The downfall of sacked Chesterfield boss John Sheridan

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John Sheridan’s 19-year record as a manager stands up fairly well.

A promotion and a trophy with the Spireites in his first spell in charge and saving Town from relegation last season are just a couple of examples of his ability.

And that is why it makes some of the decisions he made this campaign even more confusing and baffling, which has finally led to his sacking today.

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His player recruitment in the summer is a massive part of why they are third bottom of the National League and five points from safety.

John Sheridan has been sacked as Chesterfield manager.John Sheridan has been sacked as Chesterfield manager.
John Sheridan has been sacked as Chesterfield manager.

To be fair he re-signed a lot of the players who finished last season strongly and the addition of striker Mike Fondop has been a success with 10 league goals.

But at the start of the season he wanted to play a 3-5-2 formation but did not recruit players in the key positions to make it work.

It led to a ridiculous amount of tinkering with his starting line-up and not knowing his best team.

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Some players would start one week, then be dropped from the squad completely the next, then be recalled again.

John Sheridan.John Sheridan.
John Sheridan.

Players did not know where they stood with him at times.

The recruitment problems resulted in players being shoehorned into positions that they were not suited to.

Winger Joe Rowley played right wing-back, central midfielder Jonathan Smith played right wing or right-back and left-back David Buchanan played central midfield.

Sheridan signed Jermaine McGlashan on loan, a winger, but he hardly featured because they did not play with widemen.

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It resulted in them not winning a game until the 11th fixture of the season.

In September his big name signing, Anthony Gerrard, was stripped of the captain’s armband after hitting back at criticism from a fan on social media by saying he injured his hamstring after “rifling” the fan’s mum.

Sheridan also admitted that Gerrard was overweight.

Later that month it appeared Sheridan was considering his future after a 4-0 loss to Sutton United when he said he needed to go away and think about things.

The writing was on the wall in November when after a 5-1 defeat to Hartlepool United the club let his fitness coach go without him even knowing.

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While in December he publically criticisised captain Will Evans for “ruining” and “costing” the Spireites the three points against Bromley last month.

As results continued to go against the Spireites he dodged his media duties and sent out his goalkeeping coach Mark Crossley and even chief scout Charlie Williamson to do post-match interviews.

Quite incredibly Sheridan admitted he should have been sacked weeks ago in one interview.

But with a takeover deal for the club in the background it seemed unlikely that the owner Dave Allen would be willing to pay him off.

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At times Sheridan seemed reluctant to praise the players when they did perform well which made you wonder about confidence and team morale in the camp.

People had started noticing that Sheridan very rarely appeared to be encouraging the players from the sidelines and in recent weeks was seen slumped in the dugout shaking his head.

Crossley gave one post-match interview where he said the players were “90 per cent to blame” for the situation they were in which seemed like they were trying to distance themselves from any responsibility.

In fairness to Sheridan he has been without his assistant manager, Glynn Snodin, for a large chunk of the season due to a health issue.

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And there have been a number of injuries he has had to deal with including long-term ones to goalkeeper Luke Coddington and Laurence Maguire.

To his credit when he did speak to the media he answered every question and never lost his temper. He spoke honestly, perhaps too much at times.

Overall I don’t think he can have any complaints with the decison to let him go and perhaps when the dust settles the animosity towards Sheridan may disappear and fans will remember what he achieved in his first spell.

With 17 games to go his sacking might have come with just enough time for the Spireites to survive.

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After Sutton United this Saturday there is no game until January 18 which will give whoever the new manager is time to put in some solid work on the training ground.

From here on Chesterfield need to almost show promotion form to stay up and there will be plenty of twists and turn to come.

It’s time now for everyone at the club to pull together and make sure they do not make it a disastrous third relegation in four years.