ALL football fans can recall their favourite ‘I was there’ moment. But one unlucky Chester supporter even has his very own ‘wish I’d been there’ memory!
Derek Garner, of Christleton, has been a Chester fan since 1953.
He contacted The Chronicle to tell us about the time he was persuaded by a friend to watch Everton take on Burnley at Goodison Park – and ended up missing Gary Talbot’s debut for Chester.
Derek recalls that in the first 10 years of his time supporting Chester, the “ignorance of youth” blinded him to the fact he was “witnessing absolute rubbish”.
After watching Chester’s dismal two-goal defeat to Oxford on the first day of the 1963/64 season, he relented to pressure from his friend and opted to take in a game at Goodison Park rather than Chester’s home meeting with Newport County on the same day.
Derek said: “I remember absolutely nothing of the Everton match, except that at half time Chester were drawing 0-0, the scoreline being conveyed by hanging numbers on an alphabetical board.”
After the game, Derek bought a copy of the Liverpool Echo at Central Station in Liverpool to find out the Chester score – a 3-0 victory, with new boy Talbot getting one of the goals.
He recalls: “I will never forget my late father’s words as I walked through the back door – ‘at last we’ve got a decent centre forward!’
“I had missed his first goal for the club and committed a traitorous act all in one day.”
The rest, of course, is history. Talbot went on to become Chester’s record league goalscorer, only to be overtaken 30 years later by 1980s and 90s favourite Stuart Rimmer.
As for Derek, he went on to enjoy plenty of happy times watching Chester. He remembers being at Barnsley’s Oakwell ground on December 5, 1964 to see a master class from Dave Durie in the FA Cup.
Durie was the inspiration behind a 5-2 victory for Chester, who went on to face George Best’s Manchester United in the third round.
Derek rates Durie as the “finest left-midfielder I have seen wear the Chester shirt”.
He was given a standing ovation by both sets of fans as he left the Oakwell pitch.