'Fairytale' day for terminally ill Chesterfield fan who ticks off 'bucket list' aim
A Chesterfield fan who has a terminal illness says attending his first ever match at the Technique Stadium as part of his ‘bucket list’ was a ‘fairytale’ for him.
Mike Blockley, 70, who lives in Prescot, Merseyside, has liver cancer.
Due to work and moving away from the area Mike, who went to his first game when he was aged 10, had not been to a match since the Saltergate days until Tuesday night’s fixture against Altrincham.
The soon-to-be grandfather, who has done a wide variety of jobs over the years, posted on Facebook that a visit to the Technique to see his ‘wonderful team’ was ‘top of his bucket list’ and he wanted to know how he could buy a ticket.
The response from the Spireites community was incredible, with many supporters offering to pay for his ticket, his journey and even give him their own ticket among lots of other thoughtful suggestions.
"It was a bit of a shock really, I never expected it,” Mike told the DT.
”It made me very emotional.
"I would never take up anybody on things like that.”
The club itself then stepped in with a heartwarming gesture of their own, arranged by head of media Nick Johnson, and Mike ended up going into the hospitality lounge where he was treated to the full works.
Mike, who has been married to his wife Karen for seven years, told the DT: “It was a fairytale-type day.
"It felt like you were part of some sort of special family.
"We were just talking about football and it was lovely.
"It was one of the main things I wanted to do.
"It was wonderful.”
The kindness kept on coming from all angles as Blues fan Clare Buxton, who was sat on the same table as Mike, gave him a signed matchball that she had won in a quiz on the night.
A tearful Mike, who has had cancer twice previously and had four operations this year, said: “I woke up this morning and turned over and it was facing me.”
When Mike heard that the club was selling Saltergate and moving to the Technique more than 10 years ago, he wondered what the future would hold but he was very impressed with the facilities.
"It is light-years away from Saltergate, it is so nice,” he said.
"Before the food I went and stood where the seats were and I could not believe that Chesterfield played in a stadium like that. It is an amazing place.”
Like many Town fans, Mike has very fond memories of their former home.
He joked: "The two things I remember most is the smell of Bovril at half-time but the worst thing was the smell of the loos!”
Mike is due to have a fifth operation at some point but he is hoping to possibly attend the FA Cup game against Salford City next month.
Summing up his first visit to the Technique, Mike added: "I was just beside myself, it went too fast.”
Chesterfield FC said: “We were delighted to be able to invite Mike and make him feel welcome. It is great to hear that he enjoyed the experience.”