Sheffield Wednesday: Dave Allen admits he regrets ‘getting involved’ at Owls

Dave Allen
Dave Allen

Dave Allen has revealed in a new book it was a mistake getting involved in Sheffield Wednesday.

In an exclusive extract from Owls: Sheffield Wednesday Through the Modern Era, Allen has lifted the lid on his four-year chairmanship.

Under his stewardship, the Owls memorably secured promotion to the Championship in 2005 via the League One Play-Offs.

But Allen proved to be a controversial figure with some supporters. Tensions mounted between him and the fans group Wednesdayite, who owned, at the time, around 10 per cent of shares in the club.

Allen criticised Wednesdayite for refusing to sell their stake after a proposed takeover by former Everton directer Paul Gregg collapsed in 2007. He resigned later that year.

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Reflecting on his tenure, Allen said: “I enjoyed getting them promoted into the Championship and enjoyed seeing us finish eighth in the league and doing okay.

“There were plenty of nice people there who I had support from, and to this day people come up to me and thank me for what I did for Sheffield Wednesday, which is very nice. “Thanks,” they say, “you had a very difficult ride.” But you know what? My wife never wanted me to get involved and I have to say: she was right.”

Allen, now Chesterfield’s chairman, stayed away from many matches in his last season at the helm. He believed his family had been subjected to abuse from fans at Hillsborough matches.

He said: “We were having a good run, I was putting all this money into the club, and then, three rows down from me [at the ground] a kid stands up in a T-shirt saying ‘F*** off Allen’.

“I had my two grandsons there with me who were about eight or nine at the time. Disgraceful. ‘I could do without this,’ I thought.”

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Allen, one of a number of key players, managers and board members interviewed extensively in the book, cited a breakdown of trust in his fellow directors as the one reason why he left his role. He has not named individuals but he alleged a lack of confidentiality and professionalism.

He said: “To run any business successfully you must have confidentiality in the boardroom and trust in your fellow directors.

“Well, we used to have a board meeting down here [in the offices adjoined to the casino and next to Owlerton Stadium] on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon.

“On Friday night, I’d be in the casino on Ecclesall Road and people would be telling me what had happened in the boardroom. Some directors were discussing it out of the boardroom. Disgraceful.

“After that, I thought ‘that’s it, that’s the final straw.’”

He added: “I think a lot of people get involved in football for the wrong reason. They get involved for the kudos, which is the wrong reason and it can cost you a lot of money.

“And there were people there who weren’t a lot of use to be frank...I’d prefer to finish it there.”

*Owls: Sheffield Wednesday Through the Modern Era is on sale November 1, printed by Pitch Publishing, costing £12.99.

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