Saltergate set for big screen

Chesterfield FC's Saltergate ground is set to make its silver screen debut – and hundreds of extras will be needed for the filming of crowd scenes.

The old stadium is to feature in a full-length blockbuster about legendary manager Brian Clough and his ill-fated 44 days in charge of Leeds United in 1974.

The film-makers wanted a football ground that resembled the Derby County's Baseball Ground which was demolished in 2004.

Casting sessions for extras – members of the crowd – will take place at Saltergate on Wednesday from 10am-6pm. Would-be performers should be aged 16 or over and not have shaved or clipped hair, while women should not have dyed or streaked hair.

A number of extras will receive 40 a day plus food for their services.

Based on The Damned United, a book by David Peace which charts Clough's short-lived stint as boss at Elland Road, the film is set to be launched next year.

The book was subject of a discussion on Melvin Bragg's South Bank Show on Sunday.

Tom Rye, second assistant director, said: ''For crowd scenes, we will need around 500 people. They will need to watch action on the pitch and we will try and made it a fun experience. We also have 500 blow-up dolls to help fill out the crowd scenes.''

This week the decorators moved into Saltergate, repainting the corridors and dressing rooms in readiness for filming which is due to start work on Sunday, May 25.

Attention to detail has been painstaking and for the purposes of recreating a genuine 1970s scene, compulsory health and safety notices have been temporarily taken down while fire exit notices will be covered up during shooting.

Filming is scheduled to last two weeks and after it is finished the decorators will carry out another repaint job, restoring the Spireites' colour scheme.

Portraying Clough will be top actor Michael Sheen, who has played former Prime Minister Tony Blair in a highly-rated Channel 4 drama.

The director is the Emmy Award winning Tom Hooper while Peace's work has been adapted for the screen by Peter Morgan.

A spokesman for the film makers said: ''I know Chesterfield FC are planning to move to a new ground but we are very pleased that Saltergate is still here. It's as near to the Baseball Ground as we are going to get.''

Meanwhile, striker Caleb Folan looks poised for a Saltergate return as Chesterfield have announced a pre-season friendly with Hull City.

The Tigers, who were due to play their second Championship play-off match last night, will take on the Spireites on Tuesday, July 29. Folan spent four seasons with the Blues and moved to Wigan for 500,000 before a 1m transfer to the KC Stadium.

A week earlier – on Wednesday, July 22 – Sheffield Wednesdsay will visit Saltergate. Both games have 7.45pm kick offs.

Four away matches have also been arranged. They are: Gainsborough Trinity (Saturday, July 19, 3pm); Matlock Town (Friday, July 25, 7.30pm); Burton Albion (Saturday, August 2, 3pm); Sheffield FC (Monday, August 4, 7.30pm).