ALLEN LEAVES BEHIND HIS CHAMPS
NEW Eastleigh manager Martin Allen, pictured
inset, has admitted it was a wrench to leave Barnet – because of the bond he had with his players.
In his fourth spell as Bees boss, Allen guided the club to the Conference title in 2014-15 and established them back in League Two.
He left with the club lying eighth in the table, just outside the play-off places on goal difference.
“We had good characters, good personalities and a fantastic work ethic, unity and team spirit,” said the 51-year-old. “We didn’t have many players for my last home game, only 15 outfield players and two goalies. But we had camaraderie, unity and honesty – values that were all put in place from day one.
“That is powerful and only time will tell if we can do that with this group (at Eastleigh).”
Allen has brought No 2 James Russell with him and has also been reunited with Bondz N’Gala less than a fortnight after Eastleigh bought the defender for a club record £60,000.
“Bondz is a very special person to me, he’s one of my champions,” he said. “I’m very close to my players and obviously didn’t want to sell Bondz, but the offer was too high to turn down so Bondz moved on.
“So to see him back here today... he’s a really good player and a really good signing.”
Although Eastleigh were 14 points behind National League leaders Lincoln heading into the weekend, Allen believes they can still claim the title. “We’ll see if the teams at the top now can handle the pressure because it’s hard being at the top. My Barnet team dealt with it because we were top of the league from the first game till the last game. “We’ve got to come from behind but we will put a run together and these players will challenge, there’s no doubt about that.” Barnet’s FA Cup exit at Shrewsbury last month meant Allen was looking forward to a rare weekend off before Eastleigh contacted him within 24 hours of Ronnie Moore’s shock exit.
“It was totally out of the blue,” he said. “I was all set for a quiet weekend with plans to see the family, walk the dogs and tidy up the garden for the winter and here we are now, full-on ready for the FA Cup (against FC Halifax today).”
Development team coach Rossi Eames and academy manager Henry Newman have been placed in temporary charge by the Bees.