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Tribute to Mike Watterson

10 March 2019

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Everyone at the club was saddened to hear that former Spireites chairman Mike Watterson passed away over the weekend at the age of 76.

Mike was already established in sport before he provided the £91,000 to his hometown club to prevent Chesterfield FC being wound-up in the High Court in 1983.  

He had been born and raised close to the club’s then ground. Because he was still on the board at Derby County, his role only came to light after he left our county neighbours and became a director at Saltergate.

A financial dispute with his former club continued and their attitude left him disillusioned with football, meaning his spell at Chesterfield was short. Despite this. he returned to the Saltergate board for the following season which was one in which the Spireites won the Fourth Division title; Mike then became chairman in 1986.

He is most associated with snooker and was a talented amateur international player before he became a top-40 ranked professional. However, it was as a promoter that he was most significant, particularly on taking a personal gamble to stage the World Championship at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.  

That tournament has now been a fixture there for more than 40 years. Mike also established several other competitions including the UK Open and the British Championship.

Away from snooker, he established the World Darts Championships and UK Indoor Bowls Championships by, in both cases, introducing sets into the scoring system to better suit television audiences. His changes in all three sports continue today.  

For all that his vision revolutionised a number of sports, Mike was frozen out by many of the sports administrators. This was probably because he was too much of a gentleman for the cut-throat business of sports promotion.

Mike continued to live in the town and was generous with his time when people wanted to talk about his life. He did return to the club to watch at the Proact Stadium.

Our thoughts are with Mike's family and friends following their sad loss.

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