OPINION: Who could be next to take charge at Chesterfield?

It’s that time again. Chesterfield are on the lookout for their next manager, the 8th to take the reigns since Paul Cook left the club five years ago.

The positivity from the Summer that came with the Community Trust’s takeover has soon diminished with the Spireites suffering another poor start to the National League season.

John Pemberton has departed the club with a mere two wins from eight. The other six were defeats and by fine margins too, but football is a results business and they have simply not been good enough.

Despite the last seven managers failing, I still think there will be plenty of applicants hungry to turn the tide and do what their last seven predecessors have failed to do.

In my opinion, here are five possible managerial appointments for Chesterfield:

1) Tim Flowers

The former-England goalkeeper would be the best choice for me. He knows the National League well, having spent nearly two years with Solihull Moors. He is often criticised for his football being unattractive, but from what I can remember when his teams have faced Chesterfield they were strong, fit and most importantly got results.

Whilst in charge at Damson Park, Flowers guided Moors to their highest ever finish- 2nd place in the National League however, they were beaten by Fylde in the Play-Off Semi-Final. The gaffer left the club by mutual consent in January 2020 when Moors were 9th and one point off the play-offs.

Flowers joined Macclesfield in the Summer who were relegated from League Two, but the club was wound up before a competitive game was played.

Managerial Career in Summary:

2010-2011: Stafford Rangers

2011 & 2013: Caretaker Manager at Northampton Town

2018-2020: Solihull Moors

2020: Macclesfield Town

2) Paul Hurst

Another good candidate in my opinion. The former left-back who spent nearly the entirety of his playing career at Rotherham is a name being shouted around for the Chesterfield job.

Notably, Hurst was the manager who led Grimsby Town back to the Football League after a six-year absence. The Mariners beat Forest Green Rovers 3-1 in the Play-Off Final to secure promotion.

At the start of his managerial career, Hurst shared the reigns with former teammate Rob Scott, who he won promotion at Ilkeston Town and Boston United. The dismissal of Scott at Grimsby for gross misconduct saw the end of their managerial partnership.

Since winning promotion with Grimsby, Hurst has been in charge at Shrewsbury Town, where he rescued them from relegation in his first season and lead them to the play-off final in his second.

He has also managed at Ipswich Town where he played just fifteen games, winning one and most recently Scunthorpe United where he was sacked after just eight months in the job.

Despite Hurst struggling in his more recent jobs at a higher level, he has a good record in Non-League and has proven he knows what it takes to get out of the National League, having done it first-hand with Grimsby Town.

Managerial Career in Summary:

2009: Ilkeston Town *

2009-2011: Boston United *

2011-2013: Grimsby Town *

2013-2016: Grimsby Town

2016-2018: Shrewsbury Town

2018: Ipswich Town

2019-2020: Scunthorpe United

*Joint with Rob Scott

3) Graham Alexander

This appointment would be an excellent one.

In his second full season at Fleetwood, Alexander guided the League Two side to the Play-Offs where they beat Burton Albion to gain promotion into League One. Following a poor start to the season, the former-Scotland international was sacked and took on his next role at Scunthorpe United when he also steered the team into the playoffs however, the Iron suffered defeat to eventual Champions Millwall. He parted ways with the club the following season when they endured an eight-game winless run.

Next came Salford, where the 49-year-old won promotion (via the play-offs) into the Football League for the first time in the club’s history. City finished 11th last term following the season’s curtailment due to COVID. However, he was given the sack just five games into this which surprised many considering the Ammies were unbeaten.

Managerial Career in Summary:

2011-2012: Caretaker Manager at Preston North End

2012-2015: Fleetwood Town

2016-2018: Scunthorpe United

2018-2020: Salford City

4) Steve Watson

The only potential candidate currently in a manager's job that I've included in my list. Watson is currently the manager of National League North outfit York City who are unbeaten this season having played four games. Last season he led the Minstermen to the top of the table, which was where they were when the season was curtailed due to COVID, however they lost out on the title to Kings Lynn Town when the season was resolved by points per game. Watson's side were beaten in the play-offs at Bootham Cresent by Altrincham, meaning they would have to endure at least another season in the National League North.

Before becoming York City manager, Watson spent time as a coach at Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City before becoming manager of Gateshead. Despite troubles off the pitch, Watson built a successful team on a limited budget at the International Stadium however departed for York after less than twelve months in the job.

Managerial Career in Summary:

2017-2019: Gateshead

2019-Present: York City

5) Nicky Law

Whenever a manager departs Chesterfield (which has been a regular occurrence for the last few years), Law is one of the first names to get a mention from the fans. The former-Chesterfield player and manager certainly knows the club well. As a player, he was a tough, no-nonsense centre-half and a leader, the type of player Chesterfield are crying out for right now.

Law started his managerial career with Chesterfield and won promotion to League One despite a nine-point deduction but his time at the helm will always be tainted due to what was going on behind the scenes.

The 59-year-old has had more managerial success in Derbyshire, he won both the Northern Counties East League and the Northern Premier League with Buxton before winning the Conference North with Alfreton Town. Law is currently head of national recruitment for 17-23-year-olds at Sean Dyche's Burnley.

Managerial Career in Summary:

2000-2001: Chesterfield

2002-2003: Bradford City

2004: Grimsby Town

2004-2007: Buxton

2007-2017: Alfreton Town

Whoever it is, has certainly got a big job on their hands. In my opinion, at least a couple of new signings are needed to lift the team out of the relegation zone. However, Chesterfield are only nine games into the season, leaving the new manager, whoever they may be, with plenty of time to turn the season around.

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