Pitch invasions, OWNAFC, Bolton Wanderers, Scott Boden and a Joe Rowley goal – reasons for Chesterfield fans to feel relieved

If, or more likely when, Chesterfield secure safety from relegation it will give Spireites their greatest experience of relief for many years.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 10:44 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 11:48 am
Picture by Shibu Preman / ahpix.com; Football; Season 2018/19; Nation League; Conference premier; Vanarama National League; Chesterfield vs Bromley; 7:45pm Tuesday; 12th March; Hayes Lane; Bromley stadium; Chesterfield midfielder Joe Rowley (16) goal celebration Copyright picture; Howard Roe; 07973 739229;

Yet this week they’ve already enjoyed a measure of it.

Seemingly everywhere you look, there are reasons to be relieved.

Take the weekend’s number one topic of footballing conversation – pitch invasions and player safety.

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As the FA turn its beady eye on the alarming spate of playing surface incursions, there’s a wiping of the collective brow around the Proact.

Chesterfield of course had two high profile pitch invasions of their own earlier this season, not so long ago.

One of those invasions resulted in an opposition player being confronted and spat at.

Had the FA not already dealt with the situation, Chesterfield might well have fallen victim to the national cry for stricter punishments when clubs fail to control their fans.

Mercifully, for Town at least, they got away with warnings from the governing body for both pitch invasions – thanks largely to the work CEO Graham Bean and colleagues have done to try and eradicate the problem and prove to the FA how seriously it has been taken.

Chesterfield have got their house in order just in the nick of time.

Another story attracting national attention is OWNAFC – the brainchild of Stuart Harvey, a man with failed business ventures on his CV.

He told the Derbyshire Times his app would allow subscribers to ‘enjoy a full transparent process where they would have access to all relevant information and make key decisions as to the appointment of a CEO and the running of the club.’

Sadly, for Harvey at least, he picked the wrong National League club to make enquiries about.

If ever there was a fanbase unlikely to allow such a bizarre and risky scenario unfold at their club, it’s this one, and the reaction was a resounding ‘no thanks’ from the vast majority who bothered to give it a second glance.

The club itself preferred to negotiate with a fan-led consortium that was recently looking into a potential takeover.

So Harvey moved on, Hednesford became a target but that bid failed too.

With increasing scrutiny over the scheme, its terms and conditions and talk turning to refunds, OWAFC disappeared from social media, although the company still appears to be trading and the website is still live.

It seems reasonable to suggest that most football supporters would only welcome the sight of such an ownership model at their fiercest rivals.

Football clubs need owners with substantial wealth or they need to be self sufficient.

They need strong, experienced and knowledgeable individuals at the helm, with good business sense.

Fans need to be able to trust that the bills are going to get paid.

At Chesterfield, under Dave Allen’s ownership, the bills get paid.

The Spireites’ brief link with OWNAFC wasn’t really even a near-miss, it didn’t get that far, but it’s still a source of relief to some that the circus rolled out of town so quickly.

Casting a glance around English football at the minute, there are other situations that make the blood run a little cooler.

Bolton find themselves living a nightmare.

Coventry, too.

Gateshead are performing miracles on the pitch in the context of what’s happening off it.

Town have had a torrid couple of years but at least the ship seems to have steadied and is slowly turning around.

On the football side of things, Joe Rowley’s last gasp equaliser at Bromley provoked an outpouring of relief.

Perhaps not so much from an increasingly frustrated John Sheridan, but from fans who know that by hook or by crook, under his care this side look likely to get over the line and bring an end to the freefall, the relegations.

It’s a relief to know that, in Sheridan’s key signing Scott Boden, Chesterfield finally have a prolific striker in the building, someone upon whom you can rely for important goals.

And how relieved must Rowley himself be, having last week heard Sheridan’s public declaration of fondness for his abilities and then this week returned to the team.

Sheridan’s determination to help kick-start the career of a 19-year-old who has suffered a less than ideal first two years in senior football, is a relief to everyone who still believes there’s a real player in there.