VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE
Chesterfield FC vs Aldershot Town FC
Saturday 28th September 2019
Proact Stadium, Chesterfield, kick off, 3pm.
ALL THINGS CHESTERFIELD…
North Derbyshire’s largest market town is perhaps most famous for the distinctive Crooked Spire that dominates its skyline.
Stories abound as to why it twisted, but its unusual shape is thought to have been triggered by green timber covered with heavy lead tiles. Whatever the truth, the base of the spire of the Parish Church of St Mary’s and All Saints is a great place to get a panoramic view across the town and beyond.
Back on solid ground, Chesterfield is a paradise for shoppers, with its handsome Market Hall and cobbled Market Place, home to one of the largest open air markets in England, with regular general, flea, farmers’ and artisan markets.
Nearby in the Shambles are a cluster of independent shops and cafés, while you’ll find famous High Street names at the Pavements and Vicar Lane Shopping Centres.
If you’re fascinated by history, visit the Museum and Art Gallery charting Chesterfield’s commercial and industrial past, or take a short drive to Revolution House at Old Whittington, where a plot was hatched to overthrow James II in 1688.
Eating out is a gourmet experience, thanks to everything from Michelin recommended restaurants and welcoming cafes and tea rooms to gastro and real ale pubs. You can also enjoy live drama, music, comedy and much more at The Pomegranate and Winding Wheel theatres.
Right on the doorstep you’ll find the National Trust’s magnificent Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, the last and greatest house built by Bess of Hardwick in the 1500s, and impressive Bolsover Castle, a 17th century fairytale mansion, with its magical Little Castle, enchanting Venus Garden, indoor riding school and breathtaking views..
Also close by are Renishaw Hall & Gardens, ancestral home of the literary Sitwell family, with its formal Italianate gardens, bluebell woods and vineyard, and Creswell Crags, one of the most northerly places on earth to have been inhabited by our Ice Age ancestors.
Onto football matters now and let’s hope we fare better than last season’s 0-3 reverse. Firstly, a look at an article from The Guardian which highlighted Chesterfield FC’s fall from grace:
‘It is an absolute travesty’: Chesterfield’s fall from Football League
Relegation was never in the brochure when Chesterfield boldly moved in 2010 from Saltergate, their atmospheric home since 1871, and took aim for the Championship in their new 10,000-seat stadium.
Founder members of the Third Division (North) in 1921 and solidly in the Football League throughout the 97 years since, Chesterfield overcame a crisis in 2001 caused by Darren Brown, then 29, who was subsequently sentenced to four years in prison for fraudulent trading. The supporters trust, the CFSS, took over a club in financial ruins, had to put it into administration, then passed its running to four wealthy local supporters who steered it back to solvency .
Needing millions to bridge the gap between selling Saltergate and building the new stadium, in 2009 the shareholders ceded majority ownership to Dave Allen, the Sheffield casino owner, as did the CFSS, which had formed a community-centred vision for the future termed “the club’s the hub”.
The fruits of that approach, The Hub, excellent facilities built into the stadium’s east stand in which the Chesterfield FC Community Trust, a registered charity, runs school and social inclusion projects and programmes for people with disabilities, shone on Saturday like a beacon in the gloom. To Chesterfield’s proud history as the world’s fourth oldest professional club, formed in 1866, can be added a modern distinction, as the originators of walking football, the ambulant form of the game drawing in crowds of mostly senior citizens nationwide.
How all this progress stumbled as low as dropping out of the EFL is a dismal saga of budget overruns on the stadium, a boardroom walkout by Allen and latterly a run of unsuccessful managerial appointments. Allen, an archetype of a blunt-talking Yorkshireman who previously ran Sheffield Wednesday in a difficult period financially, became disillusioned after the initial £4m he was asked to provide for the stadium steadily increased.
Chesterfield fans at their recent match against Forest Green. Photograph: Shane Healey
“I only went in to invest money; my ambition was to get into the Championship and flog it,” he said. “But they wanted more money within months. I’ve put a hell of a lot of money in. I’m very sad and I also feel very bitter.”
Chesterfield’s latest accounts show Allen having loaned almost £6m on top of his initial £4m investment for 80% of the shares, and he continues to fund heavy losses for a club relegated with a £2m wage bill, League Two’s sixth highest.
