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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Season in Review: Chesterfield


Final Position: 5th


Chesterfield’s remarkable rise in Division Three was epitomized by their surprise fifth placed finish. Although their season ended in disappointment with a 3-1 loss to Barnsley in the play-off semi-final, they should be proud of their extraordinary efforts in the regular season, grabbing a play-off berth in their first season back in Division Three, when many considered they would be fighting in the relegation battle.

The Spireites were in a rebuilding phase following the key losses of leading scoring duo Dmitri Torbinsky and Hugo Rodallega but found solace in  new attacking trio of Alberto Paloschi, Miraleum Sulejmani and Mehmet Ekici who combined for 34 goals and 28 assists.

The Derbyshire club began with an impressive 2-0 win over Leicester City and 7-2 win over relegated Norwich City however the 3-1 victory over relegation candidates Swindon Town was a more significant result. Their excellent season continued after securing of safety in record time (24 games) and impressive wins over promotion candidates Northampton Town, Tranmere Rovers and Hull City. The Spireites were poised for a promotion play-off spot however their hopes were dealt a blow after newly signed Russian defender Vladimir Granat suffered a season ending metatarsal injury. But Chesterfield rallied to a 10 game unbeaten run and secured a play- off spot only to be beaten by Barnsley.     
Despite a disappointing finish to the season, it cannot mask the incredible over achievement for the second consecutive season.

Most Valuable Player:  Denys Garmash
 Denys GARMASH Photo

One doesn’t know the value of a player unless they are gone however ironically in Denys Garmash’s case, his value wasn’t known until an injury to a fellow team mate. Last season, former Spireites player Nemanja Matic was a quintessential part of Chesterfield’s ascent into the play-off spots unfortunately a season ending injury firmly put a halt to any impending promotion hopes. But in came the versatile Ukrainian international Garmash who seamlessly fit into the all-important defensive midfield role and the rest was history, Chesterfield won the play-off final and made another play-off semi-final a division higher this season.

Steady Eddies don’t always get their due; they do their job consistently yet unspectacularly. His ability to tackle and pass along with his versatility are all part of the reason why Garmash is so important to Chesterfield. This season, although his statistics don’t look impressive, he provided a crucial goal against Northampton Town to run out 2-0 surprise winners but his value was demonstrated when manager Glory Days commented on his omission “We simply cannot replace Denys in this team, he is the heart of what it means to be Chesterfield”    

Golden Boot: Alberto Paloschi 15 goals

Alberto PALOSCHI Photo

When Columbian striker Hugo Rodallega left the club for Tomila, there was bemusement and confusion from fans and media alike, why would you let go your leading striker especially with a difficult season in Division Three ahead? It would have been somewhat understandable that the move was dictated by finances but it was also because of manager Glory Days belief that Italian striker Alberto Paloschi would be able to step up.

Often in the shadows of Hugo Rodallega last season, Paloschi was able to make his mark on the team. A crafty central striker who has the ability to run in behind the defences, strength to hold up play and strong in the air, the Italian hitman showed what he was capable of grabbing important goals against Tranmere Rovers, Hull City and Reading. Although he has a tendency to drift offside a bit too often, there is significant upside to Paloschi’s game and having secured a first team place, he could look forward to leading the line for another season.

Leading Assists:  Miraleum Sujemani 11 assists in 24 appearances
 Miralem SULEJMANI Photo

Much fanfare came with the arrival of Chesterfield’s marquee signing Miraleum Sujemani who was known for his off the field antics as much as his talents on the field. Rumours persisted that the troubled 24 year old moved to the Derbyshire club for a change in scenery but what he got was a change in discipline, manager Glory Days instilled a belief in him that when the time came, he would be ready to step up.

Despite constant cries from the media and fans alike for the Serbian star to start, manager Glory Days held firm and he was given a start on the left wing against Crystal Palace. Although he didn’t sparkle initially, it wasn’t until he was given the central playmaking role that Sujemani really shone.  Most notably against Hull City, Sujemani turned in a Man of the Match performance with two lovely assists for front man Alberto Paloschi and sealed the game with the final goal. What makes Serbian playmaker’s achievement of leading assist man even more impressive is that he missed the first third of the season yet was still able to get 9 goals and 11 assists.
 Fan’s Favourite: Marcos Rojo

Marcos ROJO Photo

Strong in the air, consistent and solid are all attributes that Argentinian defender Marcos Rojo has in abundance. Rojo who is only 23 years old has maturity and composure beyond his years and has proven to be vital member of the defensive unit. It’s an interesting contrast to the player that Rojo was three seasons ago where the young Argentine was considered to be surplus to requirements after putting in some horrendous performances, the most notable being his studs up tackle to the knee of an opponent which saw him duly sent off within the opening ten minutes of the game, not only did that rash tackle result in Chesterfield having the numerical disadvantage but the sending off cost Chesterfield all three points. Rojo was endemic of the culture at Chesterfield at the time: ill-discipline.

Fast forward to the current season where Rojo has become a pillar of the three man back line which has chopped and changed for various reasons but the one constant remains: Marcos Rojo. One of the most noticeable changes to his game is his ability to read the game and to execute a well-timed tackle, another is his discipline which has completely turned around with only two yellow cards to his name in 33 appearances.    
Surprise Packet: Koo Ja Cheol 5 goals, 2 assists (8 appearances)
 Ja-Cheol KOO Photo

Since the arrival of Koo Ja Cheol, he has given new life to Chesterfield especially towards the back end of the season.  Koo’s debut off the bench couldn’t have been any better with the South Korean captain grabbing a match winning brace against fierce rivals Barnsley at Oakwell Stadium.

His excellent technical ability coupled with his eye for a pass and foraging runs into the opponent’s penalty box made him an ideal Glory Days signing. Known as the utility man, Koo has produced some fine performances scoring a goal in every position he was given, employed in the central midfield, right wing, attacking midfield and supporting striker, he gives manager Glory Days great tactical flexibility. With such a remarkable impact in his first season, one wonders whether he can replicate that success next season.    


  1. Yes, this is top drawer, off the page article, well done

  2. Great write up mate. Superb first season in division 3.

  3. Thanks everyone appreciate the comments =D