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SWINDON TOWN: New boss was chosen before Shrews clash
THE Swindon Town board had decided prior to the defeat at Shrewsbury on Saturday that Mark Cooper was the right man for the manager’s job, director of football operations Lee Power has revealed.
Cooper was formally unveiled as boss yesterday, a move widely expected amongst the Swindon footballing community, following a run of two defeats and two wins from his four games in charge this term.
Power, in his first press appearance since arriving at the club in the spring, said that he and chairman Jed McCrory have been delighted by the way Cooper has developed the squad following the resignation of Kevin MacDonald on July 12.
He told the Advertiser: “It’s a young team and a team that’s learning and to be fair we knew before Saturday that Mark had impressed us enough and we were quite keen to just put the speculation to bed and get on with doing our job - which is trying to win some matches.
“He’s very easy, we’ve all been impressed. It was a bit of a shock when Kevin left but we took our time, spoke to a number of people - though we don’t want to go into the names of those people - and we had to continue doing our business because of the wage bill we inherited.
“We had to keep shipping players out, selling people, identifying targets and doing deals and Mark was part of that process with every one of those.
“As time went on we were impressed with the first three games, although Saturday was a blip.”
When asked whether it was fair to describe Cooper’s position as being that of a head coach to Power’s director of football, the latter said: “Definitely not head coach. Mark makes all the football decisions from that side. He picks the team, he decides who comes off and who goes on and all of that side.
“All I do is assist Mark, probably more so in football terms. Jed has enough on his plate on a day to day basis so I try to help Mark as much as I can.
“I try to control the budget, deal with all the lovely agents out there and sit there. It’s a hard world to navigate, I’m well-versed in that world and those are the pressures I take off Mark while at the same time trying to get it sustainable so the football club is here for many years to come.”
With a youthful squad at his disposal, Power feels that Cooper - like MacDonald before him - has the right personality to progress the Town team over the coming months.
“We’ve worked with Mark when Kevin was here so he knows what we’re all about. It’s important because I know there are a lot of rumours around the football club and I don’t want to keep reiterating it, but the football club couldn’t sustain itself paying players what it was paying,” he said.
“With the new regulations coming in as well we needed to get the wage bill down from where it was, but we wanted to be competitive. We believe we will be this year and the only way we could do that was looking at the loan market and sitting down to discuss the players coming in.
“Every single one of those players that came in was offered a Championship loan, which I don’t think many people we aware of. We decided to get them all here together and the remainder of the young players - Wes (Foderingham) and Nathan Thompson - were retained as the crux of the team.
“We’ve got grandad as we call him, Wardy, to sign a new deal. He’s now chief babysitter and looks after all the boys and there might be one or two more that need to come in and go out.
“We feel Mark is the right person to look after us and drive us forward.”
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