Boss leaves Southport over family values row

John Coleman
John Coleman
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Southport have parted company with manager John Coleman after the club claimed his ‘touchline antics’ towards match officials threatened the club’s core family values.

Coleman took over the Sandgrounders’ managerial hot-seat before Christmas after previous boss Alan Wright was sacked.

The 52-year-old and his long-time assistant Jimmy Bell managed to steer the club to safety this season as they finished 18th in the Conference Premier.

However, Port’s hierarchy have been less than impressed with some of their manager’s behaviour since he took over, and have also been unhappy with the team’s poor displays away from home.

Coleman, who made his name at Accrington Stanley where he guided the club into the Football League during a 13-year stint at the Crown Ground, has indicated that he would like to pursue a job in the Football League and the decision to come to a parting of the ways seems to have been made after a meeting with chairman Charlie Clapham this week.

A statement from the club said: “John Coleman came into the club last December and navigated the Port to their points target of 30 points-in fact gaining 32.

“In doing so dispelling the real threat of relegation feared at the turn of the year.

“John, in the local press, has questioned passionately whether he should be in football due to his stance with referees and assistants.

“This style of touchline behaviour has found the club in somewhat of a quandary regarding the FA Respect campaign and attracting a family audience.

“John has kept the Merseyrail Community Stadium a fortress maintaining Alan Wright’s record but the away form, nine points out of 23 games has been a disaster and nearly cost Southport its Conference status.

“Southport supporters travelling all over the country deserved better while home fans have played a great part in creating a positive home atmosphere for which the club says a sincere thank you.”

Coleman, who starred for Port as a striker in a three-year stint during the 1980s, joined Southport after being sacked by Rochdale in 2013.

He had spent a year at Spotland – taking over from Keith Hill – was unable to prevent their relegation to League Two.

He did, however, enjoy unparralled success with Stanley, taking the club from the Northern Premier League and keeping them in the Football League.

The statement added: “John Coleman has made it clear that at his age of 52 he feels he should be managing in the Football League, and by his short management spell at Southport he has put himself back in the shop window. Everyone at Southport wishes him good luck as he pursues his managerial career.”

Port are set to begin the search for a new manager immediately.