Liam Norcliffe's Chesterfield FC column: Why I'm saddened by lack of connection between fans and club, latest on potential takeover, new signings and John Sheridan's position as manager

In my three months of covering Chesterfield FC for the DT I have become saddened at the lack of connection most Spireites fans seem to have with the club.

Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 1:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th November 2019, 1:11 pm
Chesterfield boss John Sheridan.

I am not surprised or shocked given what has happened in the last four years, but it is very sad.

The Blues supporters have had it rotten since the League One play-off semi-final defeat to Preston North End in 2015.

I can’t imagine any Town fans predicted the shambles that would unravel after that loss.

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What has followed has been a catalogue of misery, a four-year long dark cloud has hung over the Proact - and there is no sign of it shifting yet.

The majority of matchdays at the Proact are gloomy affairs, lacking anticipation or excitement.

The soul of the club has been completely ripped out following back-to-back relegations out of the Football League.

Performances on the field are clearly not helping but the problems run much deeper than team selections and formations.

Here are two examples of messages I have received on Twitter in the last week:

“We really are a total embarrassment of a football club, both on and off the pitch. I won’t wear my CFC shirts any longer, because it’s too embarrassing. Dave Allen either needs to sell us or just close us down and save us this slow lingering death.”

Another read: “In 1951 my mam & dad had no money to pay for me to watch the Spireites so I used to wait outside Saltergate till they used to open the gate for the last 15 minutes. It was then I fell in love with the club. I’m now gutted, afraid them days are long gone.”

There are dozens of similar messages posted on social media and it makes for grim reading.

I am stating the obvious but a takeover is clearly what needs to happen. However, that is easier said than done.

The owner can’t sell it if those interested don’t have the funds to meet his asking price or run the club going forwards.

On the owner, what must he be thinking right now? I, along with everyone else, would love to know.

In my opinion, he needs to come out and be held accountable for what has happened.

He might even win a few people over if he held his hands up and admitted his mistakes.

I have seen some comments online saying he is not totally to blame.

I’ve asked the question again this week about interviewing him but I have been told he will not speak to me.

I imagine all Chesterfield fans have dreamt of the day this nightmare ends.

A takeover would breathe new life into the club and make it come alive again.

Ticket sales would rocket, merchandise would fly off the shelves, and the supporters would have their club back.

Chesterfield could probably get thumped 5-0 in the first game under new owners at the Proact and they would go home happier than they do now after a win.

Those involved in the takeover would be hailed as heroes and they would never have to buy a drink in the town again.

Of course, long-term that feelgood factor would then depend on results on the field, but at least we could then actually get back to talking about football rather than writing columns like this.

The latest on a potential takeover

First of all, I'm led to believe that no sale is imminent.

The local consortium which I have previously mentioned in stories still want to buy the club and are working away in the background.

I have heard of there being new interest from a different party who have enquired about buying the club, which I am trying to find out more about.

I think as we get closer to Christmas I might have something more concrete to report, but what that will be only time will tell.

Sheridan's position and new signings

It is my understanding that John Sheridan's position as manager is safe.

Those at the top of the club are concerned about recent results, but still believe they have the right man for the job.

He is set to meet with the owner and company secretary, Ashley Carson, this week to discuss recent performances and potential incomings and outgoings regarding transfers.

Sheridan said last week that he might look at bringing in a right-back because of Josef Yarney's hamstring injury and they have just signed promising Sheffield Wednesday midfielder, Liam Shaw, on loan for a month.

Relegation scrap

There were some concerning comments from captain Will Evans after Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Harrogate.

Evans called the performance an ‘embarrassment’, likened it to a ‘youth team’ and said they are ‘not playing like professional footballers’.

Hopefully the strong words from Evans will be a much-needed wake up call otherwise they could find themselves sleepwalking to the National League North.

Any talk of going on a run and making the play-offs needs to stop.

If Town win six or seven games on the trot then we can see where they are and re-assess.

But we are approaching the mid-way point of the campaign and Chesterfield have won five games all season and managed only three clean sheets.

They are currently in a relegation fight and the time for feeling sorry for themselves and sulking has long gone.