Daventry Town chairman turns back clock in bid to avoid drop

Daventry Town chairman Iain Humphrey
Daventry Town chairman Iain Humphrey

Daventry Town chairman Iain Humphrey has turned back the clock in an attempt to stave off relegation from the Southern League after budget cuts led to the resignation of manager Darran Foster.

Humphrey has appointed former Watford and Preston North End striker Allan Smart as the new boss at Communications Park, with former manager Ady Fuller his assistant.

“It’s no secret I saw Mark Kinsella and Ady Fuller as a managerial dream ticket more than three years ago,” said Humphrey.

“But Ady refused to step down as the No.1 at the time.”

This time though Fuller has agreed to act as assistant to Scotsman Smart, who has also played for Northampton Town, Hibernian and Milton Keynes Dons.

“Alan really impressed me,” added the chairman.

“He runs football apprenticeship courses five days a week at Heathrow but is keen to follow his father into management. He holds all the FA coaching badges.

“No new sponsor is putting money into the club and there will be no pressure on the new managers this season.

“Allan will bring in some of his academy players to combine with more experienced men already on the books.”

It is understood that Josh O’Grady and Martin Hutchcox have changed their minds about dropping down three levels to join Coventry United, whilst Tom Berwick will begin a fifth spell with the Daventry club.

Berwick has been offered an out-and-out striker’s role by Smart and Fuller, himself a former England Schoolboy international who later played for Banbury United and Ford Sports before managing both the Town and the Puritans.

It is common knowledge that he won the UCL championship with the Purple Army and took Daventry into the Southern League play-offs at the first attempt in the following year.

The outgoing Foster has since repeated that feat whilst also taking the Town into an FA Cup first round proper at Chesterfield which preceded a £50,000 pay-out.

Smart’s CV though caps those of both Foster and Fuller as he was the subject of a couple of six-figure transfers when representing numerous clubs both north and south of the border after joining Inverness Caledonians in the Highland League.

Preston paid £15,000 for his services, Watford £100,000 and Oldham a massive £225,000 for a player who scored five times for Watford in the Premier League.

In a total of 57 appearances for the current Sky Bet Championship leaders, Smart netted a dozen times including a winner against Chelsea and an equaliser against Tottenham.

Meanwhile his new chairman reckons Daventry will need only another three points to avoid relegation from the Central Division this season but this figure looks optimistic.

A similar tally last season would have sufficed but current backmarkers Beaconsfield SYCOB, AFC Hayes and North Greenford United are made of sterner stuff than recently-relegated clubs Ashford Town and Chertsey.