New boss on new signings, departures, his management style and life in the National League
Martin Allen has already identified new signings in key positions for the club he joined as manager today.
The boss had no sooner been unveiled at a press conference than he began to talk about changes to the squad that suffered relegation from the Football League last season.
Having drastically reduced Barnet’s squad during a short rescue mission that almost paid off, it appears he will do the same at the Proact – all in the name of giving long suffering supporters something to smile about.
Allen understands he’s arrived at an unhappy club, referencing supporter unrest.
The five-time Barnet manager was stood on the touchline at the Hive on the final day of the season when Spireites fans spent a significant portion of the game expressing their disapproval for director Ashley Carson.
He has vowed to bring better times to Sheffield Road.
“I think after two relegations, back to back, it’s quite obvious on and off the field it’s not right,” he said.
“I spoke this morning to Ashley Carson who has told me he’s going to take a bit more of a back step, away from the criticism he’s received, which of course has upset and hurt him.
“Supporters are unhappy, they’re disappointed and sad and absolutely rightly so.
“However, surely there’s got to be a time where it can’t carry on like that forever.
“The supporters who buy the shirts and the tickets can’t keep showing up naffed off, unhappy, sad, disappointed, shouting abuse at people, living their lives with a Chesterfield shirt on angry.
“Those people need to see their team winning, they need to be proud to wear their shirt and proud to support Chesterfield with a winning team.
“Once we get that on the pitch, those people can be happier and can make this place a nicer place to pay to watch football.
“That’s not my aim, that’s what I will do.”
Allen arrives at the Proact with trusted allies Carl Muggleton (goalkeeping coach) and Adrian Whitbread (assistant manager) by his side, with a history of getting a reaction from teams.
He’s been parachuted into clubs in strife and guided them to safety, and won titles with both Barnet and Gillingham.
His modus operandi appears to be relatively straight forward – leaving the players in no uncertainty over what is expected from them.
If they buy in, they’ll enjoy life in his squad.
If not, they won’t feature.
“I set the rules out, the boundaries, the guidelines, I tell them my values and I expect everyone to follow.
“If you don’t follow, we have a quiet chat in my office, if they still don’t follow then they just don’t play.
“I don’t have a fine system, I never fine anyone, ever, unless they do something stupid on the football pitch.
“I expect them all to behave like proper, decent, respectable people on and off the field.
“Be professional, give everything you’ve got, fully commit and they will love it.”
Not all of the contracted players at Chesterfield will get the chance to experience the new regime, however.
It’s Allen’s belief that the squad is bloated and with new faces due to arrive within days, space must be made in the changing room.
“Unfortunately I’m not sure everyone is going to (get a chance to impress), because we’ve got far too many players.
“Wycombe Wanderers have got promotion from Division Two with 18 players.
“There’s been times when Gareth Ainsworth has had three or four subs.
“We’re not going to have that amount but we’ve got to reduce the amount of players who are here.
“We will be signing new players next week, new players will arrive that quick because they’re key positions we need to fill.
“We will do that as quick as possible.”
As for the unfamiliar territory in which the Spireites find themselves, the National League, it’s a division Allen won with Barnet.
He wants to replicate the success he and the Bees enjoyed.
“It’s a 10 month challenge, lots of travelling, very competitive football.
“There’s a lot of good coaches, very well organised teams, clubs and supporters who have been in the Football League for a long time look down on that division, they don’t ever want to be there, but I promise you it ain’t like that.
“Once you get going and you get used to it, I loved every minute of it.
“My team at Barnet was top of the league from the first day of the season through to the last, it was a fantastic season, the crowd was packed out every week and they loved it.
“We’ve got to try and do the same here.”
To achieve that success, Allen and his two-man backroom team will be scouring the region for the right players to bring in.
He’s confident their work ethic and his contacts book will be more than sufficient for the task.
“Adrian Whitbread will be living about 15 minutes from the stadium, I will be living about 30 minutes from the stadium and Carl Muggleton lives about an hour from the stadium.
“Between all three of us we will be getting out, we’ve planned it all this morning, clubs within an hour and a half of this stadium we will cover all those players.
“Not Premier League level but mainly Championship and down, we’ll get all those and it won’t take us a couple of months because Adrian is a workaholic, Carl is a workaholic, I had him at Gillingham with me when we won League Two and he gets out and about to watch matches. It will be the same for me.
“I know everyone in this area anyway, I know people in all these clubs, they’re not on speed dial but I can ring them, they’ll all talk to me, I get on well with them and they’ll all like their players to be coming to me because they know they’ll get an honest manager who treats their players very well and very, very fair.”