For last Saturday’s home game against Chorley, there was a very special fan in attendance. From Argentina to the Proact: How a computer game ignited Gonzalo Gomez Sullain’s interest in the Spireites…
A former member of the press and public relations department of Argentinian outfit Club Deportivo Español de Buenos Aires, Gonzalo soaked in the matchday atmosphere at the Proact, watching a team he has followed since childhood.
Now working as a software engineer and currently based in London, Gonzalo recalled how his interest in the Spireites came about. He said: “It started 20 years ago, when I started playing Championship Manager on my PC and at the time there was no Argentinian league (on the game), so I picked a team that sounded familiar to me…and that’s where it started.”
Someone who is no stranger to working at a football club, the 36-year-old discussed the differences from the lower leagues in his homeland in comparison with the National League, commenting: “From what I have seen, the leagues in England are well organised, with the main example being the clubs have owners. In Argentina, that is not possible as there are no societies or civil associations - they are all volunteer-based.”
To support the club that was first chosen on a computer game for over 20 years shows immense commitment, especially considering Gonzalo concedes that he could be the only Argentinian Spireites fan. “To be honest, I don’t know of any, but I have mentioned the team to some friends and a lot of them say they know club,” he said.
Gonzalo’s special memories of the club growing up are mainly the names of former players. “I must admit I was living abroad so I lost contact (for the last few years) but I remember Andy Morris, Tom Curtis, Paul Holland, Nicky Law and Jamie Hewitt.”
Gonzalo clearly has a place for Chesterfield in his heart and he spoke about his first impressions of the town and the club, saying: “It is a nice, green place and I have found some friendly people here who have felt empathy with my ‘strange’ story by coming here to see a match. I feel a really warm welcome from the team.”
It is a unique story from a man who picked a football team on a PC game two decades ago. Gonzalo could never have imagined back then that he would end up on the other side of the world, watching Chesterfield compete, only this time without looking at a computer screen.