When Paul Cook joined the club in January, the club was in a state of shock after losing its legendary management team who had been at the helm for more than a decade. Former player Cook seemed the perfect fit – a young, ambitious coach who knew our club and had built up a good record of his own.
Cook brought fresh ideas and a new ethos which seemed to surround the club. All was positive in spite of losing our play-off teasing position and limping towards the end of the campaign. Going into the new season he assembled a team of talented young players who all bought into his total-football ideal. It soon turned out to be the largest squad Accrington had seen in years and players were loaned out with a couple leaving permanently in the quest of game time.
The results started off well, sitting in the play-off positions up until October when it all seemed to go wrong. The reunion with John Coleman and Jimmy Bell in the home game against Rochdale was the first of a four match losing streak in which twelve goals were conceded. The team looked a shadow of their former selves and void of ideas.
Cook kept the rhetoric to a minimum and offered no excuses for the losses. The defeats kept coming however and the frustration was evident in all quarters. Chesterfield's interest in the gaffer was known and whispers circulated around the ground on Tuesday about what would happen.
As the news became official a certain amount of anger has been felt among the fans. That Cook did not stay and attempt to turn things around - rather jump ship to a new opportunity - feels disrespectful. An infectious character who took us all into his vision did not see his own project out. Cook left after eight wins in thirty-three attempts. The story of his short reign? Style over substance.
Disappointing as it may be, we have more important things to think about. This ship needs turning around. The players must dig deep and get themselves the results they deserve. The fans must get behind the team as we strive for better things.
On, Stanley, On.