Gillingham boss Martin Allen heaps praise on Dagenham & Redbridge counterpart John Still
Gillingham manager Martin Allen goes
head-to-head with a man this weekend who helped shape his own
Allen’s promotion chasers meet a Dagenham side
bossed by long-serving manager John Still.
And Allen (pictured) - whose family come
from the Dagenham area - hasn’t forgotten the help which Still
dished out over a decade ago.
“He is a proper manager and a proper man and I
have learned a lot from John Still,” said the Gills manager.
“I went on a course in North London, held at
some veterinary college, which was pretty apt with my nickname,”
said Allen – who is often referred to as Mad Dog.
“I didn’t know who this guy was. He was a
non-league manager and he was big. His trainers seemed to be much
bigger than his feet. He had glasses, a bald head and his top
looked too tight. But he had a smile on his face and it was the
same every day. His tracksuit was old-fashioned but he was the most
popular person there.
“I got chatting to him and had some good
banter with him and I liked him. There was something about him; he
was like an old headmaster, a sergeant major-type character.
“He invited me to Barnet (where Still was
manager). I was a gardener at the time, doing that for a living
once I had finished playing. He invited me in go do some training
sessions. Obviously he didn’t pay me but it was to get me off the
“I used to do Barnet in the morning with John
Still and in the afternoons I went into the posh area of West
London to do people’s gardens to make a living, that’s when I got a
call from Reading (where he joined Alan Pardew and was to become
the club’s assistant manager).
“I have kept in touch with John Still ever
since. He is honest, straightforward and knows a player. He
did brilliant to get promotion into Division 1 (in 2010) and was
remarkable, with the resources he had available. He is just a top
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