The smiles of summer. Day 3 of the ‘7 days of blog’ was intended to be an NFL piece which will now move to tomorrow evening, but as happens sometimes stories just fall into your lap and change the course of things.
This morning was no different, and the news coming out of Chesterfield FC that Martin Allen was sacked as manager was bittersweet for many, relief for others and head shaking from the remaining. Once again, chasing the big money, the ‘bigger club’ has been the downfall of the man known as Mad Dog and maybe this time it might really count against him getting back into football as a manager for good.
Having almost saved Barnet from the impossible last May, the club almost 100% relegated before his arrival, Allen then preceded to underwrite the Bees retained list and then days after resigned, and then announced as the new manager tasked with returning the Spireites to the Football League having dropped into the National League with Barnet.
What Chesterfield saw was a man with a National League winners medal, promotions with Football League clubs and a man who seemed able to pull rabbits from hats, an almost modern day Harry Houdini! What they got was far removed from any of this! Rated by the bookies to be in the title challenge along with Salford City and Barnet, Allen started with 3 straight wins and the rest seemed a formality, but that was as good as it got.
From then on going from bad to worse on a weekly basis is not being fair to that phrase. One win in twenty-two games afterwards is beyond relegation form, the club looking at a third successive relegation into the National League North to join the likes of Stockport County and York City. Bizarrely, and you can see this coming up in quiz questions in years to come, the club enjoyed their best ever unbeaten run whilst at the same time the worst ever run of games without a win, something they’d forgotten they needed to draws into.
You can see why Dave Allen went after his man, Mad Dog has form at this level but the level of signings brought into the football club almost reeked of jobs for the boys. Taking Michael Nelson and Curtis Weston from Barnet, re-signing a further ex Barnet boy in Sam Muggleton, limited in ability, a rocket of a long throw his saving grace. A decent servant for the Bees, Nelson at 38 became one of the scapegoats and hauled off after just 9 minutes on Boxing Day is no way to treat your most experienced player.
The Spireites are well backed by their supporters, evident with the amount who travelled to The Hive back in May despite their side already being relegated. Crowd levels have still been of a good level despite the poor performances being dished up on the pitch, for most it’s amazed them how long Allen managed to stay in a job when things never looked likely to turn around. A decent pay off for him and Chesterfield left sitting in the relegation zone for the first time this season, the horizon currently looks very bleak.
With so much unrest from the terraces directed towards the boardroom, what would a roll of the dice bring? Dave Allen was convinced Martin Allen was the saviour of his club, the fans believed the good times would return but month upon month of broken promises has soured everything. 2018 has definitely been a turning point in the club’s history, where 2019 will take them is anyone’s guess.
And what now for Martin Allen? A sixth time at Barnet? Unlikely, but then I’ve said that before, it’s the only place that works for him consistently but greed and greener grass always gets him in the end, maybe this is one grass too many and his time is done that remains to be seen though, still at least that pay off will see in 2019 quite nicely……..