THE black-and-white image to the right is one of the oldest surviving team pictures of Chester FC – and it was found in the drawer of a city centre pub!
The 104-year-old picture, which shows the Chester team lining up for the 1906-07 season, now belongs to Blues superfan Nigel Clarke.
He was given it in the early 1990s by a friend who ran the Oddfellows Arms in Frodsham Street.
Nigel, 60, said: “He was cleaning out some drawers and came across the picture. The landlord knew I was a big fan so now I’ve got it.”
The image has ‘Chester FC’ inscribed across the top – which Nigel feels is appropriate as it matches the name Blues fans are using for their recently-relaunched club (the ‘City’ suffix was dropped when the old team folded last season).
Back in the 1906-07 campaign, Chester were playing in a league known as ‘the Combination’ against sides such as Oswestry, Nantwich, Tranmere Rovers and Connah’s Quay. They began with a bang, reeling off seven wins on the spin, but ended up finishing second, behind champions Whitchurch.
It proved to be a landmark campaign for Chester. Halfway through the season they moved from playing at an ill-equipped ground at the northern end of Whipcord Lane to Sealand Road, where they would remain for 84 years.
Nigel, who has supported Chester since the 1960s and hardly ever misses a game, has another favourite image which he hopes will bring back memories for City fans.
His signed team picture from the 1992-93 season shows boss Harry McNally with a football strategically placed in front of his right foot.
The ball just about covers the plaster cast he has on his broken leg – an injury he sustained on a pre-season tour to Scotland.
Harry famously decided to play in an informal kick-about against a local junior side from the Vale of Atholl.
According to legend, he refused to pull out of one particularly meaty challenge because he did not want to set a bad example to his players.
The resulting tackle may have left Harry in hospital nursing a broken leg – but at least his pride was still intact and he had given his players a lesson in commitment.