OPINION: Allen impresses with Talbot U-turn, whilst Evatt impresses with landing his first managerial job
Five weeks after an experienced and popular trio were shown the door upon the arrival of Martin Allen at Chesterfield, broken hearts were mended when one of them made an unanticipated return.
Forget World Cup fever, forget Ronaldo’s late free-kick against Spain; the sight of Drew Talbot coming back to sign a one-year deal gave us that Friday feeling more than anything else.
With 291 Chesterfield appearances and two league titles with the Spireites to his name, Talbot more than earned the nickname of ‘Super Drew’ over his nine years with the Blues.
Talbot’s tenacity and versatility are assets that were Chesterfield’s to lose when his release was confirmed five weeks ago, but are now qualities to be used to Martin Allen’s advantage after the new boss was convinced to U-turn the defender’s exit.
It’s a deal that no one could argue with: a hard-working, loyal and experienced player with quality well-known to club and supporters and more importantly good enough for a division like the National League.
If the fifth tier is just like the fourth – as many have said – then Talbot will fit in like a piece to a jigsaw puzzle.
Just as we thought we had seen the last of this club favourite in a blue jersey, all of a sudden we are guaranteed another year of crunching tackles, long run-ups for headed challenges, bursting runs, and passion for a club that so desperately needs more characters like Drew.
But whilst we admire the player we have acquired for the third time, we should also give credit to the gaffer, who was convinced to reconsider the club’s decision to show Talbot the door before Allen’s arrival.
The new boss continued to radiate his likeable character by not only trusting the recommendations of others who knew Talbot well, but also by interrupting his own holiday to get the negotiations going at the earliest opportunity.
It has been yet another solid move by Allen who, now with the addition of another high-quality signing, is slowly putting together a promising side ahead of the National League campaign.
Not only is Talbot’s return good for the team, but it is also certainly a crowd-pleaser that will improve relations between the club and its fan base, no matter how small a difference that actually may be.
With this being the first act of Martin Allen’s return to transfer business, the signing sets a promising benchmark for the summer to come.
Now moving away from the Proact and up towards Cumbria, another talking point from Friday for supporters was the appointment of former Spireite Ian Evatt as Barrow manager, only weeks after he was too shown the exit by Chesterfield.
Though opinions on Evatt’s ability to manage at such a level, or even at all, were split down the middle when he put his name in the hat for the Town job, what can be agreed upon is that his no-nonsense approach can certainly be used to his advantage in a league where a no-nonsense attitude is mandatory in order to be successful.
After previously reaching the heights of the National League play-offs, Barrow disappointingly finished one place above the relegation zone last season, surviving by just one point.
Ronnie Moore and former Mansfield and Torquay boss Paul Cox are amongst the managers who have failed to bring the feel-good factor back to the Bluebirds since their fall down the league ladder, proving it would be a significant achievement for Evatt should he make the difference needed to push Barrow back up the table.
Whether Evatt has the ability to change fortunes is difficult to predict, but it’s hard to write him off from a successful spell, no matter the difficult odds he may face, considering his never-say-die attitude. Perhaps no-nonsense football is exactly what the Cumbria club needs.
Although he is no longer at the Proact, we can all look forward to Evatt’s return to Chesterfield next season in the dugout, and wish him all the best for his first official venture into management.