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David PughWhen Chester were last promoted in 1993/94, the two top scorers were both midfield players. Chris Lightfoot found the back of the net on 11 occasions but top scorer, with 12 goals, was talented left-footer David Pugh who went on to prove it was no fluke by reaching double figures in the two seasons following his transfer to Bury. David has been an occasional visitor to the Deva, working for the Press Association, and recently took time to talk about his career.

David was a late developer, as far as football is concerned, and was 22 when he joined Runcorn, at the start of the 1987/88 season, from Liverpool amateur side Zodiac FC. He quickly established himself in the first team at Canal Street and came to the attention of City fans, in November 1987, when he was a member of the Runcorn team that beat Chester in the FA Cup 1st Round. Just before the start of the following season he was unfortunate to break his ankle, an injury that put him out of the game for four months, but recovered in time for some more FA Cup giant-killing when he scored one of the goals that helped knock out Wrexham. At the start of the 1989/90 season David received a surprise call from Harry McNally and signed for Chester making his debut in the season opener, a 2-0 defeat at home to Mansfield. Despite being signed as a left-sided midfielder David found himself playing in a variety of positions at Chester from full back to centre half and it was only when Graham Barrow became manager, in 1992, that he fully blossomed as a City player. In five seasons at Chester he played 179 league games (including 11 as a substitute) and contributed 23 goals. He is one of only a handful of players to play for the club at Sealand Road, Macclesfield and the Deva Stadium.

David recalls: “The years at Macclesfield were very difficult, especially for the supporters. Every game was like an away game but as players we just had to get on with it. We were relegated in our first season back in Chester and, quite frankly, we were just not good enough. It had been a struggle for a few seasons and it was really an event that was waiting to happen. When Graham Barrow took over I felt he played me in my proper position and I started to score a lot more goals. In Graham’s first full season in charge we got promoted with a very experienced team. There were players like Mark Came and Colin Greenall in defence and with five across midfield we were very hard to break down. Following promotion the side broke up. My contract expired like many other players and I wasn’t offered very good terms, it was a great shame but it wasn’t the manager’s fault. I had some great memories at Chester. One of the best goals I scored was at Sealand Road, against Tranmere, a bicycle kick from just inside the area. I also remember some great games in the promotion season against Preston, when the ground was full, and against Hereford when we finally secured promotion. I scored in that game and my daughter was born the following day. ”

It was Bury manager Mike Walsh who benefited from the problems at Chester and he snapped up David for what proved to be a bargain £27,500. In his first season at Gigg Lane David was an ever-present and leading scorer with 16 goals including a hat-trick at Northampton. He also scored in the play-off semi-final against Preston North End and captained the Bury team in their first ever visit to Wembley for the play-off final against Chesterfield. Unfortunately, David was on the losing side but the following season Bury were promoted to Division Two, in third place, with David hitting 10 goals. Incredibly Bury took Division Two by storm and finished as champions but David’s season was severely curtailed by injury although, as former skipper, his contribution was recognised when he came on the pitch as substitute for the final game to jointly collect the championship trophy with Chris Lucketti. “One of the reasons why I chose to join Bury was that my old friend from Runcorn, Mark Carter, was at Gigg Lane. It proved a good move for me and the team had a lot of success. There were some good players in the side and a majority of them went on to play in a higher division. I was lucky enough to captain the side at Wembley but after we got promoted I got a lot of injuries. I dislocated an elbow at the start of the season and then broke my other arm. The following year I only played 55 minutes of Bury’s first game in Division One when I got a knee injury. Unfortunately the operation went wrong and I had to retire. Since then I have done some coaching of the youngsters at Manchester United but I left at the start of this season and have been helping out with the coaching of the 14 year olds for the city of Liverpool team as well as doing the statistics for the Press Association.”
Chas Sumner [Published 13/12/03]



















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