Peter Greenwood (1924-2021)

There are very few players that have managed to balance a career both as a first class cricketer and a footballer, but Peter Greenwood, who has sadly passed at the grand age of 97, was one of this rare breed. Peter made 62 Football League appearances for Chester between 1948 and 1952 but spent the summer months as a professional with Lancashire Cricket Club. 

Peter himself admitted that he always had a better chance of making it as a cricketer than a footballer and cricket remained his predominant sport. Amongst the highlights of his cricket career were a century at Old Trafford and representing Lancashire against Australia, New Zealand and the West Indies.

Peter Greenwood

Born in Todmorden, Peter’s early football career coincided with the war years and he represented the Navy on many occasions. When the hostilities ended he signed professional with Burnley but never broke through into the first team and Frank Brown brought him to Sealand Road in summer 1948. At the same time as his footballing career was taking off Peter was also making a name for himself in cricketing circles and after playing as the professional for Kendal C.C. he joined Lancashire. 

Initially signed as a centre forward Peter spent most of his career as a wing half but made his Chester debut, in the number nine shirt against Darlington, on his 24th birthday. Coincidentally his final appearance was also against the Quakers, in April 1952, where he scored one of his three league goals for the club.

Peter’s most successful season at Sealand Road came in 1950/51 when he made 29 appearances but the highlight came the following campaign when he played in both FA Cup third round ties against Chelsea. In the first match, at Stamford Bridge, Peter sensationally found the back of the net early in the second half to give Chester a shock 2-0 lead before the home side fought back to earn a replay. The following Wednesday, in front of Sealand Road’s largest ever crowd, Chester were beaten 3-2 after extra time but Peter himself was unlucky not to score when a close range shot passed between goalkeeper Robertson’s legs before being scrambled away although many people believed the ball had crossed the line.


After leaving Chester Peter signed for Witton Albion followed by Caernarvon and Nantlle Vale. He then spent a year playing hockey before returning to football at Chester Nomads, firstly as a player then as a referee. When Peter left Chester he also quit first class cricket, in order to concentrate on a job outside sport, although he continued to play in the Birmingham League followed by the Bolton League in parallel with his career in non-league football. Outside his sporting life Peter first worked for an engineering company in finance followed by Chester Highways Department in Upton and Guilden Sutton.

A true gentleman, Peter was a season ticket holder for many years and his involvement in sport in the Chester area made him a well-respected figure in the local community. He will be fondly remembered by everyone who was fortunate to know him.

Gary Moore (1945-2021)

Gary Moore, a member of the 1974/75 promotion side that also reached the last four of the League Cup, has sadly passed away at the age of 76. In two seasons at Sealand Road Gary made 43 league appearances and scored four goals but will best be remembered for scoring the second equaliser in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final against Aston Villa that finished 2-2.

Gary Moore

Born in Sedgefield, Gary started his career as an apprentice at Sunderland, where he became an England youth international, and signed professional terms at Roker Park in 1962. A move to Grimsby Town followed in 1967 but his best years came at Southend United where he scored an impressive 55 goals in 188 appearances. Most notably he scored seven goals in two FA Cup ties against King’s Lynn and Brentwood in the 1969/70 season.

The blond-haired striker had a loan spell at Colchester before Ken Roberts brought him to Chester for £10,000 in August 1974. Gary made his debut as a replacement in defence for the injured Trevor Storton in a 3-0 win over Hartlepool but found first team opportunities limited by the form of lethal striking partnership Derek Draper and John James and was mainly used as a substitute. Nevertheless he made significant goal contributions, coming off the bench to head the only goal of the game at Swansea and scoring twice in a superb 4-1 win over promotion rivals Lincoln City. Those two strikes proved crucial as Chester pipped the Imps to the fourth promotion spot by the slimmest goal average margin. 

n the League Cup run of 1974/75 Gary was used as a substitute against Blackpool and in the first leg of the semi-final against Aston Villa. It was in the latter game, in front of a packed Sealand Road End, that the burly forward replaced John James with 20 minutes to go and in the 80th minute turned home a Derek Draper cross from close range to keep alive Chester’s Wembley dream. He kept his place in the starting eleven for the 2nd leg as the Seals were narrowly beaten 3-2. 

Gary Moore (left) celebrates with Terry Owen and Norman Whitehead after the 1st leg of the League Cup semi-final against Aston Villa

Opportunities continued to be limited in 1975/76 and at the end of the campaign he signed for Swansea City but injury forced him into retirement in 1978. Gary continued to be involved in football and was a coach at Blyth Spartans before becoming manager of Northern League sides Consett and Crook Town. He was later a scout for Aston Villa and England under his old Grimsby colleague Graham Taylor. Away from football Gary worked as a sales rep in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Dennis Keating (1940-2021)

Dennis Keating, who made a single Football League appearance for the club against Bradford City in the 1962/63 season, sadly passed away earlier this month. A tricky winger he retired from football at an early age to join a religious order and was well known in later years for his work as a priest in the Catholic parishes of St Columba and St Theresa.

