Chesterfield FC in 2018: Too few highs, far too many lows, reminders that there’s more to life and the best thing the club has going for it

Bobby-Joe Luck training with the Spireites (Pic: Tina Jenner)
Bobby-Joe Luck training with the Spireites (Pic: Tina Jenner)

This has been yet another annus horribilis for supporters of Chesterfield Football Club.

In the 12 months of 2018, they’ve seen their beloved Blues win just 12 times.

Chesterfield supporter Peter Stockton with Martin Allen and some of the current squad (Pic: Tina Jenner)

Chesterfield supporter Peter Stockton with Martin Allen and some of the current squad (Pic: Tina Jenner)

The club’s full record over the year isn’t particularly pleasing on the eye.

Fourteen draws and 24 defeats have contributed to an exit from the Football League and a relegation scrap in the National League.

Town have scored 54 goals this calendar year and conceded 69.

The year began with Jack Lester in charge, but by May Martin Allen had occupied the manager’s office.

Chesterfield FC v Wigan, Tommy Lee

Chesterfield FC v Wigan, Tommy Lee

Since Allen came to the club, he’s recorded seven of 2018’s dozen victories and 12 of its 14 draws.

Ten of the 24 defeats have come during his tenure.

It hasn’t been a year of many ups, but the short highlight reel will show the against-the-odds wins at Luton and at home to Notts County, live on Sky TV no less.

The 2-0 coupon-busting victory over Salford is probably the early-Allen-era memory Spireites will choose to take with them into the new year.

What they’ll hope to forget is the away day at Forest Green that confirmed what everyone feared but largely expected, the day the survival bid died.

The sight of an emotional Jack Lester trudging off the pitch, his reign as manager of a club he loves coming to a bitterly disappointing end, is still hard to shake off.

Saying goodbye to the legendary Tommy Lee, forced to retire far too soon, will live long in the memory.

Hitting rock bottom, albeit metaphorically and not literally, in the National League with that awful defeat at home to Gateshead in September, was another dreadful low.

Too many defeats, too many poor signings, too many injuries, too many summonses to Wembley for off-field issues, too much money in the loss column and too many performances that ended in boos.

This was the year that fed-up Spireites protested, at least a couple of hundred of them standing out in the pouring rain to declare their unhappiness at the way in which their club has been run.

It was the year that almost saw the club change hands, a takeover bid coming close to completion before a collapse.

It was also a year of timely reminders that while football is a beautiful game, it’s just that and there are more important things.

Lifelong Town supporter Peter Stockton, inset, brought us all to tears in May with his heartfelt call to Football Heaven and his pitchside bear hug with Ian Evatt, before his sad passing in September.

Brave little Bobby-Joe Luck made us all smile in the same month, when he paraded around with his heroes during the warm-up at the Proact, having one of the best days of his so-far challenging life.

Amid all the turmoil, the angst and the myriad reasons to give up on Chesterfield Football Club, it was a year that saw over 3,000 buy season tickets to watch a National League club and a year in which Town fans continued to turn out in truly impressive numbers both home and away.

Nothing about 2019 at the Proact is certain; not the manager, the players or the division.

But you can guarantee that come what may, thousands of die-hard Spireites will remain the very best thing this old, old football club has going for it.