A group of friends who supported a variety of different clubs in Belgium wanted a common club to share and their process was decided to select a League One club that was in the lower reaches of the division and procedure selected Chesterfield, and the Belgian Spireites were officially formed.
February 11, 2012 was selected for the first visit to Chesterfield, the visit occurred, the match didn’t as a frozen pitch meant the game against Charlton Athletic was postponed. Seventeen days later, they were back for Spireites 0 Charlton 4. They quickly learned of the pitfalls of supporting our team!
At that game, they unfurled a Belgian flag in the Kop with Belgian Spireites printed on it, it was spotted by Phil Tooley and Howard Borrell, both regular visitors to Belgium, and they managed to make contact with the lads after the game, exchange details, and the group soon became known and admired.
The Grimsby game marks the 42nd match the group will have attended, including a couple of Wembley visits, a trip to Chelsea and the 2014 promotion party, with a group of the lads cycling from Brussels to Chesterfield for the Fleetwood Town Championship clincher, raising around £1000 for Ashgate Hospicecare along the way. They’ve also walked from Manchester Airport to Town for another Ashgate fundraiser and, along the way, have made many friends that keep in touch through a dedicated Facebook page.
It’s a flying visit this weekend, with arrival due around 8pm on Friday night but you can say hello to the guys on Saturday at noon at Brampton Brewery. Chris Radford from the brewery is not only opening the bar at the brewery two hours early, he has also organised for a special Belgian Spireites beer to be available on the concourses at the game on Saturday.
The brewery will kindly donate 20p from every pint sold to the fund to help Ukrainian Spireite Volodymyr Holod, from Lviv, who last weekend was listening to the match on 1866 Sport with the sound of artillery in the background, having lost his job a few days earlier due to the conflict in Eastern Europe.
The Spireites link with Belgian supporters goes back to 1996 when Phil and Howard first met up with bothers Sven and Danny Kerschkamp and their friend Johan De Schutter at a Royal Antwerp match. These guys are officially known as the Godfathers of the Belgian Spireites!