Chester started their second season at the Moss Rose in Macclesfield with a home game against Fulham. The Blues gave debuts to veteran goalkeeper Barry Siddall and former Manchester United and Scotland defender Arthur Albiston but the big news was the return of Stuart Rimmer who rejoined the club from Barnsley for a record £94,000. The signing was a major boost for supporters who were growing increasingly despondent about the lack of progress on the new ground and Rimmer received a rapturous reception.
Although the returning hero failed to get on the scoresheet Chester won the game 2-0 with goals from Chris Lightfoot and Gary Bennett.
The Chester Chronicle photograph shows Harry McNally walking off the pitch at the end of the game receiving some advice from a supporter. Out of interest does anyone know the identity of the supporter?
Behind, and to the right of the manager, is the legendary Barry Butler who had been substituted earlier in the game. The utility man played in every position for the club, including replacement goalkeeper, and his conversion to a centre forward in the second half of the season went a long way to saving City from relegation.
Further in the background is the old Moss Rose pub which has now been demolished and to the right is the temporary portakabin that was used as a police control centre.
While sorting through some newspaper cuttings recently I came across a team photograph of a Guilden Sutton team in the 1964/65 season. At the time they were playing in Section A of the Chester and District League. Alongside the picture was a small paragraph which grabbed my attention. Although it only indirectly references Chester I thought it made a good story.
The team photo included a friend of mine, Pat Bradley, so I asked him if he remembered this incident and he had very distinct memories. At the time Guilden Sutton played in a field on Oxen Lane which itself is just off Wicker Lane.
Pat recalls: “We were just about to start the game when all of a sudden a battered old van came through the gate at the top of the field. Driving the car was Blaster Bates with the farmer sitting besides him.”
Blaster Bates was an explosives and demolition expert from Crewe who became a national “celebrity” in the 1960s and 1970s telling stories about his demolition business. He recorded a number of live albums and was a guest on Parkinson.
“The van pulled up and he came over and said to us: “You can’t start this game I’ve got to blow up an oak tree in the hedge.” The tree was about 30 yards behind one goal and we stood around watching until he said “Get up over the half way line it will carry up to there.” It only took a couple of minutes to set up and then there was a bang and up went the oak tree. Pieces went everywhere and they almost reached us on the halfway line. They were big chunks as well. There were branches all over the place so the referee got us clearing the pitch, Blaster Bates and the farmer said thank you and disappeared and we continued with the game. It all took less than 10 minutes.”
Welcome to my first blog. I have finally decided to plunge into the world of blogging by writing some self-indulgent historical and statistical articles on aspects of Chester Football Club that interest me. Hopefully fellow supporters will find these articles of interest as well.
I already write a weekly column in the Leader newspaper every Friday as well as an article in the current programme but I wanted to use this blog to cover other aspects of the history in more detail. Over the years I have come across some interesting stories that I have struggled to find an outlet for and this seems an ideal opportunity for some more informal ramblings and features.
By the very nature of a history blog it will mainly concentrate on the old Chester City that was liquidated in 2010 but there will be coverage of the new Chester FC from a statistical point of view and I also intend to write something on the early clubs in Chester that I touched on in the early chapters of 125 Years On the Borderline.
If you are looking for my thoughts on Neil Young’s team selection or why Hednesford are a bigger threat to Chester’s promotion chances than Northwich then I’m afraid this is not the blog for you. The current team is already widely covered elsewhere on websites, forums, Facebook, blogs, twitter and probably lots of other outlets that I haven’t even heard of. I feel that other people are in a much better position to write about the current goings-on than I am. However if you like a bit of nostalgia, obscure stories, pieces of memorabilia, dull statistics and memories of players who played one game in the 1960s then this may peek your interest. Hope you enjoy my postings.