Moving on up!
Chesterfield Football Club
Since my last page the Spireites have had a positive turnaround in results on the pitch. Against Notts Co, however, in his only game in charge of the Spireites (as the hunt for Pemberton's replacement was on), caretaker manager John Dungworth took charge of what will be remembered as the infamous 3-2 defeat.
All looked promising and we were on course to win 2-1, right up until the 90th minute, when the inevitable happened. We switched off. In the dying minutes, we managed to drop all 3 points and conceded 2 late goals in the final minute of added time. This, however, turned out to be our last defeat and a positive turning point at the club.
Welcome, James Rowe!
On Friday 27th November I had the privilege of bearing witness to the unveiling of Chesterfield FC's new manager James Rowe, at the Technique Stadium. James is the 7th official manager since Paul Cook's departure in 2015.
The 37-year-old came across as motivated and eager to get the club back to where we belong, in the football league. Like Paul Cook, James comes to the club as pretty much an unknown manager. This, in my mind, is a good thing as it shows he has the desire to succeed. Some might say it's a risk as he has limited managerial experience but not me, as his first crop of results clearly speak for themselves.
James came from Gloucester City who he managed from 2019 and who sat quite comfortably at the top of the National League North, winning 7 out of their first 10 games of the season. Prior to this James was Aldershot's assistant manager for 3 years from 2016-19.
Rowe's assistant manager at Chesterfield will be George Foster. George also follows Rowe from Gloucester City and who was Mansfield Town's ex-player and ex-manager, but I'll not mention the M word again!
Chesterfield's first game under Rowe came the following day from his press conference, away at Weymouth. The game ended with a 2-1 win for us with new striker Akwasi Asante (28) scoring on his debut after following Rowe from Gloucester to the club.
In fact, Asante was announced to the press as Rowe's first signing on the same day as Rowe, which shows a clear plan of wanting to improve the club and to hit the ground running by both Rowe and the board. Four more signings quickly followed, including George Carline, again from Gloucester City, Tom Whelan, Jack McCourt, and Joel Taylor.
Rowe's second game (and first home game) ended 0-0 against Aldershot. His third game away at Sutton United - who were second placed in the league when we visited - ended with an impressive 1-0 win for Rowe which was achieved with a goal from Hollis.
The clear stand-out game for me and the best game seen at the Technique for a long time was the 6-0 demolishing against Barnet. Asante, after only being at the club for 2 weeks, netted his first hat-trick in the game. With new players and new management Chesterfield seemed to have what it takes to play attractive, passionate football again and to also keep clean sheets!
The only thing missing are the fans.
To sit pitch-side and photograph a CFC side playing this whilst witnessing a quality performance feels surreal, to say the least. Without any noise from the stands, the chants or the passion, the ground sounds eerie and empty. Without the fans to share this upturn in fortune feels strange, the soul of the club is missing. Added to which the club's home FA Trophy win against Brackley Town after penalties clearly needed the fans back to share it.
When fans can return, I can't wait for the bounce to be heard and for the raw emotion to be felt again, like when Cookie was here. “Just bounce if you love the Town! Just bounce...”
It is very clear that Asante will be a Kop favourite if he keeps up his goal-scoring for us.
But (for now) we shall cheer the Blues on from the comfort of our homes and look forward to the roar of the crowd as 2021 progresses and a semblance of normality returns.