Chesterfield supporters fear their club may never return to the Football League following their pending relegation this coming weekend.
Saturday’s defeat at Forest Green Rovers all but confirmed their drop and today boss Jack Lester left the club.
The Spireites have been members of the Football League since 1921/22 but know the size of the task now facing them to get back in.
We asked Chesterfield fans how long they thought it would take to return in a special online poll and 31 per cent believed it would never happen.
That is almost double the 18 per cent that felt they could bounce back at the first time of asking.
The poll saw 15 per cent think it will take two seasons, 14 per cent for both three and five seasons and nine per cent for it to take four seasons.
It’s certainly not going to be easy.
Last season’s relegated sides - Leyton Orient and Hartlepool United - have struggled to adjust to life in non-League football and are set for mid-table finishes - a sobering warning of what may lay ahead for Chesterfield.
Macclesfield Town yesterday completed their return to the Football League following a six year absence while Spireites’ local rivals Mansfield Town took five years to bounce back as did a club the size of Luton Town - perhaps indicated a long rebuilding process lays ahead at the Proact.
More worrying is what has happened at clubs like Stockport County and York City where the rot failed to stop and they went on to be relegated again.
Chesterfield have already dropped through two divisions in as many seasons and freefall can be hard to halt.
The National League is notoriously difficult to be promoted out of with just the champions and play-off winners going up.
The culture shock of the smaller crowds, the smaller grounds with spartan facilities and inevitable club budgets cuts all combine to give a massive reality check as to the enormity of what has just happened and what may lay ahead.