|Full name||Chesterfield Football Club|
|2013–14||League Two, 1st
|Website||Club home page|
Chesterfield Football Club // is an English association football club based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, which plays in League One, the third tier in the English football league system. The club were founder members of the Football League Third Division North in 1921–22 and have remained in the Football League since that time. While they have never played in the top flight, they rose to the second tier twice in the 1930s.
Chesterfield's most notable recent successes came in the 1990s, when they won the Division Three playoff final at Wembley in 1995 and reached the FA Cup semi-finals two years later (they were the first club from outside the top two divisions to reach this stage of the competition since Plymouth Argyle in 1984). In May 2011 Chesterfield secured the League 2 title, but held onto their place in the higher division for a single season.
The date on which the first Chesterfield Football Club was formed is uncertain, with new evidence discovered by the club's historian Stuart Basson in 2012 indicating the need for a reappraisal. A Derbyshire Times newspaper report from 2 January 1864 noted a scheduled game between "Chesterfield and Norton football clubs." This suggests that a Chesterfield F.C., whether loosely or formally organised, was active from at least 1863. By contrast, Basson's earlier research had placed a formally constituted Chesterfield F.C. as being established as an offshoot of Chesterfield Cricket Club in October 1867. Although there is a widely-held belief that the first Chesterfield club was formed in 1866, no contemporary documentary evidence has been found to substantiate a claim for formation earlier than October 19., 1867... The Chesterfield Town FC (1899) Ltd was put into voluntary liquidation in 1915... This left a vacuum that the Chesterfield Borough Council filled by the formation of the Chesterfield Municipal FC.
Whatever the precise origins in the 1860s, the cricket and football clubs moved to the Recreation Ground at Saltergate in 1871, the same year that they became separate entities. However, a souring of the relationship between the two led to the closure of the football club a decade later, in 1881, when it found itself homeless. Many players joined other local sides, notably Chesterfield Livingstone, a club that took up using the Saltergate site, and Chesterfield Spital, a team which competed in the early years of the FA Cup.
Three years later, in 1884, a new entity called Chesterfield Football Club was formed, again making its home at Saltergate. It drew in players from the preceding club and both Chesterfield Livingstone and Chesterfield Spital, though records show Spital continued as a separate club. After changing its name to Chesterfield Town, the club turned professional in 1891 and won several local trophies in the following two seasons, entering the FA Cup for the first time in 1892. For the 1892–93 season, the club wore an extraordinary playing strip of all dark blue with the Union Jack emblazoned across the front of the shirt. Chesterfield joined the Midland League in 1896, and successfully applied for a place in the Second Division of the Football League at the start of the 1899–1900 season, finishing seventh. After finishing bottom of the League three years in a row, the club failed to gain re-election to the League in 1909, returning to the Midland League.
In 1915 Chesterfield Town was put into voluntary liquidation and a new club with the same name was formed by a local restauranteur to play wartime football using locally-based "guests" from Football League clubs. It lasted only two years before its management and players were suspended by the FA for illegal payments and the club shut down.
To fill the footballing gap left in the town, Chesterfield Borough Councilre-formed the club on 24 April 1919, seeing it as a way to spearhead improvements in local recreational provision. Initially called Chesterfield Municipal F.C., the club made great strides on the pitch in its first season, lifting the Midland League title – and did so despite three changes of management. However, The Football Association and Football League had already made clear their vehement opposition to a council-run club and ultimately forced it to cut its ties and become independent, reflected in a name change to Chesterfield F.C. in December 1920.
In 1921–22, Chesterfield F.C. became a founder member of the new Football League Third Division North. Following the arrival of new manager Ted Davison in 1926 and chairman Harold Shentall in 1928, the club won the Third Division North title in the 1930–31 season with an 8–1 victory over Gateshead on the final day, and were promoted to the Second Division. Relegation followed in 1933, but the Third Division North title was again won in 1936.
After the war the club achieved their best League position, finishing fourth in the Second Division in 1946–47. However, the sale of several players at the end of the season reduced their overall quality, and Chesterfield were relegated at the end of the 1950–51 season. They were placed in the Third Division on its formation at the start of the 1958–59 season; future England international goalkeeper Gordon Banks made his professional debut in a Third Division game in November 1958, but was sold to Leicester City for a then-club record £7,000 fee at the end of the season. In 1961 Chesterfield were relegated to the Fourth Division for the first time.
Chesterfield spent eight seasons in the Fourth Division, earning promotion as champions in 1969–70 under manager Jimmy McGuigan. The Anglo-Scottish Cup was won in 1981. The club was relegated in 1983–84, and won the Fourth Division title the following season. Financial difficulties forced Chesterfield Borough Council to bail out the club in 1985 and the club's training ground to be sold. Relegation followed in 1988–89; Chesterfield reached the play-off competition a year later, but were beaten by Cambridge United in the play-off final. The arrival of John Duncan as manager in 1993 was followed in the 1994–95 season by play-off victories over local rivals Mansfield Town and Bury to earn promotion to the redesignated Second Division.
