Branston excited to continue love affair with ‘ruthless, cut throat’ game at Chesterfield

Guy Branston, left, pictured when playing for Torquay against Chesterfield, challenges Jack Lester for the ball
Guy Branston, left, pictured when playing for Torquay against Chesterfield, challenges Jack Lester for the ball
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Chesterfield’s new head of recruitment and development Guy Branston says the club should be challenging at the top end of the League One table or even higher.

The 38-year-old, whose arrival was announced on Saturday, also wants to help the club achieve the kind of on-field success that will arrest the slump in attendance figures.

He’s brimming with enthusiasm for his new role, which began officially today at the Proact.

“I’m very excited, I’m so happy to be here,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic club to work for, a proper football club.”

Branston enjoyed a nomadic career as a player, representing no less than 16 different clubs in Football League action.

It was as a player that he began to take on scouting work, before retirement and the start of a new career at Notts County where he spent 15 months heading up their scouting department.

A stint as operations manager at National League North side Nuneaton followed and now Branston finds himself back in the Football League with the Spireites.

The current table and the form guide might suggest that League Two football is inevitable next season, but that’s not where Branston feels they belong.

“It’s a club that needs to be slightly higher than where it’s sitting, League One challenging should be our aims,” he said.

“It’s about the potential to kick on next year have a good run.

“This club can have stacks of people coming in - when the football club comes into its own, hopefully very soon, we’ll start to get fans back and believing in the club.

“I played against John Sheridan’s side and the place was rocking.

“It’s always been a very, very good club in Derbyshire and in the region when I was growing up in Leicester.

“With the size of the place and the infastructure now, why can’t it kick into the Championship in the future?”

Branston had his first meetings with most of his new work colleagues today, but having travelled extensively throughout the Football League and in his own estimation watched 500 matches in the past three years, he’s well aware of the vast majority.

“I’ve come into the club this morning and met the guys, met everyone,” he said.

“I met the staff and I know a lot of them.

“I played with Dukey (Matt Duke, goalkeeping coach) at Bradford, Ritchie (Humphries, first team coach) is obviously the chairman of the PFA and I’ve come across him, had social meetings with him.

“I hadn’t met Steve Eyre (first team coach) but did today, and I’ve worked with Smudge (Mark Smith, academy boss) at Wednesday.

“I’ve been most places and bumped into most people.”

In fact it was through bumping into people at football games that Branston says he first became aware of the vacancy at the Proact.

But the club’s hierarchy and its recently departed former CEO were already well known to him.

“About two or three weeks ago at the game against Peterborough, at the time I was doing radio for BBC Cambridgeshire and I spoke to Ashley (Carson, Chesterfield director) after the game and he said there was a job going, would I like to apply.

“I applied and got an interview and just went through the process.

“Ashley was involved at Sheffield Wednesday, I’ve bumped into him over the years.

“Chris Turner was my old youth team manager at Leicester City and actually moved me on from Wednesday.

“And I know Gary (Caldwell, manager) through football circles.

“If you do enough work you bump into people.

“I met him for the first time when he was Wigan boss and bumped into Gary probably three to four times this season, watching games.”

Branston’s relationship with the game is into its third decade now and in that time he’s been a player, earned his coaching badges including his UEFA A Licence, developed an app to help players get noticed and become a licensed agent.

But the kind of role he now has with Chesterfield is what he feels fits him best.

“It’s recruitment, and I’m in recruitment,” he said.

“I’ve been a licensed intermediary but I’ve always wanted to be a club man.

“The opportunity to work for a club again was always going to be something I jumped at.

“(Football) is a ruthless environment, a cut-throat environment but one I’m passionate about, one where honesty can prevail and people respect honesty.

“I’m a big believer in saying it as it is.

“I’m going to work hard and get my head down and give the best information I can.”

Graham Smyth