Two-time Spireites promotion hero critical of club leadership but calling for unity

Chris Marples, pictured centre holding the Canon League Division Four championship trophy, in May 1985, after the last game of the season.
Chris Marples, pictured centre holding the Canon League Division Four championship trophy, in May 1985, after the last game of the season.

A two-time Spireites promotion hero has called on everyone at the club to stick together in their Football League survival fight.

Chris Marples, who won the Division Four title in his first spell with Chesterfield and the Third Division play-offs in his second, criticised the club’s decision makers on social media last weekend.

The born and bred Cestrefeldian Tweeted: “Each week my fear of my football club going out of the football league is becoming reality.

“Then I see players apologise for poor performances each week. Time to get off social media talking about it and keep hold of Chesterfield Football Club’s league status.

“There’s been too many mistakes from the top over the past 4/5 years. ChesterfieldFC was in the play offs for league one. Now holding onto league status by a thread. These people who have made these changes should hold their head in shame.”

But while the 53-year-old is angry at the club’s decline, he doesn’t believe fan protests are the answer.

He says the club needs a performance from the players that gives them belief.

“I’ve seen on Twitter things about having a protest, but is that going to help the players? For me, it’s not,” said the retired goalkeeper.

“I know the fans want to get their frustrations out, I can understand that.

“But it’s got to be done a different way, I think.

“They’ve got to get behind them.

“At Stockport we were five points adrift with nine or 10 games to go and we actually survived.

“In my first game we played Cambridge on a Friday night. We’re 3-0 down after 20 minutes but came back and won 4-3.

“I think something like that would give them a bit of belief.”

Marples’ association with Chesterfield began as a small boy when he went to games with his dad, who remains a season ticket holder.

The club still means a lot to the family.

“I’m born and bred Chesterfield, I’ve always been a fan,” he said.

“I remember the 69/70 season when they won promotion and I’d have been five or six.

“To win the Division Four championship in my first season as a dream come true.

“I keep a close eye on the results, my dad and sister are at most home and away games and always tell me what’s happening.”

He desperately hopes today’s crop of players can keep the club in the League.

And he’s calling for togetherness.

“To see it now, in this situation where they’re struggling, it’s not looking great.

“It must be on the lads’ minds now, they must be playing with a little bit of fear.

“A lot of them must have waited a long time to get in the Football League, they won’t want to go down.

“For the players, the club, the supporters, everyone, I hope they get out of it.

“They’ve got to all stick together.”