Spireites youngsters pay tribute to departing academy manager

A pair of young Spireites have paid tribute to a man who has helped them achieve first team football.

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 7:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th July 2018, 7:22 pm
Chesterfield vs Bradford - Mark Smith looks on as Chesterfield's struggles continue - Pic By James Williamson

Mark Smith, academy chief at the Proact, is set to leave the club at the end of the month to look for opportunities elsewhere.

The former Sheffield Wednesday defender and caretaker boss has been influential in the careers of Chesterfield prospects Laurence Maguire and Joe Rowley.

Both took to Twitter to express their appreciation for the 58-year-old, when news of his imminent departure became public.

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Rowley, who has made 39 first team appearances after coming through the academy, tweeted: “One of the main reasons I’m the player I am today, can’t thank him enough.”

And Maguire, another to break into senior football via the youth ranks at the Proact, added: “Want to say a massive thanks to Mark Smith for everything hes done for me since I’ve been at Chesterfield, he will be missed.”

Rowley and Maguire are currently joined by fellow academy products Ify Ofoegbu and Charlie Wakefield in the first team squad.

Smith has been at the club since 2013, when he was appointed youth team coach before becoming the head of academy coaching.

In 2015 he earned a promotion to the role of academy manager, a position he has retained ever since, bar a short stint as caretaker boss of the first team following Dean Saunders’ sacking.