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RAY GILL 1924-2001

[Ray Gill]Chester’s record appearance holder, Ray Gill, died in Rochdale on September 17th 2001. He was 76.

Ray was born in Manchester on December 8th 1924 and joined Manchester City in 1941. He made his Football League debut against Wolves, in April 1949 and went on to make eight appearances for Manchester City.

In June 1951 Frank Brown signed Ray for Chester, along with his City colleague Bill Jones, and both players made their debuts in an opening day victory against rivals Wrexham. Ray was on target in the 2-1 victory, one of only three goals he scored in his 406 appearances for the club.

A whole-hearted and enthusiastic left back, Ray was a stalwart in the Chester defence for more than ten years and in his first six seasons only missed eight games. At the start of the 1954/55 season strict economies at the club led manager, Louis Page, to experiment with Ray at centre forward. Although the switch proved unsuccessful it was indicative of Ray’s loyalty to the club that he was prepared to accept this unfamiliar role when his unflappability was more suited to a defensive position.

In 1957 Ray turned part-time and took a job as a salesman. Over the next two seasons he shared the right back position with Bill Souter but, in something of an Indian summer, made 43 appearances for Chester in the 1959/60 season. Ray made his final league appearance for the club, on May 1st 1962, in a 2-0 defeat at Carlisle United. His loyalty to the club was recognised by the award of two testimonial games in 1956 and 1962.

After leaving Chester, Ray joined Hyde United and also briefly played for Altrincham and Winsford United. For many years he worked for Freddie Pye, a familiar football figure in the Manchester area, in his scrap metal dealership. He also helped teach football to youngsters in Wythenshawe where he lived for most of his life.

Chas Sumner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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