In Chesterfield’s 1933-34 Third Division North campaign the FA Cup came as a distraction. We were top of the table from the beginning of September until the penultimate game of the season. Then only one team was promoted!
The home game against Aston Villa attracted 23878 spectators. This was a gate beaten only by the game against Liverpool in the fourth round two seasons earlier. The average for the season exceeded ten thousand with more than 20000 also attending for the Barnsley league game.
Of course the game was also captured by the newsreels which meant that before the advent of world-wide television rights this game was one of the few Chesterfield games to have been seen by tens of millions. The Stand that the players emerge next to is the 1921 development, a wooden affair seating 1500. This stand shown here in 1930 was knocked down in 1936. In 1922 the cover was placed on the Pop side but of course both the “Kop” end and the relatively newly rebuilt Cross Street terrace were uncovered.
Rather than film the whole match from a static point it looks as if the newsreel crew moved around meaning it was pure luck if any meaningful action was captured. In one version of the finished product a clearly off-side Chesterfield goal is cut with crowd celebrations to suggest a valid score. Having filmed the teams coming out and then the toss (including the chap with his dummy!) The camera was in position on the Compton Street side to see the kick-off.
From the start Chesterfield moved forward and Alan Hughes scored after a shot was initially blocked. As this is the oldest film of the team this goal, in front of the Kop is the oldest we can still see. It might also be the fastest at Saltergate! He camera moves around after this to show the action from the main stand side as well as plenty of crowd shots. ASt one point the Cross Street score-board can clearly be seen with the “Green ‘Un” advert as well as the brave souls on the wall.
The “goal” for Villa will be one of the two netted by Arthur Cunliffe the England winger. Also in the Birmingham team’s line up was “Mr Aston Villa” Eric Houghton who scored more than 200 goals for the club before managing them to win the Cup in 1957.
Cunliffe’s goals gave Villa the lead but Colin Cook scored late-on to force the draw. Cook managed a goal every game-and-a-half but was transfer listed every season. This goal gave the Spireites a replay at Villa Park four days later. 1500 Chesterfield fans travelled by train to this replay which was played in the afternoon at a time without floodlights. This remarkable following was left disappointed when the Villians ran out 2-0 winners. Villa put seven goals past Sunderland in the next round and then beat Arsenal and Spurs before losing to Manchester City.
Chesterfield went on with the league campaign that ended with a goalless draw at Stockport in front of another twenty thousand crowd. This allowed Barnsley to take the top spot and only promotion place by a single point.
The police parading before the match can be seen in a separate video.