Mention Chester to Trevor Storton and you can see a sparkle in his eyes. The former Seals striker is remembered by many city fans as a local hero. During his spell at Sealand Road he notched up an impressive 400 appearances over a period of seven years that included the famous league cup run of 74-75. To some, his commitment to the club has labelled Trevor as being possibly the all time best defender to serve the club.
And those memories came flooding back when he reminisced after watching his club, Bradford Park Avenue, suffer a 3-1 home defeat against Vauxhall Motors in a UniBond League Premier Division match. Keighley-born Storton has returned to his Yorkshire grassroots as Avenue's team manager, but he always has time to talk about his playing career at Sealand Road.
The former Liverpool player, Storton told the Chester Evening Leader: "Chester is always dear to my heart, because obviously the first season I went there from Liverpool we got promotion, and we got to the semi-final of the league cup – I've had some fantastic times at Chester, and I'll always look upon those as some of the best times I've had in football"
"We had one of those teams at Chester that didn't have any great stars in it, but we were quite good together, and I think things went from strength to strength for us. We had the confidence, and to be fair we went to Newcastle and got a draw, fetched them back and beat them 1-0; we beat Leeds United 3-0; and then drew with Aston Villa 2-2 in the semi-final at home, and got beat 3-2 away from home. "
"I'll always remember to this day the lad called Norman Whitehead who missed one from the corner of the six-yard box to put us level, and which would have probably put us through, but Brian Little sort of finished us off in extra-time."
Storton still holds the Chester club record for the most FA Cup appearances – 23, and he made 396 Football League appearances for the club to become the third most loyal player ever to represent Chester.
Storton refused to rule out a return to his old hunting ground. "Ken Roberts for me was a smashing manager, everybody wanted to play for Ken. And Reg Rowlands, the chairman, was also a smashing fellow, and it was a great little club, and it would be nice to go back and try to manage Chester one day. I know Chester have gone through a torrid time lately, and it's always disappointing when I see that they've gone downhill a little bit, but I still look out for their results. I have read a little bit about the things that have taken place at Chester, but without getting too involved in it I do feel sorry for the spectators because from my point of view I had a great relationship with them and they were always fabulous to me."
"All the lads at Chester during my time there were very good – Derek Draper, who was nicknamed the old cunning fox, Reg Matthewson the centre back, Nigel Edwards, and Grenville Millington who did fantastic for us. I remember one time we played at Barnsley and I've never seen a keeper get 10 out of 10 before, but Grenville did that day. "He made one save from one post to another and I couldn't believe it, and I just turned around to him and said: 'It's about time you did something!' But that's the sort of spirit there was with the lads there at that time. I had some fantastic times at Chester, and I always look back and feel I was happy there, which is great because there can be so many bad times in football too. "
"I couldn't tell you if I held any records at Chester but I know I didn't miss many games. I was lucky I seemed to be injury-free. I think I was only out for a fortnight, and I had only ever been sent off once in my career and that was against Burnley, and I told the ref he'd made a mistake that day. I don't really stay in touch with any former Chester players, but when I go across to my brother, Stan, in Ellesmere Port, I certainly try and get in touch with Trevor Phillips, Derek Draper, and Nigel Edwards who live around the area still."
Storton is now attempting to push the once great Bradford Park Avenue, through the non-league pyramid and back into the Football League, where Storton believes is where the sleeping giants should be. He added: "As a manager of a part-time team it's so difficult – and just when I think I've got a team together I start to get injuries. I can never seem to pull the players in with the same ability as what have been injured, and it's very frustrating – we only train twice a week, and only once a week sometimes because of games. "It's so difficult to get the team into a rhythm and into a way of thinking. I've thought over the years that football is a mental thing, and if you get that right you have a chance.
"I think the spirit of the players is something I'd like to inject into Bradford Park Avenue from my Chester days. The big thing I learnt from Ken Roberts was that he let you get on with things, but just sort of told you when things weren't going right, but he told you in the right manner. He didn't try and destroy people, and I think that's why the players worked hard for him. "
"We won promotion at Park Avenue last season, but this season I've got players injured that were key players, and they missed pre-season games. Then we get them back, and after a few weeks they went down with an injury again with the same injuries – I had two lads carried off at Worksop who were my main centre halfs within the first quarter of an hour, and they take some replacing because everyone has got the players they want at that stage of the season.
"We've also had problems with a little bit of confidence, because once we'd lost one or two games early on it's very difficult to pick that confidence back up again, and I've come to the conclusion that's it's all down to commitment and believing in ourselves."
Storton, who was voted player of the season during 1974/75 still reflects on his playing days with Chester, and admits the club still has great potential. He said: "I was gutted when Chester dropped out of the Football League. It's a club that is always going to be dear to my heart"