Eoin Doyle’s departure presents opportunity for others to shine

Chesterfield vs Port Vale - Eoin Doyle celebrates his spot kick goal  - Pic By James Williamson
Chesterfield vs Port Vale - Eoin Doyle celebrates his spot kick goal - Pic By James Williamson

It’s hard to recall when the sale of one player has divided so much opinion among supporters.

But the switch of Eoin Doyle from Chesterfield to Cardiff City for around £1 million on January Transfer Deadline Day 2015 has stirred up emotion in even the most dormant of football fans.

Sheffield Wednesday Caolan Lavery back in action after his injury

Sheffield Wednesday Caolan Lavery back in action after his injury

The 26-year-old striker has found the back of the net more than anyone else at any other club at any level this season in the Football League and is in the best form of his career to date.

Former Sligo Rovers and Hibs man has become a consistent performer with 25 goals for the Spireites this campaign and 34 in a calender year which saw a Wembley final and the League Two title.

A composed finisher, as his record suggests, Doyle has ice running through his veins from 12 yards out, he was always a willing runner and gave Spireites supporters many happy memories.

Often on the shoulder of defenders, he was a tricky customer for any opponent and came alive around the final third when the ball was played in to either feet. A predator if there ever was one.

Derby vs Chesterfield - Mani Dieseruvwe - Pic By James Williamson

Derby vs Chesterfield - Mani Dieseruvwe - Pic By James Williamson

Doyle is one of a rare bread and the Spireites will miss him, as any team would a striker who has contributed so heavily in front of goal - marginally over 50 per cent of the team’s league total.

It is a stark contrast to the feeling around the club before a ball had been kicked in the summer, when Chesterfield were in hot pursuit of reinforcements to bolster their attacking arsenal.

With 13 goals last term he stepped from out of the shadows and in to the spotlight to lead the Spireites’ charge in the third tier, his goals kept the good feelings going and helped to instil belief.

Chesterfield have built upon that momentum over the course of the first half of the season and become a team challenging for a top six place, occupying fifth ahead of Saturday’s trip to Notts County.

Now the same opportunity presents itself to Armand Gnanduillet, Byron Harrison and new additions Mani Dieseruvwe and Caolan Lavery - two of four new faces at the Proact following Doyle’s departure.

His sale has caused some section of supporters to question whether the price was right for a goalscorer in a typically over-inflated transfer window full of desperate clubs needing a fix.

Comparisons can be made between Doyle and the last man to set the division alight last season, Britt Assambalonga, who finished with 33 goals in all competitions for Peterborough United.

His exploits in front of goal for a Posh side, who met Chesterfield in the JP Trophy final of 2014 and reached the League One play-offs, was a £5 million plus summer move to Nottingham Forest.

Same stage last season, Assombalonga had 22 to his name. Doyle has 25. But a player is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay and that was the best deal on the table.

Spireites chief executive Chris Turner expressed a responsibility, when the club’s playing budget was reassessed in the summer, to take care of the club’s finances to ensure its longevity.

And the sale of Doyle, following that of Liam Cooper to Leeds United earlier this season, contributed to the ongoing costs. Chesterfield ran at an overall loss of £1,063,818 in the last financial year.

Very few would begrudge Doyle the chance to test himself in the Championship against higher league defences and the financial rewards that go along with being part of a team with Premier League ambitions.

It’s just a shame it is in the blue of Cardiff, rather than that of Chesterfield.

Related content: Spireites fans react to Eoin Doyle move to Cardiff City