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JIM MACLAREN 1921-2004

Former Chester goalkeeper Jim MacLaren died at the beginning of August. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. The following article is taken from an interview with Jim a few years ago.

Jim MacLaren joined Chester after being demobbed in 1947. During the war he served with the Scots Guards and went for a trial at Chester on the recommendation of a colleague in his regiment. Jim spent just under two seasons at Chester but after leaving Sealand Road had a long and successful career at Carlisle where he made more than 250 appearances.

Jim was born in Crieff in Perthshire on November 26th 1921 and came from a family of goalkeepers. His three younger brothers were all on the books of football league sides. Roy MacLaren played for St Johnstone, Bury and Sheffield Wednesday. Dave played for Dundee, Leicester, Plymouth, Wolves and Southampton and Monty was with Liverpool. After leaving school Jim had worked on the railways and had been due to sign for Motherwell when war broke out. In 1940 he joined the Scots Guards and represented his regiment in wartime football. When Jim signed for Chester in 1947 he says that he forgot to ask for his £10 signing on fee. Although manager Frank Brown said the club would sort it out he never received the money and says that he is still waiting for it! Jim was 25 when he made his League debut towards the end of the 1946/47 season and the following year he shared the goalkeeping jersey with George Scales.

Jim said that it was always hard work keeping his place at Chester under competition from George Scales and a young Harry Threadgold. In October 1948 Chester signed Ted Elliott from Wolves and this prompted his move to Carlisle a couple of months later. Jim said that his career at Chester had effectively ended when Frank Brown blamed him for a goal that he had conceded when a centre forward had kicked the ball out of his hands. From that point he was consigned to the Reserves and he was pleased to be given the chance of first team football at Carlisle. Jim recalled that the move came about when Carlisle and ex Chester player Phil Turner recommended him to Ivor Broadis the Carlisle manager.

For the next seven years Jim was a regular at Carlisle and at one point made more than 200 consecutive League and cup appearances for the Cumbrian club. At the end of the 1954/55 season Jim decided to retire but was soon talked out of it by Berwick Rangers where he spent a further 18 months. After leaving football he became a rep selling veterinary products in Scotland and Lincolnshire. In 1976 he returned to his native Perthshire where he sold agricultural machinery until his retirement.

Jan 1947 – Dec 1948 Chester 30 apps
Dec 1948 – June 1955 Carlisle United 261 apps

First Chester Football League game – v Bradford City (H) May 10th 1947
Last Chester Football League game – v Darlington (H) September 11th 1948

Chas Sumner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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