March 4th 2006
Football League One
Formed in 1866,Chesterfield are the fourth oldest football league club,and have played at Saltergate's Recreation Ground since 1884 having moved from their previous residence nearer the town centre called Spital,but football has been a feature on the Recreation Ground as way back as 1870.
Saltergate was the last league ground to install floodlights after an appeal fund was set up in 1964 to raise £10,000,with the aim to have them installed for the clubs centenery in 1966.The Spirites purchased pylons from Sheffield United but were found to be unsuitable for Saltergate so these were sold on to Stafford Rangers and new floodlights were purchased,and the Recreation Ground were finally switched on in October 1967.
The Recreation Ground has a capacity of 8504 and is a bit of a blast from the past,which I'd describe as a good old fashioned ground.After a few pints of local Derbyshire bitter I arrived at the ground in need of the toilet.I found a sign saying 'Toilet' but what I entered was a wall to pee on,with a slight slope to help your wee on it's way down to the drain!!
I sat in the Compton Street end,which is also known as the Popular Side which is now an all seated stand,and is partly covered(if you sit at the back)and has supporting pillows which can restrict your view,depending where the action is on the field.
To my right is a terraced 'cow shed type' Spion Kop where the Spierites are housed.To my left was the Cross St. Terrace where the away supporters are left open to the elements and facing me is the Main Stand,which is a bit of a rust bucket and could do with brightening up a bit.
After being treated to the delights of Peter Kay's(or was it Tony Christie's?) version of 'Is This the Way To Amarillo 'as the players entered the field,I was then treated to an entertaining game,in which the away side came away with a convincing 3-0 win,much to the annoyance of several irrate fans sat around me.
There are plans to relocate to a 12000 capacity purpose built stadium at Wheeldon Mill in 2007,so I was pleased to cross the old ground off my list while I still had a chance to attend there.Saltergate is a bit of a 60's throw back,and a reminder of what football grounds used to be like,and due to this fact I absolutely loved the place.