Cheltenham Town have suffered a blow in their hunt to replace Wade Elliott, with club favourite Steve Cotterill rejecting the chance to take the vacant managerial position, according to Gloucestershire Live.
The 59-year-old is widely considered as the Robins greatest ever manager after guiding them to League One from the sixth tier between 1997 and 2002, a feat which saw the club compete in the Football League for the first time.
Cotterill has churned out a stellar management career since departing Whaddon Road, including stints at Stoke City, Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Bristol City amongst others. He landed at Shrewsbury Town in 2020, where his time at the Salop is widely considered successful. He said his farewells at the end of last season after securing a comfortable 12th-placed finish and a return to Gloucestershire appeared to be on the cards after Cheltenham mutually agreed to part ways with Wade Elliott earlier this week.
It has been reported that his former club contacted with him yesterday to discuss the possibility of a return after a 21-year absence, but Cotterill is said to have rejected the proposition.
Furthermore, it is stated that one of the reasons for the rejection is due to the close relationship he has with Elliott, whom he managed whilst the 44-year-old was a player at both Burnley and Bristol City.
Speaking of his relationship with Cheltenham, Cotterill said;
“I am very aware of the legacy that I left behind at Cheltenham Town and incredibly proud of it.
“They play football in more Cheltenham schools now, which wasn’t an option for me. It was rugby or cricket we were brought up on, with the West Country being a predominantly rugby-orientated area.
“The football club now has its own academy, so there is a route for talented youngsters to become professional footballers in their home town and a definite pathway, as I’ve seen since I left, where young players have come from the academy to join Premier League clubs.”
Newport County boss Graham Coughlan has also been linked with the role, with Cheltenham now having to look elsewhere for their new manager. They will be in search of not only their first win of the season, but their first goal when they host high-flying Stevenage tomorrow afternoon.
Steve Cotterill is considered a hero at Cheltenham Town, but the old saying of ‘never go back’ looks to have played a part here. He is a manager who will be highly sought-after at this level and it is unlikely he will be short of offers throughout the season.
You can’t blame Cheltenham for attempting to lure him back, particularly because of the instant lift it would have given the supporters. They will now focus on their secondary targets and will hope to have someone in place before the trip to Lincoln City next weekend.