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INTERVIEW: Mistakes have been made but we will get it right says Coley

Reds boss has plans in place for next season

4 May 2023

John Coleman is already making plans for next season as they face their final match of the League One campaign at Oxford United on Sunday.

The Reds are on the brink of relegation, five years after celebrating the League Two title in 2018.

Whatever the result at the Kassam Stadium, Stanley are preparing for life back in the fourth tier of English football as Coleman looks back at a frustrating 2022/23 campaign.

“The plans have already started for next season, it’s not going to be easy but it generally isn’t here,” said Coleman.

“We have used the biggest budget we have had this season but I haven’t used it at all wisely so I have to take the big rap for it.

“Some of it was my own doing, some of it wasn’t.

“The truth is I tried to sign players and I couldn’t sign them. Maybe we have to look at altering our wage structure next year, keeping it within the parameters but altering what we do.

“I ended up having too many players that weren’t consistently good enough, you can see in flashes and you can see why we have signed them, but in the main they haven’t been good enough.

“Some have been further off the pace than we ever anticipated when we signed them. I am the one who is responsible for pressing the button to sign them so I have to be held accountable for that. I am not going to try and shirk that.

“I have to hold my hand up and say I got it wrong. Me getting it wrong, combined with a horrendous run of injuries, a 50/50 bad disciplinary record and unfortunate disciplinary record, and we haven’t been able to do what we normally do and find a way.

“I have got to work hard to try and learn from my mistakes, try and get more established players in, the punts I take have got to be more educated than what they were this year.

“People have to realise we are never going to really sign an established League One or League Two striker or winger or centre-half because, if they are established, then they are very good and they are going to get more money elsewhere so sometimes we have to take a punt.

“Colby Bishop and Dion Charles were two classic punts that paid off and we got good service and a few bob after. Kayden Jackson was another punt.

“But you don’t always get them right. I have to be held accountable for that and I am determined to learn from it, not make the same mistakes going for quantity over quality and, if I don’t get the players and draw a blank in the window, then so be it.

“I will have to rely on youth and we have some good players coming through the youth system and that’s what I have to do rather than signing players who, deep in the back of the mind, I think they are not ready and they won’t play for us so why sign them in the first place? That’s all down to me and I take full responsibility for that and I am more determined than ever to go forward in a positive manner.”

Coleman hasn’t yet announced his released list but there will be departures as he looks to assemble a squad who can challenge to bounce straight back into League One.

“We have to establish ourselves next season and go again. I don’t think any of our fans dreamt we were going to win League Two when we did five years ago. I think if we had come straight back down they would possibly not be as angry as they are right now, or disappointed. 

“That’s a good achievement from the sets of players we have had over the last four or five years and the staff who work with us that we have been able to compete when we shouldn’t.

“I believed we could win League Two and I have got to go into next season believing I am equipped to get us back into League One.

“It’s about drive. When I don’t get up relishing being involved in football then it’s time for me to walk away. I don’t see that happening any time soon.

“I have a burning desire to be successful, certainly at this football club, and anyone who thinks the light has gone, they couldn’t be further from the truth.

“It's hard but you have got to be up for the challenge. We have enjoyed defying the odds here.

“This is a wonderful club, a unique club and we have done things that probably no one ever dreamt we could do. Does that mean our ambition has gone? Does it mean we have reached the end of the road? Not at all. We have a lovely stadium, great facilities and hopefully we can build a team that people fear playing against and we have got to get back to that.”

The full pre-match interview with John Coleman is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!

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