The events of last week reiterated to Stanley fans – as if it could ever be forgotten at a club with such wonderful idiosyncrasies - that the only thing ever to be expected from a football club is the truly unexpected.
Eight months of exciting buzz-words such as positivity, rebuilding and forward-planning were truncated at the all-too-immediate departure of Paul Cook. The affable Scouser rolled into town like a dazzling fairground complete with league-winning aspirations. He duped us all as we held him aloft, only to take the first available step towards greener grass. Bitterness and ill-will are natural reactions for a scorned football fan and Cook’s swindle left us no different.
In moments of hurt we turn to reliable constants; dependable characters which have been there through thick and thin. In our case we have Leam Richardson, who has been with us for seven years and been a fan favourite since day dot.
Traditionally, full backs don’t see much of the glamour in football. They pitch in with tackling, covering and overlapping runs which provide the necessary space for star wingers to shine. Leam made the number three shirt his own until injury sidelined him for months on end. All the while he brought his knowledge and experience to the young players of the team; still the worker, still the team player.
Having stepped into the breach once when the club was in mourning after the departure of greats Coleman and Bell, he plugged the gap again this Saturday. Each time he has not only won the games following drama, but picked up the team and moved it forward. This influence cannot be understated. Leam is a true professional of the game – a priceless part of our little club.
The fans want Leam Richardson as the club’s new manager. From what can be seen, the players do too. The club has made the appointment permanent and put their full faith in the man who has dedicated the prime of his career to us.
We will be following Leam’s reds to AFC Fylde tomorrow in the first round of the most magical competition in sport. Big things could grow from small seeds in more than one respect.
On, Stanley, On.