Allen explodes back into limelight with stinging criticism for ex bosses and a ringing endorsement for the new one

Chesterfield FC owner, Dave Allen, right, addresses the press conference at the unveiling of Martin Allen, second left, as new manager.
Chesterfield FC owner, Dave Allen, right, addresses the press conference at the unveiling of Martin Allen, second left, as new manager.

Dave Allen exploded back into the Proact limelight on Tuesday with stinging criticism for previous managers and a ringing endorsement for the new one.

The Chesterfield owner, who apart from a few quotes recently uttered to a national newspaper, hasn’t spoken to the press since his exit from the club’s board at the 2016 AGM.

His contribution to today’s proceedings, in which Martin Allen was unveiled as the club’s new boss, was some characteristically eyebrow raising quotes.

From likening recent managerial appointments to a ‘chocolate fireguard’ to criticising the Derbyshire Times’ ‘negative writing,’ he was in bullish form.

But he did express optimism and excitement about the arrival of a man he’s certain will turn things around on the Proact pitch.

Martin Allen is the right man at the right time, in his namesake’s eyes.

“Sitting down with Martin was quite refreshing for me, because he ticked a lot of boxes,” said the majority shareholder.

“I watched them (Barnet) play a couple of weeks before that on television and I think he’d done a remarkable job down there turning round what appeared to be an absolute doomed performance.

“In fact if we’d had him in instead of (Lester) we might have done alright, we might have got out of it.

“He’s got the same personality I have, he calls a spade a shovel and he’s not into political correctness.

“Regarding fitness coaches, his take on that is ‘I don’t need one, I’ll know when they’re fit, it’s when they stop spewing up when they come off the training ground.’

“He’s the right man at the right time for this job, make no mistake about it.”

The aim of this appointment is to stop the rot and the casino magnate has described it as a new era.

“I do think it’s a fresh start,” he told the Derbyshire Times.

“If it doesn’t get a fresh start it will continue falling through the leagues and so we need to stop that immediately.

“A fresh start will mean we’ll cut back everything to the absolute bone, apart from the playing side of the business which has always been well funded over the years.”

The new manager’s predecessors did not enjoy such wholesome praise from the owner.

Allen was scathing of their performance at the Proact, which he believes has culimated in a drop from League One to the National League.

He insists that the post-Paul-Cook-era managers who arrived after the swift exit of Dean Saunders were not of his choosing.

“Paul unfortunately left us because he was offered a lot more money, we’ve had a succession of managers since then, all of whom have been about as much use as a chocolate fireguard, and you can put that.

“I brought John Sheridan to the club, I picked Paul Cook, no one had ever heard of him and I brought Dean Saunders to the club.

“If you look at the records, the win records, Paul Cook comes slightly above John Sheridan, the next one is Dean Saunders.

“There was nothing wrong with Dean Saunders, but a section of the fans didn’t like him.

“But we lost a couple of games and they (fans) turned on him like dogs, so much so that he had to go.

“Then for a while we put it with the academy coach Mark Smith and the board were anxious to appoint Danny Wilson.

“It wouldn’t have been a choice of mine, by the way, but I let the board have their say, so we had Danny Wilson...failure. Complete failure.

“Next appointment after that, Gary Caldwell. I didn’t interview him. I did speak to him once, I asked him what formation he was going to play and I thought well you can’t play that formation with that team you’ve got there. Failure.

“Jack, total failure.

“I had one meeting with Jack, just after the transfer window, I said why have you brought all these young players in, you need at least two experienced players to hold us up.

“Top of the bottom of the matter he couldn’t do the job, but there is this section of fans that think he’s one of our own, they need to get that out of their head.

“Where do I lay the blame? Successive managers have not been up to it.

“Who’s to blame for that? Fans wanted two of them didn’t they?

“They wanted Jack Lester and they wanted Danny Wilson, both complete and utter failures.”

Allen appeared to suggest that likability did not feature highly in the list of traits he believes are necessary to bring success to the club.

“You don’t have to like people to have them working for you, if they’re successful at their job.

“I’d rather have a band full of characters who are difficult to handle, but they make good music.

“At the end of the day you get plenty of work.

“If you have a band full of nice fellas who can’t play, you don’t get any work.

“Martin Allen is a character and he can play.

“He’ll be right for the job.”

Allen firmly believes the supporters will enjoy what they see under the new manager and has called for them to ‘get on board’ and back the manager and his team.

But when asked if there was a chance of a reconciliation between himself and a fanbase who appear to have lost faith in the current regime, Allen railed against negative press and reminded supporters of the importance of his financial support.

“I think one of the problems is you, your negative writing, continually - like Radio Sheffield.

“I’ve just told the guys from Radio Sheffield, you’re the worst thing for a football club, if you’re a football chairman, on God’s earth.

“I don’t think at the end of the day that you do a lot for the football club.

“All my money is in this, if it wasn’t for that, where would they be?

“They wouldn’t have a ground, they wouldn’t have a football club, would they?

“I haven’t taken any money out, you’re constantly looking under stones for things that don’t happen.

“That’s what you’re always doing, I read your write ups.

“If it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t be here.

“I’ve never not supported the club financially, I’ve supported it, I continually have to put money in to pay the wages.

“Where is the problem?

“Okay we’re from Sheffield. Do you know why we’re here? Because no one else had any money to put into it, that’s why.

“It’s as simple as that.”

But he finished by vowing to bring success back to the club that, during his time as owner, won promotion from League Two, captured the EFL Trophy at Wembley and reached the League One play-offs.

“By the way, why am I still here? Because I don’t like failure and I intend to turn it around to make it successful.”