Spireites supporters' group celebrates 10 years of organising away days to Chesterfield FC matches
A Spireites supporters’ group is celebrating 10 years of organising away day trips.
The Bridge Inn Blues Away Travel has been running a coach to every Chesterfield FC away fixture for the last decade.
It first started in the summer of 2009 when the then landlord of the Bridge Inn and Spireites supporter, Jim Walker, agreed that the group, which consisted of six committee members at the time, could use the pub as a base.
Paul Goodwin, who continues to run the club with his wife Kimberley Pollard, said: “The first trip was a weekend to Torquay for the opening day fixture of the 2009/10 season and this proved to be a big success.
“However, in the early days we had no finance behind us and we therefore would not have been able to sustain many trips that made a loss.
“Fortunately, the travel quickly became very popular and, apart from local games, we offered an alternative to the official travel club as we stopped off for lunch in a town or a pre-planned pub on the way to the games.”
17 pictures of Chesterfield FC's old Saltergate stadiumChesterfield FC players and staff attend Armistice Day ceremony at Proact - picturesDuring the last 10 years The Bridge Inn Blues Away Travel has sponsored the club in various ways such as buying a TV and a DVD player for the manager’s office for match analysis, a video camcorder for the media team and cases to transport away kits, and each year they have sponsored two shirts.
They have also supported other associations of the club such as the Memorial Garden at the Proact and Young Spireites.
Such is his passion for the Spireites, in December 2018 Mr Goodwin organised a ‘peaceful protest’ at the Proact before Chesterfield’s FA Trophy fixture against Basford United in response to a growing discontentment amongst the fan base, and his own disappointment, at the way the club was being run, after falling out of the Football League.
With Town languishing near the relegation zone in their second season in the National League it is no surprise that Chesterfield’s away following has reduced compared to previous years - although it still remains one of the best in the division.
“The current season is already by far the most challenging since the early days in terms of running coaches due to the severe drop in the numbers of
people wanting to travel regularly to away games,” Mr Goodwin said.
“It is the second season in the National League, most people have already visited the grounds, many of which have poor facilities and views of the game. “Fifteen of the games are long distance and this obviously increases the cost of travelling to those games.”
He added: “However, we will continue to run the coaches for as long as possible as our biggest achievement has been the many close friendships that have been formed, the camaraderie and atmosphere on the trips that make all of the effort more than worthwhile.”
To celebrate the 10th anniversary there will be a party at the Proact this Saturday from 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 which includes a pie and pea supper with
entertainment from the local band Origin. A number of ex-Chesterfield players are attending including former goalkeeper Tommy Lee, whose match worn signed shirt will
be one of the raffle prizes on offer. To book your place call or text Mr Goodwin on 07722 878620 or message the Bridge Inn Blues Away Travel Club on Facebook.