Manager of winless-in-nine Chesterfield Martin Allen still expects to be backed by the powers that be at the Proact.
But after a ‘shocking’ 3-0 defeat at home to Gateshead, the Spireites boss admitted questions would be asked of him by his bosses.
While Allen offered no defence for the performance, which provoked chants of ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ from the Kop, he did refer to his previous success as a manager and insisted he would get it right.
He said the display was up there with the worst he’s seen from any of his teams.
“It’s a total let down for all our supporters,” said Allen. “I feel let down.
“I’m very, very sorry to all our supporters who came to watch that.
“I’ve said so far this season we’ve played well, at times we’ve been unlucky, not got what we deserved - today was the complete opposite of that.
“That was as bad as I’ve seen a team of mine play. We lacked energy, enthusiasm, pace, power, tenacity.
“We were outrun, outfought, outpaced, outplayed, they were a far better team than us.
“I’ve been doing this now for over 500 games, I think that today was going to rank up there as the worst I’ve seen.
“It was embarrassing.
“I’m hurt, really.”
Chesterfield were 2-0 down at the break but things got even worse in the second half, when substitute Zavon Hines was red carded for what Allen called a ‘diabolical’ tackle, seven minutes after coming on.
He challenged his players to take a look in the mirror and admit their efforts weren’t even close to good enough and admitted the team don’t look fit enough or quick enough, declaring them ‘well short.’
But Allen made it clear he doesn’t believe a change in management will be the answer and highlighted his historical success.
“There’s enough managers on this roundabout at this club.
“We’ll have to all ask the question, do you want another manager, make it a fourth one in a calendar year? Is that great? That ain’t right, that isn’t going to work.
“I just have to walk away from here sometimes and bang my head and remind myself it was only a couple of years ago I won this league, put together a team that won this league. It was only a few years before that I put together a team that won Division Two.
“Both divisions I won as a champion.
“Can you imagine how painful it is for me to watch this?”
Allen expects his bosses’s questions but also their continued backing.
“There’s got to be questions asked, I’d be asking questions.
“But they’d probably be the same questions they asked the last manager and the last manager and the last manager.
“You’re going to keep adding them and adding them.
“A lot of the players here now are my players that I’ve brought in, not all of them, but there’s certainly massive need for improvement.
“I do fully expect it (backing), I will get it right because I always do.”
The manager finished his press conference by pondering aloud if the players are fearful of playing in front of their home supporters.
“I suppose there’s that temptation to go in there and throw cups of tea, rant and shout and scream and blame, hammer everyone verbally.
“But I have to find out why we look physically in second or third gear and plodded through that game. Why?
“When we trained short on a Thursday, we worked hard on Tuesday, were right on it on Tuesday and Thursday, quiet on Friday, full on Saturday.
“Is there fear? Playing in front of just over 4,000 die hard supporters?
“Even today they hardly had a go.
“They’re here every week, they don’t even have a go at the players, don’t even have a go at me.
“If I had paid my money I’d have thrown my Bovril straight at the manager and the players.
“That ain’t good enough to watch, to pay for, who would want to come and watch that?”
And as for the way forward, Allen says he’s got some thinking to do.
“I’ll probably have a sleepless night, try and get my head around it how I’m going to get that group of players to put on a performance that’s going to do our club proud and bounce back with energy, enthusiasm and desire.”