Behind the lines: an alternative view of the Chesterfield game

Cod Almighty | Article

by John England

8 August 2017

John watched the Chesterfield game among Chesterfield fans. Everyone emerged with credit.

Can I just put the record straight and confirm that the away attendance for our season opener at Chesterfield was not 2,650 but 2,651? You see, due to the fact that I had left myself insufficient time to purchase a ticket through GTFC (and since I live in Cheshire on the border with Derbyshire) I decided to turn up anyway and buy a ticket among the home fans.

Since I wasn't wearing a Town shirt (though my white T-shirt and black bomber jacket were perhaps a slight clue as to my allegiance!) and since, at 62, I am too old to cause anybody any bother I thought, why not? So it was that I ended up buying a spare ticket from a Chesterfield fan (for 15 quid!) and ended up on the back row of the Chesterfield kop behind the goal surrounded by the blue-clad ultras (or whatever they call themselves).

I had a great view and spent the whole game stood up since, as I said, I was on the very back row. This was good since it would mean that I wouldn't inadvertently leap up if we scored or remain seated if they did.

As it happened, of course, we scored twice – right in front of me – and believe you me, the chaps around me were not at all happy. On both occasions I remained quite calm with my arms folded and teeth gritted together to prevent any joyful sounds from escaping my lips. Indeed, I even managed to continue my conversation with a very pleasant bloke standing to my left (the one to my right was not quite so nice and, if truth be told, rather fierce-looking) and remarked that, while the Chesterfield attackers were rather lively, the defence were not quite on their game.

Of course, being Grimsby Town, we had to offer a crumb of comfort (although, in fairness, our defence, to a man, were heroic all afternoon) and the home goal duly arrived. While those around me jumped for joy I managed to keep a straight face and politely applauded, remarking to my new friend: "It should be an interesting last 10 minutes" (code words for "bloody hell, here we go again!").

I needn't have worried. Just a couple of minutes later we got the penalty and I thought: "Bugger this, I'm going to take a photo." And so I did with Ben Davies wheeling away in delight after he'd slotted it in the back of the net.

That was it and soon they all left, leaving just me and a crestfallen, sorry-looking drummer boy. The large home flag to my left had been removed by its owner, causing me to exclaim: "Never lower your flag before the enemy," but my words were wasted in the winds of (their) defeat.

As I departed, I even had time to ask the groundsman to use my smartphone and take a photo of me on the pitch with the triumphant Mariners fans penned in at the far end. He readily agreed.

John England at Chesterfield v Grimsby

What a great day and what a sterling effort by Town. Credit too to Chesterfield, a nice club with decent fans. I hope they don't mind my treacherous double-dealing.

Send us your feedback on this article