Since I know you lot are all suckers for the classics, let me start by saying that seldom in life can the expression haec olim meminisse juvabit be used more aptly than when it is applied to the career of Chris Chilton.
Saturday, 30th April 1983. The pre-penultimate matchday of the season. It’s not long after noon, and a couple of scruffy student shit-kicker types are shuffling along City Road in Chester, a long straight thoroughfare leading from the city centre to the station.
Their mission is to rendezvous with a mutual friend who was arriving by train before heading off, via a local hostelry by the name of The Old Custom House, to Sealand Road, the then home of Chester F.C. (as they were then called), to witness the afternoon’s Division 4 game between Chester and their own team, Hull City, a game of huge importance for the away team, as a single point would see them secure their first promotion in seventeen years, a remarkable turnaround of fortune for a club on the brink of extinction a little more than a twelve-month previously.
Finding they had a few minutes to spare, it was decided that alcohol was called for, but the only available source of that commodity was the rather grand and forbidding-looking hotel next door to the station. Still, needs must, and in our intrepid duo trooped, spotted the door to the bar and went in, to find only one other customer, perched on a stool at the bar, pint in front of him and wearing a contemplative expression. An unremarkable encounter in itself, except that the identity of the customer in question rendered it anything but.
“Fuckin’ ell, it’s Chillo”.