Committee for 2016-17

The committee of the Former Players Association was re-elected for a further 12 months at the AGM held at the Cheshire View, Christleton, on November 7th. Alan Tarbuck was confirmed as chair having stepped in last January following the resignation of Grenville Millington.  The committee currently is: Gary Talbot (president), Alan Tarbuck (chair & treasurer), Chas Sumner (secretary), Charlie Lambert (media officer), Grenville Millington, Bob Delgado, Graham Abel, John Evans, Dennis Reeves. The association can be contacted via Media enquiries to

Chester v Wrexham Sports Quiz

Big names from fierce rivals Chester FC and Wrexham will put their sporting knowledge on the line in a quiz night to be staged in the Blues Bar at Chester’s Lookers Vauxhall Stadium on Friday April 15th 2016 (7.30pm).

Star goalgetter Michael Wilde has been named in the Chester team and European Cup winning defender Joey Jones will be lining up for Wrexham.

Alan Tarbuck

Captain of the home team Alan Tarbuck said: “We are up for this. It’s going to be a different sort of derby match and we’ll see which team really knows their sport. The main thing is though that we’ll have a good night with plenty of laughs.”

The Chester team also includes former managers Neil Young and Ken Roberts and the event will also be attended by Dennis Reeves, Gary Talbot, Bob Delgado, John Evans, and Graham Abel. Wrexham’s team is expected to include Dixie McNeil, Steve Buxton, and John Muldoon.

The event is organised by the Chester Former Players Association and will be compered by BBC Radio Merseyside’s Neil Turner. Admission is free, simply turn up on the night. The bar wil be open.

Alan Tarbuck, who is also chair of the Chester FPA, added: “I’m grateful to everyone who has supported this event, especially Phil Turner who’ll be running the quiz, our friends from Wrexham Former Players and the staff at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.”

Ronnie Hughes inducted into Hall of Fame


Ronnie Hughes was inducted into the Chester FC Hall of Fame at the home game v Southport on January 23rd 2016. Sadly ill health prevented Ronnie from attending in person but he was represented by his son and grandson. Pictured are (from left) FPA chair Alan Tarbuck, grandson Steven Hughes, Chester FC chairman Simon Olorenshaw, son Dave Hughes and Ronnie’s former team-mate John Evans.

Milton Graham, midfield star of Chester’s promotion-winning team in 1985-86, was also to be inducted into the Hall of Fame but was unable to attend due to a family bereavement.

Ronnie Hughes made more appearances for Chester than any other player apart from the record-holder Ray Gill. Mold-born Ronnie signed in 1950 at the age of 20 having completed his national service in the army and made his debut at right-back in March 1952 – a memorable occasion as he helped the defence keep a clean sheet in a 5-0 home win over Rochdale.  Ten years later he left The Stadium for Mold Alexandra having played 399 League games and 446 matches in total. Coincidentally, Ronnie left the club at the same time as Ray Gill himself, both long-serving men released after Bill Lambton took over as manager.

In the intervening decade Ronnie became one of Chester’s most dependable players, cementing his reputation at right-back but also turning out many times at wing-half and, at the start of season 1954-55, at centre-forward where he cracked in seven goals in six games. Thereafter Ronnie made most of his many appearances in defence, but he did score from the penalty spot against Wrexham in the Welsh Cup Final in 1958, a season when he was ever-present in the number two shirt. Ronnie also had the distinction of playing in Chester’s first-ever match in the Football League Cup when the competition was launched in 1960 – and it was quite a baptism as Chester came from 2-0 down with four minutes remaining to draw 2-2 at home to Second Division Leyton Orient, only to lose the replay 1-0.

As a reward for his loyalty, Hughes was awarded testimonial matches against Everton in 1957 and an All-Star XI in 1961.

Ronnie dropped back into non-league football with Holywell Town and had a spell back at Mold as manager in the 1970s. He later worked for the education department of Clwyd County Council.


Alan Tarbuck is new chairman of FPA

Alan Tarbuck is the new chairman of the Former Players Association. Alan takes over from Grenville who relinquished his post as chairman of the FPA at the same time as resigning as chairman of Chester FC before Christmas. We are all incredibly disappointed to see Grenville go, a decision which we know was prompted by situations completely outside the remit of the Former Players. The committee met on Monday and recorded its deep appreciation and gratitude for the leadership and enthusiasm provided by Grenville who has been our chairman since the FPA was founded in 2009. At the same time, congratulations to Alan Tarbuck on being elected to the role. We are fortunate to have such a capable and dedicated person prepared to take over. We wish Alan every success.

