Column: Old, new, borrowed, blue '“ a risk, but we might find out how good Caldwell really is

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.

Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 8:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 9:51 am
Gary Caldwell celebrates Wigan Athletic v Arsenal

An ancient football club, celebrating 150 years have appointed a boss with just 18 months of experience.

It’s a bold move for relegation threatened Chesterfield, trading Danny Wilson, with 1,000-plus games in charge, for Gary Caldwell and his 71.

On the face of it, the partnership is a risk for both parties.

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Dropping into League Two would compound the Spireites’ financial misery.

Coming back from a relegation would be a big ask for this club – so simply put, they can’t afford to get this one wrong.

For Caldwell himself, that worst case scenario would take him from the Championship to League Two in around six months – unthinkable?

Last season he managed the best team in League One.

Now he controls, according to the table, the third worst team in the division he escaped.

The fact that the stakes are so high make it an intriguing and refreshing twist to the 2016/17 Chesterfield story.

They wanted someone young, enthusiastic and hungry, not one of the same old faces, not an name that would have brought little more than a sigh from fans suffering déjà vu.

Instead, they’ve plumped for a man younger than one of his centre-halves.

But here’s a point made, ironically, by his predecessor.

When the ‘thousand-plus’ games were brought up for the umpteenth time, Wilson replied: “I played too you know, it’s a lot more than 1,000.”

Caldwell isn’t new to football, he’s been there and done it at the highest club level and has 55 international caps.

Beating Milan and Benfica in the Champions League are experiences 99 per cent of players can only dream of.

He’s worked with a laundry list of successful managers.

He won Scottish Premier League titles, albeit with one of the two clubs expected to win those, and an FA Cup with Wigan.

He already has a title on his CV as a gaffer – he’s a winner.

Yes, he had a good budget, but the league still had to be won, plenty of managers fail despite an abundance of resources.

And looking at the list of loan players he brought to the DW Stadium, he has the contacts.

Those players, from the likes of Everton, Spurs and Manchester United, played 120 games in the title winning season, scoring 18 valuable goals.

It will be interesting to see if he uses those contacts and loan deals to strengthen this Town side, this month.

The big challenge for Caldwell is a much smaller budget.

We might be about to find out how good he really is as a coach, a tactician and a recruiter.

If he can back up his ambitious talk, he’ll be a hero in blue once again.