Zavon Hines - an enigma who was both a source of hope and frustration for Chesterfield fans

Zavon Hines was a Spireite for almost a year and we'll maybe never know what exactly he's capable of.

Friday, 7th December 2018, 12:59 pm
Updated Friday, 7th December 2018, 2:05 pm
FC Halifax Town's Nathan Clarke beats Chesterfieldâ¬"s Zavon Hines to a header: Picture by Steve Flynn/, Football: Vanarama National League match FC Halifax Town -V- Chesterfield at The Shay, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England on copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229

Hines is somewhat of an enigma, he was a source of both hope and frustration for Town fans.

Since breaking into the professional game a decade ago, Hines has played in the Premier League and the Championship.

He was called up for, but didn’t play for, Jamaica, then represented England at Under 21 level, scoring twice on his debut.

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He played at Wembley in a League Cup final, coming on as a substitute for Bradford City while up-until-yesterday Spireites team-mate Kyel Reid remained on the Bantam bench.

But for all the promise shown as a West Ham teenager, Hines’ decade in professional football has yielded just 168 league appearances.

Only four times in his career has he played more than 20 times in a season.

Serious knee problems and surgery derailed his 2008/09 season and struck again in the 2009/10 campaign.

Fast forward to today and his knee continues to make headlines, perhaps even more so than his goals or assists.

It was clear all was not well with the fleet-footed forward when he was granted time off to deal with a personal issue.

Weeks later, he’s left the club in order to find employment closer to home.

Few can argue with that. Family first, then football, would be the motto of most involved in the sport.

Maybe it was the beginning of the end when Hines returned from his personal time with a sore knee.

We were never granted an explanation as to how it happened, a subsequent scan came back all clear and according to Martin Allen, the physio didn’t manage to get to the bottom of it.

The issue was serious enough to keep Hines off the training ground, but he managed to play on it.

At 29, he has got to think about elongating his career and hopefully his future employers will be as cautious as Chesterfield appeared to be - permitting rest, keeping him on the bench when he wasn’t fit to play 90 minutes or withdrawing him early.

Allen’s statement at a supporter event that Hines could not play three games a week, for reasons he could not disclose, added an element of mystery to the situation.

Yet fans liked him.

Last season’s inconsistency appeared to be forgive and forgotten, because this season he looked like a player who could make something happen.

He departs, however, having scored just one goal since August and, if stats website Transfermarkt is to be believed, added no assists since the opening month of the campaign.

He had everyone on the edge of their seats almost as often as he himself was sat on the turf, so regularly did he draw fouls.

A player capable of bamboozling defences has been a rare sight on the Proact pitch in their first foray into National League action and perhaps that’s why fans clung to him so.

A positive presence on social media may have helped in the popularity stakes as well.

Brought in as a winger, used as a forward, his best position has been the source of much debate among Spireites.

The fans have already moved on to the more important question of who will pose that kind of threat now he’s gone, but we may forever ponder why we didn’t see the Hines who appeared on Sky TV against Notts County, or on BT Sport against Halifax, on a much more regular basis.

Jack Lester, the man who brought him to Chesterfield, didn’t rely on him regularly and Ian Evatt, caretaker boss for the final three league games of last season, didn’t use him at all.

There were 20 League Two games remaining when Hines came to the club and he played 90 minutes in three of them.

He has something though, that’s not in question.

And many, many fingers will be crossed that the Hines that tore the Magpies apart does not reappear at the Proact in the near future, wearing the colours of his 10th club.