'Day to remember' - Chesterfield chief executive reveals his reaction to surprise £1m investment by brothers

Spireites chief executive John Croot.Spireites chief executive John Croot.
Spireites chief executive John Croot.
Chief executive John Croot says it was a ‘day to remember’ when he was told two Chesterfield brothers wanted to invest £1m in the Spireites.

Businessmen Phil and Ashley Kirk, who come from a family of Town fans, confirmed their investment at last night’s AGM.

Phil’s background is in the oil industry and Ashley’s is recruitment.

Ashley, who lives locally in Ashgate, will join the board.

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The partnership came about through Spireites chief financial officer, Andy Fantom, who has known them for a while.

Asked by the DT what his reaction was when he was told of the investment, Town chief executive, John Croot said: “It was a day to remember.

"It (my reaction) was ‘wow’ and ‘incredible’.

"To me it just shows the unique place really of the football club.

"As someone who started the community trust, to think that it has led to taking over the club and encouraging someone to come in and invest, is incredible.”

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He added: “I have not known anything like it in my 35 years here.

"They are a family of Spireites and there is no angle to it other than they want to help the club.

"They want to give something back to the town and the community trust.

"We met them and straight away I could tell they were genuine.

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"I have been in football a long time and over the last five years I have spoken to a lot of people who said they had come to invest in this club and generally within two to three minutes of meeting them I can tell they are not right.

"But when they start talking about players in the 80s, who they liked, who they didn’t like, who missed a penalty against who, you tend to know if they are supporters or not.”

Phil and Ashley were born in Chesterfield, went to schools locally and are Spireites ‘through and through.’

"They were members of CFSS 20 years ago when the club was on its knees,” Croot said.

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"They said they would invest at the appropriate time and that is what they have done.

"There is no hidden agenda, it is people that we know, we know they are a family of Spireites.

"I know that this will surprise a few people and seemingly it will have been plucked from nowhere but the truth is the family are passionate about the club, they want to help and they are in a position to do it.”

Croot also said the good work of the community trust was a strong appeal for the brothers.

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He added: “The community trust leading the club has brought this money into the club today and I think that says a lot about the governance model at this club.

"We have said to Phil that we want to try to make the club sustainable as we possibly can and Phil has given us some capital investment to make that happen.

"It puts us in a good place and it helps us kick-start capital projects that will help make us sustainable and that is what it is about.”