The 1996–97 season saw Chesterfield beat six clubs including Premier League side Nottingham Forest to reach the semi-final of the FA Cup for the first time. The semi-final match against Middlesbrough was drawn 3–3 after extra time; Chesterfield lost the replay 3–0.
The club were relegated to the Third Division in 2000 following a run of 21 games without a win, and chairman Norton Lea was replaced by Darren Brown. The following year, Chesterfield were deducted nine points for financial irregularities after Brown attempted to avoid paying Chester City the fee agreed by the FA for Luke Beckett. Amid mounting evidence of fraud, he relinquished control of the club in March 2001 and ownership passed to a hastily organised fans' group, the Chesterfield Football Supporters Society. Massive debts run up by Brown forced the club into administration, but the team still secured the division's final automatic promotion place. (Brown was later sentenced to four years in prison following a Serious Fraud Office investigation that led to charges including false accounting, furnishing false information and theft).
The Second Division was renamed to Football League One for the 2004–05 season. Two years later Chesterfield were relegated to Football League Two, although they did reach the regional semi-final of the Football League Trophy and the fourth round of the Football League Cup in the same year. The following three seasons saw no change in their League status. In June 2009, the club appointed a new management team in John Sheridan and assistant Tommy Wright.
The club departed its historic home at Saltergate at the end of the 2009–10 season. The emotional final game was against already promoted A.F.C. Bournemouth on Saturday 8 May 2010. The teams were level at 1–1 going into injury time but a goal for the home team by Derek Niven in the sixth added minute led to an impromptu celebratory pitch invasion. At the final whistle, the capacity crowd streamed onto the pitch for a second time to say a fond goodbye to Saltergate ahead of the club's switch to the new B2net Stadium.
On 22 April 2011 Chesterfield were promoted to League One after a 0–0 draw between Wycombe Wanderers and Torquay United confirmed that the former could not catch Chesterfield, who had been top of League Two since 16 October 2010. On 7 May 2011 Chesterfield were crowned League Two champions following a 3–1 victory against Gillingham.
In January 2012 Chesterfield secured a trip to Wembley in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy by winning 1–0 at Boundary Park to beat Oldham Athletic 3–1 on aggregate in the Northern Final. This was particularly welcome for supporters following a dreadful run of form which had seen the Spireites fail to win a League game in 17 attempts, slump to the bottom of the League 1 table and lose at home in the FA Cup to Torquay United. While poor league form continued, Chesterfield won the trophy in March 2012, defeating Swindon Town 2–0 in the final.
On 28 April 2012, the club was relegated back to League Two following a 3–2 loss to Yeovil Town, after just one season in League One. Manager John Sheridan held onto his job for the start of the 2012–13 campaign but survived just three league games, after which Tommy Wright and Mark Crossley were installed as the caretaker management team. On 25 October 2012, it was announced that Paul Cook was to become the new boss, retaining Wright and Crossley as his assistant and coach. Upon the conclusion of the 2012/13 season, Wright and Crossley parted ways with the club and it was announced that Accrington Stanley manager Leam Richardson would once again be working alongside Paul Cook, in an assistant manager capacity at Chesterfield.
Since the 2010–11 season, Chesterfield have played their home games at the £13 million B2net Stadium. The first match was against Derby County in a pre-season friendly which Derby won 5–4, Craig Davies becoming the first goalscorer at the stadium. The first competitive fixture was against Barnet, which ended in a 2–1 win after Dwayne Mattis scored the opening League goal at the ground in the first half. Chesterfield suffered their first home league defeat at the B2net Stadium after a 2–1 loss at Burton Albion on 13 November 2010. The highest attendance at the B2net Stadium was 10,089 at home to Rotherham United which they won 5–0 with Jack Lester getting a hat-trick.
On 13 August 2012, it was announced that the Stadium was to be renamed the Proact Stadium. Proact are an IT company with offices in Chesterfield (UK Head office), London, Wakefield, Birmingham, Warwick, Aberdeen and Glasgow.
- Midland Football League Champions (2): 1909/10 1919/20
- Third Division (North) Champions (2): 1930/31, 1935/36
- Fourth Division Champions (Currently known as Football League Two) (4): 1969/70, 1984/85, 2010/11, 2013/14
- Third Division Play Off Winners (Currently known as Football League Two): 1994/95
- Anglo-Scottish Cup winners: 1980/81.
