Over the last few weeks we've been chatting to Spireites from different parts of the world, including Pedro de Castro from Sãu Paulo in Brazil and Maximiliano Gigena from Córdoba in Argentina. Today we learn more about Volodymyr Holod from Ukraine!
Volodymyr was born in the city of Lviv, which is the largest city in Western Ukraine and the seventh-largest city in the country overall, with a population of over 750,000. He supports his hometown club FC Karpaty Lviv, who compete in the Ukrainian Premier League and play at the Ukraina Stadium, which has a capacity of 29,004 spectators.
“I was always passionate about sport and matchday programmes,” Volodymyr said.
“In fact, I was doing handball and futsal programmes for some time. I was an editor and printer.”
As well as supporting FC Karpaty Lviv, Volodymyr has been following the Spireites closely for a number of years. We heard from both Pedro and Maximiliano about how they became supporters through coming across the club on FIFA and it turns out that Volodymyr has a similar story about his journey to becoming a Spireite.
He said: “I was playing FIFA 14 and decided to choose a new club for myself. When I was younger, my friends called their backyard team ‘Chester City’ and I decided to find something similar.
“I explored the club in all possible ways; reading about the history of the club, listening to Phil Tooley’s commentary, buying a shirt etc. I fell in love with the club.
“I remember myself thinking something like ‘well, it’s a dream coming true’. This community, this great history, it’s a proper football club.”
The Spireites haven’t been in action since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, Premier League and Championship sides are set to return to action behind closed doors and Volodymyr says it’s a similar situation in Ukraine.
“We had a break in Ukraine too, but now our Premier League clubs have started to play behind closed doors," he said.
“Unfortunately, my local club FC Karpaty Lviv have a lot of players with coronavirus, so the situation is worrying for us.”
Being based around 1,700 miles away from the Technique Stadium does present challenges when it comes to following the Spireites. However, Volodymyr says he’s built up a special relationship with the club, especially by keeping in touch with fellow supporters.
“I always listen to the match commentary, which is a great way to follow the club in Ukraine,” said Volodymyr. “I read about the club on social media as well.
“The main thing for me is friendship with the Spireites fans. I was lucky to become friends with many great Chesterfield supporters and even club officials. It is a big honour for me and my family.
“Last year, four Spireites (Howard Borrell, Mark Barton, John Taylor and Paul Kellett) came to Lviv to visit us. I treasure those memories.
“I am also lucky to be close friends with superfan Zoe Edge. We always write to each other, I just want to say that I’m so thankful for it!
“The Chesterfield community is priceless: that feeling when you have someone to send a Christmas card to, or even a manager that responds to your letter! Chesterfield has changed my life. I feel that my friends are like my family.”
Volodymyr still hopes to visit Chesterfield at some point in the future, which he describes as the town of his ‘dreams’, but admits that the current situation makes it unrealistic at the moment. He’ll certainly be welcomed with open arms by everyone at the club when he does eventually manage to get himself to a game!
*Volodymyr is pictured with his father.