.

All the above DOES NOT take away from their achievements at the club. I fully respect their record, I understand fans that have been around them for decades, have lost their heroes.

There should be proper recognition of their achievements. Coley’s bar was called Coley’s bar for a reason. It will remain Coley’s bar.

I believe they are good at what they do and deserve decent jobs going forward.

I passionately believe I have to take the club down another stable, long-term path, my job is to create a club that lasts long after my time or that of any manger or player.

I am still doing my best.

I knew this was coming. I offered the club for sale without receiving a single bid.

I’m trapped between funding the club or putting it into administration.

I chose to continue funding it ONLY if it can be put on a stable path, an outcome I know is achievable.

That’s what is happening and where I stand.

Good morning, BTW.

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