Powerpoints, motivational videos and statistics are all well and good, but victories are the only thing that will win over Martin Allen’s doubters.
The social media fallout from Tuesday night’s season ticket holder Q and A with the Chesterfield boss appears to suggest that few were swayed by Allen’s argument that progress has been made.
You shouldn’t ever wholly judge the mood of a club’s fanbase entirely on what is tapped into phones and laptops, but you can quite safely say that there are many Town who simply won’t be convinced by mere words.
So much of the debate around Chesterfield, their manager and their style of play at present comes down to interpretation, whether your glass is half full or half empty and how much patience you have remaining after a miserable few years.
Allen himself talks about zero risk football, rather than direct play.
He highlights the passing football that has broken out in patches of games.
He insists there’s no mandate to simply lump it to the big man up top.
Some simply won’t hear it and are asking for their sixth permanent manager since May 2015.
In amongst all the opinion and conjecture, there are two facts that ring out and cannot be argued.
The first, which is thrown at Allen by unhappy fans whenever he utters the word progress, is that Chesterfield have not won a league game in three months.
Sixteen attempts to earn three points have come and gone, unsuccessfully.
That’s a horrible statistic no matter how you look at it.
It’s a difficult task to put any kind of gloss on what is the joint third worst winless league run in the club’s history.
However, the second fact that can’t be ignored is that Chesterfield haven’t lost a game since September.
They’ve played seven times without losing.
In that run, they’ve picked up a point against National League promotion hopefuls Wrexham, Harrogate and Fylde – who they also knocked out of the FA Cup, away from home.
If you want to add context, there were a couple of last gasp goals that staved off defeats and a cruel late leveller that denied them a win at Harrogate.
You can’t take away the fact that the Spireites have refused to lose, dug in and fought for points.
When you put the seven-game unbeaten streak up against the six-game losing run they suffered earlier this season, it does suggest progress – particularly when you consider the quality of opposition in a number of the more recent games.
That unbeaten run is Allen’s biggest ally in his attempt to justify his existence at the Proact to long suffering supporters, and his bosses.
Many managers wouldn’t have dared stand in front of season ticket holders without a league win to their name in so long, you have to credit him for that.
There are other positives, if you want to look hard enough, that you can credit him with.
The 3-1 defeat at Maidenhead, that he refers to now only by its date, wasn’t just the last game they lost, it was the last time they conceded more than once in a match.
And this grit that has emerged has been forged by youngsters.
The backing given to homegrown talents Laurence Maguire and Joe Rowley, even in the face of the odd mistake, should give everyone around the Proact no small amount of satisfaction.
If they come out of this season as better players, Allen will have to be given some of the plaudits.
He’s admitted to mistakes in his summer recruitment and is still, apparently, trying to rectify that with a bid for a striker turned down this week.
Club owner Dave Allen may not be happy with the return on his investment in his namesake thus far, but there is currently no suggestion, nor a hint of one, that the manager’s office will be imminently vacant.
After four wins from 20 games, Allen is backing his man.
So while debate will rage on, it’s all largely irrelevant until such a time as the man who pays the bills decides enough is enough.
Martin Allen has had his say in front of the fans, who were given a chance to have their say and neither might come to much of an agreement, but perhaps the air has been somewhat cleared.
In any case, the visit of Billericay in this weekend’s FA Cup tie, puts much of the debate on hold for a week, although defeat would be a blow.
It’s the 17th November clash, at the Proact, with the side sitting directly below Town in the National League table, that looks either like a must-win game or a grand opportunity to prove that progress really is being made, depending on your outlook.
Havant and Waterlooville in a must-win game at the Proact. What a sentence to end on.