Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

QUAKERS TURMOIL; Doubts over Future of Boss Cooper

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

QUAKERS TURMOIL; Doubts over Future of Boss Cooper

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW WILKINSON

DARLINGTON manager Mark Cooper must quickly repair the damage caused on Saturday - or Darlington are likely to be looking for a sixth manager in 18 months.

Contrary to reports, there was no meeting of players planned for today - the team has a behind-closed-doors friendly with a Boro side - but there is much to be ironed out if Cooper is to remain in a job he took on in the summer.

Three successive defeats, the latest being the horror show against Hayes and Yeading at The Arena on Saturday when Quakers lost 1-0, have brought enough pressure on the manager, but his comments have added to it.

Over recent weeks he has blamed the players, the supporters, The Arena, and the mood hanging over the club following relegation last season.

Now he has to stand up, accept his role in it, and get more - much more - out of players who are far more talented than recent results suggest.

But after Saturday's debacle in which rumours were flying around about Cooper wanting to speak to York and Lincoln about the managerial vacancy at those clubs, he did little to diffuse the situation, saying: "At this moment in time I'm still Darlington manager. I've heard nothing from the chairman.

"This result destroys my weekend. We need players who are strong characters and we don't have them.

"With the injuries we have had our leaders have been out. But we had experience in that team. I'm not sure what it means to one or two of them to lose.

"The players don't like playing at home with the lack of atmosphere here. I would like an away tie in the FA Cup."

Comments like that could well alienate fans, who have stood behind the club after an appalling couple of years.

They are indebted to chairman Raj Singh for trying to steady the ship, but are angered by comments that suggest the fans are partly to blame. …

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