After a break in league football with two postponements in the FA Trophy, Vanarama National League football returns to the MBi Shay Stadium.
FC Halifax Town take on Chester FC, who has struggled for large parts of this campaign, spending the majority of it in and around the relegation zone.
Here are 10 things of interest about the visitors:
- Chester is a historic Roman city based in Cheshire, situated upon the England-Wales border. The walls that surround the main part of town are amongst the oldest and most preserved in the country, with some areas as old as 2000 years old. A bizarre law means it’s technically legal to shoot a Welshman with a bow and arrow, as long as it is within the city walls on a Sunday after midnight. Fortunately, this is not a regular occurrence. The Eastgate Clock, perched upon the walls, was added to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and is the second most photographed clock in the country after Big Ben.
- Chester Football Club was originally founded in 1885, when Chester Rovers and Old King Scholars combined. They joined the Combination League after 5 years of playing friendlies, before being forced to disband due to the loss of their stadium between 1899-1901.
- After struggling to settle in the Hoole area of the city, they eventually found a home on Sealand Road, where they have played ever since, barring a 2 year period of playing at Macclesfield Town’s Moss Rose ground while the Deva Stadium was being built between 1990-1992. The Swansway Chester Stadium, as it is now known for sponsorship purposes, remains to be their home today, capable of holding 5,376 spectators.
- The current formation of the club came about following the demise of Chester City, following the club’s long struggle with finances. When it became clear the end was near, City Fans United (CFU) took things into their own hands and created the new phoenix club in preparation, naming it Chester FC after the team’s original name.
- With the ownership of the club in the hands of CFU, this makes Chester FC one of the very few teams in English football to be fan owned. They will be wary of any sole owners after Chester City’s last owner, Stephen Vaughan, is infamous for being the first to fail the FA’s ‘fit and proper person’ test required to own a football club in 2009.
- Their current manager is Marcus Bignot, who replaced Jon McCarthy back in September. The 43 year old was formerly a defender for teams such as Queens Park Rangers, Crewe Alexandra and Telford United. The former Solihull Moors and Grimsby Town manager has also been spotted getting to know his new home’s nightlife in the popular Chester bar Off The Wall.
- Famous faces that have represented the city of Chester on the pitch include the likes of Cyrille Regis, Jon Walters, Roberto Martinez, Lee Dixon, and Ian Rush, the latter of course going on to have gluttony of success at Liverpool.
- The player with the most appearances for Chester is Ray Gill. He played for the club between 1951 and 1962, making 406 appearances. A left back by trade, there was a year where, due to financial circumstances, the manager at the time Louis Page stuck Gill upfront to see what he could do.
- In two spells with the club, between 1985-1988 and 1991-1998, Stuart Rimmer’s 135 goals in 361 appearances make him Chester’s all-time top goal scorer.
- Chester has been the birthplace of many people associated with football, including the likes of Michael Owen, Danny Murphy, referee Mike Jones, and even the author of this article.
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