The gloss on yesterday was lessoned somewhat by the news of the untimely passing of Allen Batsford – surely one of the greatest managers in non league football history.
The 1981-82 season was the first season I followed the Stones for a whole season. I had started going regularly the last 3 months or so of the relegation season the year before. The side that Batsford put together responded to relegation by sweeping the board in the Southern League and starting the journey that led to the Non League Double just three years later. It was enough to get me hooked.
And it wasn’t just at Wealdstone. Allen is also an AFC Wimbledon icon, as I believe he was the Dons manager when they won promotion into the Football League. He was also manager at Walton & Hersham when they beat Brian Clough’s Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup.
Above all Allen was a lovely man. I remember meeting him when he was guest of honour at one of the matches we played against AFC Wimbledon at Northwood.
It is rare that one man can be so revered by more than one Club. In the case of Allen Batsford, the word legend is not out of place. He will be missed and our condolences go to his wife Maureen at this time.