“Nothing beats a game day at Southgate”
Allan firstly congratulations on the new job, can you tell us a bit about how you came to apply?
I’ve always followed the club since I stopped playing. When I saw the announcement that there was a vacancy, the timing was almost too perfect. I met a few people at the club to talk about it and it convinced me that coming back was the right thing for me.
What are your best memories of playing here at Southgate?
Lots of great memories here! My first one is strangely when I wasn’t actually playing for Southgate. I was with Surbiton at the time and we’d had a bit of a slow start (2 draws), this was the place I won my first game after moving down from Scotland.
Also played in an outrageous 4-4 draw when I was with Holcombe, own goals galore in that game!
My favourite memory when actually playing for the club was probably when we beat East Grinstead 3-2 in 2015. It ended up being a pretty disappointing season (we were relegated in the end) but watching Matt Guise-Brown’s last minute PC flick to win it was such a great feeling.
What made you choose to play in goal- and what do you think made you a good goalie?
Both my parents played, my dad played in goal so I followed him into that. I think one of my big strengths was talking to my defensive line.
Looking back now how do you reflect on your time playing for Scotland?
Looking back, I wish I’d made more of it at the time! I played my first game in 2003 and didn’t play again until late 2004. It was kind of like that throughout my career. There were some great memories (2006 Common Games, 2009 World Cup Qualifiers were the two top ones), but I really wish I’d done more to add to my total number of caps.
How did you get into coaching ?
I’ve always been involved with coaching in some capacity. I coached goalkeepers at all the clubs I played at, and when I was involved with the England squads there was more of a wider role to plan with outfield players. I really enjoyed that more ‘whole team’ approach and it led to me eventually coaching at Upminster last year.
Moving forwards now to the present, you are now in the midst of pre-season- how is that going, where-a-bouts have you got to with the squad and what have been your impressions?
I’ve enjoyed working with the squad so far. We’ve got a great group and it’s been tough trying to make selections for the upcoming season.
What are your ambitions for this season and beyond as L1 coach?
Our ambitions will be of course to aim for promotion. We’ll have to see how the league restructuring has changed everything, but we’ll certainly be aiming to be as high up the table come season’s end.
In your own experience which coaches have influenced you and what do you think makes a good coach?
I’ve been lucky to work with a lot of really great coaches through the years.
The likes of Jon Royce, Jami Mulders, Russell Garcia have all had a direct influence on me in the way that I played and understood the game. Others such as Danny Newcombe and Sarah Kellaher were influential in the way they approached the game and their dealing with players. I think having a good balance of knowledge and player management is the key to a good coach.
Do you think have a distinct coaching style or process? Can you talk us through your approach to coaching?
It’s such a modern cliched answer, but I try to give the players a lot of the decision making process. I have no real say in what goes on on the field once we’ve spoken. I’m there to help guide them but ultimately the team will get the result.
Away from Hockey can you tell us a bit more about your life away from the pitch?
I have a 5 year old daughter that keeps my wife quite busy! She loves coming to watch and play so hopefully she’ll be around for matches.
Other than that we like to try and spend as much time together as possible. We’re both teachers so the longer we can spend not focusing on work the better!
Finally what are you most looking forward to as you return to SHC and we start the 2021/2022 season?
I’m looking forward to getting back up for game days! Nothing beats a game day at Southgate!