Richardson takes to life in the dugout as Stanley chief

First published in Sport Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

WHEN Leam Richardson and Gary Bowyer compared notes about their respective managerial experiences last week, the phrase ‘eye opener’ cropped up in conversation.

But while Bowyer has now decided to return to his role as reserve team boss at Blackburn Rovers, Richardson is still relishing the start of his career as a manager.

The Accrington Stanley boss had a rare pressure free day on Saturday as the Reds’ League Two game at home to AFC Wimbledon was postponed because of the freezing weather conditions in East Lancashire.

He admits life has changed dramatically since he took over at the newly renamed Store First Stadium on November 1, although his time as assistant manager to Paul Cook at least helped him to prepare for the role.

Bowyer’s move into the spotlight, where he won three of his four games as Rovers caretaker, was a little more immediate after unexpectedly stepping in from the reserves.

The January transfer window did much to complicate matters, something that Richardson is still dealing with as he attempts to add to his Stanley squad.

Agents ringing him at all hours is just part of the job.

“Everybody’s looking for the same thing, you get numerous agents on the phone every minute of every day promising this that and the other,” said Richardson.

“I knew the job would be time consuming and difficult in a sense, and it didn’t surprise me at all.

“I had a conversation the other day with Gary Bowyer at Blackburn and he experienced it for a number of weeks.

“From an experienced person such as himself, his words were it had opened his eyes dramatically.

“I’m not sure if he relishes people ringing him who he doesn’t know, offering him things that he didn’t want, you’re talking every minute of every day.

“That goes as well as you’re trying to do your job as well.

“But that’s part and parcel of it, you get on with it and you deal with it as best you can.

“There are genuinely not enough hours in the day and you realise that straight away.

“I’ve only been in charge for a short time but it becomes apparent that that is the way it is.

“You have to deal with it and you move on with it, but it’s very enjoyable and very satisfying.”

Richardson is now the second youngest manager in the Football League, behind MK Dons boss Karl Robinson, and is tasked with attempting to secure results with League Two’s smallest budget.

It has not always been easy – Stanley have slipped to within four points of the relegation zone after only one win in their last 12 games.

Richardson, though, is enjoying the learning curve he has embarked on and believes the experience he is picking up now will stand him in good stead for the future.

“As you go you learn quite quickly and it stands you in good stead for years to come,” he said.

“You learn what works for you personally and professionally and you filter out what doesn’t quite quickly.

“We have got the smallest budget and we’re working on a shoestring but it’s my job to make it work.”

Richardson took time to think about whether he wanted to accept the manager’s job, knowing he had other considerations such as a young family and the opportunity to follow Cook to Chesterfield as his assistant.

He knew there would be challenges ahead, but he says he is as ready to take them on now as he was when he took charge.

“You’ve got to find a balance in your life as quickly as you can and I’m going through that process as we speak,” said the Stanley boss.

“Like I say I’ve only been doing it a short time and I’m finding that balance personally and professionally. I think that’s important.

“The advice I got early on from a good number of people who are very experienced in the game was that for the first 12 to 18 months you will feel like you’re hanging on every day and it’s important you do define work and your personal life as separate.

“Everybody goes through that period, as experienced people have advised me, and I’m going through that process right now.

“But I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”

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