Ian Allinson appointment at St Albans came out of nothing

Ian Allinson takes charge of the Saints. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

Ian Allinson takes charge of the Saints. Picture: LEIGH PAGE - Credit: Archant

An off-the-cuff decision was the catalyst for St Albans City appointing a new manager – their third this season.

Former Arsenal and Luton winger Ian Allinson has taken the reins at Clarence Park with former boss Harry Wheeler, stepping down to be his assistant.

Allinson comes with plenty of experience, having been a manager for the last 26 years, and was responsible for Boreham Wood’s promotion to the Vanarama National League last season.

Work commitments meant he was unable to continue in the post when the club went full-time but he returned earlier this season as director of football, something he said he “wanted to try”.

However, an urge to get back into management led him to step down at Meadow Park and give City’s co-owner Lawrence Levy a call out of the blue.

The 58-year-old said: “I decided last week that it wasn’t what I wanted and that I wanted to be back with players.

“It’s not about coaching because at the age I am now, people like Harry is a good coach. It’s about man-management and about getting players into good habits which will bring us results.

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“I put a phone call in to Lawrence Levy on Thursday. I asked him where he was with his manager and he said he was thinking long and hard. It had been hard on Harry.

“We met Thursday afternoon for about an hour and said he would like to speak to Harry and I wanted to speak to Boreham Wood.

“For Harry it’s probably going to be a disappointment but he’s an excellent young coach that probably needs someone with the experience I’ve got.”

Allinson acknowledges it is going to be tough to lift City out of the relegation zone but says desire and hard graft are going to be the cornerstones of any great escape.

He said: “I’ve got no magic wand. All I expect is the players to work extremely hard and if we’re not successful, if we look in the mirror at the end of the season and we’ve all put in over 100 per cent and we haven’t been good enough, then we’ll have no complaints.

“I’ll demand people to be organised, demand them to have respect for each other and I’ll ask them to have some desire and if we can do that, we’ll have a good chance.”

His first game on Saturday against Concord Rangers ended in a 2-2 draw while a trip to league leaders Ebbsfleet United on Tuesday ended in defeat.

And because of the speed of his appointment he is still trying to come to grips with his playing squad and the style of football he wants.

He said: “I certainly feel I’ve had a response in terms of commitment but I still feel there’s along way to go in terms of the areas we’re playing football in. We need to be playing in the final third.

“We can’t defend and hope to hit teams on the counter-attack because at the minute we don’t have the pace. It takes too long to go from the back to the front before we can get bodies forward.

“We’ve got to start getting balls into wide areas; we’ve got to get some crosses into the box and we’ve got to start scoring goals.

“We’re working quite hard to bring a few players in this week which will put us on the front foot. That’s what we need.

“We can’t go and hope we nick games 1-0. Sometimes you have to score two or three.”