Chesterfield owner Dave Allen ‘pulled no punches’ in his first meeting with recently appointed manager Gary Caldwell.
Allen, who resigned as chairman of the club back in November, talked tactics and recruitment with the new man, who is yet to lead Spireites to victory after seven games in charge.
The meeting was also attended by the club’s director of football Chris Turner and company secretary Ashley Carson, who said the manager’s comments about ‘negative fans’ were also a talking point.
Carson also revealed that the club must move to a ‘cash neutral’ position because they will not be able to rely on Allen making up the monthly shortfalls in future.
“This was Dave’s first meeting with Gary and he questioned him on players and formations etc,” he said.
“Dave pulled no punches and asked Gary on his thoughts for the rest of the season and which players he would like to retain.
“Gary’s comments after Saturday’s game were also discussed and I echoed the fans’ views that it was wrong to criticise them.
“With the benefit of hindsight, Gary accepts that the point he was making could have been worded better.
“He pointed out that there is currently a major negative feeling at the club, both on and off the pitch. His assessment of the situation is not wrong.
“The players are also aware of this negativity and Gary feels that the fans working with him will help improve the situation.
“He is aware on a match day of all the comments shouted from behind the dug out and they are mostly negative. He was really appealing to you, the fans, to please give everyone a chance and get behind the team. I can assure you that it was never his intention to criticise you.”
Carson said talent scouting and next year’s budget were also discussed with the owner.
“I spoke to Dave after the meeting and he was very impressed with Gary and also his thoughts and plans for both the remainder of this season and next,” he said.
“Gary has identified some areas behind the scenes where we are lacking - including recruitment - and he wants to rectify this.
“Dave outlined the budget for next season for players.
“Gary is happy with this and is already looking towards next season, whilst being mindful of the wish to maintain our status in League One.”
Last year Chesterfield came out with a £40k profit having sold £2m worth of players, but this year they’re expected to make a significant loss.
Carson says they have to start making cuts so they don’t have to keep asking Allen for more cash.
“In the past, Dave has put a lot of money into the club in order to sustain and maintain costs,” he said.
“That will no longer be the case in the future, so it therefore has to be a cash neutral budget for the business until such time that a new owner is in place.
“Dave and I discussed overheads and all operating costs are currently being looked at.
“I can tell you that various cost-cutting measures will be introduced at the end of the season to make substantial savings.
“We must always be mindful that the club has substantial commitments with the stadium mortgage plus loan repayments to ex-directors that totals over £500,000 per annum. This has all got to be factored in to next season’s commitments.”
Allen will meet with Caldwell and Carson on a monthly basis to talk about footballing matters at the Proact.
The company secretary insists the owner, while no longer attending games at the stadium, is keeping a close watch over his club.
And the man in charge of affairs at the Proact vowed to keep fans in the loop.
“Whilst Dave does not currently attend matches, I can assure you he is keeping a very close eye on the running of the club, as he always has done,” he said.
“Only this week he has covered the shortfall in the running costs of the club.
I will remain in control of the running of the club for the foreseeable future and will keep you informed of developments. I really want to work with you and certainly not against you.”