Chesterfield in 'far better shape' than a year ago, says Spireites chief executive John Croot

Chesterfield Football Club is in a ‘far better shape’ than it was a year ago and fans are starting to ‘dream’ again, says Spireites chief executive John Croot.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 2:36 pm

The community trust took over the club last August and they have stabilised the finances and appointed a talented young manager who led them to a sixth-place finish last season.

And given the challenges the pandemic has brought the owners can be satisfied with the job they have done so far.

“It has been a season like no other,” Croot told the DT.

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John Croot spoke to the DT following a trophy presentation after the Spireites won ‘Planet Super League’, a unique national football tournament where fans score goals for their club by completing planet-protecting activities.
John Croot spoke to the DT following a trophy presentation after the Spireites won ‘Planet Super League’, a unique national football tournament where fans score goals for their club by completing planet-protecting activities.

“But, all in all, the club is in far better shape than it was at the start of the season, that is for sure, on and off the pitch.

“We have made great strides in all directions, the club is pulling together all as one, fans as well, but there is still plenty of work to do, we are not where we want to be."

The improvement in performances and results last season has captured the imagination of fans who are starting to believe again.

“The sad thing is that the 12th man were missing last season,” Croot said. “We finished sixth without fans coming in, where would we have finished if we had had our fans with us?”

“Season ticket sales are going great, we have still got a few weeks to go yet.

“People are coming in and saying ‘I have not had one for a long time’ and not just a few years, it is going back 10 or 15.

“We are exceeding sales from what we did the year before last.

“We really seem to have got people dreaming again which is great.”

When asked how that makes him feel, Croot added: “It makes me feel proud, this is my club really, I have never supported anybody else, I stood on the Kop at 14 or 15 at Saltergate, stood on the away end at places like Torquay and Hartlepool.

“It is great what we have done so far but we have got plenty to do yet and the board realise that.”

The club is not resting on its laurels and manager James Rowe has already made two new signings with more expected in the coming weeks.

Croot joked: “I almost daren’t answer my phone to him!

“We are always trying and looking to improve things.

“The vast majority of the squad have come in early this year, and we did that to give James the best chance of getting us a good spot in this coming season.

“He has got a budget we feel we can challenge with, and James does as well.

“James has been given support from the board but he has used the money wisely as well which is great.”

Off the field, new sponsors have come forward and the new kit will be on sale in the club shop in the next few weeks.

When asked for a message for the fans, Croot told the DT: “I would say that it is a community club now. We are playing an exciting brand of football, we have got a great, exciting manager who has brought some good players in so come down and give us a chance.”

*John Croot was speaking to the Derbyshire Times after the Spireites were presented with a trophy for winning ‘Planet Super League’, a unique national football tournament where fans score goals for their club by completing planet-protecting activities like having a meat-free meal, using the car less and taking cold showers.