Chesterfield chief executive stunned as Spireites draw Chelsea in FA Cup third round

Chesterfield’s ‘incredible’ FA Cup tie away at Champions League holders Chelsea is a ‘great reward’ for the club, says Spireites chief executive John Croot.

By Liam Norcliffe
Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 11:07 am

Town will take on the eight-times FA Cup winners at Stamford Bridge in early January.

The last time they faced each other was also in the FA Cup in 1950 when Chelsea won a replay 3-0 after a 1-1 draw at Saltergate.

Thomas Tuchel’s men are the current European champions, are third in the Premier League and were runners-up in the FA Cup last season.

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Chelsea's Stamford Bridge.

“It is incredible, I can’t believe it really,” Croot told the DT.

"It is long overdue that we got a big cup draw.

"It is a great reward for all the people who have worked so hard over the last 12 months to help turn the club around. From the players, the manager, the staff, matchday staff and the fans who were absolutely fantastic and saw us through at Salford. They deserve it.

"When the draw came out and it was Chelsea and then David Seaman said ‘61’ I thought ‘did I hear that right’ and then I just jumped up and I could not believe it. It is fantastic.

"Eight-times FA Cup winners, Champions League winners, it is tremendous.

"It is an incredible stadium with a rich history. It is a great opportunity for the fans. We know they will travel in numbers, Chesterfield supporters always do. I am sure they will outsing the Chelsea supporters no matter how many Chelsea supporters are in there.

"And of course it is 25-years since we should have played them in the FA Cup final so there is a bit of poetic justice there or unfinished business I guess.”

As a Spurs fan, the tie will no doubt be a mouthwatering one for Spireites boss James Rowe.

"One of the first people to call me was James who clearly was delighted,” Croot said.

"James relishes any match to be honest but it is always going to be special this one without a doubt.”

National League leaders Chesterfield booked their place in the third round with a win against League Two Salford City on Sunday.

"The team have worked this year to get us not just top of the National League but to see us through to the third round as well,” Croot explained. “It is never easy to go to a team who are in a league above on a cold night away in December and get a result like we did.”

And of course the tie will be very financially rewarding for Town.

"It is going to give us some financial security moving forward,” Croot added.

"We have got to remain focused as well, it is about getting out of this league but what a day out for the fans and the sponsors who have seen the club over the last five years through thick and thin.

"We seem to have got an exciting culture in the club at the moment. It is a great place to be. People are smiling and it is great really.”