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COLUMN: Allen doing an impressive building job, now it’s time to tear down

Martin Allen and his staff face questions from Town fans at a Q and A (Pic: Tina Jenner)
Martin Allen and his staff face questions from Town fans at a Q and A (Pic: Tina Jenner)
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Martin Allen has so far proven adept at building, but we’re yet to see how good he is at deconstruction.

The Chesterfield manager has brought in what could be seen as the solid spine of a brand new team at the Proact.

An experienced goalkeeper, two strapping centre-halves and two central midfielders, one of them defensive and one attacking, were his first five signings.

Perhaps Allen is a believer in the old adage ‘defence wins championships’ but regardless, he’s already given Town a solid-looking, physical profile for the new campaign.

At 5ft 11ins, Curtis Weston is the smallest of the first five new signings.

At 26, giant centre-half Will Evans is the youngest of them.

The new boys have been around the block, multiple times in Michael Nelson’s case.

Reliability appears to be a theme – players who have played a lot of football recently, players Allen can trust.

As the manager himself rightly says, there’s nothing to get excited about yet because the actual football and the possibility of winning something is still a very long way off.

But few can have much reason for complaint when they look at the recruitment drive as it stands.

The way the new man operates in general has left little room for discontent among the fans.

He has, thus far, done an impressive job of building a bridge over the chasm that existed between supporters and the people in charge at their club.

Taking control of the club’s media output when it comes to playing matters, taking ownership of the Q and A evening with fans, engaging freely and regularly with the local press – Allen has been tenacious in nurturing those important relationships in the early days of his tenure.

Allen clearly recognises how vital it is to have people on board for the journey to come – something many managers demand without ever really taking the iniative themselves.

But before he can truly build a Chesterfield FC to call his own, he’s got some tearing down to do.

At the time of writing we’re yet to see much in the way of departures, in terms of contracted players.

After back-to-back relegations it was an inescapable fact that wholesale changes needed to be made, particularly when you consider how miserable last season was on the pitch.

The difficulty any new manager was going to have was shifting players with a year left to run on their deals.

Allen quickly identified a group of players he felt should move on, and the second part of the job is getting them out of the Proact.

It’s a delicate, tricky task.

Finding takers for players who underperformed in a relegated side is one thing, finding takers willing to pay something close to what those players earn at Chesterfield is quite another.

For some of that group, a new club might not immediately present itself and the only way to get them off the books will be to pay them off.

It’s surely in a player’s best interests to accept their exit with a reasonable amount of grace, however.

What good would it do a career to stick around where you’re not wanted, simply drawing a wage, playing no football and further hindering a club you failed to keep in the Football League?

Some of these players are going to have to get their head around a drop in level and a drop in wages.

Better that, and regular football elsewhere, than the alternative.

Their exit is the key to unlocking both their own career development and further construction of Allen’s new Spireites squad.