Chesterfield director on Caldwell sacking, interim plan and recruiting a replacement

Ashley Carson, left, with now departed boss Gary Caldwell
Ashley Carson, left, with now departed boss Gary Caldwell

Chesterfield director Ashley Carson said the board owed it to the fans to make a managerial change today following an angry response to the defeat by Accrington Stanley.

The company secretary revealed that Gary Caldwell had asked for more time but he and owner Dave Allen felt they couldn’t wait any longer to start looking for a replacement.

Carson has already had three interested parties contact him about the position and said they will look for someone with experience to take the Spireites away from the drop zone - with a second consecutive relegation ‘unthinkable.’

“I don’t think anyone can be shocked,” he said of this evening’s decision to part company with the former Wigan Athletic boss.

“As I said to Gary we’ve given him absolutely everything.

“He’s said we’ve been brilliant, he couldn’t ask for any more but he’s asking for a few more games - that can’t happen.

“You’ve got to judge what the fans want as well and I’ve said before that it would take a fan decision as well just to tip it over the edge.

“Today, would we have left it another week if it had been a draw? Maybe. But when you get a response like that from the fans today, we owe it to them to call it a day.”

Carson admitted he was disappointed it hadn’t worked out with Caldwell, who was appointed in January but couldn’t save the club from relegation into League Two.

And the possible consequences of the ‘double drop’ were too grave, after such a poor start to the season - the Spireites with just one win since the campaign kicked off.

“Myself and Dave Allen had said eight games, you can’t leave it more than eight games and so on the eigth game we find ourselves second from bottom and that was it, decision made,” he said.

“I’m disappointed, he did interview well, he came in and we had high hopes.

“We don’t want to sack managers, it’s a costly business but we cannot drop out of this league.

“It would be unthinkable.”

In the aftermath of the decision Carson had hoped that Caldwell’s assistant Graham Barrow, who only joined the club days before the start of the season, would take the team.

But Chesterfield will apparently have to find another caretaker boss and also ascertain whether or not other members of Caldwell’s staff with to remain at the Proact.

“I had hoped that Graham Barrow would take over as an interim but Graham has made it clear that he came here to support Gary and if Gary goes, he goes,” said Carson.

“Is he resigning or isn’t he, that’s the question. He’s said he’s not so he’ll either have to work his two months notice or there will be something done.

“He’s made his decision not to assist so we’ve got to sit down and see what the way forward is, over the weekend.

“We’ve got to see what the plan B is before Monday, find out whether the physio is staying, whether the fitness coach is staying - I’m not too sure at this moment in time.

“They were quite upset about it all, angry, not so sure so I’ll speak to them Monday morning and see what they’re thinking once it’s sank in.”

The decision had barely become public knowledge when Carson began to field calls from managers looking to apply.

But he says it will be a process that takes time.

“We’ve got a good squad here, I honestly think we’ve got a good team.

“I’ve no doubt about it, my phone will start ringing. I’ve already had three people onto me for the job already.

“It will go crazy over the next week but we’re not in a hurry to appoint, we’ll take our time with it.

“Whatever process we did last time we’ll probably triple it and make absolutely certain. There’s not going to be any rush into it.

“There’s already names and rumours but we do need to find a caretaker, I’ll speak to the board and Dave Allen about that and come up with a plan pretty quickly.”

Whoever is to succeeed Caldwell and become the club’s fourth boss since Paul Cook’s 2015 departure will need to have a good working knowledge of League Two and the playing staff at the Proact.

Carson said: “It has to be someone experienced in this league, someone who knows it inside out. I would want someone who knows about our players, has done a lot of homework on us and has a gameplan going forward to get us back up this league.”

But Carson said the club’s head of recruitment and development Guy Branston, who holds the necessary coaching qualifications, would not become manager.

“Guy will help and I think he’ll be expected to muck in. That will be no problem to Guy,” said the director.

“It’s not on the agenda for Guy Branston to take over as manager of the football club.

“He does a great job in what he’d doing and that’s where I intend to leave him.

“In terms of mucking in for a few weeks I’m quite sure he’ll be more than willing to do that but he’s not going to be the next manager.”