'Totally refuted' - Chesterfield deny AFC Fylde 'smear' accusations about former manager James Rowe

The Spireites have denied allegations made by AFC Fylde that they have tried to ‘smear’ manager James Rowe in the national media.

By Liam Norcliffe
Friday, 13th May 2022, 9:13 pm

The 38-year-old was suspended by Town over misconduct allegations in January and he later departed by ‘mutual consent’ in February.

Allegations of ‘sexual indecency’ have been made against Rowe, which he denies, from his time at the Spireites.

He was appointed manager of National League North side AFC Fylde one month after leaving.

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Former Chesterfield manager James Rowe.

The Mail Online has published two stories this week stating that Chesterfield wrote a ‘letter of concern’ to the Football Association, warning that Rowe 'posed a potential danger to women.’

The Coasters said they ‘find it hard to believe’ any such letter was written and described it as a ‘pretty cheap shot.’

AFC Fylde has been accused of not doing their due diligence, something they strongly deny, claiming they could not contact Chesterfield because of an agreement between Rowe and the Blues.

In a lengthy statement published on Friday evening, the Coasters said: "The story in yesterday’s Mail attempts to paint Fylde as a club that does not care for the welfare or safety of its women employees and as one who failed to do its due diligence in this respect regarding James Rowe’s appointment as their manager in March this year. This could not be further from the truth.

“Unfortunately, certain people from Chesterfield have been touting this story around various media outlets for some time.

"The (Mail Online) article is misleading and inaccurate in so many ways. It seems clear that Chesterfield’s intention is to try and justify their actions and smear James’ name.

"Firstly, they claim Fylde didn’t do their due diligence and did not contact Chesterfield for a reference. This is flawed in many ways. As Chesterfield are fully aware, James and themselves had reached a compromise agreement regarding his departure, which means neither party were able to discuss with anyone else the terms of that agreement. Once James made us aware of that agreement, we knew it would be futile calling them for such a reference.”

AFC Fylde, who are involved in the play-offs this weekend against Boston United, say they did speak to their former player Danny Rowe, who is now at Chesterfield and was signed by Rowe.

“Danny has been associated with Fylde for many years and was at Chesterfield throughout this period,” AFC Fylde said. “He is someone whose opinion we trust and value, and as we said when we announced James’ appointment, he spoke very highly of him. We obviously also spoke to James on several occasions and met with both him and his wife together.

“Since Chesterfield seemed to have breached their duty of trust with James, this has enabled us to talk to other sources regarding the internal disciplinary hearing, and we believe that there is no record anywhere regarding the allegations in these articles.”

The Coasters added that they have never been contacted by the FA and Rowe has their full support.

“As for Chesterfield claiming they have written a letter to the FA questioning James Rowe’s behaviour and calling for ‘a formal review of safeguarding policies’, we find that hard to believe, as we have never been contacted by the FA on this matter, and if not true, is a pretty cheap shot,” the club added.

"The club will be making no further comments on this situation other than to say that we stand fully behind James and his family at this very difficult time for them.”

In response, the Spireites said in a statement: “Club officials have acted with professionalism and adhered to the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) agreed at the time of James Rowe’s departure from Chesterfield FC.

“The accusation that people from the club have been ‘touting the story around various media outlets’ is completely without foundation and totally refuted.“It is very disappointing that AFC Fylde have attempted to besmirch the good name of Chesterfield FC.”