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Nick RichardsonFormer captain Nick Richardson has had a long playing career and is currently playing in the Unibond League for Frickley Athletic. Halifax born Nick joined Leicester City as an apprentice, straight from school, but was released without making the first team and signed for non-league Emley. In November 1988 he moved to Halifax Town where he briefly linked up with his brother Lee and made his Football League debut, against Torquay, early the following year. Over the next three years he made just over 100 appearances with the struggling Shaymen and finished leading scorer in 1991/92. In August 1992 he was transferred to Cardiff City for £35,000 and was a key figure in the team that won the Third Division Championship and the Welsh Cup in 1993. By 1994 he was looking for a move closer to his native Yorkshire and had a short spell on loan at Wrexham where he scored two goals on his debut against Oxford United. In December 1994 he came to the Deva Stadium on loan but the move coincided with a dreadful string of results, culminating in the sacking of Mike Pejic, and with Chester in turmoil he returned to Ninian Park. In summer 1995 he finally got to move closer to home when he was transferred to Bury for £22,500. Within a matter of weeks he declared himself unsuited to Bury’s style of play but his value had escalated during this short period and Chester had to pay £40,000 for his services. Nick made his second Chester debut at Colchester and was a regular in midfield for the rest of the season. In September 1996 he shattered his knee at Hartlepool, an injury that put him out of action for the rest of the season. He returned to first team action in August 1997 and was a great servant to the club during the difficult years at the end of the 1990s. When Ian Atkins became manager Nick lost his place as a regular in the side and was desperately disappointed not to be given the chance to play in the relegation decider against Peterborough United. Nick only started one game for Chester in the Conference and his contract was cancelled in January 2001 after just over 200 first team appearances for the club. The following month he was given a Football League lifeline with York City and made 17 league appearances before once again being released. Nick started the 2002/03 season with Harrogate Town and also spent a month on loan with Ossett Town. This summer he was appointed assistant manager at Spennymoor United but, before the season had even started, he returned to Ossett Town to become assistant manager to Scott Cooper. The move to Ossett was a disaster and with the club struggling at the bottom of the Unibond League Division One the management team were sacked and Nick moved to Frickley Athletic.

Another player who was a victim of Ossett Town’s terrible start to the season was Gary Hobson. Central defender Gary started his career at Hull City and after 142 appearances was transferred to Brighton, for £60,000, in March 1996. The following year he was a member of the Brighton side that saved themselves from relegation to the Conference with a point at Hereford in the last game of the season. When Ian Atkins became manager of Chester, in January 1999, Gary was one of the experienced players he introduced to the side. After making his debut, in the home game against Darlington, Gary only missed one of the last 21 matches. Following relegation to the Conference Gary remained in the Football League with York City and made 55 appearances before being released at the end of last season. Having played at Chester and York alongside Nick Richardson Gary linked up with his former colleague at Spennymoor United during the summer. However, like Nick, he moved to Ossett Town without playing a game for Spennymoor. In November Gary left Ossett and is now playing for North Ferriby United in the village where he was born.

Andy SheltonThe manager who signed Nick and Gary for Ossett Town was Scott Cooper who was a member of Terry Smith’s management team at the start of the 1999/2000 season. Scott had previously coached with Huntsville in the USA and after leaving Chester was coach to the Anguilla national team. He was appointed manager of Ossett Town in July 2003 but was sacked after only one win in 11 league games, a defeat to rivals Ossett Albion in the FA Cup and early elimination from the FA Trophy. During his short spell at Ossett Scott also signed Andy Shelton (pictured right). Andy later signed for Christleton in the West Cheshire League.

As Nick, Gary and Scott all left Ossett Town another ex-Chester player arrived. Robbie Painter started his career as a trainee with Chester and made his Football League debut, as a substitute, against Bristol City in November 1987. He went on to make 84 League appearances for City (26 as a substitute) and scored 8 goals. In the summer of 1991 Robbie moved to Maidstone United with Neil Ellis, for £30,000, and later also played league football for Burnley, Darlington, Rochdale and Halifax Town. After more than 400 Football League appearances he was released by Halifax in summer 2001 and joined Gateshead in the Unibond League. After a season in the North East he joined up with former Chester defender Trevor Storton at Bradford Park Avenue and signed for Ossett Town in November 2003.
Chas Sumner [Published 3/1/04]


















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