Blue Square Premier side Darlington have sacked manager Mark Cooper after a poor start to the season which sees the club languishing in 14th place in the table. Cooper, who had led the team to their first piece of silverware with FA Trophy glory at Wembley in May, has overseen eight defeats in the first eighteen games of the season.
Chairman Raj Singh said that the run of form was unacceptable, and closer to that of a side fighting relegation not aiming for promotion. Cooper had been in charge since 2010 when he replaced Simon Davey. He made his name at Kettering, where he led the team back into the Blue Square Premier, before reaching the fourth round of the FA Cup, eventually being knocked out by Fulham. His big break came when he was appointed by Peterborough United as Darren Ferguson’s replacement in November 2009. However, he won just one of his thirteen games in charge and was dismissed.
Overall, he had a decent win percentage of 43% while at Darlington, but with the club already seventeen points behind leaders Wrexham, the board decided to act. We will have to wait and see who they replace Cooper with, but it does seem a strange decision. The club may be lower than they had hoped, but the Conference is a very difficult league with maybe a dozen clubs thinking that they can get promoted this season, and Cooper is a very good manager who will surely find himself another job sooner rather than later. Don’t be surprised to see him come back to haunt Darlo this season.