Column: Where did it all go wrong for the Spireites? Where do you start?

The lady with the fuller figure might not yet have sung, but she's standing centre stage and just took a deep breath in.

Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:35 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:01 am
Oxford Utd celebrate. Picture by Stephen Buckley/ Football, League 1, Chesterfield v Oxford United; 25/02/2017 KO 3.00pm Proact stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe; 07973 739229

Some will claim to have heard her first note weeks ago, but despite Tuesday ’s results leaving Chesterfield 11 points from safety, it’s still not mathematically impossible for them to survive.

It’s just highly improbable.

You could fill just about every page of this week’s Derbyshire Times with debate on where it all went wrong.

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Listing the injuries would take up a good number of column inches.

But results against the other nine sides in League One’s bottom 10 tell a story.

In 14 games, facing the other ‘strugglers’ Chesterfield have emerged with just 12 points.

They’ve let 30 points slip away, points that would have elevated their position and harmed the very clubs they’re competing with to stay in the division.

And the galling thing for supporters and players alike is that many of those games were close, decided by a single, often late, goal.

It highlights again that goalscoring has been the achilles heel, a problem that has carried on even with the introduction of a new manager and fresh ideas.

Chesterfield have three points from Caldwell’s seven games in charge – and they’ve only scored three times.

It’s almost three months since the Spireites last got two goals in a match.

Ched Evans was supposed to fire them to safety – the hope was he’d be worth 20 goals.

But as I wrote when they signed him, the length of time he had been out of the game made it a gamble.

The injury problems he’s had this season suggest that his return to regular football has taken a big toll.

A lack of service has hampered him too and presumably the crisis of confidence that has affected so many team-mates hasn’t left him unscathed.

It’s not Evans’ fault that Town are all but down, however.

And although Caldwell’s stock has fallen with some fans thanks to poor results and a poorer choice of words on Saturday, when relegation is confirmed and the finger pointing begins, he shouldn’t feature too prominently.

It’s also worth remembering that the much maligned January loan signings joined a club that was already in the relegation zone.

Berating them, Caldwell or anyone else out on the grass might bring a moment of catharsis but it won’t change the fact that the club’s decline started long before the 2016/17 season kicked off.