Tell Chesterfield FC not to host the Barlow Hunt

Chesterfield Football Club is due to host the notorious Barlow Hunt’s annual ball, a fundraiser for a hunt that has a string of violent incidents to its name and which has been caught numerous times hunting foxes and breaking the law. The SMH Group Stadium’s facilities will be hired out to the hunt on 27 January. Please make your voice heard and tell the football club that fox hunters are not welcome in football!

Football sells itself as an inclusive sport, bringing people together on a global scale. It’s impossible to see how hosting a fundraiser for a hunt aligns with that admirable aim. Clubs should never give support to such a disgraceful bloodsport.

At last night’s game against Gateshead activists handed out leaflets and spoke to senior management, but as of writing the fundraiser for the Barlow Hunt is still going ahead.


The Barlow Hunt

Based in Dronfield about mid-way between Chesterfield and Sheffield, the Barlow Hunt is never far from controversy.

Recent notable incidents include:

  • Shocking undercover footage, captured by the Hunt Investigation Team (HIT) in 2018, shows hunt master Chris White laying peanuts into a trap to lure badgers in. HIT stated:

“The hunt master set up this large mammal trap and was filmed by our team each morning and evening coming to check it and add fresh peanuts… Each morning he arrives with his gun to check if any animal has been caught.”

HIT continued:

“One night our cameras recorded a badger caught in the trap. Frantically trying to escape, this badger was trapped for eight hours.”

The badger miraculously escaped, just before White arrived with his gun. But another trap and a dead badger were discovered on his farm. Badgers are protected by law under the Protection of Badgers Act, but that didn’t stop White from carrying out his own private cull.

  • On New Years Day 2019, chairman of the Barlow Hunt, Mark Davies, was accused of approaching Sheffield Hunt Saboteurs “snarling with gritted teeth”, grabbing one sab by the throat and then tackling another into brambles. Davies appeared in court, and was later cleared of two cases of assault. His case made national news headlines.



  • In December 2019, the hunt was in the national news once again when it admitted to killing a fox. Hunt saboteurs released footage of the hounds attacking the poor creature. The sabs retrieved her body, and then the hunt’s terrierman tried to grab the fox off them. Absurdly, the hunt claimed it was hunting within the law, and that saboteurs were to blame for its dogs tearing up the fox!



  • In May 2020, Locals Against The Barlow Hunt reported that the police “issued 8 (yes EIGHT!) members of the hunt with CPN WARNINGS (formally known as ASBOS).”


Derby Hunt Sabs who have been leading opposition to the Barlow Hunt, said the following about the club hosting the Hunt ball :

Football is an athletic competition where two teams test their skills against each other in the spirit of good spirit, fair play and respect. In hunting, the hunt forces a fox to be their opponent and hunt the terrified animal down until it is too exhausted to fight back and then kill it with a pack of dogs. In the beautiful game, you wouldn’t leave the competition dead on the pitch. In a real sport, whether winners or losers, both teams walk away alive. We don’t understand why Chesterfield FC would want to associate themselves with bloodsports”.



Fans up and down the country are united: NO BARLOW HUNT

Nicknamed ‘The Spireites’ after the famous ‘crooked spire’ of the town’s Church of St Mary and All Saints, fans of the club are calling on Chesterfield FC to say No to the Barlow Hunt

Ollie Pardo, a Chesterfield resident and a Spireites Season Ticket holder for many years told Protect the Wild:

As a long-standing supporter & season ticket holder at Chesterfield FC, I don’t think it’s at all appropriate for a Community Football Club to associate with a foxhunt, or bloodsports in general – I’m very much hoping that Spireites Management will review (and reverse) this decision as a matter of urgency… “


A long list of local football fans have also taken to the FanBanter website to protest the ‘abhorrent decision’.

Comments left under the headline “Fans urge Chesterfield to cancel alleged hosting of controversial Barlow Fox Hunt Ball” include

  • @candyspets2: Who would sanction this!! Football clubs can do so much for the local communities but this just sullies their name. Abhorrent decision
  • @VHalksworth: @ChesterfieldFC – come on Town, you’re better than this
  • @spirepete: Shame on you Chesterfield FC. You are doing brilliantly on and off the field, don’t spoil it!
  • @i23nickc: Get this cancelled @ChesterfieldFC . Don’t want my club being associated with this in any way


The Fan Banter page also features prominent tweets from Derby Hunt Sabs, Sheffield Hunt Sabs, and Derbyshire Against the Cull

Local sports journalist and Chesterfield FC supporter Joshua Smith (@joshuasmith) has been criticising the club’s decision on social media (and facing up to numerous hunt trolls in the process!). Joshua spoke with Protect the Wild and told us that:

“As a fan of the club I feel embarrassed and deeply worried that we are accommodating this group. It’s clear that ‘trail ‘hunts’ are a smokescreen and nothing more. We are proud of the Peak District and our wildlife in Derbyshire, and it suffers, both deliberately and inadvertently, with these hunts.

The Annual Ball is often the biggest fundraiser of the year, and it funds hunting. As a Club, why would we want to be the ones facilitating such a huge level of fundraising for this cause?

The Fan base has been divided by this, senior club officials didn’t even know about it such is the secrecy of the booking, which speaks volumes, some have refused to work the event and rightly so. I’m told it’s not the first time they’ve used the venue either..

We are having the most significant and successful season in the clubs history, this tarnishing our achievements is the last thing fans want. We are quite rightly being criticised across the Football Community and beyond. It may be too late to do anything this time, but I’d welcome a statement confirming future booking requests will be rejected.”


Robert Pownall, CEO and Founder of Protect the Wild. is a football fan and has watched his team play at Chesterfield’s ground. On hearing the news he said:

“I am extremely disappointed that Chesterfield FC is planning to host the Barlow Hunt. I frequently travel to support my team, but as a lifelong anti-hunt campaigner if this Hunt Ball goes ahead I will sadly have to cross off any future visits to the SMH stadium. Football shouldn’t be supporting bloodsports and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a game at a ground where just yards away from where I would be standing the Barlow’s supporters were toasting the death of foxes.”



Please POLITELY contact Chesterfield FC, its staff, and sponsors and ask them to review the horrible decision to host the Barlow Hunt.

If planning to ask Chesterfield FC to reverse the decision to support the Barlow Hunt, it is vital to demonstrate that it is the Hunt and its supporters who are the thugs and not anti-hunt activists.

  • Chesterfield FC is a community-owned trust chaired by Mike Goodwin (a former chief executive of North East Derbyshire District Council).
  • Their CEO is John Croot. An activist at last night’s game spoke to him and came away with the strong impression he is against the hunt.  He on X/Twitter at JohnCroot1
  • The club’s Honorary President is the Duke of Devonshire who owns Chatsworth House and has apparently hosted the Barlow Hunt himself.

  • Chesterfield FC’s captain is Jamie Grimes. He recently signed with the club until 2025 and is on X/Twitter at jamiegrimes90
  • Their current shirt sponsors are Alfreton-based Leengate Valves,
  • They play in the National League which is chaired by Jack Pearce