Date:Sunday December 31 2006
Saltergate - Chesterfield
Salt can be one of those things that if you have too much of it, it will leave an unpleasant lasting taste in your mouth. Step forward our annual mouth watering jaunt to Chesterfield`s SALTergate.
No matter how hard either of us tries we just can`t get rid of each other. We have been destined to get relegated + promoted together for the last 10+years.
Not the warmest of grounds to visit destiny threw up our trip there for New Years Day. Does the FA Fixture Computer really hate us that much?
Mrs Xile (no2) is already packing her thermals for the annual cold bum award rightly given to the Saltergate benches (sorry seats) every season. No matter how hard we try we never seem to win there, let`s hope a New Year brings us a change of fortune.
How to get there
By car - There are various routes. Leave the M1 at Junction 29 and take the A617 towards Chesterfield. BoolieBoy recommends - M55, M61, M60, A34 to Poynton, then Pott Shrigley, Whaley Bridge, Chapel-en-la-Frith, Baslow, Chesterfield.
Alternatively leave the M60 at J1 and head towards Stockport. Join the A6 Buxton Rd then the A623 (Bakewell) then the A619 (Chesterfield).
Head towards the Crooked church and parking is available on the Town Hall car park. I`d like to think that it would be free on a bank holiday but it cost me about £5 last season. I picked up a ticket with off street parking 2 seasons ago, but was successful in my appeal.
By train - it`s a 10minute walk. Out of the station onto Corporation Street (I say Corporation Street) across the roundabout and the grounds on your right.
Saltergate is showing it`s age. Plans have been approved for a new 10.500 capacity stadium to be built at Whittington Moor.
However it`s another day in the rain if you stand in the Gene Kelly on Monday. Capacity here is 1400, with another 450 seats available. As I alluded to at the start of the article for seats read benches. Last season we were greeted by a rusting washing machine + tumble drier just inside the ground, I wonder if they are still there?
The toilets are a throw back to the scratching sheds in the olden days. If you sit in the seats you`ll share the loos with the homers….
Where to drink
The town centre with numerous pubs isn`t a million miles away. Coming over the hills (no it isn`t a monster) a couple of years ago I drank in a small pub at the bottom of the hill - can`t for the love of me remember it`s name- and this gradually filled up with Pool fans. There are 2 pubs situated behind the away end. The Chesterfield Arms + The Industry are both located right next to each other + prove to be popular for away fans.
Plod & Stewards
Now the OB at Chesterfield have held a special place in my heart for over 20yrs, but as it`s the time of year to forgive I`ll refrain being too harsh. One thing they are is proactive. Last season they visited pubs, regularly being dropped off in vans. Nothing too untoward but they clock faces and the same OB visiting the pubs are on duty in the ground. Eat drink but don`t be too merry, they`ll have plenty of cameras on show.
Stewards have tended to be pretty inconspicuous during my visits, probably due to the OB presence inside the ground.
Fear Factor Rating - 5.
I`m hoping our visit will bring some New Year Cheer. It`s about time we won at Saltergate. Chesterfield are a very up and down side this season. In previous years their home form has been their strength, and this season is no different. Man Citeh & West Ham have both been defeated there this season and they haven`t lost at home in the league since October when Swansea took the points back to Wales. However, up popped Basingstoke in the cup and they promptly knocked the Spirites out of the cup.
Here`s hoping we get a warm welcome in the hillside and manage to return with the spoils.
Onwards + Upwards
Date:Sunday December 31 2006
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