Column: Chesterfield a club at odds with itself?

Chesterfield vs Doncaster Rovers - Chesterfield fans at the proact - Pic By James Williamson
Chesterfield vs Doncaster Rovers - Chesterfield fans at the proact - Pic By James Williamson

Chesterfield looked, felt and sounded very much like a club at odds with itself on Tuesday night.

Some supporters booed at half-time and full-time, and many voiced discontent at various points during the game.

Chris Morgan was seen to approach supporters to explain an incident with a ball boy – an incident that drew the ire of some sitting near the dugouts but ended amicably according to witnesses.

One or two in the West stand directed angry words towards club directors.

And Danny Wilson came out for his post-game press duties and used strong words to plead with fans to get off the backs of the players.

Amongst it all, Wilson was keen to point out that his side had moved a point closer to safety.

That fact has almost been lost in the post match post mortem.

There were a few positives on Tuesday night, like the sight of Drew Talbot and Charlie Raglan throwing themselves in front of goalbound shots, making vital challenges.

Sam Hird was back to his best after a blip on Saturday and the much maligned Gary Liddle was disruptive off the ball in the first half at least, even if he didn’t have the best of nights on the ball.

Gboly Ariyibi, when Chesterfield got him into the action, threatened to take control of the match, at least prior to the break.

But a backs-to-the-wall display was not what the home fans were after.

It’s not what they’ve been after all season, because they expect more. Certainly at home.

Wilson acknowledges that. He knows supporters want free flowing attacking football, but he has his hands tied to an extent by what he inherited from Dean Saunders and the limitations on his spending.

Unless I’m wide of the mark, the boos are not aimed at Wilson or even this set of players. They’re the noises made by a group of supporters fed up with what they’ve been fed since last season’s play-off appearance.

Supporters are effectively issuing their club a yellow card under the totting up process.

The departure of talented players, a failure or inability to replace like for like, desperately poor home form and what is an alarmingly near brush with relegation have all combined to leave the man in the stand unsatisfied.

It’s the full context of the club’s past year that casts a dark shadow over the current situation, recent results and performances.

On the face of it, a draw against a Doncaster side who needed to win isn’t a bad result. That point does inch the Spireites ever closer to League One safety.

Chesterfield are very, very unlikely to finish in the bottom four, but in Wilson’s words they’re still fighting for their lives.

The manager is desperate for the fans to get behind the current squad and help push them over the line.

As it happens, they may well cross the finish line to safety on Saturday, away from the Proact at Swindon, and by the time they return to the turf on which they look so nervous, the result may be largeley meaningless.

If the Bury game on 30th April still has implications for the relegation battle then Wilson’s desperation for fan backing will be all the more understandable.

That will be the biggest home game of the season and the nerves that have been so visible in recent weeks could threaten to leave Chesterfield in the mire.

No one can tell a paying supporter not to boo, not to criticise. It’s their right as a customer, as a loyal fan.

Wilson is just asking for a break, for a pat on the back instead of an accusatory pointed finger.

I don’t think supporters aggrieved and baffled by how far their club has slipped in the short space of a season will ‘get over it’ like Wilson suggested last night, not just like that, not for myriad reasons.

But they may park their anger, cross their fingers and pray that positivity is what will help this squad, right now.

After that, attention can turn to what comes next, and how to right the wrongs of 2015/16,