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PAUL FUTCHER 1956-2016

Former Chester player Paul Futcher has sadly passed away at the age of 60 after a battle with cancer. The Upton born defender (pictured on the right with brother Ron) had a lengthy playing career stretching over 25 years and more than 750 appearances. After making his Chester debut at the age of 16 he went on to play for numerous clubs including Luton Town, Manchester City and Grimsby Town as well as making 11 appearances for England Under-21s. In 1998 he became the oldest outfield player to appear in a Wembley final when he led Southport as player-manager in the FA Trophy final against Cheltenham Town at the age of 41.

A former pupil at Upton High School, Paul developed at Sealand Road under the guidance of Ken Roberts and Cliff Sear and followed in the footsteps of older brother Graham who made 10 appearances for Chester between 1971 and 1973. Paul made an assured debut, at Cambridge, in March 1973 as a replacement for flu victim Nigel Edwards and at 16 years 180 days remained the club's youngest Football League player until the emergence of Aidan Newhouse in 1988. Despite a 1-0 defeat it was clear even then that he was destined for greater things. Not only was manager Ken Roberts full of praise for the youngster but one of the Cambridge forwards was quoted as saying “We thought we might be playing on a weakness and tried to chip the ball over his head but he was too cute and was always in the right place.”

The following season he featured more regularly in the starting eleven, making 18 appearances in the centre of defence alongside Chris Dunleavy or Reg Matthewson. In October 1973 he was joined in the first team by twin brother Ron, older by 20 minutes, and when they played together in a 1-1 draw at Workington they became the first twins to appear in a Football League game for Chester. The two 17 year-olds both put in outstanding displays and Paul was once again singled out for his maturity and coolness under pressure. It was no surprise when Luton Town came in with a joint bid of £125,000 for the twins at the end of the campaign. Paul was valued at £100,000 in the deal which was a record fee for the club at the time.

Paul spent four years at Luton and returned to Sealand Road in January 1977 for an FA Cup tie when Chester beat the Hatters 1-0. In 1978 he became Manchester City's record signing and the most expensive defender in Britain when he was transferred to Maine Road for £350,000. He later went on to play in the Football League for Oldham Athletic, Derby County, Barnsley, Halifax Town and Grimsby Town where he was regarded as one of their best ever players despite being 35 at the time of his signing.

As well as spells as player-manager at Southport and Gresley Rovers he also managed Darlington and Stalybridge Celtic with his last port of call being Ashton United in 2005.

The club send out their condolences to his family and friends.

CHESTER CAREER RECORD
Football League – 20 appearances 0 goals
FA Cup - 1 appearance 0 goals
Welsh Cup 2 appearances 0 goals
First Chester game - v Cambridge United (A) March 24th 1973
Last Chester game - v Reading (H) Apr 22nd 1974


Paul Futcher guards the post on his debut at Cambridge United.

Chas Sumner [28/11/16]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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