Spireite Sympathies

NORTHERN-based Argyle fan Peter Cropper tells us his tale of watchign Argyle at Chesterfield - with a sense of mixed loyalty...

SATURDAY, December 14 was a red letter day for me because I’ve had Chesterfield sympathies for even longer than I’ve been following the fortunes of Argyle.

My friend Bruce from my university days is a Spireite and, from further back, a friend of my parents hailed from Chesterfield. The comedy spire was also perhaps an attraction when I was younger.

Events had overtaken both Kellaton Bob and Eric, who was very disappointed to have to miss the occasion, so I set off from Lancashire alone. I met Bruce, now domiciled in Leeds, in a pub car park in Wakefield and we continued down the M1 with my two hats on display in the back window.

Which hat was I to wear, and, indeed, where was I to sit? Bruce, regaled in his Chesterfield top and hat, had rather made the decision for me.

He asked me whether I thought the size of the Green Army might be reduced as the game was just before Christmas –shopping and saving money having a possible role to play. I told him confidently that I didn’t think it would.

I’d been to whatever the new ground is called previously so we had a routine – excellent fish and chips (did you spot the lunchtime offer?) and the Derby Tup which, we discovered, was full of Green Army. Bruce was booed by the boisterous group of young Devonians when we went in. I had my green hat on. The boys might have been a little confused, but they kept us entertained with their songs and competitive arm wrestling in the back room.

Off to the match. I thought Argyle were a bit unlucky to lose to a set piece goal and a dubious penalty. The response to Matthew Brown’s (a former brewery in Blackburn?) goal was positive but the later penalty miss was pivotal.

The approach play was good but, with the greatest of respect to Reuben and Lewis who both work tirelessly for the cause, there seems to be a lack of cunning and bite in front of goal. Am I right? The “goals for” column suggests I am.

So, was it a “no lose” game for me? Of course it was good to see Chesterfield’s promotion push maintained, but that was outweighed by the disappointment felt when wearing my green hat.

I knew far more Argyle players than those in blue. I may have been at the other end from the Green Army, but I think that tells you all you need to know.