OPINION: Strong character needed to stamp out fear of another disaster season for Chesterfield

Joe Rowley in action at Hartlepool on Saturday.
Joe Rowley in action at Hartlepool on Saturday.

It’s been the most peculiar and worrying of turnarounds.

Those three opening victories feel like a distant memory, and the Spireites now have failed to pick up points on four consecutive occasions.

It almost feels like the same old story; poor defensive errors, wasted chances and the maximum punishment... You can almost hear the fans screaming in their heads, “when will we learn?”.

In fact, the team appeared to have learned many of the lessons from last season with three games gone, although the performances weren’t perfect, and it’s hard not to feel deflated and hopeless after the defeat at Hartlepool became Town’s fourth on the spin.

The first three games pitched hopes higher than they had ever been in the past few years, but much of this feel-good factor has vanished in the most dramatic of fashions, with the thought of another relegation fight already looming on the minds of Spireites supporters.

As ridiculous as such an assumption may seem so early in the campaign, it only echoes the reality of Chesterfield’s previous three seasons. With two successive relegations under a somewhat calamitous ownership, the fear of another drop down has become nothing more than a reflex reaction, an expectation based on what has already occurred.

The defeat at Hartlepool has most certainly dented spirits in the Chesterfield camp and Martin Allen needs to eradicate any growing doubts within the team to stamp out the fear of another poor season, or even another relegation.

Leaking goals and struggling to take chances have become Chesterfield’s signature failings in recent years, and after three games with an almost entirely new squad, these issues have begun to creep in once again.

Is it a curse? Is it pressure? Whatever the reasons are for the Spireites’ recent shortcomings, they cannot remain looming over the Proact for much longer, otherwise Allen’s self-appointed task of “making the supporters happy again” will become a steep uphill battle within a very short space of time.

What we should be observing from hereon in is the way in which the team responds to such a drastic downward turn in form – whether they hit back and look to prove a point, or crumble and fall apart like last season’s team.

No supporter with their head screwed on properly would have expected an instant return to the Football League, but with the squad the club possesses and a manager of Allen’s experience at the helm, a firm consolidation and an improvement on last season’s catastrophic performances are the very least that the fans can plea for.

A strong will to come back from a poor run of form is the absolute minimum required to get the ball rolling again and prove a point to supporters who are desperate for a change in fortunes.

The quality is there, the strong management is there and the support in the stands has always been there. Despite the comings and goings in the boardroom, Chesterfield have the makings of a successful club, but they need to put the pieces together in the right places to stamp out any more doubts of further misery.

It’s time to prove a point, so why not do it against Orient on Saturday.