Andy Morris doesn’t recognise modern day football as the game he played.
The man who scored a goal and won a spot-kick in Chesterfield’s 1997 FA Cup semi-final draw with Middlesbrough thinks the element of the sport that resonated most with him is being eroded – physicality.
Morris was known for unsettling defences through his size and strength.
The 6ft 5ins frontman spent a little over a decade with the Spireites, making over 200 Football League appearances and scoring 45 goals.
Watching football 16 years after his retirement, Morris doesn’t particularly get those pangs of nostalgia that make him want to put on the boots again.
“When I was playing it was a different sort of game, it was a man’s game,” he said.
“You got kicked and you kicked back.
“Now it seems more like basketball, you can’t touch anyone or it’s a free-kick to the other team.
“It’s a bit alien, what I see now, you can’t tackle.”
It’s 28 years since Morris turned up at Chesterfield FC, reportedly bought from Rotherham United for £500.
But that day remains fresh in his memory.
“The first training session I had was at Brookfield School with Jim Brown and all that lot, that’s showing my age a bit isn’t it?”
He’s fondly remembered by Chesterfield fans and was given a great ovation at the Proact earlier in the month when he played in a legends team against a celebrity side.
The 48-year-old, who now works at Derby County, couldn’t help but compare the facilities at Chesterfield’s new ground to the one he knew and loved in his heyday.
“Yes I get nostalgic to an extent, but this isn’t Saltergate, it’s the Proact,” he said.
“As nice as it is here, we were in a dressing rooms with rain coming through the roof and a bit of character.”
Morris was only too happy to step out onto the pitch again when the Proact hosted a special match for Ernie Moss, raising awareness of conditions like Pick’s Disease, a rare form of dementia that has struck Chesterfield’s record goalscorer.
“I’ve done lots of things with Ernie before, and even though my legs are dying now it was the easiest decision ever to come along,” he said.
“I’ve known Ernie Moss since my first day here.
“Even though he wasn’t in the squad, he was still coming to train at Chesterfield when I first started. He’s a great guy.
“It’s been a long time since I played properly, but I suppose some people will say I never played properly.
“The crowd were fantastic and Ernie was here to see it which is the main thing.”