In goalkeeper Shwan Jalal Chesterfield have a man who knows the secret to winning the National League title.
The 34-year-old has penned a two-year deal at the Proact after being released by last season’s champions Macclesfield.
His 18 clean sheets were undoubtedly a big part of the Silkmen’s success, but Jalal says Macclesfield also had a lot in common with other teams in which he’s enjoyed glory.
“It took a lot of luck, a siege mentality,” he said, on last season.
“I’ve been promoted four times now and this was my first time as a champion, but in all of those times we’ve had an excellent dressing room, players who wanted to work for each other, the manager and the staff and we had great backing from the fans.
“Everyone has to play their part if we want the team to be successful.”
The National League will be a new experience for all Spireites fans and a number of the playing squad.
Jalal warns everyone that it won’t be a walk in the park, just because Town are used to competing at a higher level.
And the Spireites can’t afford to overlook anyone.
“You’ve got to expect some very good football,” he said.
“Anyone who drops down seems to think it might be an easy ride, but they get brought back down to earth with a bang.
“A lot of people couldn’t see past Leyton Orient winning the league but look at the start they had. (The O’s were 20th, three pointsclear of the drop zone on 2nd December last year after a 15-game winless run in the National League.)
“We can’t take teams lightly, we’re going to be a big team for teams to play.
“It’s very important that we’re humble and respect every team we play against.”
The Baghdad-born keeper is one of a number of experienced players brought in by manager Martin Allen this summer as he looks to build a side capable of turning around Chesterfield’s ailing fortunes.
When pre-season begins veterans like Jalal, Michael Nelson and Curtis Weston will link up with the youngsters already on the books, including Joe Rowley, Laurence Maguire and Jerome Binnon-Williams.
The stopper says it’s important that the team isn’t exclusively made up of operators who are long in the tooth.
“Last year we had a great mix of youth and experience and a strong spine. With that, we have a great chance,” he said.
“The gaffer wants legs in the team but also people who have been there and done it before, it’s important we get that mixture right.”
And he hopes Allen will be able to put out his best team consistently, as Macclesfield were lucky enough to do.
“Last year I only played with three centre-backs.
“We knew each other’s games like the backs of our hands and that’s what got us the championship.
“We were a small squad, a lot of the players played you got to know the way people do things – it’s vital you get a settled side.”