If you can keep your head, when all about you are losing theirs...
Apologies for repeating the opening passage from one of the most oft used poems in English literature, but I can think of no more apt an adage to describe Danny Wilson’s performance since arriving at the Proact.
I remember toasting the TV in a town centre pub carrying pictures of his installation last Christmas eve, wishing the popular local resident all the very best because ‘You’re gonna need it, Danny!’
A prophetic act indeed, as the hugely respected Wilson had barely got his feet under the table than key players were lost to long term injury - Dan Jones and Ian Evatt - whilst arguably the last of our saleable assets, Sam Morsy, moved for hugely disappointing money without even being offered a new contract.
However the sides Wilson fielded amidst this carnage actually made sense and played with a sense of purpose and organisation all too often absent beforehand.
Better still it was abundantly clear the new boss was doing what anyone in his position should be doing; stopping the defeats and ‘pegging’ points.
There were set-backs, none more so than the embarrassing 3-0 home defeat to local rivals Sheffield United when our lads just didn’t seem to get going, yet thankfully defeats were increasingly outweighed by positive results - including the memorable seven goal thrashing of Shrewsbury and an against-the-odds, 10-man victory at Oakwell.
A 3-0, three pointer over Bury later and Wilson had performed a minor miracle and retained our League One status.
Chesterfield fans breathed a huge sigh of relief and looked forward to what they hoped would be a far less eventful summer than the previous one.
Unfortunately our hopes were dashed as a series of revelations began revolving around the club’s Sheffield Road base.
An catalogue of allegations and criticisms levelled at PPP, an enterprise run by Chesterfield chief executive Chris Turner and head of academy recruitment Liam Sutcliffe and extremely closely associated with CFC.
Attempts by these two to address issues only resulting in more questions than answers, a mass exodus of PPP staff accompanied by threats of legal action from parents still to receive monies owed.
The massively controversial Ched Evans arrives.
Club CEO Turner attending the Football League AGM which passed a number of unpopular changes, his role in those votes remaining unclear.
The family of Chesterfield legend Ernie Moss left feeling ignored and ill-used, monies raised during a charity game at the Proact taking an insultingly long time to be revealed then being trimmed by £2k for stewarding costs - cash raised overnight by sympathetic supporters.
‘Rafflegate’; a scandal gaining national media coverage after CFC employee Kevin Fitzgerald bewilderingly created a ficticious competition winner.
Thankfully, in the eye of all these PR disasters swirling around him, one person simply got on with his manager’s job in the calm, professional manner we’ve come to expect.
Long term target Kristian Dennis signed after a patient pursuit. Youngsters Nolan, Fulton and Mitchell boosted numbers. McGinn arrived to fill the problem position at right full back. Olly Banks, seen as surplus to requirement by many despite being handed a new deal by Dean Saunders, moved on to Oldham.
Meanwhile the much maligned Ched Evans was embraced into the squad with little or no fuss.
I guess it’s hardly a list to raise pulses, yet even the most cynical can only applaud Wilson for the steady, competent work he’s done within what those claiming insight suggest are increasingly constricted criteria.
And compared to the 11th; no, make that 13th hour signings of a year ago, there’s a reassuring balance and common sense to Wilson’s approach.
I’m one of numerous Town fans absolutely sick and tired of the off-field circus that shows little sign of ending unless there are major personnel changes behind the CFC scenes.
Infact I’ve decided to limit my expenditure to my season ticket in protest.
However I’m 100 per cent behind the manager and on-field team.
Hopefully they can return all our attention to what really matters over the coming months.