Daring to dream...
Football is without doubt, a funny old game. Who would have thought Chesterfield FC would actually turn things around and in such a short space of time!
Since I last wrote the Spireites have gone from strength to strength. They however, haven't played as many games as the other teams in the league, as they've had two separate positive cases of covid19 within the club, forcing the club into self isolation for 10 days a piece.
Currently we have a few games in hand. This has created a backlog of matches which still have to be played before the season ends. Given the season started late, it may finish a bit later than expected too at this rate and that's if there's no more cases of Covid on the horizon too.
Given these uncertain times though and that we still have a league to play in that's no hardship, not ideal, but no hardship.The National League and the clubs also have had to decide whether or not to carry on with the season via a vote. Previously agreed grants from the Government during the first coronavirus lockdown had now been changed to loans, which had to be paid back, this forced every club to decide whether or not it was financially viable to carry on. But carry on they voted, including CFC.
On the field, the home game against Solihull in January, the first of 2021 was a stand out game due to an overnight snowfall. It was a weird game to be at to be honest, as I watched the white stuff come down sat in the stands watching the hard working staff clear the snow. Everyone worked their socks off to make the game go ahead. We were rewarded with a fantastic 1-0 win all thanks to a first half winner from new signing, Tom Whelan.
Another stand out game (especially for our young 18 year old reserve keeper Dylan Wharton - who made his full debut for the club) that went down to the wire, was the FA Trophy 4th round game against Boston United. The game ended 1-1 after 90 mins and went straight to penalties which the Spireites won 4-1. A proud day for Dylan who saved a great penalty. Unfortunately, due to the third positive test result of covid19 the Spireites had to withdraw from the competition due to the mandatory self isolation period which meant they couldn't play the next fixture.
Back in the league, at the time of writing the Spireites have just beat Nott's Co away 1-0 with a Gunning's free kick earning us another 3 points.
The Magpies sat 3rd in the league before kick off so to leave their ground with all the points is a massive result. It just shows how Chesterfield FC have changed since James Rowe was appointed manager in November 2020, only 3 months ago!
He clearly has hit the ground running and his plan to get us back to the football league is going as directed. The Board also continue to back him as James has signed over 12 new players to the squad. That's more than an entire starting line up!
You would have to be blind not to see the passion Rowe has for the club. He was even fined by the league for running onto the pitch and celebrating with the players after Asante scored a late winner against Wrexham in the 89th minute in January.
The cost of the fine was raised by a crowdfund organised by the fans online. I don't think any other CFC manager in the past 5 years would have had that response from the fans, do you?
Its worth asking now, given the whole excitement of the club and the massive upgrade the Spireites have had, who will be the future talisman? The next big player, the next Jack Lester if you like, being sung by the fans on the kop?
Its early days and when the fans return to the stands to judge for themselves first hand it will be an area of debate of which there will be many between supporters. But for me, watching Asante play and bang in the goals (8 to date) as long as he doesn't get injured, he's a real contender!
There is still a long road to travel before the seasons finally concluded. But I still have a good feeling that this season will be a memorable one which could, just possibly, the way things are going, see a trip to Wembley for the play off final. As John Lennon sang “you may call me a dreamer, but I'm not the only one”. And as lockdown eases, we may even have the fans there to witness the promotion too. Roll on the rest of the season!
Words: Michael South