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PAUL COMSTIVE 1961-2013

Former Chester City star Paul Comstive has died at the age of 52 after suffering from 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.

Everyone at Chester FC sends out their condolences to his family and friends.

Chas Sumner [30/12/13]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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