Column: We should be talking about football, but once again off-field affairs take centre stage at Chesterfield

We should be talking about the football.

Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 11:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 12th December 2018, 2:05 pm
Fans Gallery from the match between Chesterfield FC v Havant & Waterlooville FC at The Proact Stadium Chesterfield - 17-11-18 Image by Jez Tighe

This column should be about that magnificent win over Salford.

It should be about Alex Kiwomya’s goals, Jonathan Smith’s tigerish pressing and Jerome Binnom-Williams’ physics-defying goalmouth clearance.

Martin Allen’s game-changing substitution, the emotional full-time scenes and that long overdue Proact atmosphere should be the talking points.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

What about Levi Amantchi’s full debut and first Proact assist, at barely 18 years of age?

I should be writing about the signing of another young, hungry player, Alfie Beestin, whose 2019 contract expiry gives him so much to play for at the Proact.

We should be discussing what Saturday’s FA Trophy game means to Basford United, who truly received the plum tie of the round when they were drawn out of the hat with the Spireites.

Instead, here we are again, talking about off-field affairs.

How can we not?

On Saturday, while Allen is running his players through their warm-up and giving out final instructions inside the stadium, a number of the club’s supporters will be outside.

A group, whose number will not be known until 2.30pm on matchday, will be protesting the sad decline of their beloved football club.

What they hope to achieve is uncertain, no goal or target has been identified.

It seems highly unlikely, at best, that a gathering outside the Proact, or even chanting inside it, will bring about a change in the club’s hierarchy.

We are where we are until such a time as someone buys the club from Dave Allen.

The owner has continued to inject eye-watering sums to keep Chesterfield FC afloat - the club’s 2017/18 financial year end accounts show an injection of £1.3m.

There is, of course, no reason why supporters cannot be simultaneously fed up entirely with the situation the club finds itself in and grateful for Allen’s financial backing.

It is fact to state that Allen’s cash is keeping the Spireites alive.

It is also fact to state that the club’s countless errors have strained relationships with the fans to breaking point.

Jack Lester had it right, last season, when he said that supporters considering protests weren’t ‘doing anything to the detriment of the club’ but doing it ‘because they care.’

Town fans feel completely and utterly helpless, so it’s no surprise they have finally decided to take action.

Their patience, up to this point, has been nothing short of remarkable. Bewildering almost.

Should one of the ‘big two’ down the road have fallen so far, so quickly, the stadium carparks would have been full of angry supporters long before now.

Saturday’s win may have lifted the mood, but it did nothing to change the big picture.

Paul Goodwin has been a Spireite for his entire life. He’s a mild mannered gentleman, in my experience, and it can only be through sheer exasperation that he’s taken the decision to organise a protest.

Anyone else who shows up at 2.30pm should keep in mind they’re attending his protest and his name will forever be linked, rightly or wrongly, with their behaviour.

You cannot decry the conduct or decisions of others and then fail to behave properly yourself.

Supporters can choose to protest and then choose to walk into the ground to cheer on their team – the two actions are not mutually exclusive and someone sitting inside is no more a true fan than someone standing outside.

You’re all Spireites, at 2.30pm or 4.45pm.

Mr Goodwin wants a peaceful gathering and that is the only thing it can be, this weekend.

Anything else would undermine the genuine concerns of genuine supporters.

Anything else would not be befitting a fine club and its long, rich history.