Biggleswade Town boss Lee Allinson - 'I want players who run through brick walls so we can challenge for the title'
PUBLISHED: 13:47 05 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:51 05 November 2018
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Toby Miles has interviewed Biggleswade Town boss Lee Allinson, read on for CometSport's in-depth interview feature on the highly-rated young boss.
Lee Allinson was always going to be a popular appointment at Langford Road.
Biggleswade have lost once in 12 games - 3-0 to Leiston on Saturday - after an 11 game unbeaten run which left them alongside Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool as the only unbeaten sides in England’s top seven tiers.
Now they’re fifth, and ready for a title challenge, four months into their first season under Allinson.
Battling, passionate, and wildly successful during his four years in a green and white shirt, the vice-captain during the Waders’ best period in their 144-year history never really left, despite joining the St Albans City dugout early in 2016.
During his time as assistant to his dad - Arsenal 80’s cult-hero Ian Allinson - at Clarence Park, he helped steer the Saints from relegation battlers in 2015-16 to play-off challengers in the 2017-18 season, all while managing the Waders’ youth setup.
Then, in April, the door opened for Allinson to take his first manager’s job, at the club he’d ‘always wanted’ to return to as manager. A Biggleswade legend, a youth football expert, enthusiastic, committed, deeply in love with football - ready.
But, his suitability was forgotten at first, because he wasn’t Chris Nunn - a problem for the ‘Green Army’, the Waders’ loyal fanbase.
Nunn had just stepped down after managing for 12-years of reinventing the Waders from step five strugglers to step three mainstays - with a famous run to the FA Cup first round proper along the way.
Speaking to CometSport, the amicable and engaging Allinson explained the challenge of following his former boss: “When I first started, with all the old players leaving and the new ones coming in, it was hard for the fans to adjust.
“Chris had always been their manager and I’ve got different ideas to him. I dress differently, I come across differently.
“I’ve got a fantastic relationship with Chris, he put me forward for the job which was fantastic and we talk two or three times a week. It’s great to have that.
“There’s nothing worse than having bitterness between the new and old managers, it’s good to have relationships and support each other through it.”
As fans spent the summer adjusting to the shock news of Nunn’s departure, Allinson worked hard to impress them ahead of his first season - appointing a talented management team and completely refreshing the squad.
The quality of Allinson’s raft of signings suggested a budgetary increase to many, but it seems the knowledge of the Stevenage-born boss and the well-balanced approach of chairman Maurice Dorrington - non-league’s best, according to Nunn - is what revamped the side.
“Maurice has been brilliant, he’s really supported me,” Allinson says. “I push him sometimes but he also pushes me.
“I’m sure he had a totally different relationship with Chris. I knew Maurice well when I was a senior player at the club and we spoke quite a lot.
“There’s no pressure on any results, he’s always on the end of the phone, and his stance is that I can go and get what I want within the budget.
“The budget isn’t anywhere near what people think. We’ve gone for a lot of players who had fallen out of love with the game, some weren’t even playing. So a lot aren’t on much money but they’re big names in non-league.”
The squad gelled fast and began the season with a 4-2 win over one of the pre-season title favourites, Kings Lynn Town.
In the early stages, some players cemented themselves as regulars or drifted away, and Allinson admitted he’d ‘signed too many players based on their reputations’.
“I like hard runners,” he said. “Players who will run through walls first, but also have a bit of quality.
“I’m a firm believed that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Now I’ve got a really hard working group of players who are all going in the right direction.”
Now, fans have warmed to the all-new squad, with Allinson’s signings beginning to emerge from their player’s lounge and into the bar.
“I feel the gap has closed between the players and the fans,” Allinson said. “It’s become a tight-knit group.
“Why can’t we challenge? If we fail I won’t see it like that.
“I see it as giving it a good go, working extremely hard, and if we keep the squad together for next season we can push on.”