‘I feel like I’ve been chairman three years not three months,’ says Mike Warner

L-R: Chesterfield DoF Chris Turner, club owner Dave Allen, company secretary Ashley Carson, chairman Mike Warner
L-R: Chesterfield DoF Chris Turner, club owner Dave Allen, company secretary Ashley Carson, chairman Mike Warner

Chesterfield chairman Mike Warner has confirmed there is no day-to-day contact with the club’s owner Dave Allen.

Warner, speaking after Chesterfield’s AGM on Monday (February 6) night, was adamant the club is stable but admitted he was a “reluctant chairman”.

He answered questions over CFC Development School, Liam Sutcliffe and apologised to supporters who had been caught up in its administration issues, which he labelled a “shambles”.

CFC Development School Ltd endured £77k debts, staff departures over late payment of wages and threats of legal action over unpaid refunds for a cancelled football trip in 2016.

It was part of a venture, legally separate from the Spireites, called the CFC Player Progression Pathway based at the CFC Village opposite the Proact Stadium on Sheffield Road.

That in turn was part of a business called the CFC International Football Academy - set up by former non-league footballer Sutcliffe and then Chesterfield FC CEO Chris Turner, now the club’s director of football.

Warner said: “The questions about the academy across the road, many people have questions on that, I can only tell you that we’ve gone through it all with honest intentions.

“It seemed a good idea to have an academy across the road that would bring on footballers that we would have first pickings.

“Unfortunately the administration appears to have been a shambles. We are where we are with it.”

A statement released on Chesterfield FC’s official club website confirmed FBT had agreed to acquire “full control” of the CFC International Football Academy, which owned CFC Development School.

FBT, a company belonging to Sir Rodney Walker, bought 50 per cent of the shares of the academy in September. Sutcliffe had also stepped away from his day-to-day involvement with the venture.

“I can only say that I’m sorry (to fans involved),” said Mr Warner. “I personally haven’t been involved with it. I’m not trying to get out of it, I’ve heard snippets of what’s going on.

“We have answered every question tonight open and honestly and we’re trying to have a good dialogue with fans through the media and I know Ashley’s personally met Bob’s Board.

“I don’t know what more we can do. We’re doing the job to the best of our ability.

“If someone’s got £15m and they want to take it off us they’re welcome. I feel like I’ve been doing this for three years not three months.”

He added: “I was very honoured to be asked to be chairman given the length of time I’ve been involved with the football club but in view of the circumstances I’m a reluctant chairman.

“I’d love Dave (Allen) to come back. He never ever wanted to be chairman. He never did want to get involved. He made that clear from the start.

“Now he’s leaving us to run it on his behalf while he considers his options.”