VERY few players receive league winners’ medals with different clubs on successive Saturdays ... but Richie Allen is delighted to join that elite group.
Seven days after doing a lap of honour around Kellamergh Park as AFC Fylde’s top scorer in their glorious Evo-Stik First Division North campaign, the striker was enjoying celebrations on a larger scale as a member of the Fleetwood Town squad bound for the Football League as Conference champions.
Allen helped Fylde on the glory trail with 21 goals before signing for Fleetwood in January. He was then loaned back to the Warton-based Coasters, adding six more goals in their final title push.
Richie’s role in Town’s promotion campaign was not quite so key. His appearance from the bench is Saturday’s final match was only his second since rejoining the club he had previously served for 2005-7.
Even so, everyone associated with the Highbury club was delighted to see Allen play a part in the triumphant celebrations after the devastating death of his infant son in January.
The previous week’s celebrations at Fylde took his career full circle – the Coasters had won promotion from the fourth tier of non-league, just as Allen had in his first season with Town in 2005-6.
Allen said: “I’ve always had great support at Fylde but Fleetwood was my first club and you can’t really compare the two.
“This medal with Fleetwood is the biggest I’ve won so far and hopefully there will be many more ... but this is enough for now
“Fleetwood were in the Unibond (now the Evo-Stik) League when I first came here and to come back to this was just magnificent.”
And Allen hopes for more promotion celebrations in 12 months’ time: “I’d love another champions’ medal next year in League Two but we’ll see what happens.
“I knew I was good enough to play at this level, but Micky Mellon and Andy Pilley had faith in me. I want to repay them and show them I’m worth a place here.”
If Allen sounds a little uncertain about his Town future he is in good company. All the players – and not just those out of contract this summer – are due to hold talks this week to discover whether they feature in the club’s plans for the Football League.
Even Town’s most established players face an uncertain few days.
That includes Jamie Milligan, who was delighted to end an injury-plagued season by coming off the bench late in Saturday’s final game of the season.
Milligan said: “We’ve got meetings this week, so at the moment we just don’t know what’s going to happen.
“At the start of this season I thought I was the fittest I’d been. Then I did my knee when (Jamie) Vardy jumped on me celebrating a goal, and it’s been tough to come back.
“The lads who have come in have done a great job, but it was fantastic to get a few minutes on the last day and be here to celebrate.”
Allen’s past and present clubs have wasted no time in fixing their first pre-season friendlies.
Fleetwood will face a Blackburn Rovers XI on July 21 (noon) at Accrington Stanley (who will play a different Blackburn side in the afternoon’s double-header), and then Town welcome Tranmere Rovers to Highbury on August 4 (3pm).
AFC Fylde will play premier division winners Chester in a battle of the Evo-Stik League champions on July 15 (2pm).