Promoted in 2014 under Paul Cook’s shrewd management, Chesterfield made the play-off semi-final for promotion to the Championship as recently as three years ago but lost to Preston, then Cook took up an offer to manage Portsmouth. Chesterfield sold players, including Sam Clucas to Hull City for £1.3m, in an effort to balance the books, but Allen said he agrees with many at the club that the subsequent departure of Paul Mitchell, who headed player recruitment under Cook, was a severe loss.
Allen’s disenchantment escalated in November 2016, when he asked the other directors to set aside repayment of their own loans and waive interest. Some at the club say the directors were prepared to do that except for one loan from a director’s company; Allen responds that “collectively” they did not agree. He immediately resigned from the board, and has barely been to the stadium since.
Capacity: 10,504 (all seated)
Address: Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, S41 8NZ
Telephone: 01246 269300
Fax: 01246 556 799
Pitch Size: 111 x 71 yards
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: Spireites
Year Ground Opened: 2010
Undersoil Heating: No
Matchday Ticket Prices 2019-2020*
The Van Yard (West) Stand (Centre Block 2/3/4/5/6) – Adult: £22, Concession (65+): £18, Young Adult (17-21): £16, Juvenile: £7
The Van Yard (West) Stand (Wing Block 7) – Adult: £20, Concession (65+): £16, Young Adult (17-21): £15, Juvenile: £7
Karen Child Community (East) Stand (Centre Block 3/4/5) – Adult: £21, Concession (65+): £17, Young Adult (17-21): £15, Juvenile: £7, Seven years and under: £5
Motan Colortronic (South) Stand (All Blocks) – Adult: £18, Concession (65+): £14, Young Adult (17-21): £11, Juvenile: £7
The Van Yard (West) Stand (Block 1) & Karen Child Community (East) Stand (Block 6/7) – Adult: £18, Concession (65+): £16, Young Adult (17-21): £13 Juvenile: £7, Seven & Under: £5
*For category A games, there is an increase of £2 on the price of each ticket.
Tickets purchased at the ticket office and over the phone are allocated the best available seats. Supporters are able to choose specific seats by buying tickets online, which can be done here.
Concessions are issued to the over 65s and juniors ages from 17 to 21 years.
Juvenile tickets are issued to children aged 16 years or under (Under 12’s must be accompanied by an adult)
Children under 7 will be admitted at the reduced rate of £2 to the family areas of the ground only.
Proof of ID must be produced when asked for both when purchasing tickets and on entry to the ground. Failure to do so will result in the higher price being charged.
If an incorrect ticket is taken to the turnstile and ID cannot be provided then the stewards reserve the right to refuse admittance.
The ticket can then be taken to the ticket office where the ticket will be upgraded and the relevant match day price difference must be paid.
Please see our Disabled Supporters section located here.
Lost or Misplaced Tickets
Chesterfield FC shall not be obliged to issue any replacements for a lost, stolen ot destroyed home match ticket.
Refunds on match day tickets will only be given up to 48 hours prior to the game being played.
No refund will be given unless a valid ticket is presented at the ticket office.
At the Proact Stadium:
10,089 v Rotherham United
League Two, 18th March 2011.
30,986 v Newcastle United
Division Two, April 7th, 1949.
2017-2018: 5,354 (League Two)
2016-2017: 5,929 (League One)
2015-2016: 6,676 (League One)
Chesterfield’s modern 10,400 capacity all seater stadium is located around one and a half miles north of the town centre. On one side is the Van Yard Main Stand. This stand has a capacity of 2,902 seats on a single tier, with a glass fronted executive lounge at the rear. The players emerge from the tunnel at the centre of the stand, whilst the centre seating of the stand is taken up by the Directors Box, Sponsors and Legends seating areas, with the press seating situated towards the North end wing section. The stand has a graceful curved roof with white steelwork and a glazed windshield at the north end, with a ground floor and top level viewing area for disabled supporters and their helpers in the South wing section. At one side of the stand, towards the North Stand is an unusual looking stadium control tower which extends beyond the touchline.
Opposite on the East Side is the Karen Child Community Stand which is similar in appearance, having a curved roof line and a capacity of 3,144 seats with glazed windshields on either side, but with no executive facilities at the rear. The television camera gantry is situated in this stand below the roof steelwork. Both ends are similar affairs, both being single tiered, covered and housing just over 2,000 supporters. Unlike the other stands the roofs on these ends are not curved, but again glass windshields are in place on both sides. The only real difference is that the Motan Colortronic (South) Stand has two ground floor level disabled viewing areas as opposed to one in the Harold Lilleker & Sons (North) Stand. The ground is complemented at present by four modern slim corner floodlight pylons which each have 14 lights on four rows.
