Chesterfield's Dave Allen responds to being named 'worst owner' in English football in fans' survey
Chesterfield FC owner Dave Allen has admitted he has made mistakes and says it "pains" him to see the club struggling in the National League.
Mr Allen also admitted “failure” with regards to appointing eight managers in 10 years and added: “One thing remains a priority and that is that I will not be here next season.”
In a statement to the Derbyshire Times the 77-year-old also said that “as a club we all have to shoulder some of the blame, including Ashley Carson and the fans.”
His comments come in response to being voted the ‘worst owner’ in English football in an annual supporters’ survey this week.
More than 3,000 fans from 141 different football clubs took part in the poll, created by Against League 3, at the end of 2019 and the results have just been published.
They were asked for their opinion on the best and worst owners in the country and provided ratings out of 10 for communication, financial responsibility, football operations, stadium upkeep/responsibility, treatment of fans and transparency.
Responses were averaged against the number of supporters who replied to give an overall rating.
A total of 398 Chesterfield fans completed the survey and Mr Allen was awarded an overall score of just 4.47 out of 100.
Mr Allen had been voted the seventh worst owner at the end of 2018 with an overall score of 6.00 out of 100.
The breakdown of the results for Mr Allen:
Football operations: 1.12/10
Stadium development/upkeep: 2.16/10
Treatment of fans: 1.09/10
What has Mr Allen said?
In response to the survey results, Mr Allen said in a statement: “I am aware of the survey and I am aware of the dissatisfaction currently shown by the fans.
“I have continuously put money into the club and never stripped assets out or sold the stadium to myself like some other owners have done.
“When I took over as majority shareholder, I invested in the club and made the new stadium happen. Without my funding, this would have ended up as a totally mismanaged project by the then board of directors.
“It pains me to see where the club is currently sitting and yes, I have made mistakes.
“I also think that as a club we all have to shoulder some of the blame, including Ashley Carson (company secretary) and the fans.
“Some of the ex-managers will tell you that Chesterfield fans are the worst and once they turn on you that is your lot. This is one of the reasons we have had to sack managers but yes, eight managers in 10 years is a failure, but I did not appoint all of these and most of which were well received at the time by the fans.
“I have ensured that I have backed every single manager appointed with a playing budget every season falling within the top three, but it is extremely difficult to run a football club and stadium of the Proact’s size and balance the books with the current footfall on a match day.
“We have an amazing conference and banqueting suite serving some of the best food in north Derbyshire and we still can’t fill that week on week, but another massive overhead to feed.
“Making the numbers stack up now in order to attract a buyer is also proving very difficult, ask the (community) trust.
“But all I can do is work hard to try and leave the club with a new owner and this is my sole mission before the end of the season.
“I have tried for the last three years to try to sell the club, no one in Chesterfield is showing either the funds or the desire to take it on, I still hope the community trust can get it over the line this month.
“One thing remains a priority and that is that I will not be here next season.”
Mr Allen first invested in the Spireites in 2009 and became chairman in 2012 but resigned in 2016.
The majority shareholder put the club up for sale in 2017 and is actively trying to sell it.
Town made the League One play-offs in 2015 but after missing out they suffered back-to-back relegations out of the Football League in 2018.
This season Chesterfield are once again battling relegation in the National League with the club positioned in the drop zone.
Top 10 ‘worst owners’ table in full:
Dave Allen – Chesterfield
Amar Alkadhi – Macclesfield Town
Mike Ashley – Newcastle United
The Glazer Family – Manchester United
Abdallah Lemsagam – Oldham Athletic
SISU – Coventry City
Colin Gordon – Kidderminster Harriers *no longer the owner
Andrew Jenkins / Steven Pattison / John Nixon – Carlisle United
Roland Duchatelet – Charlton Athletic *no longer the owner
The Allam Family – Hull City
Top 10 ‘best owners’ table in full:
Andy Holt – Accrington Stanley
Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha – Leicester City
Paul Ballantyne / Luton 2020 – Luton Town
Carol Shanahan – Port Vale
Simon Sadler – Blackpool
Clive Nates – Lincoln City
Matthew Benham – Brentford
Stephen Lansdown – Bristol City
NSWE / Nassef Sawiris / Wes Edens – Aston Villa
Mark and Nicola Palios – Tranmere Rovers