Simon Hart: Clean the toilets, sort out players' meals, pay the tax – at Accrington James Beattie has to do it all

Life beyond the Premier League

For a crash course in football management, James Beattie could not have picked a better place than Accrington Stanley. The Lancashire club have the Football League's smallest budget and lowest average attendance and, since taking the reins last May, the former Southampton, Everton and England striker has found himself doing everything, from cleaning toilets to negotiating players' contracts to providing an impromptu ticket service for supporters.

This latter task came when Accrington's recent fixture at Portsmouth was called off and he helped some fans get into Southampton's FA Cup tie against Burnley. "They tweeted me," Beattie tells The Independent. "I know the lads because we don't have that many fans. I got four tickets and they went and enjoyed themselves."

Beattie arrived at Accrington in November 2012 as player-coach, taking over as manager when Leam Richardson left for Chesterfield. "I have been so busy," says the 35-year-old, who returns to his family home in Dorset once a week to see his wife and three children. "A manager should have an army of people to delegate certain jobs to. Unfortunately for me, or fortunately for my experience, I don't have that luxury. I have been told by many managers and friends that I'll probably learn more in four or five months here than I will in the next 10 years.

"In the summer, we had eight players to start with and the smallest budget in the league. It was a massive challenge to get what I believe is a very good squad together on the money the lads are on." Such a challenge that he ended up paying a tax bill himself to ensure Accrington could recruit Kal Naismith, their joint-top scorer, from Rangers. "It is a struggle weekly," he adds. "I have had to defer wages from the boys a few times, but we're getting there."

The club's playing budget for the season is less than Wayne Rooney earns in a month and they do not have a single paid scout, leaving Beattie reliant on an online scouting platform. Yet he is raising standards. Stanley made their first trip abroad in pre-season to Portugal, and Beattie has brought in a chef to provide breakfast and lunch for the squad each day at Blackburn Rugby Club.

Within the club there is admiration for his level-headed approach. Accrington did not win any of his first 12 league matches, yet he did not waver. "I don't think I've ever had a problem with my own self-belief," he says. "The performances were there or thereabouts, we just needed that first win."

Beattie's ambition shines through when he articulates his wish to "change the whole DNA of the club" and he speaks with satisfaction of the recent audit of the club's academy, which earned category-three status. One young product, Connor Mahoney, joined Blackburn last month in a deal which will provide much-needed revenue. Further encouragement has come from elsewhere. "Everybody within the managerial frater-nity has been very helpful," he says, citing Gary Bowyer at Blackburn, Beattie's hometown club, whose training facilities Stanley use.

As a player, Beattie had fallouts with David Moyes and Tony Pulis, and he is keen to accentuate the bonds of trust being built with his squad. "I am treating the players well, I have experienced some highs and some lows in my career in that respect." Beattie sees the mental side of the game as "massive". "There is more to come from these players if we can get their minds right – if you can get seven, eight, nine players putting a performance in, you're in with a very good chance. The ultimate goal is to stay in the league but, as you've probably gathered, I know these players can deliver more." Stanley sit 22nd in the 24-team division but Beattie is a believer.

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game