Archive for June 25th, 2010

Chester’s newly elected Conservative MP, Stephen Mosley was quick to talk up the City Fans United.  Remarking in his maiden speech at the House of Commons, Mosley said:

“May I be the first to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield North (Nick de Bois) on his entertaining and interesting speech? May I also thank everyone else who has made a maiden speech today? I have learned a lot and I hope that hon. Members will learn a bit from me too.

In the few weeks that I have been here, I have been absolutely amazed that almost every Member I have spoken to, on hearing that I represent the City of Chester, has delighted in telling me of their happy trips to my city. Whether they have been to Chester races, studied at the law college or been there for a romantic weekend away, they have all, without exception, left with a wonderful memory of their visit.

I am proud to say that Chester has always welcomed visitors. Our first recorded visitors were the Romans, who established the legionary fortress on the lower reaches of the River Dee, built the city walls, laid out the road network and enjoyed themselves at the amphitheatre so much that they stayed for almost 400 years. In AD 973, King Edgar came to Chester and established himself as the King of all England when he got the kings of the other northern kingdoms to row him up the river and he started to lay the foundations of what is now the United Kingdom. That marked the start of the long relationship between the city and the Crown that Chester has enjoyed for more than 1,000 years.

The Normans came to our city, built a castle and our magnificent cathedral and then used the city as the base for their conquest of north Wales. The English did not get it all their own way, however: several times the Welsh raided the city, destroyed the bridges across the river and burned down many buildings outside the walls. It is from that period that our famous statute
27 May 2010 : Column 397
came into force, which forbids Welshmen from entering the city walls after dark and allows those who are in the city at night to be legally shot with a crossbow. Apparently, that statute was never repealed. Fortunately, we live in happier times and, except for the one day of the year when Chester play Wrexham at football, we live in friendship with our Welsh neighbours.

Speaking of football, I must congratulate my predecessor, Christine Russell. When Chester City football club went into administration earlier this year, she was at the forefront of the campaign to bring football back to Chester. I am proud to say that at the start of this month the supporters group City Fans United established a new Chester football club, and we can now look forward to football returning to the Deva stadium in the autumn. Much of that is due to the hard work that was put in behind the scenes by the previous Member for the City of Chester.

Christine also championed international development and improved child care, but she will be most remembered in Chester for her conscientious casework in the city and the help that she gave to so many local people. I have known her for more than 10 years, and although we had many disagreements over politics, I salute the good work that she did locally and I know it is not going to be easy to follow in her footsteps. I have also been delighted by the good will that still exists on both sides of the Chamber towards Christine’s predecessor Gyles Brandreth and his predecessor Sir Peter Morrison, and I hope to be a worthy successor to them all.

Chester is the jewel in crown of the north-west of England, but there is still much that we need to do. Our Gateway theatre closed down in 2007 and we need help to ensure that our dream of having a new theatre and performing arts centre in the city is delivered. I was particularly pleased to hear that the new Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport had promised that lottery funding would be restored to the arts, thus providing many opportunities for towns and cities such as Chester to improve their arts facilities.

We are also lucky to have in the City of Chester Chester zoo, which is one of the leading visitor attractions in the country and a world leader in animal conservation. It has big plans to expand to help to conserve more endangered species, and I look forward to championing it and its good work within Parliament.

Our ancient city walls, our amphitheatre and the mediaeval rows have all been neglected in the past and now need us to protect and champion our heritage. That is why I will be supporting a bid, put in by the local Conservative council, to obtain world heritage site status for the city centre.

In Chester, we have huge ambitions to bring investment into the city, and I will be playing my part, from Parliament, to help my constituents to achieve their dreams.”

Read Full Post »

  derek draper v newcastle united 1  

Derek Draper became the fourth former Chester footballer to be honoured by City Fans United at their meeting last night. 

One of Derek Draper’s jobs during his early days on the Swansea groundstaff was to clean the boots of Ivor Allchurch. And watching the magical style of play from one of the greatest post-war footballers in training, or on the playing field, rubbed off on Draper, as he eventually raduated to the Swans first team after impressive performances for the Reserves and being capped by Wales at Youth Level.

His first team debut was against Newcastle United at the Vetch Field on March 16th 1963, scoring the only goal of the game, and by the end of the season, he had made a further three league appearances against Norwich City, Rotherham United and Southampton.

Before he was twenty years of age, Derek had been nicknamed ‘Didi’ by the club’s supporters, as they warmed to his attacking and adverturous style of play from the inside forward position. Twelve months later, in what was his first full season in league football, Derek was involved in the Swans’ march to the FA Cup semi finals, beating Barrow, Sheffield United, Stoke City and Liverpool to get there, before losting to Preston North End, 2-1 at a rain sodden Villa Park.

The 1963-64 season saw him make 32 league appearances, scoring three goals, with a further two goals coming in the 4-0 replay win over Sheffield United at the Vetch Field in the FA Cup.

His growing maturity in the Swans Second Division side was recoginised during the 1964-65 season, when he was selected to play for the Welsh Under 23 side against England, despite playing in a Swans;s side destined for relegation to the Third Division for the first time.

With Ivor Allchirch returning to the Vetch Field at the start of the following season, Derek’s opportunity of playing with the man whose boots he had cleaned during his groundstaff days vanished early in the season when he was sidelined with injury, after he made just three League appearances.

On regaining his fitness, Derek was unable to force his way into a free-scoring Swans side, and prior to transfer deadline day in April 1966, was offered the chance to join Second Division Derby County for a £5,000 fee.

After just twelve months at the Baseball Ground, Derek was transferred a Fourth Division Bradford Park Avenue after making just eight league appearances, scoring one goal.

Despite being a regular in the Bradford side, Derek joined Chester in January 1969 after making 63 league appearances for Bradford, scoring nine goals. Eighteen months later, Park Avenue failed to gain re-election to the Fourth Division.

In eight and a half seasons at Chester, up until his retirement from football in 1978, Derek make a total of 331 League appearances for the club, scoring 55 goals. He was 77 league appearances short of the Club’s record appearance total, held by Ray Gill with 408.

A highly respected player in lower division football, his memories from a long stay with Chester at Sealand Road, as it was then, include a promotion winning season in 1974-75 and reaching the League Cup semi finals in the same season, losing to Aston Villa 5-4 on aggregate over two legs.

Read Full Post »