Looking back at 2015

Graham Abel (photo Rick Matthews)

GRAHAM ABEL won the Chester Former Players Golf Day in July – and shot a hole-in-one along the way. Graham, who made over 300 appearances for the club between 1985 and 1993, aced the 214-yard second hole at Padeswood and Buckley Golf Club. The hole-in-one helped Graham and his partner, ex-Chester goalkeeper Dennis Reeves, pick up the main prize of the day for the overall winners. Runners-up overall and winner of the Guests Prize were Frank Rogers and Tommy Telford with 47 points. Gary Talbot, president of the Former Players Association, won the prize for ‘nearest to the pin’.

Our victorious bowls team (photo Chas Sumner)

CHESTER came out on top in a bowls match between the former players of Chester and Wrexham held at the Cheshire View, Christleton, in August. It was a 7-4 win for Chester who became the first winners of the new Ian Moir Trophy, a lasting memorial to our great friend who played for both Chester and Wrexham and sadly died earlier this year. The Chester team was Grenville Millington, Alan Tarbuck, Dennis Reeves, Derek Draper, Ken Roberts, Eddie Rampling, Barrie Hipkiss and Chas Sumner. We produced another excellent performance in the annual match against Bolton Wanderers at Little Lever in September and were only narrowly beaten 5-4. The Chester team comprised Grenville Millington, Alan Tarbuck, Ken Roberts, Derek Draper, Eddie Rampling, Barrie Hipkiss and Chas Sumner. Any ex-players who would like to play for the bowls team would be very welcome – please contact Alan Tarbuck or phone 01352 757314.

Celebrations for Terry and Ann Bradbury (photo courtesy Camelot)

TERRY BRADBURY made more headlines than he ever did as a player when he won £5.5 million on the National Lottery in July. Terry, now 75, and his wife Ann were the only ones with the winning combination. If they’d stuck to their usual numbers they wouldn’t have won, but they decided to go for the ‘lucky dip’ option and it certainly turned out to be lucky! A former England schoolboy international, London-born Terry began his professional career with Chelsea for whom he made 29 appearances between 1957 and 1962. He then moved to Southend, Leyton Orient and Wrexham before joining Chester as player-coach in 1969. Terry was a popular player at Sealand Road, remembered for his commanding presence in midfield or defensive roles. In his two seasons with the club he missed only one league game per season and was a member of the team that pulled off that notable giant-killing over Bristol City in the FA Cup, 2-1 at the Stadium. He moved on to Weymouth and also played for Northwich Vics before moving to Derbyshire where he ran a pub until retiring.

Michael Wilde joins the Hall of Fame (photo Terry Marland)

MICHAEL WILDE was inducted into the Chester FC Hall of Fame in March, recognition of his goals which lit up Chester FC’s first season as a community-owned club, 2010-11. He was presented with his Hall of Fame portrait at the home match against Dartford. Michael hit 36 goals in 43 league games in that inaugural campaign, starting with a hat-trick against Trafford in the club’s first home league game and ending with the Evo-Stik North championship. He was also part of the squad that won the Evo-Stik Premier 12 months later although his appearances were severely restricted by injury. He claimed 46 goals in all competitions in his time with the club. He joined from Fleetwood in July 2010 and left for TNS in the summer of 2012. Michael’s former skipper George Horan received his Hall of Fame honour at the home game against Telford in December 2014. George was nominated for the outstanding commitment and unquenchable spirit that he showed in captaining the reformed club to three consecutive league championships. Nominations for the Hall of Fame are made by the Chester Former Players Association and approved by the club’s Board of Directors. Curerently in the Hall of Fame are: Grenville Millington, Gary Talbot, Daryl Clare, Peter Jackson, Stuart Rimmer, Trevor Storton, Derek Draper, Iain Jenkins, Mike Metcalf, Elfed Morris, Ken Roberts, George Horan and Michael Wilde.

The Association’s committee, headed by chair Grenville Millington, was re-elected for a further 12 months at the annual general meeting held at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium on Monday November 9th 2015. Grenville said it had been a successful year for the Former Players Association. He was particularly pleased by the way we have been able to contribute to the life of the club in various ways and hoped the former players would be able to do even more in the future. Alan Tarbuck reported that a new system to welcome ex-players to the club on matchdays was working well. In his role as treasurer Alan reported a stable financial situation and has plans for a fund-raising event in March 2016. Grenville thanked the committee for their efforts over the year.

