COLUMN: The Kristian Dennis move to Notts County is a win-win-win situation
Chesterfield have made the best of a bad situation by selling Kristian Dennis to Notts County.
The deal is the best move for all parties.
Dennis, quite rightly, wanted to play in the Football League – he spent six years grafting in non-league to get there and wants to spend more than two years in the ‘big leagues.’
He’s earned that right, by outscoring all of his Chesterfield team-mates in both of his seasons at the Proact.
His first impressive achievement was notching double figures in a team that finished bottom of League One, outshining strikers of far greater experience and higher profile in Ched Evans and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
In the 2017/18 campaign, one that was every bit as miserable as the one that preceded it, he doubled his output, firing in 21 goals despite playing for a team that struggled desperately to create.
Last season’s scoring feats were always going to attract attention and what would have been a dream move to Bradford City turned to a nightmare late on deadline day in January.
Chesterfield understandably did the right thing by themselves by pulling the plug on that move, but today they’ve done the right thing by the player.
This is not a case of greed, forcing a move for an extra few quid every week, it’s a case of personal ambition.
Had the Spireites refused to let him go, they could well have had an unhappy and unmotivated player in the dressing room, a recipe for disaster, not goals.
This way, they get what could well be in the region of £150k for a 28-year-old player who arrived on a free transfer two years ago.
And by doing business so early in the summer, it allows boss Martin Allen to plan his own moves with a very clear view of what he has and hasn’t got in terms of attacking options.
An opportunity now exists for Gozie Ugwu or a new face to become the hero at the top end of the pitch for Town.
So what are Notts County getting, to complete the win-win-win scenario?
Dennis is not a particularly physical presence up top, he’s not blessed with blistering pace or the height to give him the edge in the air against League Two centre-halves.
But what he does, very well indeed, is finish. Left foot, right foot and headed goals flew in during his time as a Spireite, from inside and outside the area.
And he doesn’t miss penalties.
It’s true to say he comes alive in the box, but that doesn’t make him a passenger when play is anywhere else on the pitch.
He just keeps things simple, in possession, and that can go unnoticed.
When the ball is played into his feet, he’ll fire it out wide and get himself into a decent position to receive.
Last season he also set up four goals, including a sumptuous cross for Andy Kellett’s header that sent the Spireites into raptures at Field Mill.
Out of possession, he’ll make blindside runs until the cows come home and he’s willing to close down goalkeepers and defenders to stop the opposition playing out with time and space.
He does have that little streak of anger running through him that flares up now and again, jostling and exchanging ‘pleasantries’ with centre-halves or goalkeepers, even flicking a boot out on occasion.
Last season brought 10 yellow cars and he has been known to have a thing or two to say to match officials.
When supporters were venting their anger at the bitter end of Gary Caldwell’s reign and a team-mate was engaging with a section of the Kop Dennis was caught on video offering what even amateur lipreaders could tell was an unprintable opinion.
That incident only partly explains the baffling fact that Town fans never really sang his name, despite his knack of knocking in the goals for their club.
What’s really odd however is that this ‘angry man’ persona could not be further from the happy-go-lucky attitude he carries off the pitch.
From a journalist’s point of view he’s a pleasure to interview and speaks as he finds.
He’s evidently popular with team-mates and quick to laugh – even when taking flak from colleagues the minute he walked in the door on the day after the Bradford deal fell through.
What Notts County are getting, above all else, is a man who utterly relishes putting the ball in the net.
Should Kevin Nolan ensure that his new striker enjoys decent service, his reward will be goals.