658 reasons for Dave to join party

Dave Blakey, left, in action for Chesterfield FC against West Ham United in 1950.

Dave Blakey, left, in action for Chesterfield FC against West Ham United in 1950.

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Dave Blakey has an illustrious place in Chesterfield FC history which is carved in stone.

For Dave, now aged 82, is the Spireites’ record appearance-maker – and he looks likely to remain so for time immemorial.

Dave Blakey

Dave Blakey

A tough, no-nonsense central half, Dave made his debut in the No 5 shirt, in August, 1948, in a home game against West Ham United.

And he retired at the end of the 1966/67 season, his last appearance being at Saltergate against Port Vale.

In that significant time span – when England went from a period of austerity following World War Two to the Swinging Sixties – Dave made an incredible 658 appearances, 617 of them in the league.

Astonishingly, from September, 1952, until November, 1957, he was ever-present, a staggering run of no fewer than 244 league games.

In addition, the one-club man scored 20 goals.

It is unlikely that those appearance figures will ever be surpassed.

The statistics are astounding but provide only an outline sketch of the great man’s career.

The picture has been filled in by long-time Spireites supporter Alan Inns, from Hasland.

Alan watched his first Chesterfield game in 1944, and has been a regular since then and a season-ticket holder for the last 40 years, so he knows what he is talking about.

Alan said: “Dave Blakey was the best player I have seen turn out for Chesterfield. He was a 100 per cent man and a superb captain.

“From the stands you could hear him shouting to the other players, he cajoled some and encouraged others. He always looked after the youngsters and he carried the team for a few years.

“Bill Shankley wanted him at Liverpool but it would not have been worth his while to move as he would only have been £2 a week better off while Dave’s wife ran a successful beer-off at Tibshelf.’’

Blakey was born in Northumberland in 1929 and joined the Spireites 18 years later.

After hanging up his boots, his career in football continued.

He became chief scout for Burnley and it does not need asking who was behind the 1972 move of legendary Blues keeper Alan Stevenson to Turf Moor.

Blakey also scouted for Leeds United during the Don Revie era and he must have impressed Billy Bremner, skipper at Elland Road during the glory years.

For when Bremner took over as manager of Doncaster Rovers, he appointed Blakey as his assistant.

As an excellent servant for the Spireites with an top-notch football pedigree, welcome to the North Derbyshire Sporting Hall of Fame, Dave.

Who would you like to see added to the Hall of Fame? Send your nominations of post-war men and women sporting greats to: andrew.jarvis@derbyshiretimes.co.uk or telephone (01246) 504528.