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Remembering Saltergate: Memories of a Canada-based Spireite

7 May 2020

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Canada-based Spireite John Peglau recalls the day, 50 years ago, when Aston Villa visited Saltergate...

Who can forget August 15,1970 when our little market town was literally invaded? Aston Villa, once a Division 1 powerhouse with a perennial FA Cup history came to Saltergate for their first Division 3 encounter after Division 2 relegation the previous season.

A close, thrilling match with Town pushing elite Villa to a 3-2. win. Sadly, the result and game was not the story that day.

Total chaos both within the Recreation Ground and outside as a result of the thousands of traveling Villa fans to Chesterfield that day. Constant pushing, shoving, bedlam, noise and verbal abuse with no preparation for any crowd control of this magnitude either by club or police.

It was nothing seen before in the ground. It was small wonder no one was seriously hurt or injured, it was that bad. Building damage all along Saltergate with pubs full to the seams to bursting with drunken Villa fans before and after the game.

Things quickly got back to normal when traditional Division 3 teams came to town.

We live in Canada now but still have our blue & white woollen scarves from our Division 3 & 4 games at Saltergate.

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