THOUSANDS of Spireites supporters - many in their blue and white shirts, scarves and wigs - are Wembley bound to cheer on Chesterfield against Swindon this afternoon in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final.
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Reporter Ellen Beardmore has been taking a look at the two towns going for Wembley glory.
Squaring up at one end of the pitch is the former mining town of Chesterfield, famous for its unusual Crooked Spire church and bustling market. And at the opposite end is Swindon - well known for a roundabout.
The two go head-to-head today (Sunday, 2pm), on the pitch at least, as their football clubs clash at Wembley.
But it seems more than sport is at stake.
Mayor of Chesterfield Coun Peter Barr - among a raft of local celebrities sending good luck messages to the team - said: “We’ve got 17,000 supporters going on Sunday which is a fairly substantial percentage of the town by any stretch of the imagination. And all of them are hoping the team will succeed.
“The whole town is buzzing, everyone is talking about Wembley.
“People would be so pleased if we won, it has been a battle this year, so this is our opportunity to end the season on a high.
“I’m going and wearing the mayoral chain, so hopefully that will be a good omen.”
But hopes are also high in Wiltshire.
Coun Ray Ballman, Mayor of Swindon, said: “You should never underestimate your opponents and we don’t, but Swindon have shown such a good run of form under the inspirational leadership of their manager that it’s hard to see any other result than a Swindon victory.
“I’ll be supporting them all the way.
“It’s going to be a great day for both sets of fans, but I’m confident the winners will play in the same colours as my mayoral robes – and they aren’t blue.”
* CHESTERFIELD personalities have lined up to urge the Spireites on to victory.
Long-time left back Sean O’Neill, who made more than 440 appearances for the club in the 1970s and 1980s and who still lives in the town, said: “It’s great they’ve got to Wembley and hopefully they can win because they’ve got about 17,000 people going.
“I wish them all the best.”
Father Michael Knight, of the town’s famous Crooked Spire church, said: “There is increasing excitement in Chesterfield and I’m expecting a smaller congregation on Sunday because a lot of people will be there.
“I shall try to keep abreast of what happens on the day.
“We wish the team success, because the success they achieve will be a credit to the town.”
Entrepreneur Steve Perez – founder of drink brand VK, the club’s shirt sponsor, and the town’s Casa Hotel – said: “It’s a huge achievement for Chesterfield FC to have reached the final and as their main sponsor we are very proud.
“The whole town is right behind them and will be toasting their victory with VK.”
A TALE OF TWO TOWNS - AND FIVE ROUNDABOUTS:
Landmark: The Crooked Spire church
Famous for: Its bustling market, medieval streets like The Shambles and the surrounding Peak District
History: Former mining town
Famous sons: Railway pioneer George Stephenson, actor Jason Statham, former Blue Peter presenter Simon Groom
Celebrity fans: Glamour model Jo Guest and former Labour MP Tony Benn
Landmark: The Magic Roundabout – five roundabouts in one
Famous for: The Bodleian Library book depository, with 153 miles of bookshelves.
History: Market town chosen as site for works planned for the Great Western Railway in 1840
Famous sons: Vacuum cleaner hero James Dyson, actress Billie Piper, Melinda Messenger
Celebrity fans: Singer Jamie Cullum, jockey Willie Carson
For updates and coverage of the match - which kicks off at 2pm - on Twitter follow @SheffieldStar and visit www.thestar.co.uk tomorrow. See Monday’s Star for a Wembley picture special and full match report and reaction.