- Football League Trophy winners (1): 2011/2012, Runners Up (1): 2013/2014
- Bass Charity Vase Winners: 1900/01
- Derbyshire Senior Cup winners: 1898/99 1920/21, 1921/22, 1924/25, 1932/33, 1936/37
- Derbyshire F.A. Centenary Cup winners: 1994/95, 2000/01, 2001/02, 2009/10
- Banner Jones Cup winners: 2003/04, 2004/05, 2005/06, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2014/15
- Derbyshire Senior Cup is competed by all registered Derbyshire FA clubs. Until season 2010/11, Chesterfield and Derby County did not enter clubs and in turn competed in their own competition called the Derbyshire FA Centenary Cup. Both Chesterfield and Derby County will field reserve sides in the Derbyshire Senior Cup from season 2010/11.
- The Derbyshire F.A. Centenary Cup was a game played between Chesterfield & Derby County usually in pre-season, however this stopped in 2009.
- The Banner Jones Cup is an annual pre-season friendly match versus Matlock Town
- North & Midlands East Conference Winners: 2005/06, 2008/09, 2010/11
- FA Youth Cup Runners Up: 1955/56
- FA Cup Giantkillers Trophy: 1996/97
- Most League Appearances: 617 Dave Blakey (1948–1967)
- Most League Goals: 162 Ernie Moss (1968–1975, 1979–1981, 1984–1986)
- Youngest Player: Dennis Thompson – 16 Years 159 Days
- Oldest Player: Billy Kidd – 40 Years 232 Days
Kit Manufacturers and sponsors
|Period||Kit Supplier||Kit Sponsor|
|1992–94||Matchwinner||North Derbyshire Health Authority/Gordon Lamb|
|1994–96||Matchwinner||North Derbyshire Health Authority/GK|
|1996–98||Super League||North Derbyshire Health Authority|
|1998–2000||Super League||Kenning Autos|
|2002–03||Turf Sports||Gordon Lamb/Vodka Kick|
|2003–04||Uhlsport||Gordon Lamb/Vodka Kick|
- Best League position: 4th in Division 2 (level 2), 1946–47
- Best FA Cup performance: Semi-final replay, 1996–97
- Highest Attendance (Saltergate/Recreation Ground): 30,561 v Tottenham Hotspur 12 February 1938 (previously quoted record figure of 30,968 (against Newcastle United Division Two, 7 April 1939) is now recorded as only having been 28,636)
- Highest Attendance (B2Net Stadium): 10,089 v Rotherham United 18 March 2011
- As of 10 May 2014
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable former players
For a list of notable Chesterfield players in sortable-list format see List of Chesterfield F.C. players.
- "Chesterfield appoint Accrington boss Paul Cook". BBC Sport. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- "Formation cogitation 1". Sky is Blue. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- Basson, Stuart (2010) "Saltergate Sunset: The Story of the Recreation Ground, Chesterfield", Chesterfield F.C., p27
- Basson, Stuart. "Football in Chesterfield – a concise history". Chesterfield F.C. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- Basson, Stuart (6 June 2010). "Four clubs for Chesterfield". Chesterfield F.C. Archived from the original on 21 July 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2011. "Although there is a widely-held belief that the first Chesterfield club was formed in 1866, no contemporary documentary evidence has been found to substantiate a claim for formation earlier than October 19th., 1867... The Chesterfield Town FC (1899) Ltd was put into voluntary liquidation in 1915... This left a vacuum that the Chesterfield Borough Council filled by the formation of the Chesterfield Municipal FC on April 24th, 1919... That Chesterfield FC is the one that we watch today..."
- "Strange Hues – Exotic Early Football Kits". Historical Football Kits. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Goldstein, Dan (1999). The Rough Guide to English Football: A fans' handbook 1999–2000. Rough Guides Ltd. pp. 154–158. ISBN 1-85828-455-4.
- Basson, Stuart (13 June 2010). "Chesterfield FC: a potted history". Chesterfield F.C. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- Basson, Stuart (1 May 2012). "Chesterfield History: The Basics". Chesterfield F.C. Retrieved 23 July 2012.
- Basson, Stuart (8 June 2011). "Seasons of Plenty 3". Chesterfield F.C.
- "Chesterfield Football Club – The Spireites". football-england.com.
- Conn, David (28 September 2005). "Prison finally catches up with Chesterfield's crooked Spireite". The Guardian.
- Chesterfield at the Football Club History Database
- "Chesterfield promoted to League One after Wycombe draw". BBC Sport. 22 April 2011.
- "Chesterfield 3 – 1 Gillingham". BBC Sport. 2 May 2011.
- "Chesterfield 2–0 Swindon". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
- "Chesterfield manager John Sheridan sacked". BBC Sport. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- "Chairman's AGM New Stadium Statement". Chesterfield Football Club. 22 January 2009. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
- Chesterfield players with 100+ Football League appearances
- "Ernie Moss". Chesterfield FC Official Site. 2 January 2008. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- Chesterfield youngest debutants
- Chesterfield oldest debutants and oldest players
- Record attendances and receipts
- "Number 14 Shirt Retired". chesterfieldfc.co.uk. 2 August 2013.