Chester defender Paul Raynor died recently after a long
illness. Our condolences go out to his family and friends.
A tall, polished defender Paul was
essentially a right full back but was equally happy
playing on the left side of defence and made 200 league
appearances, in two separate spells, between 1976 and
1983. He was a member of the successful Chester team
that finished 5th in the old Division Three in 1977/78
and was the club’s regular penalty taker in the
late 1970s and early 1980s
Paul was one of many successful products
of Cliff Sear’s youth scheme at Sealand Road during
the 1970s. As a youngster he had trials with Bolton
and Shrewsbury but the persuasive Sear convinced him
to join his home town club. Paul represented Chester
schoolboys at all levels and was a member of the Cheshire
County squad that toured Germany in 1973.
Paul was given an initial taste of
first team football in January 1975, at the age of 17,
in a Welsh Cup tie against Oswestry. This was followed
by a further Welsh Cup appearance, against Cardiff,
the following campaign. After signing professional terms,
in summer 1976, he was given his Football League debut
at Crystal Palace in September. The game marked the
first game in charge for Alan Oakes, after the departure
of Ken Roberts, and the player-manager immediately promoted
Paul into the side as a replacement for Tony Loska.
It proved a dream debut for Paul as Chester won the
game 2-1 and the youngster set up the winning goal for
Stuart Mason four minutes from time. Paul kept his place
in the side until the signing of Jim Walker in November
but then became a regular first team player in 1977/78
when he took over the right back role from Nigel Edwards.
Over the next five seasons Paul was
an almost constant presence in Alan Oakes’ Third
Division side but was released at the end of the 1981/82
season, when he joined Oswestry Town, following Chester’s
relegation to the basement division. At the start of
the 1983/84 season Paul made a surprise return to Sealand
Road when John Sainty brought him back from Oswestry
on non-contract terms but after a further three league
games he left the club.
As a steady, reliable defender Paul
rarely got the chance to press forward and all but one
of his nine goals for Chester came from the penalty
spot. His most notable strike came in a Second Round
FA Cup tie against Barnsley in December 1979. His cooly
taken penalty, late in the game, put Chester through
to a Third Round tie at Newcastle.
Grenville Millington, Chairman of
the Chester Former Players Association and a former
team mate said: “I’m shocked at the news.
Paul was a smashing young lad, an absolute gentleman.
As a kid he was a Chester fan and couldn’t believe
he ended up playing with his heroes. He was one of Cliff
Sear’s babes, and never let the club down.”
After leaving the game Paul moved
to Nantwich and worked for Cheshire Constabulary. He
is survived by his wife Sue and two children.
Football League record
Sept 1975 – June 1982 Chester
196+1 apps 9 goals
Aug 1983 – September 1983 Chester 3 apps 0 goals
First Chester league game –
v Crystal Palace (a) September 4 1976
Last Chester league game – v Hereford United (a)
September 7 1983