JIM Cooper admits he was ‘itching to get back into management’ before being appointed the new boss of Grays Athletic.

The former Metropolitan Police chief was named as Jamie Stuart’s successor last week.

And Cooper confirmed he was pleased to move into the Grays hotseat.

“I was really itching to get back into management and, if I’m honest, I couldn’t have hoped for a better job,” said Cooper.

“The way the club is run is exceptional and there is real potential here.

“I had applied for other jobs in the Essex area and hadn’t got them, but I’m pleased after now getting this job.

“I like to play football and, with the attacking players we have already got at the club, we should be able to play nice attacking football.”

Cooper’s first match in charge saw Grays claim a 2-2 draw with Felixstowe & Walton United.

Joao Carlos gave Grays a 10th minute lead in the Isthmian North clash, but Felixstowe hit back with a Jack Ainsley penalty.

Aron Gordon restored the hosts’ advantage at Parkside, but Rhys Henry ensured Felixstowe would notch a share of the spoils.

There was late drama as Mitch Hahn saw red and the visitors missed a spot-kick.

And, having received a warm welcome, Cooper felt there were positives and negatives to take from the draw.

“I got a fantastic reception from the players and the fans,” added Cooper.

“The fans were very welcoming and the players were a little bit unsure as to what was going to happen, but they soon came round and put in a really good shift on Saturday.

“The performance was a bit up and down. The players tried to adapt and play a bit more football than they perhaps had been before.

“But we defended poorly for both of the goals we conceded and that gave them a foothold in the game.

“It was only the first game and it will take time to adapt.

“Everyone was disappointed at the final whistle but, at the same time, they missed a penalty in the last couple of minutes so we could have got nothing.”