First Team Sub
Aug 1, 2019, 6:00 PM
Team(s): Bridlington Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Scarborough FC.
Post #1 of 1
From Cheshire Live
Ronnie Hughes (Mold Alexandra, Chester, Oswestry Town, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Holywell Town)
Ronnie Hughes, who played 399 Football Leagues for Chester FC, has died at the age of 89.
Ronnie, who passed away on Tuesday, sits second in the all-time appearance records for the Blues, with only teammate Ray Gill surpassing him, and his exploits at Sealand Road saw him inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Deva Stadium back in 2016.
Mold-born Ronnie signed for Chester in 1950 at the age of 20 having completed his national service in the army and made his debut at right-back in March 1952 - a game that saw Chester run out as 5-0 winners over Rochdale.
He would spend the next decade at Sealand Road making 399 League appearances and 446 in total. Coincidentally, he left the club at the same time as Gill himself, both long-serving men released after Bill Lambton took over as manager.
In the intervening decade Ronnie became one of Chesterís most dependable players, cementing his reputation at right-back but also turning out many times at wing-half and, at the start of season 1954-55, at centre-forward where he notched seven goals in six games.
Ronnie was also a part of the Chester side for the club's first-ever match in the Football League Cup when the competition was launched in 1960, a 2-2 draw against Leyton Orient.
Ronnie moved into local football after leaving Chester in 1962, moving to Oswestry Town, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Holywell Town before taking a step into management with Mold Alexandra in the 1970s.
After football he worked for former Chester director A.J Davies' sweet company, at Vauxhall Motors in Ellesmere Port before taking up a job with what was then Clwyd County Council where he was tasked with looking after the playing fields, football pitches and athletics tracks.
Ex-Blues player Alan Tarbuck, chairman of the Former Players Association said: "Ronnie and Ray Gill's achievements during that period were phenomenal and he was a player who really had Chester at his heart during his time here.
"Unfortunately when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016 he wasn't well enough to attend but we're so glad that his contribution to the football club was recognised.
"It's never nice when a former player passes away, he is another link to a wonderful era that has sadly left us. We're all thinking of his family and loved ones at this sad time."
Ronnie, who had been suffering with dementia in recent years, leaves a son, daughter and nine grandchildren.
His son David, a Flintshire councillor, said: "My mum never wanted to move away from the family home in Mold so Dad spent his professional career at Chester. John Harris even wanted to sign him at Sheffield United.
"He actually joined the club after his national service but the club had to sneak him into the ground at Sealand Road at the time to get him to sign because Bolton Wanderers were outside trying to get him to sign for them!
"Dad even played in the game when Manchester United came to visit to open the new floodlights. He was playing right back and Bobby Charlton was on the left for United. I bet it was a tough game for Bobby! That's something that nobody can take away from you.
"It's funny, when myself and my son came to Chester when Dad couldn't make it in 2016 we were walking off and an older fan, who must have remembered my Dad from his playing days, said 'he's still do a better job than some of these now'. He was quite the player and it was nice that people still remembered him so fondly."
Ronnie's funeral will take place on Tuesday, August 13 at 2pm with a service at St Mary's Church in Mold followed by cremation at Northop.