Ritchie Humphreys could barely hide his delight after reaching a prestigious landmark in his football career.
The 35-year-old was formally sworn in as the new chairman of the Professional Footballers’ Association just days before he joined ‘The 600 Club’ at Plainmoor on Saturday, as Chesterfield ran out comfortable winners over lowly Torquay United.
Spireites manager Paul Cook commemorated the occasion by handing Humphreys the armband.
Cook said: “We’re very lucky to have Ritchie Humphreys at our club because he’s a role model.”
Humphreys began his career at Sheffield Wednesday in 1995 and is fondly remembered for an exquisite chip against Leicester City at Hillsborough. He made over 500 appearances for Hartlepool United and experienced promotions from the fourth tier of English football twice in 2003 and 2007.
But, after 12 years, left the Victoria Ground in the summer and penned a one-year deal at Chesterfield.
He said: “I certainly didn’t think I’d be playing at the age I am. I’m thankful for it and a very proud man to lead Chesterfield out as captain.”
His 600th career appearance was one he’ll remember as the Spireites produced a ‘professional display’ to see off Torquay.
“We’ve not had the rub of the green,” he said. “There have been times when we’ve felt we’ve done enough to take the games but not seen them out. It’s been pleasing that everyone has played their part and worked their socks off.”
“It’s about winning football games. It’s been a progressive week and hopefully we can build on that now.”
Chesterfield won three games out of three in a week which saw them advance in the FA Cup, after seeing off Daventry Town, and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, after they beat League Two rivals Rochdale.
The Spireites travel to Oldham Athletic in one of the northern section semi-finals of the competition. Fleetwood Town against Rotherham United is the other semi.
The semi-final ties will be played during the week commencing December 9.