Ian’s charity bid

Former Chester midfielder Ian Seddon is one of many Brits whose upper lip will change appearance this month. Ian has signed up for the Movember charity drive, growing a moustache to raise funds for prostate cancer. Anyone who would like to support him can donate online at Barclays Bank, account name Movember Europe, sort code 20-00-00, account number 73774651.

Ian - before Movember

AGM 2014

The Association’s annual general meeting will take place on Monday November 10th at 7.30pm, at the Swansway Stadium. All members are welcome to attend.

Join us to give the club a fresh look

Gary and Dennis prepare for action! Photo courtesy Rick Matthews

Chester FC’s former players are turning to paintbrushes and wallpaper paste to give the club a new look. And we’re looking for volunteers to join us in refurbishing the interior of the main stand at the Swansway Stadium.

FPA president Gary Talbot said: “We’re going to redecorate the internal corridors and the main staircase, including the section which houses the club’s Hall of Fame. The Former Players Association is paying for the materials and we’re also volunteering our services with the labour – but we could do with some help.”

The operation will be led by former Chester goalkeeper Dennis Reeves who has had his own painting and decorating business for many years.

Anyone who is handy with the decorating gear and fancies teaming up with Dennis, Gary and co should contact the football club (tel 01244 371376, and leave their name and contact details. The refurbishment will start on Thursday June 19th. “The more volunteers we get to help, the sooner the job will be finished,” said Gary.

Golf Days 2014

The date for our annual Golf Day is 16th of July 2014 at Padeswood & Buckley G C. Start at 9.30am prompt. We need to have definite names of attendees by the 30th June 2014. In addition Ken Roberts wants names for the Footballers Golf Day at Hennlle G C, Oswestry on the Wed 28th May 2014. FPA members who want to play please contact Alan Tarbuck

Paul Comstive dies, aged 52

Former Chester City star Paul Comstive has died at the age of 52 after suffering a heart attack. The Southport-born player signed from Bolton Wanderers for £10,000 in November 1991 and featured in 56 league games for the Blues scoring six times. Perhaps the best-remembered of these goals came in the first ever league game at the Deva Stadium when he rounded off the scoring as the Blues beat his former club Burnley 3-0 in September 1992.

Paul made his Football League debut for Blackburn Rovers in 1980 and after a loan spell at Rochdale joined Wigan Athletic at the start of the 1983/84 season. Harry McNally was the man in charge at Springfield Park in those days and it was the legendary manager who brought Paul to Chester eight years later. In his twelve months with Wigan he was a regular at left back and played alongside Graham Barrow who later became his manager at the Deva Stadium.

In 1984 Paul was transferred to Wrexham for £3,000 and it was while playing for the Reds that he was converted to a midfield role. In 1987 he moved on to Burnley and was in the Clarets side that lost to Wolves at Wembley in the Sherpa Van Trophy Final the following year. After losing his place at Turf Moor Paul signed for Bolton Wanderers early in the 1989/90 campaign and remained there for two years. In 1991 Chester were based at Macclesfield and struggling at the bottom of the table when Paul was re-united with his old manager. McNally utilised him on the right side of midfield where his height and power proved a valuable asset. Although Chester failed to win any of the first nine league games with Paul in the side it gave McNally the opportunity to re-organise the team and with his new signing strengthening the midfield he was able to successfully move Barry Butler to centre forward and David Pugh to a more attacking role on the left side of midfield. The transformation worked wonders and City staged a remarkable escape from relegation with Paul scoring in a 5-2 victory over Exeter City and a 1-1 home draw with Hull City.


When the Blues returned to the city in 1992 the departure of Arthur Albiston to Norway saw Paul revert to the left back position where he had played under McNally at Wigan in the mid 1980s. In October Paul scored a penalty against his former club Bolton Wanderers in a 2-2 draw and this marked the last goal under the stewardship of McNally who was dismissed a few days later. With Chester rooted at the bottom of the table Graham Barrow took charge and the return of Arthur Albiston the following month saw Paul lose his place in the side and he was released at the end of the campaign following City’s relegation.


After leaving City Paul played for his home town club Southport in the Conference followed by Morecambe and Chorley. In later years he coached at Southport and Burscough and was also manager of Southport-based Fleetwood Hesketh.


The Former Players Association extend our condolences to Paul’s family and friends.





Chas Sumner