COLUMN: A possible ideal management scenario as non-league nous becomes a necessity for the Spireites
Of all the qualities and attributes Chesterfield will look for in their 30-odd managerial applicants, non-league nous must top the list.
It seems likely that the new Spireites boss will be a man of experience, given the outcome of the last two appointments, both youngsters in comparison with some of the veterans they pipped.
He’ll need to be a man with a track record of improving players, because there are 19 still under contract and many have underperformed this season, to put it midly.
A huge portion of the circa £1m budget the club are planning for next season is already taken up, so a shrewd recruiter, someone who can wheel and deal or at least work closely with a new chief scout, is needed.
A manager who knows how to get results in the lower leagues, where playing the percentages is so often king, is vital if this club is to halt its alarming slide.
Someone the fans can warm to would be nice, but it’s not a deal breaker – eradicating a losing culture takes priority over popularity with the fanbase.
And as we’ve seen before at many clubs, even the most divisive of men can gain the respect of a fanbase if they’re producing results.
A glance at the social media debate surrounding the potential candidates reveals that Ronnie Moore is a somewhat divisive figure for Town fans.
There’s no doubting his ability to get results – he transformed Rotherham United and won successive promotions, before steering Oldham and Hartlepool clear of relegation.
In terms of experience, few can match his 900-plus games in charge over the last 21 years.
And he’s managed in non-league football, albeit right at the start of his career with Southport and in his last job, a three-month spell at Eastleigh that ended due to ‘personal circumstances.’
The Spitfires were known to be a big spending side and Moore said in a January 2017 interview: “The money around at this level is a lot more than I thought. I think the teams with the biggest budgets will be the ones who get back into league football.”
Chesterfield are not expected to have the biggest budget in the National League next year, but as we’ve seen this season, sometimes money can be misspent.
The Spireites’ wage bill dwarfed Accrington’s and the two sides will finish at polar opposite ends of the table.
Should he, as many expect, apply for the role, Moore will almost undoubtedly be considered among the favourites.
If knowledge of non-league is seen as vital, and it really should be, there’s another man whose name must appear near the top of the pile.
Nicky Law was a spectator at the Proact on Saturday, scouting for Burnley no doubt.
But his knowledge and experience of life below the Football League puts him head and shoulders above some of the names being touted.
His status as a former player and ex manager of the club, one who led them to a promotion – even if it was during that wretched Darren Brown era – may stand in his favour.
It’s the decade-long reign at Alfreton, following two successful seasons at Buxton, that leaps off his CV most.
That experience, including a promotion to the Conference with the Reds, married to his knowledge of players, means he cannot be disregarded.
Not only will he be keenly aware of the player profile needed for this level, his recent employment as a recruiter of youngsters for Premier League Burnley has taken him to countless matches and expanded an already bursting contacts book.
With Law you get a gaffer and a chief scout rolled into one.
But what of Ian Evatt?
The caretaker boss is one of very few players in recent history who could lay claim to the title Mr Chesterfield.
According to club sources his dedication to the temporary role has been total and his enthusiasm infectious.
His day in a dugout will come, of that there’s little doubt.
This vacancy might have come too soon for the popular centre-half, few would argue that his appointment wouldn’t be a huge risk.
If Evatt were to remain in a player-coach role, learning the management game under the rule of Law, it might be a more ideal scenario for all concerned.
Only Dave Allen can decide, however,and although all appointments are a gamble, I’d tip him to play this one safe and rule out the rookies.