EDITOR’S COMMENT: DT reporter kicks over a £1m hornets’ nest

DERBYSHIRE TIMES reporter Toby Higgins kicked over something of a hornets’ nest with his exclusive in-depth interview with Chesterfield FC Chairman Dave Allen, last week.

During his face-to-face with The Spireites chief, Mr Allen suggested that Chesterfield Borough Council should write off the best part of a million-pound loan made to his club.

He claims the status and infrastructure that now surrounds the Spireites brings huge benefits to the town. And on that, I agree. There is no doubt that Chesterfield FC raises the profile of this town, and contributes across the board – from economic regeneration to fitness and well-being.

And I’d like to think that in the scheme of things, Chesterfield people would rather have a metaphorical whip-round – chucking in a fiver apiece, say – to save their beloved Blues, than see the club go bust (not that that’s been suggested).

But then I think of the precedent that would set: the council would be deluged with begging letters from all kinds of businesses claiming to need a dig out.

Then there’s the small matter of the club being run by very astute businessmen like Mr Allen, who haven’t achieved all they have by luck and fortune – so my sensible side says ‘no, why should Chesterfield folk line the pockets of people who I for one would like to be a pound behind?’

Perhaps the council could put it to the vote, like the Derbyshire Times has this week in our online poll.

As things stand, public opinion is split as to whether Council Tax payers should subsidise the football club.

Quite rightly people are stressing that should £1m be left uncollected by the local authority, something else would have to give in the community – and that would surely be a PR disaster for Chesterfield FC, but more importantly, deprives EVERYONE of local investment.

But what do you think? Does Mr Allen have a point? Should the town subsidise its football club? You decide!

by James Mitchinson, Editor