Tommy Lee: Jack will go on to be a success, I just hope our club can do the same

Chesterfield FC at Wembley v Swindon Town. Tommy Lee with Lester
Chesterfield FC at Wembley v Swindon Town. Tommy Lee with Lester
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Seven months ago I sat in front of a friend and a manager and, fighting back the tears, I told him I was no longer capable of playing professional football.

It was hard, not only was I facing up to the end of my career, I felt I was letting down somebody who had such an important role in my development as a person and player.

Right at the beginning of his managerial career.

He dealt with the situation and me in a manner I’ll never forget and am extremely grateful for. He gave me time to think, offered me his ear but most of all, he understood.

I left his office and the Proact Stadium that Monday morning, with great sadness but also with a feeling of comfort, if anybody could get Chesterfield going back in the right direction, the direction its supporters deserve, it was Jack Lester.

It wasn’t to be. With our fantastic football club on the brink of relegation to the fifth tear of English football, even Jack’s meticulous preparation, depth of footballing knowledge and infectious passion and desire to win weren’t enough to stop the rot and sort the mess that he inherited.

Of course he made mistakes but I don’t blame him. There are plenty of other people who I’d stick ahead of him on that list and I take my share of the responsibility for the team’s demise as well.

But one thing’s guaranteed, he will blame himself and nobody else. That’s the type of bloke he is.

He will be hurting more than you could imagine but he’ll have learned a great deal.

He’ll take it on the chin, make the changes he needs to and go on to be a success, whenever and wherever that might be.

I just hope our football club and the powers that be can do the same.