Born in Cork, Dennis initially joined Chester as a part-time professional in June 1962 after graduating from Manchester University. While at university he had played for the Varsity team and was a member of the English Athletic Union side that played against Wales. He also represented Saltney Juniors and Bill Lambton signed him as an inside right after he had impressed in trial games played at the Stadium. 

After initially playing for the A team Dennis graduated to the reserves in the Cheshire County League in September. After sparkling performances on the left wing for the reserves, in particular against Bangor City where he gave former Chester full back Bill Souter a torrid afternoon, he was given the opportunity to play against Blackburn Rovers in the Lancashire Cup. Forming a youthful left wing partnership with hat-trick hero Alan Pritchard he set up the first goal in a 3-2 victory and both players were promoted to first team action against Bradford City. Once again Dennis impressed with the Cheshire Observer reporting: 

Keating certainly has got plenty of heart, and though he was bumped in occasions, he kept coming back for more, and while he is doing the job like he will be difficult to displace.”

He kept his place for the home FA Cup tie against Tranmere Rovers the following week but with left wing partner Pritchard dropped in favour of the more experienced Bill Myerscough he struggled to make an impression as Chester fell to a 2-0 defeat. Only two weeks later Dennis was transferred to Wellington Town saying that, as a teacher, he thought that non-league football would suit him better. A quiet and studious individual at Sealand Road he was not your typical 1960s footballer and in turning to a life of religion he found his true calling. 

Chester’s First Foreign Player

If asked to name Chester’s first foreign player I imagine that many supporters would look back to the 1999/2000 season when Terry Smith brought in a host of players born outside the British Isles. The introduction of the likes of Martin Nash, Angus Eve, Junior Agogo, Joe Carver and Goran Milosavijevic met with varying degrees of success but they added an international flavour to the team that was relegated to the Conference

Prior to that there were brief blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearances from a variety of short-term signings such as Dutchman Jorg Smeets in the 1998/99 season, Canadian Geoff Aunger in 1994 and Australian centre-forward Ross Greer who was signed by Harry McNally in November 1989 and made two appearances memorable only for an own goal in a 2-0 defeat at Shrewsbury Town.

Going back even further supporters will have fond memories of South African Peter Hauser who was player-manager of the free-scoring Chester team in the 1964/65 season while the early 1950s saw a handful of appearances from Nelson Stiffle who was born in India.

However, the earliest foreign born player to make his mark at Sealand Road was Mahmoud Mokhtar an Egyptian student who scored 11 goals in just under 20 appearances for the Cheshire County League side between March and September 1924.

Mokhtar arrived in this country in September 1922 at the age of 23 to complete his training as an engineer at Bristol University and was initially linked with Bristol Rovers. At 5ft 9 inches and 12 stone he was described as having a splendid build for a forward. In Egypt he had played for the National Sporting club of Cairo and travelled to this country with a letter of recommendation from the secretary of the Anglo-Egyptian FA. The letter described how he had represented the Egyptian team at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp as an outside right and was considered second to none in that position in Egypt while he had also proved his competency in any forward position.

The glowing reference seems to have employed a certain amount of artistic licence. Although Mokhtar was a member of the squad he did not appear in either of Egypt’s games, a 2-1 defeat against Italy and a a 4-2 victory over Yugoslavia in a consolation match. Nevertheless some guide to the quality of the side can be gauged by the fact that two other members of the side played in the UK with Tewfik Abdullah representing Derby County, Cowdenbeath and Hartlepool and captain Hussein Hegazi featuring for Dulwich Hamlet and Fulham.

The Bristol Rovers Definitve History, published in 2003, seems to have confused him with a similar named player Mahmoud Mokhtar (also known as El-Tetsh), who became one of Egypt’s most renowned players appearing in the 1928 and 1936 Olympics, and having a stadium in Cairo named in his honour.

In this case Mahmoud Saqr Mokhtar arrived in the country as an outside right and was given a trial with Bristol Rovers against Reading but his career at Eastville seems to have ended as soon as it began. By February 1923 he was playing in an Inter-University match for Bristol against Nottingham. Not only did he score in a 6-0 victory but, along with his right wing partner Robin, was involved in the majority of the goals. In March he again featured for Bristol University, this time against Aberystwyth, and appears to have been the stand out player scoring once in a 4-1 win as the Western Daily Press described how he “beat man after man in the opposing defence with some bewildering footwork”. Clearly an extremely skilful player he again represented the university a couple of weeks later in a friendly against Wells City where “his puzzling movements proved very troublesome to the home half backs.”

In the summer of 1923 Mokhtar switched to Liverpool University and signed for Tranmere Rovers. He made his debut for them in a Cheshire County League game against Northwich Victoria and while the Liverpool Echo described him as being a trifle slow in speed he was said to have “put such passes along as have not been seen at Prenton for a long time”.

