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With no major honours to show for over a century of existence, our claim to fame remains as the club which gave Wales centre-forward Ian Rush his start in league football before selling him for a club record 300,000 to Liverpool in 1980.

It was ironic, then, tht Kevin Ratcliffe, the man charged with leading our club to greater heights should have spent most of his playing career in direct opposition to Rush as centre-half of Everton: indeed, the pair met on some 20 occasions during Ratcliffe's tenure.

Chester's best performance in knockout Cups, discounting three Welsh Cups some 50 years ago, was a semi-final place in the League Cup in 1975. We succumbed to eventual winners Aston Villa by the slimmest of 5-4 aggregates over two legs: a Rush or a Ron Davies, another ex-Chester striker who went on to big things, might have tipped the balance.

Chester are yet to pass the level of the Second (old Third) Division to which we were elected in 1931, though we were founder members of Division Four in 1958 (Chester's Complete League Record). Yet a move from long-established Sealand Road in 1990 to the purpose-built Deva Stadium showed far-sightedness, even though an intervening period as paying guests at non-league Macclesfield's Moss Rose ground did little in the short term to encourage support.

Though Chester would forever, it seemed, be in the shadow of the nearby Merseyside giants, a period of Second Division consolidation could be a base for future prosperity.

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