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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Financial constraints force Chesterfield to evolve


Glory Days examines Chesterfield’s attempts to strike a balance between sporting and financial success

The pressures of a small stadium, constantly dwindling financial balance and a bulging wage bill are all challenges that managers in lower leagues have to face. Division 4 giants Bristol Rovers serves as a cautionary tale of the dangers of falling into terminal debt, selling two of their best talents in Andres Guardado and Emmanuel Riviere staving off debt for the medium to short term but it seems an acquired art to “balance the books” at a smaller club in the long term. 

Since the arrival of manager Glory Days to Chesterfield, he has overseen the key departures of Mahamadou Diarra, Rodrigo Lima, Emiliano Insua and to a lesser extent Claudio Bravo (who has now subsequently returned to the club) and although aesthetically these departures would have looked to cripple the small Derbyshire side, Chesterfield have evolved, utilising the transfer market and developing players to keep their side competitive as ever. 

The emergence of young players like Denys Garmash, Karim Ait Fana, Alberto Paloschi, Joe Dudgeon has given Chesterfield a youthful core while astute acquisitions such as Nemanja Matic who was purchased for next to nothing (Sebastian Cristoforo, a paper weight in the Elkeson – Sigurdsson swap) has emerged as one of the highest rated players in the squad while Hugo Rodallega’s arrival for Nicky Kupier addressed the lack of cutting edge last season, scoring 12 goals in 19 appearances.  

Players like Ryan Fraser and Kazuki Kushibiki cannot be disregarded even though they are not in first team reckoning. They’re essential to the financial stability of the club and an ever present example of “buy low, sell high” concept They were brought in for a combined $500k and were sold to West Ham and Tokyo respectively, yielding a substantially high profit of $3.1 million. Profitable gains such as these are vital for a club that can only fill half of their 10,338 seat stadium and staving off potential “cashed up” suitors for their best and coveted talents.   

Another trend that is found in the Chesterfield side is the “adaptable player”, a player that can adapt to multiple positions. Not only provide more opportunities for the player concerned but allows smaller clubs to save money in wages for a player that would only fill the ‘depth strength’ of a squad. Greek International Giannis Manitias, Lorenzo De Silverstri who can play a defensive midfield role while playing and Fedor Smolov who could potentially play all across the “front three” embody these principles.

Chesterfield have yielded their best result in the first 10 games (3 wins, 5 draws and 3 losses with 2 draws that were very nearly wins) ever under manager Glory Days guidance however the Spireites will eventually be at a crossroad and would need to choose whether to persist with this long term vision of developing youngsters into the first team or buckle to financial pressure and sell off all their talent in order to survive. Only time will tell but for the time being manager Glory Days is trying to be successful even with the most meager of resources.


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