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Club News

LEAGUE ONE FOCUS: CHESTERFIELD

16 June 2014

Chesterfield is around 12.5 miles south of Sheffield, around an hour’s journey from Glanford Park.

They left their old Recreation Ground in 2010 to play their home matches at the Proact Stadium, a £13 million state-of-the-art stadium, formerly known as the B2Net Stadium.

The Spireites spent some of the 1940s in the second division and since the turn of the century, have yoyoed between the third and fourth tier of English football.

The highest they have finished is fourth in the second division and they are part of the six new teams in League One for the 2014/15 season, making their return after they were relegated from the division in 2012.

World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks started his career at the Derbyshire club, making his debut towards the end of 1958 after coming through the youth ranks, before moving to Leicester the following year.

Their left back is former Scunthorpe loanee Ritchie Humphreys, Chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association and Gary McSheffrey had a spell with the club last season before arriving in Lincolnshire to play for the Claret and Blue.

The manager: Paul Cook
Spireites manager Paul Cook has over 600 appearances as a player and eight years of management under his belt.

Wigan Athletic were his first professional club, after coming through at Non-League club Marine. He spent four years with the Latics before moving onto Norwich, Wolves, Coventry, Tranmere, Stockport, Burnley and a return to Wigan followed, before he finished his career with Accrington.

His first opportunity in management came with Conference side Southport in 2006, a post he held for around seven months.

Irish side Sligo Rovers gave him the lead role, which he would hold for five years before leaving to join former side Accrington and Chesterfield a short time later in 2012.

His two years with Chesterfield has seen a great improvement, with the Spireites playing an attractive brand of football which ultimately got them out of League Two last season.

He nearly did the double with them in 2013/14, reaching the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final as well as the league title, which he adds to his managerial silverware collection which already contains a League of Ireland winners’ medal and two Irish FA Cup winners’ medals.

Cook is a traditional football man and he likes to see his teams, which he likes to keep as a close-knit group, playing good football. Expect to see Chesterfield to be one of the more attractive, ball-playing sides in League One next term.

Key Player- Gary Roberts
Liverpudlian winger Gary Roberts has shone brightly since arriving at the club last summer. Paul Cook encouraged his chairman to pull out all the stops to secure the former Swindon Town man’s signature, who was the only player to finish above Sam Winnall in the league’s Player of the Year awards.

He scored a total 12 goals in 47 appearances last season and he also pulled the strings and assisted goals, as he helped Chesterfield storm the league and the JP Trophy final.

Roberts came through the famed academy at Crewe Alexandra before moving onto Accrington Stanley and Ipswich. Crewe loaned back their former player before Huddersfield Town secured his signature. He enjoyed four fruitful years with the West Yorkshire outfit, where he became a firm favourite with his fans as he tore up League One defences.

In his first season with the Terriers, he won three accolades at the end of season awards, retaining the fans’ Player of the Year award the following year.

To the bemusement of some Town fans, Roberts was not offered a new deal and he later joined Swindon. After just a season at the County Ground, one where he scored from inside his own half, he was released and Paul Cook won the race to sign the wingman.

His tricky feet and precise delivery will serve Chesterfield well, with experience of this league giving Roberts no reason to fail in 2014/15.

Last Season
Chesterfield were the winners of League Two last season, as they secured the league title alongside a Wembley appearance in the JP Trophy.

They were front runners in the league for most of the season, going unbeaten in their first and last eight league games. 

They finished the season on 84 points, just three ahead of the Iron. Despite losing more times than us, they produced more victories as we drew six more games than the Spireites.

Two of those draws were fixtures against the Derbyshire club, as the Glanford Park and Proact Stadium clashes ended in 1-1 draws.

Despite leading the league, their top scorer had just nine goals. Marc Richards scored nine goals in League Two, with Gary Roberts scoring nine times in all competitions. They produced 15 different scorers in the league and that level of contribution showed they didn’t rely on certain players at any point in the campaign.

Their squad included a few current or former Irons too. Gary McSheffrey was with them until January and they also had Sam Togwell, Jimmy Ryan, Ritchie Humphreys and Drew Talbot.

The JP Trophy final appearance included a run which saw them beat local rivals Mansfield, league rivals Rochdale and Fleetwood and League One side Oldham, before losing to League One’s Peterborough in the Wembley final.

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