Chesterfield CEO Chris Turner used his programme notes on Saturday to warn that people might be ‘surprised and alarmed’ by the club’s annual accounts – and he was right.
And the reaction of Spireites supporters on social media to last night’s news that the club had posted a profit of £42k after recouping £2million in transfer fees was largely as Mr Turner predicted.
Many fans expressed dismay at the fact that without player sales, the club would have posted a significant loss for the financial year.
Company secretary Ashley Carson admitted disappointment with elements of the club’s financial performance but is hopeful of a better 2016/17 period.
The news has prompted talk of protests among supporters on an online message board.
Mark Jones tweeted: “Misprint surely. Got to be £420k, they missed off a zero.”
Dave Garratt added: “Crikey! That’s after selling the whole squad. Administration within the next couple of years I think.”
Mark Hill simply tweeted: “What a shambles.”
Paul Eggleston was pleased the club had posted profit, but was less optimistic about the future.
He posted on Facebook: “Credit to Allen for running the club at a slight profit - so it doesn’t get into uncontrollable debt. Just a shame we have to sell players to make that slight profit so we are left with a team that looks certs for relegation.”
Daniel Eatock posted a bleak forecast on Twitter: “They will be in administration by May if they get relegated. Club can’t survive in league 2. Doomed!!”
The club’s debt has remained around the £8.5million mark and while the wage bill increased slightly, revenue from season tickets and gate receipts at the Proact was down £400k from the previous year.
Marcia Bigg tweeted: “Unfortunately with a business model that relies on selling £2m of players just to basically break even, debt will not go.”
Chairman Dave Allen’s comments about ‘one or two’ fans who knock everything the club does and his confusion over the reason for falling attendances sparked a response from numerous supporters.
David Weston posted on the club’s official Facebook page, saying: “The diminishing gates are directly in proportion to the lower standard of football being put on the field, people will not part with hard earned money to watch second rate rubbish, unfortunately this has always been the case at CFC, get so far then get cold feet blame no one but yourselves. Scunthorpe proved what can be achieved with sound leadership, a solid competitive team pushing at the top of the division on smaller gates than ours, hang your heads in shame CFC.”
Writing on the Derbyshire Times facebook, Jim Lowe said: “We’re looking like we could be the next league club to face a quick fall into non-league if we carry on like this. No money, no assets to sell, dwindling fans. The unholy trinity.”
Posting in a Spireites facebook group John Stevenson said: “That’s a corker of a statement! Head in sand.”
Antony Hawkins tweeted: “Have a dig at the fans, that will have them flocking back.”
David Crookes said last year’s appointment of Dean Saunders had a negative affect on the football being played at the Proact, but suggested that now, with a fully fit squad, Danny Wilson’s Spireites could propel themselves back into favour with supporters.
He tweeted: “Rather than blame fans, DA should look closer to home - they replaced Cook with Saunders...attractive football to anti football.
“Add to that the player sales and injuries (this season) leaving the managers hands tied and the league position we are in.
“With a fit “first” 11, results will change and that might bring some fans back through the door.”