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Terry Pierce - Why Martin Allen was right to dump Barnet for Notts County

Published: 12 Apr 2011 - 11:58:44

Martin Allen has been named as the new manager of Notts County, their eighth in just 18 months. There's very little remarkable about that, other then the scary frequency with which the board at Meadow Lane deem it necessary to change the man at the top.

The real story, and the angle that has caused some what of a sharp intake of breath from across the Football League community, is not where Allen is going, but where he is leaving - Barnet FC.

A few weeks back I wrote a piece about Barnet, their fight for survival and their secure future, somewhat irrelevant of division, thanks to the hard work of their chairman Tony Kleanthou and long-standing manager, coach and anything-else-that's-needed Paul Fairclough.

At the time there seemed little chance of the Londoners avoiding the drop out of the Football League but enter stage right, Martin Allen.

Allen started his managerial career with the Bees and found himself back there last month, on non-contract terms.And his impact was impressive, both in its magnitude and its immediacy.

Despite not having a fit senior keeper the day he arrived at the club, Allen guided Barnet to seven points in his three games in charge. His first match back at Underhill was an impressive 2-2 draw against champions-elect Chesterfield, before a resounding win at fellow strugglers Burton and Saturday's home victory over free-scoring Crewe. But Allen, or Mad Dog as he has become known, has now left Underhill to move to Notts County.

The initial reaction in such a situation is to lambaste Allen for a lack of loyalty, and there is no denying that Barnet fans will be massively disappointed, especially considering it is the second time he has left the club at such a key part of the season after moving to Brentford at a similar stage seven years ago. But it's very hard to hold the decision against Allen.

He has a family to support, a mortgage to pay and a new business to steer through challenging times. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that he wouldn't have been earning much at Barnet, and with almost zero job security it is no wonder he jumped at the chance to join a much bigger club on a much better contract.

Is that greedy? No. Almost everyone would do the same. It's a cliche to reel out the 'it's just a job' line but at this level financial security is rare for both players and managers. Very few of them earn enough money to happily take time out of the game, and even less of them receive big compensation packages every time they are sacked for losing two games in a row.

It won't make it hurt any less for Barnet fans but Allen at least gave them a fighting chance of staying up. He should be congratulated for that, and all eyes should refocus immediately on their battle against the drop, now in the hands of former Bees striker Giuliano Grazioli.

And as for Notts County, they will be praying for Allen to have a similar impact at his new club, as without it they could well be back in the bottom tier next season.DSG

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Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.

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