A MAN who once scored the winning goal for Manchester United in an FA Cup final is helping develop stars of the future at Chester FC, writes Dave Powell.
Lee Martin – famous for his decisive strike in United’s Wembley replay win over Crystal Palace in 1990 – has started working with the Blues’ newly-formed under 16s side.
The team is managed by former Chester Schoolboys U14s boss Gareth Richards, who has drafted in Martin to help with coaching.
Richards, who holds the Uefa A Licence coaching qualification, said: “The standard is high and we are now getting calls from football clubs letting us know when they are releasing players. We are truly back on the football map.
“Having people like Lee, who I’ve known for years, also goes a long way as he is able to draw people in and give advice that I couldn’t otherwise.”
Martin, now 43, made more than 70 first-team appearances for United and also played for Celtic and Blackburn Rovers. He finished his career in the Welsh Premier League with Bangor City and Cefn Druids and now lives locally.
The U16s side he is helping to coach will run in addition to Chester’s youth team, which started up last season.
The U16s had their inaugural outing in a tournament at Airbus UK Broughton, losing out to the hosts in a closely contested final.
They then recorded an impressive 1-0 victory over Tranmere Rovers U16s at Raby Vale thanks to a fine Tom Peers goal.
Richards, who is also assisted by his brother Kevin, a fellow Uefa licensed coach, said: “We held trials in July and we had a great turnout, not only from lads from the Chester area but also from Liverpool and the Wirral.
“The lads will be moving up into the North West Youth Alliance League next season and hopefully one or two of them may end up in the first team one day. That’s the aim.”
The Junior Blues are off to Chester Zoo on Sunday, October 16.
The trip is open to all members of the under 16s arm of the City Fans United supporters’ group.
Costing £9.50, Junior Blues family members are also welcome to attend. Adult admission is £11.