Lee Allinson is currently the Hendon FC manager having been appointed last October/November. As a player he played at a variety of clubs in the Hertfordshire area such as Stotfold, Boreham Wood, Arsley Town and Biggleswade town before moving into management. Lee’s first job in management was at Biggleswade for 18 months before joining Hendon FC.
This is your second club in management, what made you want to become a manager?
Most people grow up wanting to become a pro player, I always wanted to be a pro manager. The quicker I could give up playing the game the better. I grew up with my dad managing and it’s always something I wanted to do.
You have at Hendon for just under a year, what attracted you to the club?
A lot of people would look at it and wonder why I left with Biggleswade 7th and Hendon in the bottom 3, but I felt Hendon was the right club. I felt I had taken Biggleswade as far as I could and had pushed the budget as far as it could go. There was something about Hendon, they are the right way and well spoken of in the football world. Hendon wants to grow as a club, but wont spend their way out of this division, but it will build year on year. We have a good group of players here as well, a lot who also came over with me from Biggleswade.
A lot of people have tipped you for the title, how does the expectation play with you?
We have got a lot more respect from teams than last year, but like about 8 other managers in this league, we want to win it. Only time will tell if i can do this, but rome wasn’t built in a day. I think we are 1 or 2 players away from being a very good side who will challenge. Currently we have 4 players out injured now and you never know what is round the corner in football. On the day we are as good as anyone in this division so we will find out what happens.
Is this the most challenging season in football?
We have played a lot of games in a short period, it’s going to be challenging this season and you dont know one week from the next if you are going to have a full squad if someone is ill or in contact with someone. We are lucky to be playing and could lose it at any point.
What are the clubs aims for the next few years?
They want success but in the right way, they won’t put themselves in danger to get to the next level. We have a bit more to work with this season, but i want to bring exciting times to this club just like Gary McCann had with the club during his time here. We need to be right on and off the pitch and the club is a sleeping giant in non-league football. Our gates are up 20% on last year and we are playing good football and exciting to watch.
Must Hendon and other clubs do more for Mental health and community work?
Yes I think they should, Hendon are very good for their work within the community and assisting people with mental health. Here at Hendon,we have a lot of good people off and on the pitch and have a good structure. Everyone is here for each other and issues they might have.
Who is your managerial Idol?
Alex Ferguson, is my idol just for his work during his tenure at Manchester United. But then i must also mention Tony Pulis who was a great manager and did good things at Stoke. I also admire the Cowley brothers for what they have done and their work throughout the pyarmind. Then also Steve Bruce who has always done great work on limited money. Everyone likes to look at Guardiola at City, but I prefer to work with people who have done well with limited budgets, been through hardship but got the best out of their players.
Did Lockdown help you better your coaching?
During lockdown it helped having the time to look at my coaching and the team here. We decided to bring in a new coach, Tom Hart to assist the club. He along with other members of the coaching staff, we worked a lot behind the scenes during lockdown. Recently my wife has been reading a lot of football books and taking notes for me to take into training or game days. With this job, I am always learning and improving and I like being involved in the game. The only thing it hasn’t helped is the feeling of losing.
Do you think the FA were right to void all leagues below Step 2?
I felt it was a shambles,the way it was organised to me. It seemed as if there was no care for football below Step 2, but for all the hard work at the clubs below that had gone in and for the teams that were not promoted. How did teams like Truro or Chesham or Hayes not have the opportunity to go up? It’s also made our division harder as none of the very good teams have changed.
How hard was it during lockdown to keep the players fit and motivated and looking after their mental health?
It wasn’t hard to organise, but it was just adjusting to this new way of life. It was then just being in contact with the players, being positive with them and letting them know i was there at the end of the phone for a chat.
What has been your best moment in management?
It was taking Biggleswade to AFC Fylde and only narrowly losing 1-0. I think we had done enough to get a replay and bring them back to our place. But also beating Brentford B a few weeks ago and winning the London Cup, as they are a very good and organised squad but our squad was very good and did well that night, i was very proud of them.
Any games you are looking forward to/avoid this season?
Brentford B again in a few weeks. Even travelling to the likes of Truro as it’s good for team bonding. I keep telling the players you never know when it will be your last, so take it all in.
Any players we should be looking out for this season?
The two youngsters we have who came on today have a bright future,Luca Allinson and Cheyce Grant. But there are plenty of others who will hopefully have a good season as well and can push on for this club.