New Fleetwood Town coach Andy Mangan says his playing days might not be over

Andy Mangan at Burton
Andy Mangan at Burton

Fleetwood Town’s new first team coach Andy Mangan says he cannot say he has hung up his boots just yet as he refused to rule out pulling on the red and white strip once more.

Striker Mangan, 32, was part of the 2011-12 Fleetwood team that gained promotion to the Football League.

He left in 2013 but after cancelling his contract at Accrington Stanley by mutual consent he has now returned to join pal and current head coach Joey Barton’s first team staff.

The forward says it was a tough decision to leave the League One side and join Town as a coach but says Coleman did not wish to stand in his way.

The ex-Blackpool trainee kick-started his career at Accrington in the Conference in 2005 after just two substitute appearances for the Seasiders.

And it was fitting that the side he made his first professional start with in 2005 would be his last too with the 1-0 FA Cup win over Championship side Ipswich now pencilled in as his final game.

Though Mangan has left the door open on a potential return if injuries require Barton to register him.

Though that does not mean the boots have been dusted down for Saturday’s clash with Gillingham as he spent his first game as a first team coach watching from a different angle from the stand for the 1-0 win at Burton Albion.

The forward cannot feature for Town this season having featured for Accrington and in both legs of Welsh side Bala Town’s Europa League exit to San Marino side The Fiori.

When asked if he had officially hung up his boots he said: “Never say never! I’m only 32. I can’t say I have hung my boots up.

“I have not come here expecting to play.

“I might register as a player, just in case of injuries and I am fit enough to play.

“I have no desire to play. That has gone.

“John gave me my last game against Championship side Ipswich and we won 1-0 so I was delighted with that but the gaffer here (Joey Barton) has given me an opportunity and I want to take it.

“I loved my time at Accrington.

“I’ve known John Coleman since I was 18 and it was a great environment to see the last days of my playing career out.

“But the gaffer understood when I went to him.

“It was a very difficult decision.

“He understood the opportunity I was given and he did not stand in my way.”

That crop of 2011-12 that included legendary skipper Nathan Pond and now-retired England forward Jamie Vardy all still have a WhatsApp group.

And Mangan says winning the Conference and the spirit was the bond.

He said: “It was a great environment.

“We obviously did not have Poolfoot Farm.

“We trained up in Lytham.

“But it was great. We are all friends. We are still on a Whatsapp Group. We all still get on.

“We went to war together every Saturday and Tuesday in the Conference.

“There are a lot of games and I think what binds you is we won the league.

“There were a lot of characters in there too. It was great.”

Mangan says a lot has changed since his 2013 exit as a player.

And he hopes the youngsters he tried to inspire back in 2012 have grown with the club as Town try to build for the future.

Mangan praised chairman Andy Pilley for the work he has done to transform the club.

He said: “It is a totally different club.

“We have the training ground, the ground has improved, the pitch has improved.

“The attention to detail is ridiculous.

“Just look at the pitches, everywhere you turn it says FTFC. It is brilliant.

“That can only bode well for the club.

“We need to thank the chairman for what he has done for Fleetwood.”

Mangan had already been coaching at Fleetwood Town while at Accrington.

He is happy to continue his commitments with the Under-16s and academy as he says this first-team role is an opportunity for him to learn about more aspects of a football club.

And it is one he is relishing.

He said: “I’ve made that commitment to the Under -16s and their parents and I’d like to continue that.

“I was there on Sunday at Poolfoot. I was training in midweek.

“I had some really good times and to come back, give back with the U16s and be given that opportunity by the chairman and the manager is huge to set me on that path of learning again.

“But to be offered that first team role I’m delighted.

“It is just about learning really for me at the moment. I need to make mistakes and I need to learn. I want to be everywhere in and around the club.”