The final push

The last time I wrote a piece for the website, we’d just played the European champions in the FA Cup third round, Kabongo Tshimanga was scoring goals week in week out, and we sat top of the National League table. 

Well, things have changed a little since then, haven’t they?

Two games, six points. That’s it. After 42 games, ten months, 3,800+ minutes of football, that’s now all that remains. Now, let’s be honest, if you’d have said in December that we might not make the play-offs, you’d have been laughed at. Things were great, we were on fire and the lads were climbing that table with confidence. 

Many factors have contributed to the sticky patch we’ve found ourselves in over the last few months, but we don’t need to go too much into them, it is what it is and there’s nothing that can be said that will turn back the clock. I think Paul Cook and the players themselves would admit they are not where they wanted to be, but there’s nothing that can be done about that now. Many factors have contributed to our fall down the table but were still in with a chance and after everything that has happened, I think that is remarkable.

It’s simple, we now have a two-game fight to secure our place in those play-offs. The past 42 games are almost irrelevant at this stage, but by no means is this season over, and by no means should we write off promotion. 

Football is a funny old game. On Wednesday night, Manchester City found themselves in a comfortable lead with just six minutes of added time to go for a place in the Champions League final before somehow losing the game. Ask yourself, if someone had said when the clock struck the 90th minute that Manchester City were going to lose the game and Real Madrid were heading to Lisbon for the final, you’d have probably said something like “no chance”. There was no way that Manchester City were going out of the Champions League, right? Real Madrid looked down and out and no one thought they were going to the final, did they? 

Well, what’s the difference? 

Although right now you may not feel as confident as you previously have done about the Spireites’ chances of getting promoted, if there’s one thing that football proves time and time again, it’s that you can never write off anything. If you’re in the mix, you can achieve anything right up until that final whistle. We can still get promotion this season and as a fan base we can certainly still believe. Football is an amazing sport and truly anything is possible. 

We have some of the best players in this division and with the return of Danny Rowe, Manny Oyeleke and Gavin Gunning to the squad, it’s fair to say our side is now much stronger than it has been in recent weeks, and we have much more squad depth going into the final stretch. This squad is more than capable of achieving promotion and the sky is the limit.

Of course, if we don’t win promotion, a feeling of ‘what if’ will undoubtably be casted around the mind of many Spireites, but that’s football and next season we will build for another campaign, ready to throw everything at promotion once again. I’m confident that Paul Cook is the man to lead us forward and I’m certainly confident that he is the man that will get this club back to the Football League, whether that’s this season or not. We must get behind Paul and his management team, who will undoubtably be doing everything they can to get this club over the line.

I think perspective is key too, it’s easy to forget where we were just a few years ago. Forget worrying about promotion, as a fan base we were wondering whether we would have a club to support. Each week that passed us by we wondered whether that would be the last week for our beloved football club. Fast forward to today, and we’re now run by a great bunch of people who love the club from the bottom of their hearts and only want what’s best for the club and nothing else. We’ve had some tough times in recent years, but things are only looking up. Remember that. 

For now, we must get behind the lads and do everything we can to support them in their attempt to get the job done. Anything is possible.

So, sit back, relax (as much as you can), and believe. The race for promotion is still on.

Bron Jenkinson