When I was 13, I fell in love with football, or rather George Best and Manchester United to be precise.
When I was 14, my mother asked me why I didn’t go and support my local team, I asked “Who are they?”
In November 1967 I went to see my first live football game at Saltergate, from then on I was hooked.
In January 1975, having moved to Somerset the previous weekend, I drove all the way to Sunderland and back for an FA Cup match.
Watching Chesterfield, through good times and bad, is like having a drug habit, you feel you should stop, but you can’t.
In July 1977, having just moved to Manchester, I told my parents that I would no longer be going to Saltergate, rather to Old Trafford instead. The single time I have been there in the intervening 40 years is when we played there in the FA Cup semi-final. I married a Mancunian, a Manchester United supporter, and swiftly converted him to a Spireite. He has been all over the country following them with me, and is as gutted as I am at the result of this devastating season.
When Mansfield were relegated to non-league, despite them being my local ‘hate’ team, I found I could not gloat along with the many Spireites who did. I remember thinking “there but for the grace of God…” So, here we are, in that same horrendous situation, and I can only hope ‘Mansfield came back, so can we.’ Despite what has happened to my beloved team, the mis-management behind the scenes, the poor performances on the pitch (and I don’t blame Jack for one moment), I simply cannot, nor will not, stop supporting them.
My greatest fear is that without suitable backing, we will find ourselves in the same situation that Stockport, York and now Torquay find themselves in.
Regardless, I will be waiting for the fixture list to come out in the summer as usual, planning which games I will be going to (and there seem to be a goodly number close by on this, the ‘wrong’ side of the Pennines), and I flatly refuse to remove the Chesterfield pennants and stickers from my car!
Once a Blue, always a Blue, no matter what.
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