Fans’ insight ahead of Chelsea match

Bron Jenkinson spoke with five fans ahead of Saturday’s big Emirates FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge, where the Spireites will take on the European champions, Chelsea FC. 

The five Spireites were:

  • Craig ‘Yogi’ Oldfield, 32
  • Ian Swift, 29
  • Danny Holland, 26
  • Tom Morris, 16
  • Alan Wilkinson, 65

How long have you followed the Spireites and what does this fixture mean to you?

Yogi – I have been following the Spireites for going on 27 years. I’ve been a season ticket holder since I was 12, stood on the Saltergate Kop with my grandad. I have also been the drummer in the Kop for 14 seasons! This game brings a load of different emotions, I’m absolutely buzzing, of course I am, I’ve been like a kid on Christmas Day since the draw was made. However, I’m secretly nervous that we could get turned over by the European champions if they do decide to turn up. I don’t think that will be the case but it’s always in the back of my mind looking at the difference in the two teams. I’m a glass half-full kind of guy, I’m hopeful. The game against Chelsea is a fantastic achievement for the club from where we have come from over the last few years, the hard work that has been put in by the Community Trust, James Rowe, his team, and the players. Also, for all those fans that have been on this journey since the day we lost our Football League status, to today, we deserve this. 

Ian – I’ve been following town for about 16/17 years. I’ve seen some fantastic times and some dark times, but now, the lights shining bright again! This game feels like a brilliant reward for us all. It really feels like the good times are coming back. 

Danny – I’ve held a season ticket since 2003, and this fixtures right up there with the best of them, especially after the decline of the last five/six years. Regardless of the result, the occasion itself makes up for it, with the position the clubs now in and the feel-good factor around it, this just adds the extra sparkle to it!

Tom – I’ve been a fan since 2015, my first game was a 3-0 victory against Fleetwood Town. I have been a season ticket holder ever since. This is a big fixture for me as it’s one of the first cup runs that we’ve been on since I started supporting, it’s the first time I’ve seen the Spireites play such a big club! 

Alan – I’ve been following the Spireites for 60 years next season, it means everything. It’s a massive game, simple as that.

What are you most looking forward to about the day?

Yogi – Watching my club play at Stamford Bridge against the European champions, it’s everything you dream of. It’s the FA Cup dream, and the potential of a Cup upset – you never know! The 6,000 Spireites traveling down to London is going to be incredible. If we win, we’ve just knocked out the European champions, if we lose, we’ve just had an experience the players and fans alike will never forget. 

Ian – It’s the FA Cup, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing or where you’re playing… it’s always down to the magic. To draw such a huge side away from home is incredible, I couldn’t have asked for a better away day than my back garden!

Danny – I’m not sure, to be honest, I don’t know if it’s the day in London and the walk-up to a Premier League ground, or if it’s just seeing players wearing our shirt playing against a top division team. The CFC v CFC (CHE v CHE on the TV scoreboards) also makes it a tad interesting for anyone bothered about the little details like that! 

Tom – I’m most looking forward to ticking off another stadium that I’ve seen us play at and it’ll be by far the biggest stadium I’ll have ever been to with the Spireites that’s for sure.

Alan – I’m looking forward to being in the press box doing some reports, it’s going to be an experience! 

How do you see Chelsea approaching the game?

Yogi – Tired! Brighton, Liverpool, Tottenham and then the Spireites. All in a week and a half, they’ve got Tottenham again in the cup on the Tuesday after us and Manchester City the weekend after. They’ve got a very busy calendar, they lose players to the African Cup of Nations too, so it all plays into our hands I guess, fresher legs. Fingers crossed!

Ian – In my heart I’d like to hope Chelsea will approach us with the same respect as they would a Premier League side. However, in my head I’d far rather them play an under-18s side and we potentially dominate them!

Danny – I think from a Chelsea point of view with the fixtures they have this month it’s a real banana skin, and they’ll be hoping a large upset and tabloid headlines aren’t against them come Sunday morning. Whatever side they do put out, I expect them to be at 100% and not want something to go down in the history books against them, but we all know that we do!

