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Final Whistle - Wimbledon

28 April 2013

Fleetwood Town manager Graham Alexander undertook his final post-match interview of the 2012/13 campaign and reflected on a period full of highs and lows in his first managerial job.

By Manvir Rai

Fleetwood Town manager Graham Alexander undertook his final post-match interview of the 2012/13 campaign and reflected on a period full of highs and lows in his first managerial job.

In this exclusive interview, Graham Alexander talks about the disappointing ending to the season, the future of the club, potential signings, the fantastic Fleetwood fans and more, as Manvir Rai reports. Fleetwood Town’s first season in the Football League ended in a 2-1 defeat at AFC Wimbledon and consequently resulted in their fourth consecutive defeat. This was not the positive ending to the season that Graham Alexander had hoped for. The manager was simply not impressed with the goals Town conceded or some of the decisions: “It’s disappointing to lose today because we wanted to have a positive end to the season. It was a pretty poor game overall, there was little football played between both sides and it seemed like both teams did not want to make any mistakes. We gave two poor goals away – one being a penalty and the other being a free-kick, which I thought wasn’t a free kick. I think the referee didn’t help and was lenient towards Wimbledon.” Despite the result, the Town boss paid tribute to AFC Wimbledon for ensuring their league football status but believed Fleetwood should have had a share of the spoils: “Their crowd played their part today, they were vocal and it’s helped them keep them in the league. But we didn’t play well enough to win the game today, so I’m not trying to hide anything here, I just think we deserved a draw.” A furious Alexander bemoaned the decision of the penalty too, claiming it was a “soft one”, as he stated: “I saw it [the penalty decision] on DVD and it’s a soft one. I really do believe the free-kick and the penalty were soft decisions. The referee appeared to point to the spot rather quickly. But we should have dealt with the initial danger which led to the free-kick and penalty.” Town striker Andy Mangan was able to get on the score sheet once again after his consolation goal against Chesterfield last Saturday. Town have clearly missed Mangan’s goal scoring prowess this season, but the manager feels his defence has let him down rather than his attack: “We’ve been conceding some poor goals, so I don’t think Mangs [Mangan] could have done anything about that. But today he looked dangerous today, he had a shot in the first few minutes and then got in front of his man to score the goal. I think for the last 8-10 games, we’ve let in some poor goals which have cost us numerous points. I don’t think the goals we’ve conceded have been good quality – 75% of them should have been avoided. I think we should have finished the season better than we have.” 157 members of the travelling Cod Army made the long trip to AFC Wimbledon and Alexander paid tribute to the Fleetwood Town fans: “They were excellent, they were just to our right. There was obviously a lot of noise coming from the Wimbledon fans but we could hear the Fleetwood fans from the bench – they were obviously dressed up for the occasion too [in reference to a number of Fleetwood fans wearing fancy dress] and they’ve been following us all season but I can only speak from December when I came in. They’ve been there for every away game and we really have had some monster journeys. It’s fantastic but we are just really sorry that we couldn’t have rewarded them with more victories on the road. Hopefully next season, we’ll step on from this and give them more to shout about.” With the season finished, Graham Alexander will be preparing to bring some fresh faces into the club whilst saying goodbye to a few players, simultaneously: “The squad size needs to be trimmed, there’s obviously going to be lads who are going to be moving on and some lads will be coming in to add to the quality that we already have. We’re going to keep the ones who we feel can take the club forward and adding the qualities that we need to be successful at this level. I’m really looking forward to doing that because it’s going to be my first chance to do so. We want the best players to represent Fleetwood.” So, there it is, Fleetwood Town’s first season in the Football League has come to an end and it’s been a respectable campaign to say the least. The club have been flirting with the play-off positions all season and have managed to rack up 15 wins. It’s safe to say the future looks bright for Fleetwood Town and the playing season may be over but there is still the end of season dinner awards which allows the fans to meet the players and staff within Fleetwood Town. And Alexander said he is looking forward to meeeting the fans at the awards: “The playing side of it has ended and we’ve got the two nights to look forward to. We’re going to be meeting the fans and they’ll be meeting us. The fans can see some of the boys who have just joined the club in January time, myself and the staff. These types of events are very important and I’m sure they will be a success.”

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