Carson left with ‘bitter taste’ over Spireites-linked development school

Chesterfield company secretary Ashley Carson (Pic: Tina Jenner)
Chesterfield company secretary Ashley Carson (Pic: Tina Jenner)
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Chesterfield’s company secretary Ashley Carson says issues surrounding the CFC Development School have left a bitter taste in his mouth.

CFC Development School which endured debts, staff departures over late payment of wages and threats of legal action over unpaid refunds for a cancelled football trip in 2016.

Though legally separate from the Spireites, the project was part of another called the CFC Player Progression Pathway based at the CFC Village opposite the Proact Stadium on Sheffield Road.

That in turn was part of a business called the CFC International Football Academy - set up by former non-league footballer Liam Sutcliffe and then Chesterfield FC CEO Chris Turner, now the club’s director of football.

A statement released on Chesterfield FC’s official club website confirmed FBT had agreed to acquire “full control” of the CFC International Football Academy, which owned CFC Development School.

FBT, a company belonging to Sir Rodney Walker, bought 50 per cent of the shares of the academy in September. Sutcliffe has now stepped away from the venture.

Carson said: “The FBT has not got involved with either company. The FBT has moved certain things from the International Academy into the FBT to move forward. None of the FBT personnel have ever been directors of the other companies.

“There are some issues that remain out-standing and there are a few things which still leave a bitter taste in my mouth and certainly there have been other people in Chesterfield who have been financially disadvantaged due to the association of it.

“But as far as the football club is concerned we are going to draw a line under it now. We don’t feel like we have to answer any more questions on it and I feel, although it was nothing to do with the AGM tonight, the timing was pretty good.

“The bailiffs came in Thursday, I spoke to Mike Hegarty who is representing the FBT and he is the kind of chief operating officer and basically put it on the line. We wanted to see something major happen and that was always going to be Liam Sutcliffe being removed from the operation here in Chesterfield.

And added: “I think it was knowing the right time to pull the plug on it. Some people would have said to have pulled the plug earlier and I think we were ready to do that of July/August last year then FBT came in and it was like knight coming in on the white horse.

“We went with it because we knew that there was financial substance behind it all. They were going to take things forward and put things in place. Maybe in hindsight we should have pulled the plug on it a while ago. In that respect, maybe we got that wrong.”