Lee Allinson: ‘Everyone wants to be a footballer but I wanted to be manager’
- Credit: Archant
While most young footballers dream of growing up and playing professionally, Hendon boss Lee Allinson says his focus has always been on making it as a manager.
Dad Ian enjoyed spells at Arsenal and Colchester United as a player before taking charge of several different sides as a manager and Lee has followed in his father’s footsteps.
He took over at the Greens in November after switching from his first managerial post at Biggleswade Town.
That role took him away from being the assistant manager at St Albans City under his dad but he says the family influence has had a huge impact on his life.
“I’m fortunate growing up and having a dad who has been in the game from the day I was born,” he said.
“I don’t really remember him playing. I remember the odd game but I more remember just him managing and being in the changing rooms from four or five years of age up until I started playing for him.
“I started playing as a kid and by the age of 10 I went to Watford until I was 16. I was fortunate enough to be with players like Ashley Young.
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“It’s a really funny one because like Ashley Young I probably wasn’t good enough and they said the same to Ashley and he stuck at it and look what he’s doing now.
“I think I made my debut in senior football for dad in the FA Trophy at Harlow, I was 15 years of age and he had no subs so he just used me as a sub.
“I played for a few clubs then joined dad at Boreham Wood at 23 or 24. I had three really successful seasons there getting promoted into the Conference South.
“From there I went to Arlesley Town, won the league, then went to Biggleswade Town and got promoted with them into the league they are in now.
“I also had a successful spell at Stotfold. Dad didn’t have a job and he went to Stotfold, we won the league, scored over 100 goals and accumulated over 100 points.”
But after sustaining a serious hip injury, something Allinson still says bothers him today, he decided to make the jump into coaching when the opportunity came about at Biggleswade.
“It probably got to a crossroads where I was going to leave to probably step down a level,” he explained.
“I still feel the injury now so I probably wouldn’t have been able to play at all if I’m honest.
“I remember the phone call on a Saturday morning from Biggleswade manager Chris Nunn and he said he wanted to make some changes so I became assistant manager.
“I did about six to eight months and what had happened at that time was dad had left Boreham Wood who were in the Conference Premier at the time and he picked the job up at St Albans City as manager.
“The first thing that he did was come and get me so I did seven months at Biggleswade as assistant manager then I took the jump and did two-and-a-half years at St Albans as assistant manager and thoroughly enjoyed it.
“From there I took a phone call from Chris Nunn to say he was stepping down and Biggleswade were going to call me shortly and they wanted me to take the job and that’s how it came about, going into management.
“Everyone growing up wants to be a professional footballer. I wanted to be a professional manager, that was my goal growing up and that’s what I want to do because I watched my dad manage.”
Allinson enjoyed a successful spell in charge of the Waders in the Southern Central Premier Division but says the time was right to take on a new challenge.
He added: “I think Biggleswade was a huge success, I just felt I took them as far as I can and I’m an ambitious person.
“I feel Hendon can go further and that’s why I took the job and stepped away from a team sixth in the Southern League that I felt could have gone on and won that league this year. They’re a very good side.
“[But] they are a village club, they don’t get massive support and I feel that they are in the best position at the moment.
“Unless they get a huge investor and a lot more people through the gate, I think they’re at their peak.”
The Hendon boss now believes he has a side capable of challenging for promotion whenever football returns and also has ambitious plans for his own future, looking at the success story of current Huddersfield Town managerial duo Danny and Nicky Cowley as inspiration.
“We’ve got some targets and a good side which if we can keep it together, I really believe will kick on and have a good go at trying to get in those play-offs,” he said.
“I grew up knowing the Cowleys really well. They played for my dad for a really long time.
“I’ve watched what they’ve achieved and I believe that if you set your mind right and believe in what you’re doing you have every chance of going that far.
“I believe I can go that far but at the same time I don’t want to be one of those managers that hops from club to club.
“I want to build something with Hendon. I’m very happy and not looking in any way to move on but I’ll never say I don’t want to kick on in my career, the club know that and I want to take them with me as far as we can.”