Barnet Football Club


Martin Allen: “Portsmouth rightly promotion favourites”

Saturday’s trip to Portsmouth in EFL League Two is a return to one of Martin Allen’s former clubs and the Barnet head coach has fond memories of his near four years at Fratton Park.
The Bees boss made 36 appearances for the south cost club following a switch from West Ham United in September 1995, but admits he wasn’t the best signing in the club’s long and storied history.
"I was pretty useless when I played there – I’m sure every Portsmouth fan would agree with that," Allen said ahead of Saturday’s visit.
"It’s a nice atmosphere and a club with great history. The manager (Paul Cook) is a great manager and they are the big spenders of the division. 
"They are favourites for promotion and the manager has been a champion so he knows what the score is.
"The crowd is amazing. They never get on the players’ backs and it takes the players a little bit of time to get used to playing in front of that many people.
"I think they are rightly favourites for promotion. It’s sad, to an extent, that they’re in the division. But you are where you are for a reason and there is no doubt, in the future, Portsmouth will be back up amongst it in the higher levels."
Portsmouth proved to be a big part of the next step of Allen’s career as he began coaching while with the Hampshire outfit, juggling a job at Portsmouth with a local youth team.
"I coached Winchester City Under-8s and I took them to Under-9s," he recalled. "I was also Reserve Team manager of Portsmouth. On Thursday nights I had those kids training and on Saturday mornings I had them training.
"Training went from being a kickabout to two hours every Thursday and every Saturday. If they didn’t make it to training they didn’t play. I put everything I had into that team and it was my apprenticeship for management.
"A lot of those Winchester players were supporters of the team down the road that no Pompey fan likes – myself included. It was a special time and I have fond memories of those lads who played for me."
You can watch Martin Allen’s full pre-Portsmouth interview by clicking here.