Chesterfield - As I seen it!


Chesterfield 6 - Pools 1   FA Cup, First Round   Saturday November 3rd

Match report by POOLIE IN NOTTNGHAM at The Proact Stadium


What a game. In the week that saw hatfuls of goals in the dramatic League Cup ties, who would have thought they would witness a 7 goal ‘thriller’ in the first round of the FA Cup?

It was Andy Ramalamadingdong’s turn to drive, so he picked me and Ewan up at about half one. After a quick couple of junctions up the M1, we headed into Chesterfield town centre and parked up at a secret location very close to the ground but entirely free. We were sworn to secrecy by Andy’s Chesterfield-supporting mate, so I can’t reveal the whereabouts, but when we play them next season in League Two it probably won’t be there anyway due to development.

We met Andy’s mate for a quick pint in the Casa hotel bar, a rather swanky establishment for this part of north Derbyshire. Andy’s mate has the distinction of being on Chesterfield’s books many years ago, making a number of appearances for the reserve team. The closest he got to turning out for the first team in a proper league fixture was when they had a Tuesday night game at somewhere far-flung like Southend, and he was an unused sub. Close, but no cigar or what?

Me and Andy were full of optimism after the improved performance at Brentford, but we should have kept our mouths shut. After meeting Andy’s nephew Tom outside the ground, we took our seats along with a couple of hundred or so other Poolies behind the goal Chesterfield were attacking. Nowt really happened until after about quarter of an hour, when a frankly very good ball was played from Chesterfield’s midfield, Flinders couldn’t get near the finish, and we were one down.

This did nothing to dampen our spirits of the very vocal Poolies, until a few minutes later. I’ve heard Evan Horwood is a canny lad, and he was certainly very polite to the Chesterfield right winger, stepping aside with an “after you, sir”, allowing him to nip in and square the ball for an easy second for the Spireites.

Ewan needed a slash shortly after this, so thankfully we were in the bog when the third went in. We heard the cheer, and somehow our grim location seemed appropriate, being surrounded by the smell of excrement and piss. I haven’t seen the replay of the goal yet, but by all accounts we were again showing exceedingly good manners to the Chesterfield forwards.

I seem to remember us nearly scoring in the first half, with an effort being cleared off the line, but by and large it was as bad as it sounds. We then spent the entire half time break queueing for a Bovril, the refreshment stand being staffed by robots who were stuck on the slow-motion setting.

The second half was just more of the same, and it didn’t take long before the fourth went in, thanks again to those generous Pools defenders. Howard nearly pulled one back with a header that was well saved by the Chesterfield keeper (who according to some of the Poolie faithful chanters is the illegitimate son of Jimmy Savile).

Talking of Jimmy Savile, me and Andy debated the merits of Jimmy Savile fancy dress, and whether or not it would be bad form to attend the Crawley game on the last day of the season dressed as the be-tracksuited, cigar-wielding Yorkshire nonce. The jury is still out, and we may well just go as Gary Glitter and Jonathan King, as we had originally planned.

Sweeney did manage to pull one back with a header from a corner, which prompted the prophetic roar of “five-four, we’re going to win five-four” from the Poolie faithful. This soon stopped however, when Chesterfield skipped up the field to restore their four goal cushion. Not to be outdone, the chants were then changed to “we’re so shit it’s unbelievable” and “are we Darlo in disguise?” At least the gallows humour hasn’t disappeared. Nor has the sense of injustice, with “we want our money back” probably being the song sung the loudest all afternoon.

Chesterfield rounded things off with a sixth near the end, and the ref finally put us out of our misery. I waited to see if any of the Pools players would come over to applaud the gesticulating, understandably pissed off and justifiably baying-for-blood fans. Sweeney shuffled past the half-way line, clapping at waist height looking thoroughly embarrassed, but soon joined his spineless colleagues down the tunnel. To be fair to him, you could not fault his effort during the game, and I felt sorry for him having to play with such a bunch of pea-hearted posers.

"I seem to remember us nearly scoring in the first half, with an effort being cleared off the line, but by and large it was as bad as it sounds."
I assured Ewan that Pools wouldn’t be as terrible as this next time I take him to a match, and with all the naive charm that can only come from a four year old, he stated that the players should say sorry for not trying. I was difficult to agree with him, but I can’t see someone like Simon Walton losing much sleep on Saturday night.

On our way back to the car we passed the Pools team bus parked up outside the ground. If I didn’t have Ewan with me I would have waited there for the players to come out, not to abuse or attack them, but just to ask some simple questions. Such as how they can look themselves in the mirror after such half-hearted performances, and what they think they can do to turn things around.

I was unfortunate to witness the 6-0 defeat at home to Donny Rovers back in the dark days of the late 80s, and it’s the first time I’ve seen us ship more than five goals since then. In terms of performances, I can only recall one which tops this one for lack of effort - the utterly disgusting 4-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers on the last day of the season, when only results elsewhere kept us up. 

Whoever takes over is on a hiding to nothing. The chances of us staying up are smaller than David Foley when viewed in ‘the shrinker’ at a hall of mirrors. I can only hope a great big enema is applied to the playing staff during the close season, where all the dead wood is cleared out (not to mention all the parasites). The club’s owners will hopefully take the view that significant rebuilding is required, if nothing else to arrest the slide next season as well. I really can’t imagine us struggling at the foot of the fourth tier any more, it would be like nothing has changed since IOR took over.

At least we can concentrate on the league now though eh?