The stadium has a pleasing balanced feel with no single stand dominating the whole ground. Externally there are some nice touches too, with the ‘wall of fame’ from the clubs ‘buy a brick scheme’, in the South and North West corners and wide pathways that lead through the car park to the turnstile blocks from Sheffield Road. There is an electric scoreboard at one end of the ground located on the roof of the away fan stand and another larger LED screen in the South East corner. The only minor downside is that one corner of the stadium is overlooked by a Tesco’s store and car park, which detracts from the overall look.
For those going by train, the station is south-east of the stadium and may require a taxi ride up the A61! As my next planned away trip isn’t until Dagenham & Redbridge, Shots fans can rest assured we have a great chance of winning this game!
Leave the M1 at Junction 29 and take the A617 towards Chesterfield. At the end of the dual carriageway at the edge of the town centre, turn right onto the A61 towards Sheffield. At the first roundabout turn left and the stadium is down on the right. For the main entrance turn right into Sheffield Road and then right again into the Club car park. However, the club car park is for permit holders only. There is nearby street parking available on side roads off the Sheffield Road if you arrive early enough. The large nearby Tesco store is restricted to only two hours free parking.
Just across Sheffield Road from the Proact Stadium is the Glassworks Pub. This pub has been recently refurbished and has up to eight real ales on tap, four of which are from the local Brampton Brewery, who also own the pub. It welcomes both home and away supporters. Further up Sheffield Road (a five minute walk, passing a handy Chinese/Fish & Chip shop on the way) and turning right into King Street North is a micropub called the Beer Parlour.
As well as ales and ciders it has a number of bottled beers for sale. Although welcoming to away fans it is on the small side. Further up the Sheffield Road is the Derby Tup. This pub normally has ten real ales available. Although the pub does not sell food, the landlord allows customers to bring in food from outside. Further on up Sheffield Road on the right is the well placed North Sea Fish and Chip shop, which was doing a brisk trade on my last visit. Whilst up on the right is the Travellers Rest pub and further up on the left the Red Lion pub, which serves beers from the Old Mill Brewery and shows Sky Sports.
Other pubs located near to the stadium such as the Stonegravels, do not admit away fans. Whilst the nearby Donkey Derby Pub which also offers food, is very busy on matchdays and is predominantly for home supporters.
Sarah Greenan adds; ‘A pub I would recommend for away supporters is the Rutland Arms on Stephenson Place in Chesterfield Town Centre. If you arrive by train and walk towards the town centre it’s just upon on your left – the pub is next to the huge church with the Crooked Spire – you can’t miss it! The Rutland is a very old pub and in recent years has operated as a traditional ale house with a huge range of well-kept real ales and good food as well. It welcomes home and away supporters and is a pleasure to visit. In warm weather customers spill out into the adjacent churchyard’.
Roland Gent adds; ‘Across the road from the Rutland on Holywell Cross is Einstein’s a “themed” German Bar, which serves steins of lager and “authentic” German food. On the other side of the Crooked Spire from the Rutland serving a dazzling selection of real ales from the Chesterfield-based Raw Brewery is the White Swan. Further round the Crooked Spire church is the Rectory. It is family friendly and serves food, as well as a large selection of hand-pulled real ales. Just down St Mary’s gate from the Crooked Spire is Wetherspoons, the eternal football fans’ favourite Spa Lane Vaults, it does what it says on the tin and usually sells at least one Thornbridge beer from Bakewell.’
Roland continues; ‘If you take a two minute walk away from the area around the crooked spire church and head for the market area. Then in the Shambles you’ll find the Royal Oak a tiny pub which is the oldest pub in Chesterfield. It serves real ale including guest beers often Jennings. In the Market Place is The Market, a lucky coincidence that it was called that, it was one of the first real ale pubs in Chesterfield and still does a roaring trade there’s a good selection of Malt Whiskey to be had here. The Portland is the second Wetherspoons in Chesterfield sitting on the opposite side of the market square from the Market pub. If you venture past the Portland heading towards West Bars, you’ll find a micropub called the Chesterfield Alehouse, it’s in a shop unit and has enthusiastic staff that know their beers.’
If walking up to the stadium from Chesterfield Railway Station and you like good ale, then you may wish to make a small detour to the Chesterfield Arms. The pub which is situated on Newbold Road is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and has normally ten ales and six ciders available.’
Feel free to reply with your score prediction for Spireites vs Shots.