Club were founded in 1885 as an amalgamation of Chester
Rovers and Old King’s Scholars and initially played
their home games at Faulkner Street in the Hoole area
of the city. For the first five years of their existence
they only played friendlies until joining the Combination
League in 1890. A first senior trophy, the Cheshire Senior
Cup, was won in 1895 and in 1898 the club relocated to
the Old Showground also in Hoole. The stay was only brief
as, twelve months later, the club were forced to temporarily
disband when the ground was lost to housing.
1901 a new home was found in Whipcord Lane and the club
went from strength to strength, winning the Combination
League in 1909 after finishing runners-up in the preceding
five seasons. The early 1900s saw the first of Chester’s
Welsh Cup victories, against Connah’s Quay in
1908, (further victories followed in 1933 and 1946).
By now the club had moved to the much loved Stadium,
in Sealand Road, which remained home for 84 years until
the final game against Rotherham in April 1990.
In 1910 Chester were elected to the Lancashire Combination
and after the First World War were founder members of
the Cheshire County League which they won in 1922, 1926
and 1927. The appointment of Charlie Hewitt as manager
in 1930 saw a concerted effort to attain League status
and crowds flocked to the Stadium to see the goalscoring
exploits of Salford school master Arthur Gale who scored
an incredible 73 goals in 39 League games.
On June 1st 1931 Chester were elected to the Football
League, in place of Nelson, and throughout the 1930s
never finished outside the top 10 in Division Three
North. In 1933 Chester hammered Second Division Fulham
5-0, their finest FA Cup performance, and in 1936 the
club achieved their highest League victory, a 12-0 win
over York City.
struggled in the years following the Second World War
but were well served by stalwarts Ray Gill (a record
406 appearances), Ron Hughes, Eric Lee and Tommy Astbury.
In 1964/65 the “Famous Five” forward line
of Talbot, Metcalf, Ryden, Morris and Humes (left) scored
116 of Chester’s record 119 League goals while,
in the FA Cup, the club were narrowly beaten 2-1 by
League champions Manchester United after leading at
Promotion from Division Four was achieved under Ken
Roberts in 1974/75. The club also reached the League
Cup Semi-Final where they were narrowly defeated by
Aston Villa following wins over League champions Leeds
United (the 3-0 victory is arguably the club’s
greatest result) and Newcastle United. The late 1970s
saw the emergence of Ian Rush, who became the club’s
record transfer when he moved to Liverpool for £300,000.
Relegation in 1982 was followed by a name change, to
Chester City, in 1983 and three years later Harry McNally
led the club back into Division Three.
sale of the Sealand Road ground in 1990 saw Chester
forced to play their home games at Macclesfield for
two years. Unfortunately a return to the city, and the
new 6,000 capacity Deva Stadium, culminated in relegation
although there was one bright spot when Stuart Rimmer
(right) broke Gary Talbot’s league scoring record.
The popular striker went on to score a total of 135
League goals for Chester. In 1994 Graham Barrow led
City back to Division Two but the yo-yo existence continued
with relegation in 1995.
Former Everton and Wales captain, Kevin Ratcliffe, led
the club to the play-offs in 1997 and was also in charge
during the traumatic 1998/99 season when the club went
into administration and almost folded due to financial
problems. In July 1999 controversial American, Terry
Smith, purchased the club and quickly installed himself
as manager. However, Chester struggled at the foot of
the table and despite the belated appointment of Ian
Atkins the club were relegated to the Conference, after
69 years in the Football League, following a heartbreaking
home defeat to Peterborough United on the final day
of the season.
the 2001/02 season Chester were facing a further
relegation down to the Unibond League but fortunes
finally took a turn for the better when Smith sold
the club to Liverpool businessman Stephen Vaughan
in October 2001. Mark Wright, was appointed manager
at the start of 2002 and as results improved on the
field, Vaughan and his new management team started
to turn things around behind the scenes.
The revival continued into
the 2002/03 season when a host of new signings
took Chester to the Conference
play-offs. Two hard fought games against Doncaster
Rovers, in the semi-final, saw Chester face a devastating
defeat on penalties but the club were to bounce back
strongly from this setback. Based around a strong
defence, and the 49 goal partnership of Daryl Clare
and Darryn Stamp, City took the Conference by storm
in 2003/04 and with only four defeats in 42 games
deservedly secured a place back in the Football League.
Promotion was guaranteed with a 1-0 victory over
Scarborough in front of a delirious capacity crowd
at Deva Stadium who celebrated Chester’s
first championship in 77 years.
Having established themselves back
in League Two, City will be looking to progress in 2008/09
under the guidance of former Youth Team manager Simon
Sumner [Official club historian] |
MS Word file version.