By December 1923 he was back playing university football, this time for Liverpool, and netted a spectacular five goals in a 6-3 win over Manchester University. Mokhtar also represented amateur team Northern Nomads in the first half of the season and was a member of the side eliminated from the Amateur Cup by Attercliffe United.

The following March he moved to Sealand Road and made an impressive debut in a Cheshire County League game against Ellesmere Port Cement in front of 2000 spectators. Showing some tricky touches he not only improved the forward line but scored a debut goal after 35 minutes as Chester chalked up their first win in five. Further goals followed in the next two games against Altrincham and Stockport County Reserves and Mokhtar again received positive reviews with the Cheshire Observer stating that he “gave spectators many exhibitions of how soccer should be played”.

On Good Friday nearly 5000 spectators saw another brilliant display from Mokhtar who scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Runcorn and was described as the outstanding man on the field. Playing at centre forward his goals were described as two of the best seen at the ground in a long time with the local papers again commenting that first time shooting was his forte and he came close to scoring on several other occasions.

Mahmoud Mokhtar in the middle of the front row prior to the Cheshire County League game against Macclesfield in September 1924

Mokhtar started the 1924/25 campaign with a brace against Altrincham followed by another strike against Macclesfield. After playing in the first five league games of the season he featured for the final time in Chester’s black and white on September 20th in an FA Cup defeat at Witton Albion.

It is likely that his university studies got in the way of his football because by December he was back playing for a joint Liverpool and Manchester University side against an FA X1 and also represented Liverpool in the Inter-Varsity cup match against Birmingham in March 1925.

There was one final return to Sealand Road for Mokhtar when he played for Northern Nomads in a Cheshire Senior Cup game in January 1925. Although he was on the losing side his return was well received and the Cheshire Observer noted how pleased Chester supporters were to see their old favourite. By the end of the season he was with Holyhead in the Welsh National League scoring two goals for the Anglesey team in a 6-2 win over Chirk.

This seems to be the last mention of Mokhtar playing in this country and it may be that after three years at university he returned to Egypt in summer 1925. Although his time playing for Chester was brief, match reports suggest that he was a very skilful player who was popular with the fans and he he clearly made a big impact at Sealand Road.

Copyright ©  Chas Sumner http://www.chesterfootballhistory.com All Rights Reserved

Player Profile – Mike Sutton

Following the sad passing of Mike Sutton on Boxing Day I thought I would reproduce an article I wrote for the Chester programme in the 1990s based on a telephone interview where we discussed his career. It appeared in the programme for the game against his former club, Carlisle United, on September 25th 1993 although for some reason only the first two paragraphs were reproduced so it didn’t make a great deal of sense. This is the full article.

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Mike Sutton spent 3 years with Chester at the end of the 1960s during which time he created a remarkable record by appearing in every single League game. Mike was a predominantly right-footed player who appeared in a number of different roles for the club from central defender through to striker.

Chester Chronicle image

Mike began his career as a forward with Norwich City where he played for 5 seasons alongside another ex-Chester player, Ron Davies. At the end of the 1966/67 season he had a contractual dispute with the club and Peter Hauser signed him for Chester on a free transfer. Mike made his debut against Notts County in the number 6 shirt and although he played in every game that season he failed to get on the score sheet. He made up for this the following season with 5 goals in the first 12 League games with the first of these coming in a 5-1 victory over Colchester. It was this same season that saw Chester play an epic 4 game League cup tie with Tranmere and Mike remembers scoring the equalizer in the 3rd game at Prenton Park.

The 1969/70 was Mike’s last at Sealand Road and it was during this season that he recalls playing in the side that beat Bristol City 2-1 in the 3rd Round of the FA Cup. Mike has many happy memories of his time with Chester and like many players he particularly remembers the derby matches with Wrexham as games with a special atmosphere.

Chester Chronicle image

At the end of the 1969/70 season Mike recollects that Chester experienced financial difficulties and the whole team was put on the transfer list. Three players left the club with Andy Provan joining Wrexham, Billy Dearden joining Sheffield United and Mike going to Carlisle. Mike believes that Carlisle payed about £10,000 for him and he made his League debut for them in the first game of the 1970/71 season at Middlesbrough, a game in which he scored in a 2-1 defeat. His stay in Cumbria lasted 2 seasons before he retired from league football at the early age of 27 with a re-occurrence of a medial ligament injury he suffered at Norwich.

In 1972 he went to Loughborough College for 4 years to study PE and Biology before returning to Norwich as a teacher. Mike is now in his eighteenth year at that same school where he is head of PE and also teaches human biology. On the footballing front Mike played for Great Yarmouth for 8 seasons on his return to Norfolk. In 1983 just missed out on playing at Wembley as Great Yarmouth were beaten by VS Rugby in the Semi-Final of the FA Vase. 

Mike still lives in Norwich with his wife Josephine and as well as his teaching job he also does some part time coaching with Norwich City schoolboys. Mike’s son Chris is carrying on the family footballing tradition with over 60 appearances for Norwich as well as appearing for England Under 21s and Mike is justifiably proud of his sons progress.  

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