Liam Mandeville on joining Chesterfield, the Football League club he spurned and the Spireites loanee who recommended the Proact
Liam Mandeville has joined Chesterfield to chase a feeling he last experienced in 2017.
The forward, signed this week on a two-year deal, is a product of the Doncaster Rovers youth set-up.
Still just 22, he's made 98 Football League appearances for Rovers and loan clubs Morecambe and Colchester, scoring a dozen goals.
He's regarded as one of the best homegrown talents to come out of the Keepmoat in recent years.
READ: The inside track on the new SpireiteAnd yet this summer he experienced, albeit briefly, the life of a free agent, when Rovers released him.
It was something he was prepared for.
"To be honest I was expecting it," he said.
"I'd been put on the transfer list by Darren Ferguson just before he left.
"I thought I was going to come in under a new manager and be given a chance but I only saw the new manager once I think.
"From that moment I knew I just needed to have a good season at Morecambe (on loan) and I did.
"I didn't do unbelievably well but for my first full season I thought I did alright."
Mandeville wasn't too stressed about finding a new job because opportunities quickly presented themselves, one of which was in the Football League.
"It's my first experience of something like that. I've always been lucky in that I've been given quite long contracts," he said.
"I had a gut feeling Morecambe would offer me something, which they did.
"I had a couple of bits and bobs here and there, so I wasn't stressing thinking no one was going to come in, it wasn't too bad.
"It was just what the offers would be, more than anything."
The move to Chesterfield came about after a meeting with Town boss John Sheridan.
Whatever Sheridan said during that meeting, and the words of his friend and recent Town loanee Jack McKay, impressed the 22-year-old sufficiently that he agreed to drop out of the Football League.
Although he, like many others, sees little difference between the National League and League Two.
And he's excited about the prospect of playing for Sheridan and his assistant Glynn Snodin.
"I wouldn't say it bothered me that much, no.
"The difference between League Two and the National League these days isn't very big at all.
"You look at some of the teams in the Conference, like Notts County with a 20,000 seater stadium.
"It's a competitive league and I'm looking forward to it.
"I've heard good things about John Sheridan. He left Carlisle in fifth place in League Two to go to Chesterfield, that says a lot about the club.
"Glynn Snodin is well known in Doncaster, I've heard he's a top coach.
"I'm looking forward to working with them."
Ever since the Spireites crashed out of the Football League, new signings have been repeating the 'they shouldn't be a non-league club' mantra.
Mandeville too admits surprise at Chesterfield's current station in life.
But he's eager to help them recover the coveted Football League status and get a second promotion on his CV.
"That's the only reason I'm here to be honest, I wouldn't be coming to just be secure in the National League.
"I'm coming to get promoted.
"I've been promoted with Doncaster before (2016/17) and it was the best season of my life.
"I want that feeling again.
"Like Notts County you don't ever expect a team like Chesterfield to be in the National League.
"I know they were in League One not long ago so it's surprising they're in the National League.
"Hopefully I can help put them back in the League."