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Open letter from John Coleman

23 December 2015

Stanley manager John Coleman has asked us to publish an open letter to Carlisle United supporters following a story posted on the BBC Sport website yesterday.

"Firstly can I start by apologising if I have caused any offence with my comments where I criticised the Football League over the handling of Carlisle United's potential fixture crisis.

The quotes published were just a small snippet of a longer interview. In that interview, my sympathy for the people who have suffered massively from the floods was made abundantly clear.

My main point over this whole affair is that it is now pot luck over whether a team plays Carlisle as an away fixture or on a neutral ground - how can this be fair?

I am not suggesting for one minute that this is favouring Carlisle in the actual game- it clearly favours the opposition, which makes the victory over Notts County even more creditable.

I appreciate Nottingham Forest were at home on Saturday but surely moving that game to Sunday and reversing the final day fixture would have been a more viable option, I am not aware of the logistics of this but I would have hoped that option was explored.

Could you imagine the league sanctioning the game on 06/02 being played at Ewood Park, which would be tantamount to a home game for us?

The main benefactors from this whole situation are the possible handful of teams that will not have to face Carlisle United on their home pitch!

It has been a distinct benefit having your game on 28/12 called off so early in the build up to our Boxing Day clash, because you only have to concentrate on one game this week, as opposed to two in three days, but if the boot was on the other foot I wouldn't be complaining!

Carlisle have only gained an advantage in the fact that they haven't begun to build up a fixture backlog, unlike ourselves who are already two games behind.

We have a wonderful surface at Accrington but, due to the position of the ground, it is unable to cope with large amounts of rainfall in a short space of time. Consequently we have had to sand treat it over the past week in an attempt to alleviate the problem, which will mean the surface will not be as good as it has been previously this season.

If we were in Carlisle's position I would be doing exactly the same - exploring every option available, I have no issue with your football club, this was a catastrophic flood and I wish you the best of luck in overcoming  the hardship it has caused.

Yours in football

John Coleman"


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