The arrival of Steve Mungall at the
Deva Stadium heralded the beginning of a new chapter
in the history of Chester City Football Club. With arguably
the most difficult job in non-league football, Mungall,
the former Tranmere Rovers star took over the reigns
as caretaker manager following Gordon Hill's dismissal
after Chester's disastrous start to the 2001/02 campaign.
With Chester propping up the Nationwide Conference table
it could be seen to be Mission Impossible but under new
ownership their was an air of anticipation around the
City as everybody hoped Chester could bounce back out
of the Nationwide Conference drop zone.
New club owner Stephen Vaughan gave
the supporters exactly what they'd chanted for during
Chester's dismal performance against high flyers Margate.
Vaughan said: I've given fans what they wanted I
relieved Gordon Hill from his duties after Saturday's
match. I spoke to him for an hour after the game, and
he'll remain at the club because he's still under contract.
I don't want any more contractual disputes, so Gordon
will be in charge of the club's youth development scheme.
The first team manager's job will be advertised, but
I've appointed Steve Mungall as caretaker manager for
the home match against Hereford United.
Mungall knows all about commitment!
The Scotsman made a whopping 624 league appearances for
Tranmere Rovers during a spell of over 21 years at Prenton
Park which ended as Centre of Excellence coach in October
2000. Mungall remembered: I'd been with the club
for 21 years and Tranmere will always be a place I have
fond memories of. It was strange when I finally left.
People ask me about my best moments during my time at
Tranmere and I'd have to say the win over Exeter in 1987
is up there with the best of them. We had to win to stay
in the Football League and to win that game was extremely
rewarding. After that, the club never really looked back
as it went on its roller-coaster ride. My Wembley appearances,
promotions and helping the club establish itself in the
First Division are all moments I'll look back on fondly.
Mungall went on into coaching and now
finds himself in the Deva Stadium hotseat, taking his
first step into football management after answering an
SOS call from Chairman Vaughan. I've been friends
with Stephen Vaughan for a little while. He used to come
down to watch at Tranmere Rovers. He asked me to come
down and just have a look because he'd bought the club.
I think he was maybe planning to bring me in to assist
Gordon Hill, but things didn't pan out that way and he
just asked me if I would be interested in taking charge
of team affairs while they try to find a new manager.
I said yeah! I jumped at the chance because I know Stephen
is a 110% man, he's got such ambition and drive that
I know this club will be a success under him. I thought
I'd like to be a part of that. I jumped at the chance
and if all goes well and I'm offered the job I'll take
it. I'd like to be a part of a successful Chester.
As the former Tranmere Rovers legend
got off to a winning start on Tuesday evening, he concluded
our conversation by proclaiming his hopes of being considered
for the permanent managerial post at the Deva Stadium. If
you're a manger of a football club no matter where it
is always nice to be in charge of it. I've always enjoyed
coaching and I've been given the opportunity to come
in and if things go well in the next few weeks then who
knows, my name will be in the hat and hopefully I'll
stand as good a chance as anybody.
10 October 2001