Liam Norcliffe's Chesterfield FC column: Takeover talk will bring feelings of hope and anxiety for Spireites fans

So there is takeover talk surrounding the Spireites again.

Sunday, 13th October 2019, 2:30 pm
Dave Allen, owner of Chesterfield FC.
Dave Allen, owner of Chesterfield FC.

A local consortium held talks with Chesterfield FC company secretary, Ashley Carson, on Friday about a proposed sale of the club.

After the meeting Mr Carson told the DT that the talks were ‘very amicable’ and that ‘further talks are likely in the future’, while a spokesperson for the local consortium said it was a ‘success’ and that Mr Carson was ‘very helpful’ in answering all of their questions.

It is very much at an early stage so there is a long way to go if it is to get across the line.

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Understandably Town supporters are refusing to get carried away this time given they have had their hopes of the club being sold dashed before.

A deal for a consortium to buy the club in the summer of 2018 collapsed.

At the time the DT reported how former Mansfield and Sheffield United player Tony Kenworthy and ex Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United secretary Dick Chester were believed to be two of the men involved in the consortium.

And earlier this year in January a supporter-led consortium withdrew their offer to buy Chesterfield FC, saying changes at the club meant the time was not right to pursue ownership.

The consortium’s statement at the time read: “It is not the end of our interest but the circumstances have changed since my initial offer.

“Martin Allen and co have departed, Graham Bean (CEO) has been appointed and a new manager (John Sheridan) is imminent.

“These circumstances have changed the cash flow for this season to a point where it is not viable for us to be prepared to fund the shortfalls and waste money.

“The door is not closed to us, but the timescale for both parties to conduct satisfactory due diligence is key, with time running out this season.

“However, I can state that monies was not an issue and thank everyone for both contacting me and assisting me in the background.”

While Mr Carson said at the time: “I’m sorry they have pulled out, but the door remains open to discuss further.”

Some Blues supporters do not think that club owner, Dave Allen, is willing to sell but from what I have heard Mr Allen is ready to do a deal.

Given it looks unlikely that promotion will be achieved this season perhaps he is unwilling to wait any longer for a return to the Football League and wants to cut his losses now.

Of course, Mr Allen, 77, is a businessman so he is not going to give the club away for nothing but maybe he is willing to accept a lower offer than what he would have liked initially.

Mr Allen said at the press conference unveiling Sheridan as manager that it was ‘the last chance saloon’, adding: “If this isn’t right, it never will be, because we could not get a better team to get around us than we’ve got at this moment in time.”

Well, 10 months down the line and Chesterfield are currently positioned in the National League relegation zone so is that it for Mr Allen? He only knows.

His further comments he made at the same press conference could shed some light on what he might currently be thinking.

“The best case scenario over the next couple of years, we survive this year, we go to Wembley, a fresh start next year and the aim will be to get out of this league and get back to the Football League,” he said.

“No more than two years in League Two and back to League One.

“I’ll be 80 by then, if I get there.

“We’re not going to be selling the club, we’re going to get the club back into the Football League.”

The Spireites did indeed avoid relegation last season, but they did not go to Wembley (in the FA Trophy) and the aim of winning promotion this campaign is not going to plan so far and it would take a remarkable run for Town to even reach the play-offs.

Having said that, the league is very tight and no team is running away with it.

Just this weekend the top three teams all lost.

As I write this before Tuesday night’s match at Wrexham, Chesterfield are 12 points off the top seven.

But as it stands there is no evidence to suggest a long winning run is imminent.

For now I think we should just see the latest developments for what they are; a local consortium wants to buy the club and they are trying to find out if a deal can be done.

No one is getting ahead of themselves, for who knows this column next week could be outlining why a deal is dead in the water again.

But there is nothing wrong with having a little hope that it might happen, at the same time I'd imagine some supporters are feeling anxious.

The sale of the club needed to happen a long time ago but it is better late than never.

Meanwhile, it will have been a decent week for Town if they can get a positive result at Wrexham on Tuesday on the back of a great win at AFC Fylde.