'You do it for seasons like this and for days like Saturday'

I’m getting a bit emotional writing this.
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I’ve been covering the Spireites for the DT for the last five years and I’ve loved every minute of it. Well, almost.

Although I didn’t grow up a Chesterfield fan, when you follow the team home and away for as long as I have, you become invested. It grips you. It sucks you in.

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I’m down after a defeat. I buzz off a last-gasp winner. I feel sad for injured players.

Spireites fans about to start the promotion party! Picture: Tina Jenner.Spireites fans about to start the promotion party! Picture: Tina Jenner.
Spireites fans about to start the promotion party! Picture: Tina Jenner.

Some people don’t have the best opinion of the media – and rightly so – there are some nasty parts. It makes it very frustrating for us who are honest. We get pre-judged a lot. I’m just a guy who is passionate about football and can write a bit. I’m lucky enough to be able to combine the two.

Some folk think we want everything to be negative and doom and gloom. Again, that’s probably correct for some of the tabloids. But nothing could be further from the truth here. I want to report on promotions, cup finals, great players, wonderful goals and electric atmospheres. Not relegations, defeats and scandals.

As a journalist I’m supposed to be ‘neutral’. But I’m not. I want the club I report on to do well. It’s an unwritten rule that you aren’t supposed to celebrate in the press box. But I have. I haven’t meant to. But like everyone else there have been moments where I have lost my mind watching this sport. But I’m not a cheerleader, either. I will ask the important questions at the right time. I will hold people to account and get answers. But I’ll do it in a polite and respectful way. It’s about striking the right balance.

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In my time covering the Spireites so far, the club has been taken over by the community trust when it was one week away from going under. There has been a pandemic, where sometimes I was the only journalist in the whole stadium. That was weird. There was a near-disastrous relegation to regional football. Shudder. I’ve reported on three play-off heartaches. Dozens and dozens of players coming and going. Managers sacked. There have been players who didn’t care, others who did but weren’t good enough. Embarrassing defeats to part-timers. Arriving back at 3am from long midweek trips after getting hammered. All for what?

For seasons like this and for days like Saturday. The smiles on people’s faces. Youngsters experiencing their first promotion. Older fans overjoyed at having their club back. Joe Quigley with a beer in his hand. Harry Tyrer with a medal around his neck. Paul Cook’s tribute to his late dad. Danny Webb with a blue and white scarf tied around him. Jamie Grimes beaming from ear-to-ear. James Berry in his bucket hat. Mike Jones holding onto the trophy for dear life. Ollie Banks celebrating with his family. Darren Oldaker in a chicken hat. Jeff King the last man standing. And, of course, #WheresMandy.

And so onto next season, the club’s first back in the Football League in six years, and my first time covering a campaign at that level. For what it’s worth, I think Chesterfield will be challenging for another promotion. There’s no way a manager like Cook settles for mid-table. He’s won League Two before with this club. And he could do it again.

As for me, I’ll still be writing my reports, analysis and interviews from some grounds I’ve not been to before. And I’ll probably still be trying hard to remain neutral, while hoping for more days like Saturday. Up the Blues!