Column: What next for Chesterfield after chairman’s shock resignation?

Dave Allen watches Chesterfield alongside Chris Turner
Dave Allen watches Chesterfield alongside Chris Turner

‘It’s never boring, is it?’

The irrefutable words of an elderly Spireite he wandered out of an AGM that opened with an explosive statement and closed in utter chaos and confusion.

Chesterfield Football Club’s future is once again in the balance after owner Dave Allen’s shock announcement at the Proact this evening.

It was expected to be a spicy affair, fans keen to delve into financial matters and sound off on footballing affairs after revelations of a predicted £1.5m shortfall in this year’s accounts and a desperately poor run of form on the pitch.

But no one, apparently not even the rest of the board, could have predicted the drama that was to unfold at the very start of proceedings.

Majority shareholder Allen, took the microphone to officially open the meeting.

He didn’t need to stand to speak for he was already on his feet, noticeably without a seat at the top table that included CEO Chris Turner, manager Danny Wilson and company secretary Ashley Carson.

They, along with everyone else in the room, were left astounded when less than three minutes into the AGM, Allen announced his resignation as chairman and director.

He made a brief statement, alluding to a meeting earlier today at which he asked fellow directors to waive the interest on their loans, and said it was a sad day, that he couldn’t carry on.

Then he put down the microphone and left the room, flanked by two burly security guards.

What followed was chaotic and at times comical.

The board went into a huddle and came out of it suggesting they had to close the meeting and take legal advice, unable to sign off on the accounts without the presence of the majority shareholder.

Shareholders expressed disgust and demanded the AGM they had come for.

Another huddle, another insistence that no AGM could take place.

One lady was not to be denied, managing to hold the attention of the room long enough to ask why someone was able to flout the stadium’s smoking ban with an e-cig at yesterday’s derby game.

That comic relief aside, vice chairman Dave Jones took the microphone at the request of shareholders and made a less than convincing contribution, answering: “I don’t know, I don’t think so,” when asked if the club would now fold.

Some wanted to hear from Danny Wilson on footballing matters regardless, Jones put it to the manager who perhaps wisely pointed out that the entire mood of the meeting had changed.

Talking tactics would have achieved very little for a 150-year-old club in desperate need of answers and a masterplan to safeguard its very existence.

A penny for the manager’s thoughts however, given the uncertainty that now must surely surround the club’s League One status.

Finally successfully managing to close the meeting after promising an EGM within 28 days, the board left the room to convene elsewhere.

Shareholders remained to talk amongst themselves, most posing one question - what now?

The board themselves don’t know, emerging from their meeting with no further resolutions or statements to make.

Tomorrow they hope to have more information.

Now all that remains is question marks.

What happens to Chesterfield Football Club as a going concern, without the financial input of the man propping them up?

What will Dave Allen set as the terms of his departure?

Can a new owner be found?

Will the wages be paid or any other bills that land on the doormat within the next few weeks?

With so many dependent on the pay packets they receive at 1866 Sheffield Road, you’d hope reassuring answers will arrive swiftly.

Dave Allen’s time at Chesterfield is already being debated and dissected on social media and on a fans message board collapsing under the sheer weight of the web traffic, the number of fans seeking answers.

One thing that can be said for certain is that his departure was as dramatic as any moment in any game Town have played during his reign.

And the consequences far more significant.