Saturday 2 November 2013

G'Day From Aussie Exile Paul

We know there are Exiles following Chester from around the globe. We've had the following message in from an Australian-based fan. Why not get in touch yourself, and maybe include a picture as well?

My name is Paul Flood. I am 70 years young and live in a suburb of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia.

I have supported Chester all my life, from near and afar. The City result is the first one I look for on a Sunday morning here in Oz.

I keep in touch on the website on a daily basis and have been thrilled with the last three seasons. I took great delight in extolling City with my mates who are Liverpool and Rangers supporters.

We must keep the faith this season. Neil Young seems a terrific manager and he must be given time and support to mould the team.

I was in Chester last August and saw them play Colwyn Bay for a 2-1 victory. It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

I've just read Peter Jones' profile. He mentioned a guy who used to do forward rolls etc at half time in the 60s. I think his name was Billy Large. He used to do headstands etc on the concrete terraces and fall flat on his back. I used to wonder how he ever got up. Great character!

I actually played at Sealand Road in 1954 for Newton Primary School against Wood Memorial School, from Saltney, in the primary schools' Paul Cup Final. It was a great thrill! We drew 0-0 and shared the cup for six months each.

I used to love going to Sealand Road and went to most home games unless I was playing. I worked at Williams & Williams, the big window company, and played for Reliance the company football team. Great days. I met Chris Winn-Williams the President of  the Senior Blues, at W & W.

I have some fond memories supporting City in those days including: Beating York City 9-2 in 1956. Of course the crowd wanted 10, and we would have loved to see player manger Stan Pearson score, but it was not to be. Stan was a great player with Man Utd in the late 1940s. I remember the floodlights going on in 1960.

I also remember trying to kick the old leather, soaking wet ball back onto the pitch after it came to me during a game. I thought I had broken my foot - it was like kicking a rock! It caused great mirth to the crowd around me, but my dad was severely embarrassed. I was about six at the time. I remember a brass band playing at half-time, and people walking around the ground carrying a blanket to catch money thrown in by the crowd. Times were hard financially for City and every little helped.

Some of my favourite players: Ron Hughes and Ray Gill, a long-standing full back partnership; Eric Lee - a great slide-tackling centre half; Barry Jepson, a centre forward, who I think scored a hat trick on debut against Mansfield who City brought him from. Norman Bullock, a left winger, who used to run hot and cold, but he had a thunderous left foot and was fast. A great character loved by the crowd (most of the time). Ron Davies, a super centre forward, who went on to have a great career for clubs and Wales. Billy Foulkes, a winger, who went on to play for Newcastle United and Wales.

I had my tonsils removed at Chester Infirmary in the mid-50s and the guy in the opposite bed was Billy Foulkes. He was a lovely guy and I was really chuffed to meet him.

I emigrated to New Zealand in March 1963, aged 19. I arrived by ship in Wellington and the first person I spoke to, asked if I played football, and myself and a few other guys from the ship joined a club called Wellington United. We were a good team, we did not lose a game for two seasons!

I came to Aus in 1966. I played football in Sydney for a while - nothing fancy, but enjoyable.

Football in Aus has really taken off in the last few years. Getting to the World Cup for the first time in 2006 really got people interested. Two 6-0 hammerings by Brazil and France and the coach being sacked, hasn't helped the cause much though. Still, we have qualified for the 2014 World Cup.

The A-League which features teams from all state capitals in the country and Wellington in NZ, was formed in 2005 and is starting to really do well. I am a season ticket holder at Brisbane Roar who won the A League 2 years in a row a couple of seasons ago. We average about 12,000 people a game and the standard is improving all the time. I imagine it to be the equivalent of your League 1.

We have "Marquee" players such as Alessandro Del Piero and Emil Heskey playing, as well as returning OZ internationals Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill. Robbie Fowler and Dwight Yorke also had stints out here.

I went down to Sydney in July to see my second favourite team, Man Utd, play an Australian XI. There was 80,000 or so people there. A few days later visiting Liverpool played Melbourne Victoria in front of 95,500 people, who to a man sang "You'll Never Walk Alone". Even the Liverpool players were overwhelmed. Both matches were tremendous promotions for the game out here. Exposure for football is increasing all the time with the Internet and Foxtel etc. Unfortunately, not too many people have head of dear old Chester, or their trials and tribulations over the years, but I push their barrow pretty hard.

I was so angry with the way City were treated when they were kicked out of the League - it was disgraceful. The League looks after the likes of Portsmouth and Middlesbrough etc, but poor insignificant City had no chance. What with that idiotic American and the scouse "spiv' Vaughan, what chance did City have? I remember vividly unfortunately, hearing the result of the game against Peterborough when City lost their League status. I was so disappointed. I remember City always seemed to struggle when I started supporting them in the late 1940s. There were lots of re-election to the league applications after yet another dismal season, but my support never wavered.

Great to see City back where they belong. Good luck to all.

Paul Flood.