THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

James Beattie not lost all support yet

icon league2b12 October ~ Anybody who has looked at the League Two table at some point this season will have seen my team, Accrington Stanley, at the bottom – where we have been since August. With only two points gained this season, against Portsmouth and Plymouth, we are in danger of a serious gap opening up between us and the other 23 clubs. After travelling to Hartlepool and Plymouth already this season I thought about not bothering this weekend, yet I can’t help but look forward to today's away trip to AFC Wimbledon.

As an Accrington supporter, whenever I meet a fan of any other team I am reminded of two things. One is the TV advert for milk followed by an impression of the kid saying "Accrington Stanley – who are they?". The other is the question "how do you survive on the crowds that you get?". This is something we are concerned about, particularly after our slow start.

Encouragingly, there was a Fans Friday match against Dagenham & Redbridge last week where supporters of other Football League clubs including Leyton Orient and Hull City joined us on the terrace, boosting the attendance to 1,833. Unfortunately the team conceded two poor goals and left themselves with too much to do by the time James Gray pulled one back in injury time.

This season we have tended to start quite slowly and concede, after which we tend to get back into the game – though we have been lacking in goals. Manager James Beattie has some excellent contacts in the game and we have signed some talented players but it doesn't seem to be working on the pitch. Indeed, Beattie is considering playing himself against AFC Wimbledon due to a couple of players being called up for Northern Ireland.

In 11 years supporting Stanley I have never seen a manager sacked – Beattie's two immediate predecessors both left for Chesterfield, now top of League Two. However, fan opinion is divided on the current boss. Some have absolute faith that our luck will turn and note that Beattie has conducted himself impeccably while at Accrington both as a manager and a player.

They argue he has been very unlucky with injuries and some refereeing decisions and that he has brought a more professional approach to the club. Others want to see the return of John Coleman, who spent 13 years in charge before leaving in January 2012 for Rochdale, where he spent a year before being sacked.

There is hope though. Against Rochdale at the start of October we had 16-year-old Connor Mahoney receiving the man of the match award. More importantly in terms of today, we have won all four of our previous league matches with Wimbledon. There would be no better time for history to repeat itself than today. Adam Scarborough

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