Drastic changes might well be a sign of desperation but maybe Martin Allen isn't so mad after all

The raft of recent changes at the Proact suggest that maybe Martin Allen isn't so mad after all.

Wednesday, 19th September 2018, 11:25 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th September 2018, 11:27 am
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Vanarama National League; Dagenham & Redbridge v Chesterfield FC; 15/09/2018 KO 15:00; Chigwell Construction Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Spireites boss Martin Allen reminds his team to focus

The man who has carried the nickname Mad Dog throughout his career is refusing to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results – the definition of insanity.

In order to get different results, he’s doing something different, with different players.

The arrival of Tom Denton caused a ripple of debate over the Spireites’ potential style of play and his suitability for this club, but this week’s announcements have split the fanbase like Moses parting the Red Sea.

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On one hand you have those who ask for stability, a settled side, those who worry that all these changes are a haphazard, kneejerk reaction, a stab in the dark to try and reignite a season.

Robbie Weir’s naming as captain, only to be transfer listed after 11 games, was described as ‘random,’ ‘desperate,’ and ‘irrational’ by a number of alarmed Spireites.

An argument that rather than ditching players, the Chesterfield management team should coach them to improvement has been put forward in one or two places.

Others have gleefully welcomed the news of Weir’s potential departure from the Proact.

A perceived lack of mobility and Town’s struggle to retain possession in the middle of the park have put the midfielders under the spotlight – Weir in particular given the strife encountered in that area of the pitch last season.

Whether tactics or fitness were to blame, he’s failed to last the full 90 minutes in six of his 10 starts this season.

And while stats never can tell the full story about a player’s contribution to a club’s form, Weir and his fellow transfer listed first teamer Brad Barry have endured a torrid time over the past two years.

They were both relegated with their previous club before arriving at the Proact in the summer of 2017, then failed to prevent Chesterfield from suffering the same fate.

They have, to put it plainly, lost too many football matches and it cannot have been much fun at all.

In Barry’s case, few have come to his defence this week.

He’s a player who got himself needlessly sent off in the game that cost Gary Caldwell his job.

In another vital game under Jack Lester’s management against former club Swindon he was lucky the referee didn’t spot a punch to an opponent’s back.

At Port Vale, in a must-win fixture, he miraculously escaped a red card for an awful aerial challenge in the second minute.

There’s playing with an edge and then there’s being a liability.

If changes needed to be made, and no one will argue that the squad was doing the business, it was always likely to be pre-Allen era players who bore the brunt.

Of the players recruited by Gary Caldwell and Guy Branston only Jerome Binnom-Williams remains a wanted man at the Proact.

It’s a damning endictment, but no more so than a 24th-place finish in the bottom tier of the Football League.

You might well say that Weir and Barry should have gone in the mass clear out Allen initiated upon his arrival, but for whatever reason, they didn’t.

With just under one quarter of the National League season gone, the manager has evidently seen enough to prompt significant change and these are the decisions he has made.

Be it financial balancing or performance related, Allen is the one putting his neck on the line with big calls.

One thing you can’t accuse the manager of is being indecisive.

If he feels he’s made a mistake, he’s quick to try and rectify it.

And you can’t accuse the club of not backing him.

If there’s an air of desperation about events over the past week, maybe it’s because there is genuine desperation in the air.

A man with a history of getting results will be desperate to bring to an end this bitterly disappointing run.

The powers that be will be desperate for this managerial appointment to work out, in the way that the past four did not.

Everyone involved, fans and local media included, will be desperate to avoid a repeat of the past two seasons.

If a few drastic changes can arrest this club’s slide and bring a charge up the table, Mad Dog will have restored some sanity for us all.