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Terry Pierce - Stadium move inspires Chesterfield success

Published: 08 Mar 2011 - 10:31:55

The correlation between moving grounds and success on the pitch is not an exact science - just ask fans of Shrewsbury and Morecambe.

But Chesterfield are set to crown the anniversary of their move away from Saltergate with promotion back to League One.

The Spireites, named after the crooked spire of the town's church, are running away with League Two, currently sitting 11 points clear at the top

They romped to victory over their closest challengers Wycombe last week and over the weekend travelled to Cheltenham, dispatching the Robins 3-0 with consummate ease.

And they not look set to return to League One after a four-year stint in the basement.

Former Oldham boss John Sheridan is a wiley character in the lower leagues and has proved a shrewd appointment since joining two summers ago.

Sheridan has built a formidable League Two side, spearheaded by former Brighton striker Craig Davies, who has helped himself to 16 league goals so far.

This season is their first in their new £13-million b2net Stadium after 139 years at their former residence, and they have quickly made themselves at home in the 10,000-seater arena.

The success on the pitch combined with a huge jump in creature comforts off it has seen average gates double, with commercial activity and cash raised through hospitality also benefitting.

And the increased revenues, coupled with Sheridan's knowledge and expertise in the lower-league transfer markets, have resulted in the development of a squad that has ran away with the league.

With any move away from a club's spiritual home comes criticism. The game is changing, becoming sterile say the nay-sayers.

And in some ways they are right. Having enjoyed the "delights" of their former home, Saltergate was a nostalgic trip down memory lane, when seats were wooden, terraces had no roof and you'd be better nipping to a bush rather than using the "toilets"

But it was atmospheric. It had emotion and feeling, and it was in the town, not a motorway service station or retail park.

I'm a huge critic of a lot of new grounds, but even I recognise that for every Colchester United-esque horror story, there is a tale of success.

Atmosphere isn't all to do with the ground. The b2net Stadium is well located so fans can enjoy a pre-match liquid lunch, while it's also not far from the station, and many Spireites fans suggest that although they miss the Kop, the benefits of the move far outweigh the positive.

And if they're watching League One football next year, in their shiny new ground, then I can't imagine you'll find too many fans in North Derbyshire pining for the good old days.

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:terry pierce
Terry was born and bred in Wiltshire, and is a massive Swindon fan - travelling the length of the country most weekends to watch the 'mighty' Reds. He also manages a successful(ish) Sunday league side, and his life pretty much revolves around football. Five-year-old Terry was in the crowd when Swindon won promotion to the Premier League in 1993 with a 4-3 play-off win against Leicester. He cried after every goal. Read Terry's thoughts every week on life outside the Premier League. Follow Terry on Twitter @telpierce.

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