St Albans City finally able to plan for ‘better’ year

Darren Locke is congratulated by St Albans City co-owner Lawrence Levy

Darren Locke is congratulated by St Albans City co-owner Lawrence Levy - Credit: Archant

Thoughts at St Albans City can finally turn towards next year – after victory over Dartford in their final game of the season confirmed their place in Vanarama National League South.

Ian Allinson applauds the fans at the final whistle. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

Ian Allinson applauds the fans at the final whistle. Picture: BOB WALKLEY - Credit: Archant

Saints had dragged themselves to the verge of safety after an amazing turnaround in the last two months.

But they still needed to win and in front of a season-high crowd of 1,310 they did it in style with a 4-0 success.

Manager Ian Allinson, whose arrival at Clarence Park helped spark the revival, had been unable to plan anything for next year.

That preparation begins in earnest now and the City boss believes the club are in a good position to do better.

He said: “I certainly don’t want to be in the same situation where for the last 10 games we’re fighting a relegation battle. It’s a lot easier at the top and it’s easier to stay there because teams become more frightened of you.

But we’ve seen with the crowd today. Thirteen-hundred people have turned up for a relegation battle and they’ve been absolutely amazing. The potential is here. We can get the crowds in and we now need to get a squad that they can be proud of and get into the top half of the table. And if we get there we can start pressing for play-off positions and I’m sure the crowd will grow even more.

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The biggest thing and the hardest thing is not knowing which league we were going to be in so you can’t plan or prepare. We couldn’t plan any pre-season friendlies because the teams that want to play us might be in the same league as us. It’s been very difficult.

I’ve got a meeting with the owners in terms of what we’re going to do with the playing budget and then I’ve got to speak to the players after that. Hopefully in the next seven to 10 days we’ll know where we are and what we’ve got to do.

“Some players may not want to be here next year and that’s something I’ve got to discuss with them.

“We’ll also look at players we want to bring in. There are one or two players I know who hopefully will want to come but that will be decided in the next 10 days and throughout the summer.

“There are some good players out there who might become available in June.”

Allinson wouldn’t be drawn on what the club can achieve next season, only saying there was no reason for not having “a better season”.

But he did say he has enjoyed his tenure so far.

“Going full-time at Boreham Wood was something that wasn’t right for me and something I feel I’ve missed out on,” he said.

“But coming here has been a breath of fresh air. I’ve really enjoyed it and I’ve been left to get on with it in terms of the playing side and it’s been excellent.”

St Albans co-owner Lawrence Levy was quick to praise his manager.

He said: “You make decisions and sometimes they go right, sometimes they go wrong. History will tell us that the timing of Ian coming in was absolutely superb. He’s done a marvellous job and he’s galvanised the players at the right time.

“I’m a proud man. This football club is on a great footing with a great management team and I’m just chuffed.”

And like his manager, he also said the size of the crowd was an indication of the potential of the club.

“It goes to show the support is here,” he said. “The support in the city is there for the club and this is an example of what we need to do to take the club forward.

“But we’ve got a long way to go to develop this club into something that is modern, sustainable and successful.”