Born in Biddulph, Staffordshire, in 1941, John Archer inevitably became known as "Dan" after the patriarch in the BBC Radio soap, "The Archers." Port Vale were his first club, but he made only ten appearances with them before heading south to Bournemouth, where he stayed for five years and amassed 37 goals from 139 games. He was more of an inside-forward in his early career but became established as a midfielder around the time that Alf Ramsey was winning the World Cup without wingers.
Crewe paid £3,000 for him in 1966 and he stayed eighteen months before Huddersfield Town came up with £8,000 and a player to take him to Leeds Road and First Division football. At the age of 26 he'd come rather late to the highest level of the game and was unable to make a mark on the Terriers. They were about to free him when Jim McGuigan got wind of this at Chesterfield. Fearing that other clubs would offer better personal terms and needing time to put a deal together, McGuigan asked Huddersfield to slap a £1000 fee on Dan's head, reasoning that not so many clubs would pursue him if a fee was involved. It worked, and he joined Chesterfield in May 1969.
This inspirational leader was appointed captain upon signing and led the team to the Fourth Division championship in his first season. A great motivator, he was always in control of his side and was known to resort to clenched fists and curses when plain words of encouragement failed to impress the more gifted (but lazy) members of the team. This abrasive outlook caused "Dan" to be unpopular with certain fans, who were further unimpressed by his somewhat stocky appearance, apparent lack of pace and legendary fondness for ale.
His combative, whole-hearted attitude occasionally got him into trouble with referees and belied a creative side to his game: he could control the ball and pass with vision, and was a master at set pieces - he will be remembered as the regular corner-taker in the regularly-used "near-post flick-on" move that seemed to cause havoc in opposition penalty boxes and brought many goals for Ernie Moss and Kevin Randall. Indeed, Archer himself scored twice direct from corners in the '69-70 season.
Dan gave something back to football in his locality by serving as player-manager to Sandbach Ramblers and Nantwich Town after retiring from the pro game. From his Staffordshire base he scouted for the Spireites in Wales and the West Country. In later life he was able to indulge another great passion in his life, golf, by becoming the green keeper at the Malkins Bank course, near Sandbach. Away from work, he has served as the President of the Wrekin Federation of Pigeon Fanciers.
For Chesterfield: 116 league appearances, 22 goals.