Accrington Stanley: John Coleman returns as manager

John Coleman
John Coleman left Southport to seek a managerial job in the Football League

John Coleman has returned to Accrington Stanley for a second spell as manager.

The 51-year-old takes over from James Beattie, who left the League Two side on Friday after 16 months in charge.

Coleman managed Stanley from 1999 until 2012, leading them from the Northern Premier League First Division into the Football League.

"It's no secret that I've wanted to manage in the Football League again," said Coleman, who had been working for League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers.

"When a job comes up at a club as close to your heart as Accrington, then that ticks two boxes."

Coleman returning home
During his initial 13-year spell with the Lancashire club, John Coleman guided Stanley to the Conference title in 2006.

Long-time assistant Jimmy Bell also returns to the Lancashire club.

The duo led Stanley into the Football League and stabilised the team in League Two before leaving for Rochdale in 2012.

At the time, Coleman was the third longest-serving manager in English football, behind only Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United and Arsenal's Arsene Wenger.

But he and Bell could not save Dale from relegation to the fourth tier and they were dismissed after just 12 months at Spotland.

A five-month spell at Southport followed before their move to Ireland.

Accrington are 20th in League Two, just one point above the relegation places, after a 3-1 defeat at Oxford on Tuesday.

"I feel passion is something we have missed on and off the pitch for quite a while," said Stanley chairman Peter Marsden.

"Arguably in our quest to become more professional - perhaps out of a misplaced sense of inferiority because of our non-league roots - we have lost that indefinable essence of what Stanley is all about."