The rise and fall of a football manager

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Leyland FC are on the up - but their promotion celebrations came crashing down to earth with a bang in scenes reminiscent of a famous Wembley final.

The part-time footballers were elated when their reserves team thrashed New Longton Rovers 14-1 to seal their climb into Preston and District Division Two.

Players bundled up manager Graham Cullen in a goal net as they jumped around in jubilation on the pitch.

Unfortunately, Graham tripped in the tangled up net and landed with a crunch on the ground. The manager dusted himself off and tried to carry on with the Champagne-spraying celebrations. But hours later he realised he had broken his ankle in the fall on Saturday.

His unlucky break has echoes of when Arsenal defender Steve Morrow famously broke his collarbone after falling from atop team-mate Tony Adams’s shoulders after he scored in the 1993 League Cup final against Sheffield Wednesday.

Graham, 31, said: “My foot got stuck in the ground and I went down. At first, the lads thought I was messing about and carried on celebrating.

“ I didn’t realise it was broken until I saw my ankle swollen up.”

Graham, of Earnshaw Drive, Leyland, needed an operation at Royal Preston Hospital to put a metal plate in his ankle.

He now faces time off work as a shop floor manager while his foot is in plaster. Fortunately, his boss at Tilemaster Adhesives in Whittle-le-Woods, Mark Kelly understands - he is also the Leyland FC team captain.

Graham, who played for the side until he took over as manager this season, said: “It’s been a bit of a nightmare but it was just a complete accident.

“No-one is to blame.”

Mark added: “It was just a bit of banter that went wrong. I think it’s going to be a while before he goes back to work.”