RUSHALL OLYMPIC FC
RUSHALL OLYMPIC FC
The Pics

JOHN ALLEN

The Pics Chairman made a surprise but none the less welcome return to the Dales Lane hot seat in May 2016 following a nine year absence, after the end of the two season reign of previous incumbent Richard Sneekes. A previous long-term managerial target, he was initially lured away from then Conference neighbours Hednesford Town at the third attempt in September 1997, after succumbing to his burning ambition to become a manager in his own right. Ending over a six-year association with the Pitmen, where was formerly reserve team manager and had gone on to become assistant to former boss John Baldwin at the end of 1993, playing a massive part in Hednesford's meteoric rise up the non-league ladder. Having led Olympic to consecutive 7th place Alliance finishes in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 and winning the club's first piece of silverware for 20 years with a penalty shoot-out triumph over Rocester in the 1999-2000 Walsall Senior Cup at Bescot Stadium, the influential manager guided the club to runners-up in the Midland Football Alliance in 2000-01, but despite the Pic's surpassing all expectations they missed out on promotion to the Southern League Western Division to Stourport Swifts by the narrowest margin of one single goal. During season 2001-02 he began to hand over the managerial reigns to his assistant Kevin Hadley and eventually moved upstairs into the role of club chairman. However, he was still there to oversee Olympic win the Alliance League Challenge Cup in May 2002 and the club finish in runners-up position once more and yet again narrowly miss out on promotion into the Dr Martens League Western Division, this time to Yate Town who eventually won a crucial vote at the end of season 2002-03. August 2003 saw his return to the team manager when the club parted company with Kevin Hadley after deciding that Rushall needed a change to move things in a different direction. The club was then able to enter a period of financial consolidation in order to concentrate on major ground improvement work during summer 2004. However, even working under such constraints the manager was still able to guide his charges to runners-up in the 2003-04 Alliance League Challenge Cup. To focus firmly on the task in hand he decided to step down from the additional role of chairman at the end of season 2003-04 and was now more determined than ever to make a sustained championship challenge in his bid to finally take the club into the higher reaches of non-league football. Indeed, after 7 seasons of trying "Mr Rushall" irrefutably delivered the club's ultimate goal as he led his side to the 2004-05 Midland Football Alliance Championship by a commanding 7-point winning margin (being named as Manager of the Year) and, following an anxious 4-week wait, the Football Association eventually decreed that Olympic's dream had come true as they secured automatic promotion into the Southern Football League Division One West for the first time in their history. The 2005-06 campaign saw him guide the Pic’s to an excellent 10th place finish during their Southern Football League debut, while they also lifted the coveted Staffordshire Senior Challenge Cup for the first time in the clubs history by defeating Stoke City by a single goal at the Britannia Stadium, in what was a marvellous epitaph to the manager, who then stepped down from his managerial role due to increased business commitments. However, he was forced to return back to the hot seat in August 2006 after ex-manager Bob Green’s reign lasted only 6 pre-season games during summer 2006. His last stint as manager ended in January 2007, following the appointment of Paul Holleran, who became the fourth manager at Dales Lane since summer 2006.