JAMES Beattie looked on disapprovingly as his old boss David Moyes got the sack at Manchester United this week, insisting that boardroom support has helped him guide Accrington Stanley to the brink of safety.
Stanley will confirm their Football League survival with a game to spare tomorrow unless they lose at Oxford, Northampton get a result at Dagenham and Wycombe’s game with Bristol Rovers ends in a draw.
It is quite an achievement for a side who had only two points from their opening 10 games of the campaign, and has seen Beattie start to get recognition in his first season as a manager.
But if the 36-year-old is thankful to chairman Peter Marsden for his support this season, he has been disappointed to see the way his former Everton boss Moyes was treated at United.
“I don’t think he had as much help as he deserved,” said Beattie, on good terms with Moyes despite his controversial sale to Sheffield United in 2007. “He’s been pretty harshly treated and his sacking being leaked was disgraceful.
“I’m sure he’ll come back into a good job because he is a very good manager. I loved his passion for the game.
“I haven’t spoken to him that much since he became United manager because I can imagine how busy he’s been, but he’s always been on the end of a phone.
“There was a lot made about when I left Everton that we weren’t on the best of terms, but that’s rubbish. I went to their first game of last season and he was brilliant. He threw his arms around me and said, ‘It’s great to see you’, then he took me to the dressing room to see all the lads I used to play with.”
Beattie was linked with the vacancy at tomorrow’s opponents Oxford before they appointed Gary Waddock as boss in March, but he has always stressed his commitment to Stanley.
“I know there was a bit of speculation about me being their next manager,” he said.
“But as I said then, I officially never heard anything from Oxford.
“I’ve had the attention for a number of years now so it doesn’t really bother me. I think I was favourite for about four jobs this year, but I’ve always been dedicated to my work here.”
The manager has now made decisions about which Stanley players he wants to retain.
“We’ve sat down and decided who’s going to be offered contracts for next year,” Beattie said.
“I think the club just wanted to make sure that we were safe because it would be naive to go handing out contracts.
“I appreciate everything the chairman has done this season. He nearly carries the club financially on his own back and from the word go he was very helpful with the pre-season trip (to Portugal).
“It’s been hard work this year but it’s been very enjoyable. In this 11 months I will probably have learned more than I will do in the next 10 years. They certainly don’t coach it on any UEFA licence, whether it be B, A or Pro.
“I’ve enjoyed doing my B licence and managed to fit that in while running the club and trying to fit my family in on the side, which has been really hard.”
Stanley have never beaten Oxford in nine attempts, and Lee Molyneux is a major injury doubt.