Who Are Ya? - Chesterfield
How Long Have You Supported Chesterfield?
Started going in 1999 when I played for the academy so used to get free tickets and be ball boy etc back at Saltergate.
Last Season's League Finish?
A rather embarrassing relegation from League 1 where we ended up finishing the season with 1 win in 22 games under then manager Gary Caldwell.
What Do You Think Of Your Manager?
Jack Lester has just taken charge and had his first proper game in charge in the Checkatrade on Tuesday, with us making 5 changes and beating Rotherham's reserves 2-1 away. A positive start, and the man is a legend at the club and his goal scoring record was incredible. One of my fondest memories was a hat-trick at Sincil Bank on a Tuesday night in a 4-2 win.
Hopes/Expectations This Season?
If he can keep us in the Football League with our off the field issues then I think he will have done well. He is talking up our chances, the clubs potential etc but realistically we just need to concentrate on not dropping out the FL.
One(s) To Watch?
Joe Rowley. 17 year old played the last 3 or 4 games last season including man of the match twice, once away at now promotion Bolton in a credible draw. He is just back from an injury picked up in pre season but by all accounts is a real talent.
Top Seven Predictions?
Luton, Mansfield, Wycombe, Exeter, Coventry, Swindon and Cheltenham - not in that order though but based off the starts, and what limited League 2 football I've seen so far.
Bottom Two Predictions?
Will be positive and say Forest Green & Crawley for the drop. Think us and Vale should pick up hopefully.
Thoughts on Lincoln City?
Seems to be a real rebirth in the club last season spurred on by the FA Cup run and promotion. Crowds seem to be well up home and away which is a positive for the City. Think you will have a solid season and be top half in what looks to be a fairly open league. I guess any success will be dependent on keeping that momentum going and keep the brother's in charge.
2-0 Lincoln. I said I'd be positive but Jack isn't a miracle worker and he has a real tough job on his hands. I expect us to improve but it will take time. Our away form is terrible in the last 2 years or so also.
Random Fact About Your Club?
I think we were the last ever side to install Floodlights at our ground. We also have a large number of class keepers from the area including Gordan Banks, Bob Wilson and John Lukic.
What are your proudest and most embarrassing moments as a Chesterfield Supporter?
Seeing us win at Wembley is a dream come true, and anybody who says they don't care about the JPT (probably different now thanks to the FA,FL, PL ruining it) is lying. 22,000 of our fans celebrating was amazing.
Getting to the League 1 play offs under Paul Cook in 2015 will live long in the memory, we were so close and what has happened since to the club is a real disgrace.
There have been a few embarrassing moments, last season in general wasn't great but losing at home to non league sides Enfield and Basingstoke in the FA Cup also were laughable.
Do you have a Supporters Trust and what role do they play at the Club?
The club was fan owned from 2001 with the CFSS on the board but Dave Allen now has full control so any supporters trust isn't as active as perhaps it needs to be considering the decline of the club in recent year. The Community Trust working with the club is a great initiative for both fans, and non fans.
Which was your favourite match involving Chesterfield?
Jeez - a lot stick out. The 2-0 win over Swindon at Wembley was one of my favourites. Call out for beating Man City in the Cup a few years back and the win at Burton in 2014 that clinched promotion back to League 1.
Which was your least favourite match involving Chesterfield?
Honestly could go on for hours so will call out a couple of recent ones. We played Accrington at home a few weeks back, infront of our lowest crowd at the new ground. Negativity was all around the ground, the atmosphere was flat, the game was flat and I felt that the life had been finally completely sucked out of the club by those in charge. I left at half time and felt I may have fallen out of love with the club. It just wasn't enjoyable anymore.
The return of Jack Lester has reinvigorated my passion slightly but more to support the man rather than the current regime.
When Chesterfield were winning two League Two championships, was there any sense that the club was building a financial time bomb?
None at the time, we had a fairly large budget, within the top 6 in the league both times but we were selling players all of the time(over £4m in transfer fees), the off the field hospitality was making a lot, we'd got record crowds up to 10,000 some weeks, had a decent cup run, been to Wembley twice etc so feeling amongst the fans were the club was on the up. How a club could have all of this success on and off the field and end up in our state is testament to the way the club is being ran in my eyes.
The deal allegedly given to Chris O'Grady has been confirmed by Ashley Carson as the most lucrative in the club's history. Were you delighted at the time, or alarmed?
Alarmed - mainly due to his goal scoring record. We've had a couple of these big signings in recent years that have flopped such as Sylvan Ebanks Blake so was hoping this wouldn't be the case. The financial out lay is obviously a show of ambition to try and win back the thousands who have deserted and boycotted in the last 18 months. The early signs re: O'Grady aren't great I won't lie.
Jack Lester is an interesting appointment to say the least. Granted he is a club legend for his playing exploits, but is a rookie manager really the correct appointment with the club staring the National League in the face?
Definitely a split in the fans when his name was touted but seemingly all are behind him. He has done a good job at Notts Forest with the academy and under 23 sides and he looks to have all the attributes to be a good manager. Time will tell, it is a gamble but he certainly will have the fans backing although it will be tough.
Some of the off-field shenanigans such as the infamous James Higgins affair, and the on field embarrassments such as the payment of players by an apparently independent academy, and Liam Graham playing under a false name have dragged the name of the club through the mud. Not so much a case of shooting themselves in the foot, but using a machine gun to do it. How does the club move forward after that?
It is difficult to win back the fans trust, and in many fans eyes Dave Allen and Carson will never earn that back, crowds are well down with many boycotting. We have hired a new CEO to come in and oversee things but it is hard to see past the control Allen and Carson have still and the fact they have overseen embarrassment, scandal and decline at the club.
What would your advice be to a Club that was thinking of moving Ground from an old established one with over 100 years of history, to a brand spanking new one, go ahead or not?
Location is key. The new ground doesn't have a feel of an out of town ground, still close to the town, station, loads of boozers etc. The one thing I do miss is the terracing, love standing on the Kop and the atmosphere just isn't the same. It can be rocking when full but Saltergate just had the edge about it, maybe a bit of nastiness but I liked it!
Following on from the above question, if you could build your new ground again, what would you do differently, and what would you keep?
I'd stick some terracing behind the goal and make a concerted effort to work with the fans to make it a good match day experience, and affordable too.
Who Are Ya? - Chesterfield (#2)