No regrets over fan comments but Caldwell ‘needs fans’ to help Spireites crisis

Chesterfield v Wimbledon, manager Gary Caldwell
Chesterfield v Wimbledon, manager Gary Caldwell
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Chesterfield boss Gary Caldwell doesn’t regret Saturday’s comments about negative supporters but says he needs fans to help the club escape its current ‘crisis.’

The Scot angered a section of the club’s fanbase by suggesting those wishing to be negative shouldn’t come to games at the Proact, following Saturday’s 4-0 defeat by Oxford United.

Club director Ashley Carson posted on social media that he had sympathy for the manager, but the comment was ‘inappropriate’ - a sentiment echoed by two thirds of the fans who responded to a Derbyshire Times poll.

Seventy percent of respondents also felt Caldwell, who is yet to win any of his seven games in charge, should apologise.

Exactly half of those polled said the ex Wigan boss still had their backing.

Speaking at a press conference earlier today, Caldwell stood by his comments, but elaborated to plead for supporters’ help.

The man who believes he can lead Chesterfield out of the relegation zone in the final 12 games of the season, despite an eight point gap between them and safety, said: “I don’t regret it.

“I’m an honest person, I say what I feel. It’s very emotional when you’ve just lost 4-0.

“The message I was trying to get across was these players need them, this club needs them to stay positive and stick behind the team in a difficult moment.

“That is what I tried to say, whether it came across badly, I accept some people will take it in the wrong way.

“But we need our supporters more now than we ever have.”

Caldwell lauded the support he has enjoyed since his January arrival, in the wake of Danny Wilson’s sacking.

But he also insists the negativity surrounding the club isn’t helping the squad.

“Whatever I said was said in the heat of battle,” he said.

“I give my opinion and what I needed to say was that we need people to get behind the players, there’s too much negativity surrounding this football club.

“We need everyone to pull in the same direction.

“The players are giving their all, I accept it isn’t good enough, I came out and said that after the game, but I need more from the fans to keep encouraging them.

“You see it at every club that has success, the fans are part of that success and we need our fans more than ever.

“In a crisis you need people to stick together and rally round each other.

“Don’t show it (negativity).

“You’re coming to support your team.

“If your family was in a crisis you’d get behind them - this club is in a crisis, get behind us.”

Caldwell admits he has work to do in order to attract supporters back to the Proact, which sat alarmingly empty at full-time on Saturday.

He hasn’t given up on the season, however, no matter how bleak the situation looks from the outside.

“I understand the frustration, we’re going to work hard to get them back on side and win games of football to get them back at the Proact having pride in their team,” he said.

“It’s a challenge but we will keep giving everything until it’s mathematically impossible.

“I have to let the fans know I need them, I will take the club out of this position, I will get it right and I need their help.

“In no way are we giving up this fight.

“As bad as it feels, it can turn very quickly and we have to keep that belief for Tuesday night.”

Caldwell, who revealed that he is motivated by a desire to disprove those writing him off, cites his time at Wigan as evidence of how clubs can unite to overcome the threat of relegation.

He reiterated his belief that Town can stay in League One, despite it all.

And although his reign as Chesterfield boss has got off to a bitterly disappointing start, he insists he hasn’t had any second thoughts about taking the job.

“I’m working, I’m one of the 92 League managers and that is a great privilege and a challenge,” he said.

“I’m enjoying it, it’s not easy.

“What goes through your head is a whole host of options, ideas, that’s why I need staff to help and to discuss.

“We will get it right.

“I still believe this club can get it right.

“It’s going to be difficult but it’s a challenge as every job is.

“If you asked the other 91 managers they’d say the same, they’re all facing different challenges.

“Even Jose Mourinho who has just won a trophy today will have thousands of different challenges he has to deal with and manage.

“That’s the job, but I’m delighted to be here and it’s a privilege to work for this club.”