Former Chester defender Ron Hughes has died at the age of 89.
He was the club’s second highest league appearance holder with 399, only seven behind his contemporary Ray Gill. A regular in the team throughout the 1950s he mainly appeared at right back but also featured at right half, outside right and even had a short, but successful, run as centre forward in the mid-1950s.
Ron signed as an amateur for Chester in 1947, while continuing to play for Mold Alex, and signed professional for Chester in 1950. Over the next two seasons he was a regular in the Cheshire County League side and was given his opportunity in the first team when regular right back John Molyneux embarked on his National Service. His debut couldn’t have gone better with Chester winning 5-0 at Rochdale.
With the departure of Don Travis in 1954 Chester struggled to find goals and in September Ron was given his chance to shine at centre forward. After scoring in his first game against Grimsby he followed it up with goals in the home and away fixtures against Carlisle but capped this with a hat-trick at Crewe. The run of six goals in seven games was enough to make him leading scorer that season. He later admitted that, although he enjoyed his time at centre forward, he preferred playing in defence because it was easier.
A solid and steady presence in the side Ron appeared in four Welsh Cup finals for Chester without being on the winning side. In the 1958 final he equalised from the penalty spot against Wrexham in a 1-1 draw at Sealand Road before suffering defeat in the replay three days later.
In 1957 he was awarded a testimonial against Everton and, four years later, received a second benefit against an All Star X1. In the programme for the second match manager Stan Pearson spoke highly of Ron stating “Ron can only play one way – giving everything, every game and his consistent standard is remarkable. A hard determined tackler who give no quarter. He has been a model player.”
Despite missing only three games in the 1961/62 campaign Ron was released by Bill Lambton during the summer and spent a season with Holywell Town in the Welsh League. He later managed his home town club Mold for a short spell in the 1970s and was inducted into the Chester Hall of Fame in 2016
The club send out their condolences to his family and friends.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE RECORD
Football League – 399 appearances 21 goals
First Chester game – v Rochdale (A) March 15th 1952
Last Chester game – v Carlisle United (H) May 1st 1962
By Chas Sumner.