• DerbyshireFootball

Chesterfield chief 'gobsmacked' by government announcement

Chesterfield chief executive John Croot says he was 'surprised and gobsmacked' by the government's announcement on Tuesday that plans to admit fans back into elite level sporting fixtures have been paused.

The new National League season is due to commence on October 3, with it having been expected that clubs would be able to admit a limited number of supporters to each match.

Chesterfield's Technique Stadium.

But cabinet office minister Michael Gove has confirmed that those allowances will not now occur for the foreseeable future, plunging not only the start of the season into doubt but also, once again, the future of clubs across the country.

Speaking to the Derbyshire Times, Croot says he is now determined to see that the Spireites do not suffer any more than necessary.

He said: “I was surprised and gobsmacked when I heard Michael Gove announce it in a television interview this morning.

“I played it back to be honest just to make sure I had heard it correctly and then within a minute the chairman had called me to say ‘have you just seen what I’ve just seen?'.

"It was a massive surprise to us all because we were two hours away from selling tickets to get fans back in the stadium.

“I tried to contact the National League straight away but all their phones were engaged, so it seemed quite clear then that it must have been a bit of a surprise to them.”

Mr Croot, who was recently appointed chief executive following the takeover of the club by the community trust, said the current situation with no fans being allowed in stadiums is a “massive concern” for the club.

“It is always a worry, the finances at a football club,” he said. “That has not changed in the 34 years that I have been involved in the club. But we have got a great team of staff here, we have got a new board of directors and we are looking to keep it going, we are not looking at anything else, we will get through it.

“What I can say is that we have got people here that are committed to the football club and we will do our damndest to make sure we get through this.

"I have been in similar situations before where we have faced a lack of income where we have had serious issues so I am confident that with support, whether that is from the football pyramid or government, we can get through this.”

On how long the club could survive without fans, he added: “We are not just looking at a few weeks. It is not a concern within a few weeks.”