Ian Allinson praises 'special' Tom Bender after departure

Ian Allinson has heaped praise on Tom Bender after the defender left Clarence Park after more than six years.

Ian Allinson has heaped praise on Tom Bender after the defender left Clarence Park after more than six years and 250 appearances. - Credit: DANNY LOO PHOTOGRAPHY

Ian Allinson has heaped praise on Tom Bender after the defender departed St Albans City.

The 29-year-old first joined the club in November 2015 on loan before making the move permanent, going to make 250 appearances in all competitions.

The last of them came at home to Tonbridge Angels in the final game of last season, with injury ruling him out of the early pre-season games against Harpenden Town and Stevenage.

Conversations were ongoing at the time but the pair decided to part ways, with Hanworth Villa heavily linked as the player's new home.

The boss said: "He was here when I first walked in and he’s an absolutely tremendous guy and a great player and it is sad to lose him. 

"But you have to look at everything you are trying to do as club. 

"It was a really open and honest conversation that we have been having for three or four weeks and it got to the stage where he needed something in terms of longevity I think.

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"He’s just a special person who gives you everything he has. 

"He actually put it himself that he gives you every single thing that he has got and sometimes it is fantastic and sometimes it’s not so fantastic. 

"But he will always try his hardest and he would run through brick walls for me. 

"I know he was bitterly disappointed to miss the Forest Green game because he had worked hard to get back to full fitness but he was fantastic on the day. 

"He got round the players, got behind them in the changing room and got behind them in the dug-out. 

"Sometimes these things have to come to an end and it is a shame but sometimes you have to move on and look what’s best for the club in the long term."

The City manager is now looking at life after Bender and admitted the departure would mean dipping into the transfer market for a defender, with one potential deal already in the pipeline.

"I think we have to," said Allinson. "At the moment we are short in that area and I’m probably over-playing Callum, Joy and Michael. 

"Hopefully there is something we can do by the end of next week but that is something I am working with another club. 

"That will be more of a loan deal until Christmas. 

"If we can’t do something, we’ll certainly be out looking for some cover."

Saints' latest pre-season friendly came in the now traditional Allinson derby as they travelled to Hendon, managed by Ian's son Lee.

And it ended in a second defeat, an Isaac Galliford goal on three minutes giving the Greens a 1-0 success.