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Record-breaking Gill remembered

Record-breaking Gill remembered

RAY Gill, who died in Rochdale recently aged 76, was Chester's record appearance holder.

He was born in Manchester on December 8, 1924 and joined Manchester City in 1941. He made his Football League debut against Wolves in April 1949 and went on to make eight appearances for City.

In June, 1951, Frank Brown signed him for Chester, along with his City team-mate Bill Jones, and both players made their debuts in an opening-day victory against rivals Wrexham.

Gill was on target in the 2-1 victory, one of only three goals he scored in his 406 appearances for the club.

A whole-hearted and enthusiastic right-back, Gill was a stalwart in the Chester defence for more than 10 years and in his first six seasons missed only eight games.

At the start of the 1954-55 season strict economies at the club led manager Louis Page to experiment with Gill at centre-forward.

Although the switch proved unsuccessful it was indicative of Gill's loyalty to the club that he was prepared to accept this unfamiliar role when his unflappability was more suited to a defensive position.

In 1957 he turned part-time and took a job as a salesman. Over the next two seasons he shared the right-back position with Bill Souter but, in something of an Indian summer, made 43 appearances in the 1959-60 season.

He made his final league appearance for the club on May 1, 1962 in a 2-0 defeat at Carlisle United. His loyalty to the club was recognised by the award of two testimonial matches in 1956 and 1962.

After leaving Chester, Gill joined Hyde United and also briefly played for Altrincham and Winsford United.

For many years he worked for Freddie Pye, a well-known football figure in the Manchester area, in his scrap metal dealership.

He also helped teach football to youngsters in Wythenshawe, where he lived for most of his life.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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