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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2001
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STEVE MUNGALL

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.”

Rob Ashcroft
10 October 2001

 

 

 

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