Tom – I think Chelsea will have to play it like any other game, any side they put out will have quality in every position, they have a tough month of fixtures ahead of them so they will need to stay focused throughout all those games, including against us.

Alan – They will approach the game professionally and will want to win the game early on, we will have to endure early pressure.

How do you see the Spireites approaching the game?

Yogi – The players will be excited, I’ve seen a few of them post on Twitter regarding their excitement. For me, they can approach this with no fear, and they have absolutely nothing to lose! No pressure at all. James Rowe likes to start on the front foot and take games to teams in the National League, so, maybe the same from the start trying to pinch an early goal? 

Ian – I think James Rowe has very much instilled an ethos in this side and I don’t see that changing. Just because of the divisional difference, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the game to them, and I think we will do that.

Danny – It’s 100% a free hit for us, to be able to go out there and play with as much freedom as possible and know there really isn’t that much at stake. For some of these players it could be a once in a lifetime experience, and that’s the magic of the FA Cup. Despite it being undermined by some in previous years, games like this for clubs like us is exactly what you want and why it’s so special. On the other hand, I just hope the occasion doesn’t get to the lads, and that they pile pressure on themselves because there really isn’t any on them, just enjoy it!

Tom – I expect us to throw everything at the game and see what we get out of it, the away end will be bouncing and completely behind the lads. Momentum means so much in football so you just never know what could happen.

Alan – It’s a free hit for the Spireites, so I expect us to just enjoy the game and play it like we’ve got nothing to lose.

Do you think the Spireites faithful can expect to see any of Chelsea’s superstars play?

Yogi – I’ve looked at fringe players, Kepa, Hudson-Odi, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley and even Lukaku. For me personally I’m expecting to see one or two of them. However, if they dig deeper into their squad and go U23s that could be even better for us.

Ian – I’d like to see them field a full-strength side and give us an opportunity to see a few megastars, but then I suppose who needs to see Lukaku and Werner when we’ve got Asante and Tshimanga!

Danny – It’s very tough to see if we will with the fixture pile-up that they have this month, but I’d imagine we might see one or two of them start, and two or three of them come on from the bench. 

Tom – I think we can expect to see the likes of Ross Barkley, Saul Niguez and maybe even a Mason Mount or Romelu Lukaku, you never know!

Alan – I think there could be, I think that there will be some fringe players and we may see Lukaku involved now too.

Predicted Spireites line-up

Yogi – Loach, Kerr, Grimes, Whittle, Miller, Weston, Oyeleke King, Mandeville, Kellermann, Tshimanga – 3-4-2-1. 

Ian – Loach, Whittle, Grimes, Gunning, Kerr, King, Oyeleke, Weston, Khan, Mandeville, Tshimanga – 3-4-2-1. 

Danny – Loach, Miller, Whittle, Gunning, Williams, King, Weston, Oyeleke, Kellerman, Mandeville, Tshimanga – 3-4-2-1. 

Tom – Loach, Whittle, Grimes, Gunning, Kerr, King, Oyeleke, Weston, Mandeville, Asante, Tshimanga – 3-4-1-2. 

Alan – Loach, Whittle, Grimes, Gunning, Kerr, King, Oyeleke, Khan, Mandeville, Asante, Tshimanga – 3-4-1-2.

Score prediction

Yogi – I’m going for a 2-1 win for the Spireites, Grimes and Kabongo to get the goals! 

Ian – I’m going to be optimistic… 2-1 to the Spireites.

Danny – I’ve got a proper head vs heart with the score. Ones telling me we’re going to go there and do it with a 2-0 win, then on the other hand I feel a 4-0 defeat. Either way, I’m not bothered how it ends, but a goal in front of our end would be perfect.

Tom – I’m going for a 2-2 draw, can’t call penalties!

Alan – I’d be happy to score a goal or two but realistically I’ll say 3-1 to Chelsea.

Who are the famous CFC?


Ian – The real CFC are the Blue and White men from Derbyshire!

Danny – Silly question! 1866, say no more. Up the Blues!

Tom – Us. We are the famous CFC! 

Alan – We are the original and famous CFC!