Allan became Watford’s record signing in 2000, joining from Tottenham Hotspur for £2.5 million. He went on to play under three different managers in this three seasons at the club, making exactly 100 appearances.
Allan now organises Street Football events and spoke to Watford Legends in 2009.
Hi Allan. How did you come to be a Watford player?
I knew there was some interest from Graham Taylor and Watford and that they had been watching me at Euro 2000. Obviously they began discussions with Tottenham and then the move was put to me. I thought it sounded like a very interesting move. They had just been relegated but had been in the Premier League the year before, and were still a quality team with quality players and were a very ambitious club.
It seemed right for me and I liked the idea of the challenge of trying to get back in the Premier League at that time. We started the season well and went 13 games unbeaten but after that, well everyone knows the story now of what happened!
How did you enjoy playing for Watford?
It was fantastic. I must say I had a very good time, especially at the beginning when we were enjoying that 13 game unbeaten run. It was great playing under Graham Taylor but then he left us at the end of that year and Vialli came in. When that happened I thought it was good as it meant we were going for promotion again, we were spending money and new names were coming in. Everyone knows the story with Vialli now and that it did not work out.
Then Ray came in and we went for it again. All in all I had three good years at the club. I have very good memories; the players, the staff and the fans were all great. One game in particular stands out for me and that was my last game for Watford. I was taken off just before the end and the fans all stood up and were cheering and applauding me. It was very emotional for me and I would like to say now it was very much appreciated as well. I can’t remember who it was against or much else apart from that moment with the crowd as it meant so much to me.
As a player it is very important because it means that one way or another, you must have done a little bit right during your time at the club and I thank the fans for doing that for me.
Are there any other games that stand out for you during your time at the Vic?
I enjoyed all of them. I was given the opportunity to move about and score some goals which is always good; it is always special to score goals at Vicarage Road. As for particular games, I remember we played Wimbledon at home and I scored the winner late in the game and it is always nice to finish a game that way.
Did you have any team mates that you were close with at your time at the club?
I got on with all the players. A few I got on particularly well with were Neil Cox, Paul Robinson, Heidar Helguson and Espen. I was in touch with those players mostly, but I can genuinely say we all got on well as a group.
You played under three very different managers at Watford, was there one you enjoyed more for any reason?
Graham Taylor. He was a great manager. I have bumped into him a couple of times since and it is always great to see him. It was a bit strange at first playing under him as he had a different approach and a different way of seeing things but it was always to our benefit. A great man and a great manager.
We then moved on to Vialli. I had played against him so I knew about him as a player, but we were all very curious about him as a manager. It was a difficult time. He spent a lot of money, or should I say he was ALLOWED to spend a lot of money, on players and staff and that meant everyone had to move up a gear.
I remember when he came along we went to a five star hotel just outside Rome for pre-season. My first thought was that we were a first division club; we do not have to go to a five star hotel! It was very nice but probably the wrong picture to paint. Getting Vialli in was probably the wrong move for the club, but from my point of view I played under three very different managers and improved under all of them. Graham and Ray were much more involved on the training ground, but all in all three very different managers.
How did you enjoy playing on the international level?
I loved it. For me, the biggest thing you can do as a player is play for your country. I always enjoyed it and appreciated it very much when I got the call to go and play for Denmark. I was very lucky to have been involved in three big tournaments in Euro ’96, World Cup ’98 and Euro 2000. It is a real honour to get the call to play for your country and get to go and play with your Danish mates.
You start off playing with them as kids and then everyone goes in different directions and sometimes you end up playing against them for your club sides, so to get the call to meet up and play in the same team for your country is great and a real honour. I played 44 games for my country and scored seven goals so I think I did ok.
What have you been up to since you left Watford?
When I left Watford I went to a club in Denmark. A smaller club but still in the top league. I wanted to come down a little bit on the football side of things, I wanted to wind down the training a bit. At the time I was not sure if I wanted to go into coaching or not. That was the easy step for me to make and one that a lot of players take. I done that for a year and found it ok but I was still a little unsure as to what I was going to do long term. I took a break which gave me some time to think about what I wanted to do. I knew that whatever it was I would have to start building a career again as my playing days were gone. I had a lot more freedom than what I was used to. As a player you could never go skiing for a few days or go to visit friends for the weekend. That was a nice thing to get used to.
I then got involved in a street football project called monta.com. It is a project with Edgar Davids, the former Ajax player. He owns part of the company, which is base in Holland. I am trying to promote it in Scandinavia, where I own the rights for it. We also provide the equipment and specialist clothing for it and are trying to make it worldwide. We have the worldwide patent for the clothing which is designed specifically for street football, it is similar to denim. I have spent a lot of time pushing that project and also organising street football events and I still am now. I also help out at the local sports college.
We have actually just approached the Watford Ladies as we have a ladies football team that would like to do a tournament next autumn so we hope to get a game against the Watford Ladies. I have tried helping with that as I do a few hours coaching every week at the college. I am also doing a lot of reading at the moment as I am trying to get the FIFA agents license. That was not something I ever really planned to do but I have had a lot of young players approaching me asking for my help and advice for the next step in their career and want to know what is best for them.
It is happening a lot more to me now so decided it was the best thing to do, and the right thing to do for the people asking me for my help, that I go to get the FIFA license and do it in the proper manner.
You’re a busy man!
Ha yes! I couldn’t ever stand still as a footballer and I can’t stop now! I like it that way though. I own a sushi restaurant as well but I let someone else run that for me now.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Allan, and thanks for playing for Watford.
No problem lads, all the best.
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