`

Note perfect PR and a charm offensive leads to a warm glow emanating from Martin’s office

Martin Allen met fans in his office this week (Pic: Tina Jenner)
Martin Allen met fans in his office this week (Pic: Tina Jenner)
0
Have your say

If Martin Allen was to leave Chesterfield today and never manage a single game, he could still be lauded for his services to the club.

A six week charm offensive has been spellbinding to watch and done what only a series of victories should do.

Martin Allen, pictured during a press conference at the Proact Stadium on Tuesday.

Martin Allen, pictured during a press conference at the Proact Stadium on Tuesday.

The mood around the Proact has lightened.

It’s not yet two months since the Spireites were losing 3-0 to Allen’s Barnet on a red hot day at the Hive, when the songs from the stands laid bare supporters’ feelings about the board and the running of the club.

At that point, with a relegation to the National League already confirmed, things looked bleak.

A dire season came to an end with yet another beating and it was hard if not impossible to see a way back to the sheer joy of the Paul Cook era.

Obviously, we’re not there yet, not even close.

But what Allen has done in his brief tenure as Town boss has put smiles back on faces.

For the first time in a long time the fans have been receiving, not just giving.

Information in the form of regular press releases, written by the gaffer himself.

The chance to win a place on the bench during pre-season games or travel to an away fixture.

After feedback about the popularity of the Matlock friendly, it was promptly reintroduced to the schedule.

At an upcoming open day the players will, at the manager’s polite request, stay until every last selfie has been taken.

He, quite unnecessarily, apologised for moving the kick-off of a friendly in order to support his wife’s charity swim.

This week the level of fan engagement went through the roof as season ticket holders were brought into the manager’s office and posed for pictures as ‘new signings.’

Allen gave them a 10 minute audience and asked them for opinions on all things Spireite.

One lucky youngster left with a new black shirt as a gift.

In a week or two, the manager hopes to invite fans to training.

In PR terms Allen has been note perfect.

Backing England and agreeing to let Laurence Maguire go to Moscow to cheer on his big brother went down well.

It hasn’t all been done in public – Tommy Lee has revealed a surprise phone call from Allen in which the boss vowed to do everything he could to make the keeper’s testimonial a success.

As far as press access goes, nothing has been too much trouble, even when Allen was abroad.

Alongside all of this he’s gone relatively quietly about the business of a rebuild.

One of the main sources of Spireite chagrin last season was the way things panned out for record wage earner Chris O’Grady.

We can debate why it didn’t work out and the resources thrown at him until the cows come home, but what matters is that the saga is over.

O’Grady left the building this week with no acrimony, no leaks of just how much it cost to get him out the door and no fuss from either party.

Assistant manager Adrian Whitbread was very keen to insist from day one that the past be left in the past.

That mantra is particularly wise when it comes to the failings of last season – what’s done cannot be undone.

O’Grady will, sadly, join the ranks of big-name, big-money signings who didn’t set the world alight and hopefully the club has learned its lesson about two-year deals and making noises about splashing the cash.

When it comes to new arrivals, club statements are positive but understated.

As a League Two club just down the road learned the hard way last season, building up each new signing and touting yourself as favourites only sets you and your players up for a massive fall.

Allen exudes confidence without tipping over into arrogance.

He’s adamant players will do well, but he also tempers expectation by calling his new signings bargains.

There have been no promises of league titles.

If the early recruitment policy could be summed up by the words ‘hardened veterans’ then there was also a nod to the future last week with the arrival of Charlie Carter.

How refreshing to read the lamentations of Woking fans, sorry to see a promising 21-year-old leave, compared with the usual ‘he’s dross’ jibes that follow any player out the door to a new club.

A centre-forward or two and maybe a wide man would just about do it for the 2018/19 squad.

And then it will be time for the football to start again, for optimism to creep back into Spireite hearts.

Allen’s charm has already ensured there’s a good feeling about the place in what is a far cry from 2016’s summer of discontent.

We may yet see another side to the manager, when defeats and difficult questions rise.

The players might even see it this week if they don’t run hard enough.

For now, though, just bask in the warm glow emanating from Martin’s office.