Five years of ups and downs but Ian Allinson has loved every second of his St Albans City career

Ian Allinson applauds the fans at the end of the 2015-16 season.

Ian Allinson applauds the fans after victory over Dartford in April 2016 confirmed St Albans City's survival. - Credit: BOB WALKLEY

In among the turmoil of the null and void decision and whether or not games would actually be played, there was a notable milestone for St Albans City manager Ian Allinson. 

It was on February 13, five years ago, that the former Arsenal and Luton Town forward took charge of his first game for the Clarence Park club. 

He replaced Harry Wheeler as Saints boss and found himself in the thick of a relegation battle. But thanks to  

Nine wins in the last 13 games saved their necks and started an up and down ride with the National League South side, although Allinson has enjoyed every second of it. 

"I’ve loved it," he said, "it’s been very good.  

"Last season was a very frustrating year because for every year before we’d been in and around the play-offs.  

"I didn’t expect it as I thought technically, we had a very good team. We just didn’t have enough players who were going to graft and get you over the line.  

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"The first year was just about staying up and you have to thank the players and supporters for the way they got behind the club. 

Lee Allinson celebrates a St Albans goal in April 2016

Assistant manager Lee Allinson joins in the Saints' celebrations after the win over Dartford in April 2016. - Credit: BOB WALKLEY

"When we came in, I think relegation was accepted by everyone and we just needed everyone to believe.  

We had a good side. The team I inherited had good players but they had just lost their way a little bit. We turned that around. 

Junior Morias put St Albans City ahead against Carlisle United in 2016.

The sale of Junior Morias was key in St Albans City missing out on promotion in 2017 says Ian Allinson. - Credit: BOB WALKLEY

"Losing Junior Morias in the next season when we did was the reason we fell away but we had to do what was right for the club and what was right for the player. We will never ever stand in their way.  

"The next two years we were in and around the play-offs and I suppose that’s the biggest disappointment, that I haven't got St Albans into them.  

It would have been nice because it would have given the club, the city and the supporters a chance of getting in the National League." 

That play-off hope just intensifies the frustration around the voiding of the current campaign. 

Saints have lost just once in 15 league games and were sitting pretty for a real tilt at promotion, something Allinson believes was eminently possible. 

He said: "There was still a long way to go. We still had 25 games to play and nothing is ever set in stone. We’d have lost more games and we would have drawn more games but with the squad we have, we will also win games.  

"I’m not saying we are good enough to win the league, that’s a bold statement, and there are some good teams around us.  

"But I do think we have a squad good enough to make the play-offs and if you make them, then it is a lottery.  

"And we’ve seen in one-off games that we are good enough, like the one against Sutton in the FA Trophy. We went toe-to-toe with them and they only went ahead in the 88th minute.  

"Sutton are a very well-organised side with good players but there wasn’t too much between us.  

"That showed me where we are as a club and as a squad.  

"We have come a long way."