Interview: Chesterfield Chief Executive Chris Turner

Read via the Chesterfield Post

Chesterfield Chief Executive Chris Turner has eyed larger attendances at the Proact next season in order to provide a more competitive budget for Paul Cook to seek promotion to the Championship.

As yet, the ticket office at the Proact Stadium has seen a slight increase in season ticket sales with a figure of around 4,000 sold for the coming campaign.

Chesterfield can anticipate a rise in the number of away supporters next season in a much more local league than the title winning season that has just passed.

SkyBet League One of 2014/15 comprises of 13 clubs within a 75 mile radius of the Proact Stadium to contrast only 6 within the same distance last season.

Visits from South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United, Barnsley and Doncaster can be expected to produce sizeable contingents in the away end while Notts County, Bradford and Port Vale have all sold out their respective allocations on their last visits to Whittington Moor.

Turner, on his return from Kuwait on a trip to spark sponsorship interest in the club from foreign investors, told The Chesterfield Post that the gates next season need to be consistently around the 7,000 mark in order to provide a competitive budget with which manager Paul Cook can acquire a higher calibre of player to improve his squad.

The former Sheffield Wednesday manager said: ‘Our attendances last season were around the 6,000 mark, if they’d have been round the 7,000 mark, we’d have been better. We need around 7,000 this season. The budget will be improved the more people come.

‘The budget is reflective of the league we’re in. We’re not a big spending club, we can’t afford to spend big.

‘The difficulty is that we have historical expenses to pay and the upkeep of the stadium is enormous. I try to give Paul the best budget – but it’s difficult as it all reflects on the support for the team.’

Despite securing the services of Ollie Banks, Dan Gardner, Jay O’Shea and new club vice captain Sam Morsy on extended contracts, financial circumstances, due to attendances that were below what was budgeted for last season and a less substantial revenue than hoped for created by the two summer concerts, have meant a slower rate of recruitment than that of last summer which saw the majority of signings secured before the pre season trip to Portugal.

This time around Cook was able to take only 27-year-old left back Daniel Jones as a senior signing to the club’s training camp to Portugal but the Chesterfield manager has maintained his stance of remaining patient in his pursuit of two strikers and a midfielder.

Having released Marc Richards, Sam Togwell and Nathan Smith, all of whom were rumoured to be further up the pay scale at the Proact, Cook’s attacking options are undoubtedly stretched ahead of the pre season opener against Buxton on Saturday, with Banks set to miss the start of the season in his continued rehabilitation from a foot injury suffered in March.

With Armand Gnanduillet set to be sent out on loan and Charlie Dawes yet to make a league debut, Cook and his staff have been focused in their search for the two strikers required to compete for a starting position with Eoin Doyle.

Bolton striker Craig Davies has been linked with a return to the club but the deal has seemingly been dismissed due to high wage demands.

Former Crewe Alexandra forward Michael Higdon is reported to be a target close to being secured from dutch side NEC Nijmegen, with talks reportedly ongoing with the Liverpudlian who has scored 14 goals in 32 appearances for the Eredivisie outfit.

While persistently searching for additions to his squad, Cook will also have to ensure that the existing members of his title winning side are not lured away from the Proact, with one offer already being made for an unconfirmed player in this transfer window.

With Leeds United travelling to the Proact for pre season a friendly on Saturday 26th July ahead of the visit of Aston Villa for Roy Keane’s first game as assistant manager on Wednesday 30th July, the Chesterfield hierarchy will hope for a further increase in season ticket sales to contribute to the competitive budget required for success in the third tier of English football.

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