Town takeover '“ the timing is less than ideal and the questions are endless

For 10 weeks Martin Allen has built momentum, only to have someone else slame the brake less than a fortnight before kick-off.

Tuesday, 24th July 2018, 7:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th July 2018, 7:17 pm
Launch of the Spireires Summer Soccer School at St Maryâ¬"s Catholic High School, manager Martin Allen shows players a scrapbook made by fan Joseph Bowmer, 11
Launch of the Spireires Summer Soccer School at St Maryâ¬"s Catholic High School, manager Martin Allen shows players a scrapbook made by fan Joseph Bowmer, 11

Chesterfield FC once again finds itself surrounded by uncertainty as talkover talk engulfs the Proact Stadium.

Just when it was all going so smoothly.

The timing is less than ideal.

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Just as Allen was putting the final touches to his 2018/19 squad, the wheels of recruitment ground to a halt.

In the manager’s own words, signings are on hold.

As you might expect, this hasn’t gone down well with the rank and file of the club’s support – never mind how it’s presumably gone down in the manager’s office.

Spireites, thanks to recent and historical experience, are cynical beasts.

But they’ve taken to Allen like one of their own, thanks to his charm offensive and upbeat messages since he took charge.

His gestures to fans, inviting them into his office for chats and photos, have been reciprocated by generous supporters who sponsored his wife Lisa for a charity swim.

There is, for a club coming off a second consecutive relegation, a remarkable amount of good will flying around.

In pre-season, which we all know is no scientific indicator of future success or failure, Town have looked solid enough, scored a fair few goals and certainly not given any cause for alarm.

A mix of experienced heads and hungry players with it all to gain have given the squad a fresh new look.

It’s only natural, therefore, that any perceived interference or stumbling blocks placed in the manager’s way would provoke concern.

Putting a stop to transfer business, even temporarily, raises some questions.

Do the potential buyers plan to have a say in who will be coming in to complete the squad?

Will they bring in a director of football to that end?

If that is the case, would Allen stand for it, having thus far enjoyed what appears to be an agreeable working relationship with the current powers that be?

Is could be seen as an unwise move to alienate the man who has put this almost complete squad together, especially when he enjoys the favour of the paying punters without even a single competitive win to his name.

And is a director of football necessary for a non-league club?

If they do want to have an input into recruitment, are they qualified to do so?

Is it simply a case of wanting to furnish the boss with a little more cash, to go and get even better players than the ones he has lined up?

Or will cash be a little tighter under the new regime, making the addition of new faces unlikely?

It’s no secret that Allen wants to make Liam McAlinden a permanent signing and it sounds like he’s keen on loanee Lewis Walker and trialist Sam Muggleton too.

That trio don’t have the look of bankbreakers to me.

Of course the halt to recruitment might not have been at the behest of this interested party at all, there’s precious little in the way of concrete, confirmed facts – other than signings being on hold for a ‘few days.’

It’s a situation that lends itself to speculation and the club could do worse than to clarify the exact situation regarding incoming and outgoing players, while talks presumably continue.

The list of questions supporters are asking this week goes on and on and on.

Who is involved in this consortium and where is the money coming from?

Are the pockets deep enough to cover the monthly shortfall?

The Dave Allen era has not been without fault, but the bills and the wages get paid.

The club under his stewardship was in no danger of going bust.

We all understand why Allen wants to sell, but why would someone want to buy it, unless they were Spireites?

What is there to gain that makes the inevitable financial loss so palatable?

Two and a half months ago Allen was adamant that this club could not make a profit, not with the competitive budget he says they’ve always enjoyed in his time as owner.

Can new owners make sufficient changes in order to make monthly cash injections unnecessary?

Few of us can offer any advice when it comes to running a football club.

But if the takeover bid succeeds, there are ways in which the new decision makers can get the club’s most important people – the fans – onside from the start.

They might even like to ask Martin Allen how he did it.

Transparency will be key, giving supporters a full and frank explanation of the ownership structure and its plans.

This fanbase has heard it all before, so promises of Championship football might not find as much favour as vows of realism, living within the club’s means and safeguarding it’s history, culture and future.

When harnessed, the power of several thousand Spireites could be invaluable for anyone hoping to achieve something worthwhile.

Make them part of it, value their input and listen to it.

Right now, the hive mind seem to be saying one thing – keep this manager in place.

So resounding backing for the manager, nice and early in the regime, would restore the momentum he has built.

Let him get on with it.