Spireites’ trip to Chelsea was magical and put town on the map

It is a day I will never forget.

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 9:57 am
Akwasi Asante of Chesterfield celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Chelsea and Chesterfield at Stamford Bridge (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

The opportunity to go to Chelsea and report on the Spireites playing against the European champions in the FA Cup was memorable and magical.

For those who don’t follow football, Chesterfield play in the fifth tier of English football against some clubs who only manage to attract a couple of thousand people to their home games.

So for Town to travel to Stamford Bridge, one of the famous stadiums in the world, in front of 40,000 spectators, to take on Chelsea’s international stars, was a big deal and pretty special.

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For context, Chelsea’s starting line-up cost almost £290m. Chesterfield’s was £265,000.

While Chesterfield had to qualify to even enter the FA Cup, Chelsea have won it eight times.

The whole day was brilliant from start to finish. From a media perspective, they really made a fuss of us and ensured we had the best day possible. They let us onto the pitch at the end of the match to take photos and sent us on our way with handfuls of chocolate brownies – not that we needed persuading too much! They were a class act throughout.

Youngsters from Chesterfield’s academy got a chance of a lifetime to go to Chelsea’s world class Cobham training facility to play some matches before getting free tickets to the main event. It sounds like they had a dream day out.

Chesterfield took 6,000 fans down to west London and they were incredible. They really did the town proud and never stopped singing despite being 5-0 down.

I am sure you have all seen the moment Akwasi Asante scored for the Spireites to make it 5-1. Normally a consolation goal like that would be lucky to be met with any applause at all but the Blues fans erupted with joy. For Chesterfield to find the net against Chelsea, who won the Champions League last season, meant a hell of a lot and will be remembered forever. Even some of the home fans applauded because they could appreciate its significance.

The profile of the game put Chesterfield as a town on the map. TV crews visited the town centre and interviewed shoppers and businesses so hopefully it has given everyone a boost at the start of the year.