Jack Lester on his vision to get the Proact rocking once again
Jack Lester's vision is a Chesterfield team that supporters are proud of, entertaining a packed Proat stadium.
The club legend returned today as first team boss and made little in the way of bold statements or promises.
He refused to countenance any talk of 2017/18 promotion, not with Town sitting second bottom of League Two.
What he did vow was to, over time, impose his standards and the four pillars upon which his vision will be built.
An aggressive, energetic, purposeful team with a winning mentality is what he believes he can put together - over time.
He’s brought his obvious self belief back to the Proact, the scene of so many of his great goalscoring moments, not a magic wand or a quick fix for Chesterfield’s considerable problems.
Today was a moment he apparently always knew would come.
“I’ve always planned for it, when I was playing I knew I’d be a manager,” he said.
“It’s come up before this job and I’ve not applied because I wasn’t ready.
“When I was playing I was coaching and managing teams, when I retired I went and looked after other teams.
“I wanted to be an excellent coach before I took a job like this and it has come up before and wasn’t the right time, but it was the right time this time. I knew I was ready.
“I feel well prepared.”
His arrival has undoubtedly stirred the feelings of many Spireites, who still hold him close to their hearts for his efforts on the pitch.
Although he wants to impress now with his efforts in the dugout and on the training ground, he knows his presence will excite the fanbase.
“I have got a special relationship with the fans here, but that was for being a player,” he said at his unveiling today.
“Why it was so special, I don’t know, it just happened to be that way.
“But I’m a manager now. I feel prepared.
“The club will be brought together, there will be an excitement about it.
“I’m not here to wave a magic wand, I’m here to get this club back to where it needs to be going, to get an identity back and produce a team people are proud to watch.
“That’s my vision and it’s very clear.”
That vision will be carried by a team who must bear all four of his desired attributes.
He’s already addressed the squad to explain in very clear terms what he expects and how he will not waiver from it.
“It will be aggressive, and that doesn’t mean you have to smash people up in the air but you have to be aggressive when you run, when you pass.
“It was be purposeful, we will be playing to score goals and attack.
“There will be a real energy, whether it’s the way you walk on the pitch, the way you communicate, the way you conduct yourself.
“And there will be a winning mentality. If you haven’t got that there’s no point playing sport.
“I’ve spoken to the players about the vision, how this team will play and if they come along with that they’ll be part of it - but there will be no compromise.”
To get Chesterfield back to where fans believe they should be, which is in League One at the very least, Lester knows he will need time.
A three-year contract indicates that the board are willing to give him the time he needs.
“Moving forward in terms of a long term plan, we know it’s going to take time. You’re not just going to come in and start winning games straight away,” he said.
“I’m not going to guarantee anything tomorrow, we’ll be set up and aggressive to try and win the game but you’re not really going to be able to see the identity I’m talking about for quite a while.
“It takes players time to get conditioned to it.
“(Promotion) is the longterm vision but it’s not the vision at the minute when you’re second from bottom.
“The vision is to move the club out of this dangerous position.
“One step at a time.”
The first step in Lester’s journey as Town boss is a home game against Cheltenham Town tomorrow afternoon at the Proact.
Supporters who haven’t been attending in recent times have indicated they’ll return to see their former number 14 walk out again.
He admits it will be an emotional day, walking out of the tunnel at 1866 Sheffield Road once again.
“It will be. Anticipation, it’s something I always felt would happen, which is why I’ve been off preparing.
“Of course it’s exciting and daunting and nervous and everything, it’s football, it’s emotional isn’t it?
“But I’m definitely ready for it.”