Whilst it would have been easy to blog last weekend after Barnet’s relegation was confirmed, I wanted to wait at least until the end of the week and see where the Barnet circus was heading. Then, as it was transpiring that Martin Allen was once again leaving Barnet FC, but leading rumours he was to end up elsewhere it went on hold for a few more days!
As expected and confirmed this afternoon, Allen pitched up to manage the only side to finish below the Bees, Chesterfield! Once again, something else to split the Barnet fan base in two.
When I blogged back in March as Mad Dog arrived for his fifth spell, I remarked then that I didn’t think he was the long term answer and I still believe that now despite the fact of how close he came to helping the Bees retain their Football League status. It can’t be denied that he has the ability to galvanise a club and get it to pull in the right direction, the same goes for the players if they are prepared to listen.
He came in, worked his 8 game contract and left. Many just assumed he would stay and take the club to the title. I have no issue with the players he released, the squad being way too large for league football let alone a level below and lacking in quantity, nor the transfer listing of star striker John Akinde. I believe he needs a new challenge, although following his old boss sideways is not the step to take, Akinde is more than capable to carry on in the Football League with a good pre-season behind him.
The move to Chesterfield on the outside seems extremely baffling. A club that ended the season 92nd out of 92, supporters chanting against the current owners all the way through their final game at The Hive, under an FA investigation and suffering two successive relegations. But to Allen, this is the type of situation he relishes, having gotten Notts County and Brentford away from troublesome areas in the past. This however is a much bigger challenge but one he obviously feels is more up his street than staying at Barnet.
It will be pointed out many a time that his last venture away from Barnet ended with Eastleigh almost getting out of the National League, but in the wrong direction. He also left at a time when supporters were criticising his style of play despite the Bees being in 7th place when he left, hence why I didn’t believe he was the long term answer, surely it would just end up back to square one and wasted time in moving Barnet FC forward.
Maybe having ‘been there and done it’ for Barnet, the appeal just wasn’t there. There appears to be conflicting stories as to whether Tony Kleanthous did indeed offer him a large salary and a bigger playing budget, something we may never know either way. If that was the case Allen’s successor should be able to compete well amongst the top clubs.
While most Bees fans are disappointed at the lack of communication coming out of the club, today might well have been a good time to release a small statement. It doesn’t have to contain anything to jeopardise any future deal that might be in the offing for a new boss., especially as those in the frame seem to be already in jobs elsewhere.
What TK does need to look for is someone who can put the club back on an even keel after the trauma of four managers in a season and FL relegation, stabilise and then push us on further if the ambition is there. The Hive complex is far better than most can offer, now the football on it needs to move up a level and return to the Football League.