Ilford hotshot Stevens is delighted to hit 200-goal mark for Fenn’s Foxes

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 September 2015

Ilford's Chris Stevens struck twice in their 5-2 win over Enfield to reach a notable landmark (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Ilford's Chris Stevens struck twice in their 5-2 win over Enfield to reach a notable landmark (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

©TGS Photo +44 8450 946026

Forward full of praise for Allan Fenn for transforming the Cricklefield outfit over the past year

Ilford manager Allan Fenn (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)Ilford manager Allan Fenn (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

When Allan Fenn, now Ilford manager, phoned Chris Stevens in April 2014, the forward didn’t think it would lead to him lacing up his boots up again for the Cricklefield outfit in search of his 200th goal for the Foxes, but the 36-year-old is delighted it did.

Stevens was sitting on a balcony on the Costa del Sol, having not played semi-professional football for a long time, when the call came.

The forward had decided to retire when he was 29 and was content watching West Ham United at Upton Park every other Saturday, but Fenn convinced him to make a playing return.

Fast forward to Saturday with Cricklefield the venue and Stevens finally got his 200th goal for the club during Ilford’s 5-2 triumph over Enfield and he was relieved to finally reach the milestone.

He said: “I actually missed a penalty against London Bari to get it last season, I was gutted!

“Then I missed the end of the campaign because of suspension, but I said to ‘Fenny’ I would give him another season.

“I had a really good chance against Tower Hamlets the other day and was furious I missed it, that was a sleepless night!

“But on Saturday it only took me a couple of minutes to score and I always thought I would go mental when I achieved it, but it was more relief than anything else.”

If Fenn hadn’t been appointed Ilford manager for a second time on April 29, 2014 then Stevens may have just remained as a West Ham season ticket holder.

But Fenn got the job and has completely transformed the Cricklefield club according to the Foxes prolific frontman.

Stevens added: “I got an injury when I was 29 when Kevin Durant was manager, and when I came back he had left the club.

“I just decided to pack it in. I got a season ticket at West Ham and didn’t do anything for five years.

“But ‘Fenny’ gave me a call the April before last and he had been to our Barking game and said Ilford were awful.

“He said we are going to get the club back where they belong!”

That is exactly what has started to happen with Cricklefield much more improved compared to how it looked last season and when Fenn first took over the reins.

Stevens is certain the Foxes will achieve that under the current management, adding: “When we had our first meeting at the club at the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign the whole place just didn’t look like a football club.

“We had no electricity and the bar had no beer in there, it was a bit depressing to be honest.

“But ‘Fenny’ is so dedicated, so focused and determined he has completely transformed Ilford. It looks like a football club again.

“We are a lot more settled now as a squad. Our gates are going up and we will be successful again.”

And what next for Stevens? He said: “The recovery is taking longer now so I think it’s when that takes more than a week I’ll have to pack it in, but I’m feeling fine at the moment and delighted with this achievement.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ilford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Ilford Recorder