THE funeral takes place today of Chester stalwart Stuart Mason, who died in his sleep on Sunday. He was 57.
The former full-back - a hero of Chester's glorious 1974-75 campaign - coached the Under 16s team in the club's centre of excellence.
Mason made more than 600 appearances during a long professional career that also took in stops at Wrexham, Liverpool, Rochdale and Crewe.
He leaves his wife Anne, son Simon, 32, and daughter Joanne, 31.
Jim Hackett, head of youth development at Chester City, said his old colleague and friend would be sorely missed.
'Stuart was a lovely man and he was very good at what he did,' said Hackett. 'He gave players a great chance to push on into professional football.'
Hackett added that plans were being made to put the highly-respected coach's name to a special award for the best Under 16 player of the year.
Mason's son Simon added: 'He was a fantastic father to myself and my sister Joanne. We used to go everywhere with him when he was playing football. I can remember going to watch him play for Chester in the '70s at the time when they were beating the likes of Newcastle and Leeds in the League Cup.
'He was everything you could wish a father to be.'
Born in Whitchurch in 1948, Mason's football career spanned three decades. He signed for Chester in 1973 and made 165 appearances for the club before leaving for Rochdale.
Mason, of Clarke Road, Wrexham, scored in the second leg of the Seals' League Cup semi-final defeat at Aston Villa in January 1975. He was also on target at Crewe four months later with a strike that proved instrumental in Chester's promotion from the old Division Four.
Also a talented cricketer, he played for Whitchurch as well as captaining Shropshire.
Stuart Mason's funeral will be held today at St Giles Parish Church in Wrexham at 1pm. It will be followed by an open reception at the Racecourse Ground at 2pm.
Donations in his memory can be made to the Chester and Wrexham centres of excellence.