Playing budget set to expand

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Chesterfield FC’s hopes of clinching the League Two title may have suffered a blip at Barnet, but behind the scenes the club is preparing for life in a higher division.

The Spireites express looked to be in top gear when goals from Deane Smalley and Craig Davies gave the runaway league leaders a 2-0 advantage at Underhill. But they had to be content with a point after the Bees pulled the match back to draw 2-2.

It left Chesterfield 11 points clear of the chasing pack and the team’s success this term was reflected at the club’s annual general meeting which took place at the B2net Stadium last week.

It was revealed that the playing budget for manager John Sheridan is being increased for the 2011/12 campaign and that new offers to out-of-contract players had already been made.

Season ticket and match day prices were pegged for the move from Saltergate to the new stadium but they will rise for next season.

Season ticket details will be announced before the end of April and the early bird discount – which allows fans to buy tickets at reduced prices – will end on Friday, May 13.

Other elements were discussed which indicate that Chesterfield is clearly a club on an upward curve.

For it planned to install a digital scoreboard – probably in time for the Macclesfield game on Saturday, April 16 – and it is hoped to have an on-site bookmakers for next season to enable supporters to have a flutter before games. And after a question from one female shareholder, it was confirmed that wine will be sold from the concourse bars next season.

In addition, the Family Stand area in the HTM West Stand will be expanded.

After the meeting approved accounts for the final year at Saltergate – which showed a loss of £936,882 – re-elected two directors, John Croot and Ashley Carson to the board and appointed new auditors Shorts Chartered Accountants, there was the traditional question and answer session.

Usually, this extends to well in excess of an hour but with the Blues riding high and shareholders well satisfied, the session was the shortest in living memory, lasting around 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, Sheridan was not happy his men conceded two goals after taking the lead at Barnet.

He said: “It was two points dropped. The two goals we scored were very good but I want to look at the ones we conceded again. I’m not putting blame on anyone, we’re a team and we’ll take it. It was a great opportunity to get the three points.

“The back four did well in an awkward game on a pitch that’s uneven and bobbly with a big slope but the goals conceded were poor on our part.’’

Chesterfield are in action at the B2net on Saturday when play-off hopefuls Port Vale are the visitors.

Barnet match report, plus action photo: turn to page 82.