Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just to continue on from yesterday's blog, we want to talk about Danny Baker's ground demolition plan just that little bit more.

I don't know whether it's just with getting older or whether it's with being an expat currently and being surrounded by stadiums with no character or soul and very little history, but I'm at the stage now of feeling very nostalgic about old football grounds. The ones that seem like they should really still belong in a time gone by.

It's probably for both those reasons, but that suits me just fine.

It's not even with grounds that I've been to anymore. I'm now getting all nostalgic over ones I haven't been to!

One such ground is Chesterfield's Saltergate. It's a ground full of history and character and if it could talk, you know it would have some great stories to tell. Not surprising really as it's 138 years old as a football ground (a year older if you count the cricket played there).

It was a ground I hadn't really given any thought to over the years. It was also a team, that apart from their wonderful 1997 FA Cup run to the semi final stage, that I hadn't really given much thought to either. The last few weeks though it's been the opposite and I've fallen in love with Saltergate.

Saltergate first raised my interest when watching the DVD of the excellent The Damned United. The scenes at Derby County's now demolished Baseball Ground were filmed at Saltergate for the film.

This Saturday was a Saltergate double whammy, as it featured in both Danny Baker's 5 Live show and Sky's Soccer AM, with the latter featuring a tour of the stadium in their "This is my Club" section.

Just from watching the film and the Soccer AM tour, you know that Saltergate is that rarity these days - a good old proper football ground. Terracing, sheds, the wooden panelled and small windowed ticket office, the sparse dressing room, shower and physio areas. Lacking all of the modern comforts and amenities really. Just how it should be!

Danny Baker clearly agrees, as Saltergate is one of the 20 grounds he's going to save from demolition now in the totalitarian world on his show.

Ironically, this fantasy world can't be repeated in reality and Saltergate will be no more after the end of the season, with the Spirites moving to a brand spanking new stadium for next season. All shiny and plastic, with no character or history.

It just won't be the same. Although I've never been there, and probably never will now, it's so sad to see another relic of bygone footballing days disappearing.

In a world game that lacks a lot of the down to earth charm that made the game so popular amongst the working classes in the first place, places like Saltergate should be cherished while we can.

For like all good things, they must come to an end one day it seems.

1 comment:

  1. A like minded soulmate.

    You may like to sign the petition to protect the Oldest International Football Stadium In The World, still in use today

    Wrexham's Racecourse ground



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