Born in Oxford in 1867, Edmund Francis HIND continued the Town club's habit of having a newspaperman as Secretary/Manager, when he was appointed to take over from Gilbert Gillies in January 1900. Hind had lived in the area since the mid 1880s and may have been the "F Hinde" that occasionally played for a Spital team at the height of its powers. He turns up on the 1901 census as a "Journalist and Coal Merchant," of 7, Compton Street. He also served as Grand Master of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, was a Town Councillor and a respected local referee.
In the early 1890s Hind became the prime mover behind the formation of the Chesterfield & East Derbyshire Football Association, which grew out of a local benefit association that supported players who could not work after receiving football injuries.
Hind was aware of the area's peculiar position of belonging to Derbyshire while looking to Yorkshire first in economic and social terms, and thought the area would benefit from having its own autonomous football association. The industrialised north-east Derbyshire area was a lucrative one, with many active clubs, and the Derbyshire FA was loath to surrender control of it; something of a "cold war" grumbled on between the two bodies until a full-scale conflict broke out in 1913 that resulted in the disbandment of the Chesterfield FA. Hind had been at that organisation's head since its inception and the 1913 "football war" left him embittered and broken; he was suspended by the FA from all involvement in football in the wake of the 1913 conflict but this suspension was lifted at the request of his old adversaries when it was discovered that he was terminally ill; Hind died on November 25th 1916 at the early age of 49.
Hind's Chesterfield Town involvement was insignificant- perhaps he had fingers in too many pies, or perhaps the looming presence of Gillies in the background, still, had an effect. Either way, it ended with the club's first re-election attempt in May 1902.
Jack HOSKIN, pictured above, was the son of a butcher and became involved in local football in the Brampton area. He was working as a clerk for a local colliery when the football club offered him the job in succession to Hind. He was another senior official of the local FA.
Hoskin guided the Town club through the best of its Edwardian era. The hopeless 1901-2 side was rebuilt and Hoskin's first team finished 6th just one year later. Fans took to Hoskin's sides, built as they were around the best in local football talent. Hoskin was responsible for bringing Sam Hardy to the club and, with the future England keeper between the sticks, his 1903-4 side finished 5th - remarkable for a side with a ramshackle stadium and a 3,000 average gate.
Hoskin left in 1906 under something of a cloud, replaced by the
directors in what appears to be panic, or carelessness. Certainly the players
saw his value, and raised enough from a whip-round to buy the man a roll-top
desk. The man they chose to replace him, William H FURNESS. It is not exaggerating to call Furness a local man - he was born and raised at no. 119 Saltergate, which rather saw the Recreation Ground develop around it. He was a friend of Hoskin's and, like Hoskin and Hind, had refereed in local circles. Furness's qualifications for football management are unknown but, as a colliery clerk, he fitted the profile of men chosen by Chesterfield Town for this role, with more emphasis placed on their ability as administrators than motivators or coaches. It helped, too, that his brother Thomas was a director of the Town club. Furness's record on
the footballing front was unfortunately dreadful, and he was relieved of his
duties after just one season. He went back to refereeing and won a place on the Midland League list before moving for business reasons to Ashton under Lyne, where he was "on the Manchester Coal Exchange." Furness was born in 1879 and was thus no older than 28 upon his appointment, making him the youngest manager in the club's history.
To succeed Furness the club chose their first Secretary/Manager with a national football pedigree. Born in 1870 near Telford, Shropshire, George SWIFT was the son of an Ironworks shingler and started his working life as an engine fitter in Crewe. He had spells at clubs in the Wellington and Crewe areas but came to prominence as a footballer with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Loughborough and Leicester Fosse, where he started 186 Football League games, scoring five times from the left-back position.
George's playing career wound down at Notts County. He joined Leeds City as Trainer in1905 and struck up a harmonious relationship with Gillies, who recommended him to Chesterfield Town. Other clubs were turning to football men to manage their sides with great success, and the Chesterfield Town board saw their club being left behind, in this respect. It was a momentous decision to make, and acting on Gillies' advice, Swift was appointed on a two-year contract.
When the club were voted out of the League in 1909 no blame was attached to Swift, who was reappointed. The club's decision to keep him despite the cost was justified by its winning the Midland League in 1910, but Swift rocked the Spireites by resigning just one game into the 1910-11 season, citing his belief that the club couldn't afford to pay him. Swift would later resurface at Southampton, in the Southern League.