Chesterfield fans were left stunned last night as the club’s majority shareholder Dave Allen resigned as chairman and director.
The owner made his shock announcement at the start of the AGM at the Proact and promptly left the building as confusion reigned and the meeting was brought to an abrupt halt.
Vice chairman Dave Jones vowed to hold an emergency general meeting within 28 days but the board had no answers as to what would happen next.
As their 150-year-old club faces yet another period of uncertainty and instability and the board meet today to try and thrash out a plan fans took to social media to air their concerns.
Posting on Facebook Stephen Low said: “Fans may think that’s a good thing. But he has bank rolled us for the last five years. Maybe not spent the money people want but if it wasn’t for him we’d have no club. Potentially won’t have now!”
Jon Branson also expressed worry: “Some seriously ill informed comments here about Allen. We were stuffed prior to him coming in stuck at a crumbling ground going nowhere but backwards. He’s put loads in trying to keep us going in recent years having always said he wouldn’t bankroll it like some fans seemed to want and expect. It’s going to be a lot harder going forward without him despite the crowing on here about him leaving. Being owned by the fans isn’t the answer going forward either.”
But Stuart Holmes believes the fans do have a major role to play: “It’s up to the fans now to rally round and get another 1500 on the gates to just keep afloat in the short term .In the long term we need a major investor and for the fans to be patient and not expect any success Ie Promotion for a fair few years.”
A Spireite on twitter took a stoical approach: “Que sera, sera.... Life goes on. If club folds, we’ll have to start all over again. Look how well AFC Wimbledon are doing.....”
Joshua Smith says Allen’s financial contribution should not be underplayed.
“Fans asking whether Allen leaving was, in part, down to treatment from the fans,” he said.
“Calling for him to leave won’t have enticed him to stay! Seems apparent to me contrary to popular opinion he was doing his best to cut payments to directors, including himself, for the greater good of the club. His investments, out of necessity rather than choice, have kept the club afloat and we need to attribute recent successes to that.”
Stewart Oldham on Facebook questioned the long term thinking at the Proact.
“The club isn’t an investment opportunity it’s a business that needs to keep its head above the water line. To do this you need a strategy for success for the club and not the individual. You need to invest in people and infrastructure and yes you have to make each investment work to increase turnover.”
At least one man has a plan however, Jamal Sullivan posting: “I’ve got a big 20 fold accumulator lined up for this weekend don’t worry people.”
There were well wishes from fans of Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United and even the odd vote of sympathy from down the road.
Kyle Bennett said: “Terrible to see this. No club should have to suffer this, from a Mansfield fan.”
With fingers of blame being pointed at fans for supposedly hounding Allen out, the man himself for taking this action and the rest of the board for not giving him the answer he wanted at yesterday’s board meeting, John Sweeting found another target.
“Blame Sky and Premier League, peanuts passed to lower league clubs, absolutely ridiculous,” he fumed.
Mark Anthony Randall summed up his feelings in just a single word: “Doom.”
Steve Brown suggested the club’s problems were of their own creation: “Chesterfield have well and truly hit the self destruct button last 18 months.”
And for John Flint, the outlook is bleak: “1866-2016 RIP. Club’s future entirely in hands of FORMER Chairman.”