At 1pm tomorrow I stop being an Owl - Turner

Chris Turner: The Chesterfield chief executive supported, played for and managed Wednesday.

Chris Turner: The Chesterfield chief executive supported, played for and managed Wednesday.

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CHRIS Turner is backing Chesterfield to match Wednesday tomorrow.

The Spireites chief executive will forget his Owls links and hope that his present club can repeat the sort of performance they gave against Sheffield United in November.

“I saw that game and on the day Chesterfield were as good as United,” says Turner.

“It could have gone either way; a quality goal by Ched Evans split the teams, but on another day Chesterfield could have won that.

“I think on Saturday it will be a similar situation. We’ll give as good as Wednesday can give.

“Teams at the bottom can beat teams at the top - it’s not like the Premier League.

“Consistency is the key. We have become more consistent in the way the team play; that’s why the results have improved.”

It seems strange to think of Turner as being in opposition to the Owls.

He has always supported them; he played for them and managed them; he was in line to return to Hillsborough in an executive role just over a year ago when he was the spokesman for a consortium who were trying to take over the club; they melted away, and Turner was left high and dry, having quit his job at Hartlepool.

But he was appointed by Chesterfield in December, with the man who hired and fired him for Wednesday, Spireites major shareholder Dave Allen, recognising that his knowhow would be an asset.

When I put it to Turner that you never stop being a Wednesdayite, he replied: “I do at one o’clock on Saturday.”

He takes no credit for identifying five loan signings who have lifted the Spireites: Josh Thompson, Liam Ridehalgh, James Hurst, Nicky Ajose and David Davis were John Sheridan targets.

“It’s my job to ensure that we get the players, and get them signed up quickly, so there’s no delay,” said Turner.

“The five loan players have certainly improved the quality of the squad, and that’s been shown in the results over the last few weeks. It’s been vital, and it’s what was required. We have looked a different side”

It is the first time that Turner and Sheridan have worked together since they were Wednesday players in the Nineties.

Each played a key role in the League Cup triumph against Manchester United in 1991: Sheridan famously by scoring the only goal. It may be less well remembered that Turner made a great save near the end, turning a Brian McClair header over the bar.

There will be a pleasant diversion for the duo when they return to the national stadium for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final against Paolo Di Canio’s Swindon on March 25.

But the main task is trying to keep Chesterfield up.

The club are next to bottom, four points below the safety mark.

From mid-January they enjoyed four successive wins: two in the league and two in the Trophy. Their last two games have brought one point: a lead was lost in a 2-1 defeat at Carlisle on February 4, and three days ago a late equaliser by Bury resulted in a 1-1 draw.

Turner said: “In recent weeks we have shot ourselves in the foot after being in winning positions until the latter stages. We’re disappointed with that.”

From a business perspective, it aids the Spireites when United and Wednesday bring in the crowds - and business is within Turner’s domain now he is a chief executive rather than a team manager.

“There’s a lot of decision-making regarding the business side. The football is totally down to John. We have to make sure our budgets are kept and we improve things both for the fooball and the business side.”