Cox keen to move on and make Poppies even stronger

Paul Cox has spoken for the first time since he was approached about the vacant manager's job at AFC Telford United before he decided to stay on at Kettering Town

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 11:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 11:58 am
Paul Cox said he received messages of support from the Kettering fans after an approach for his services from AFC Telford United. Picture by Peter Short

Paul Cox insists he wants Kettering Town to “get stronger” after he committed his immediate future to the club after a tumultuous week.

Just 24 hours after the Poppies had been beaten 3-1 after extra-time in their Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at Buxton last week, Cox’s position was thrusted into the spotlight after an approach was made for the manager from Vanarama National League North rivals AFC Telford United.

It’s understood Cox did hold talks with Telford and also the Poppies before it was confirmed on Friday night that he would be remaining at Latimer Park with the club and manager agreeing terms on a contract.

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Cox oversaw a big summer of change at Kettering this summer with an influx of new, young players and they have enjoyed an encouraging start to the campaign, although their home match with Southport last Saturday and today's (Tuesday) trip to Hereford were both called off due to at least one positive Covid-19 test within the Poppies squad.

They are due to head to Leamington this weekend and Cox will be at the helm, although he is now keen to strengthen the ranks to ensure the early-season form doesn’t go to waste.

“I have been enjoying my football, the people I am working with are good, we look as if we are building something and maybe a few other personal factors came into it,” Cox, who maintained a dignified silence after news of Telford’s interest broke, said.

“I just felt that the best decision was to stay with Kettering.

“It was a tough few days but it’s also very humbling when clubs come in and ask for permission to speak to you.

“Kettering were brilliant about it, the chairman (David Mahoney) was great with me.

“Both clubs were brilliant and, at the end of the day, I have made my decision and now we move on. I am fully focused on our next game, whenever that may be.

“I want us to get stronger, I want the squad to get stronger. I had a good conversation with the chairman about strengthening and taking things forward.

“It was a situation that came up but now we move on.”

As news of Telford’s interest in Cox came to light, Poppies fans were seemingly united in wanting the manager to stay with them.

Kettering have attracted attendances of over 1,000 to their last two home matches and Cox revealed he receives a lot of “personal messages” from members of the club’s fanbase during that 48 hours at the end of last week.

“I had a lot of personal messages from supporters,” the Poppies boss added.

“It’s heartwarming when you get messages from fans who are really supporting you.

“When I made the decision, more messages came through because they were happy and that makes me happy.

“This isn’t just because of what happened last week, I have always said that our support base knows what we are trying to achieve and they know where we are in relation to other clubs in this division.

“I know we have had the FA Cup but, of late, we have seen the crowds creep up and that shows the potential of the place.

“The fans seem to be buying into what we want to achieve and the support they have given me as a manager and the players has been fantastic.

“I think their reaction last week put a smile on my face more than anything.”