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Club News

Albert Collins

18 June 2017

Club officials were saddened to hear of the recent passing of its former winger Albert Collins who, at the age of 94, was the club's oldest surviving first-team player.

Albert came to Chesterfield during the Second World War after the club arranged local schoolboy trials, joining a junior side that produced the likes of Billy Linacre and Bill Whitaker.

He played an important role in the club's run to the semi-finals of the League North Cup in 1945.

In Paul Fisher's series of interviews for the "Saltergate Sunset" book Albert recalled that: "We drew 0-0 at Anfield and there were about 24,000 here for the second leg.

“We beat them 1-0, and I scored the goal. Billy Linacre crossed from in between the halfway line and corner flag and the goalkeeper came out, but couldn’t get to it. I was pretty nippy at the time and managed to bundle the ball into the net. You never usually saw supporters on the pitch but after the game, I couldn’t get to the dressing rooms!"

Service with the RAF contributed to a stop-start Chesterfield career, but one other game stood out in Albert's memory.

He said: "We played Grimsby. I was left wing; Bill Linacre was right. Bill ran rings round his full-back but got carried off with a broken leg in the first half. Hodgson, the Grimsby full-back, did it.

“Half-time, and Norman Bullock, the manager, says to me “Go and play on the right wing.” So we’re lining up for the kick-off and the full-back says to me “What’s he done?” “Broke his leg,” I said. “Aye,” said the full-back, “and if you show me up like he did, I’ll break yours.”

When the Football League resumed operations in 1946 Albert made eight appearances for the first team before being sold to Halifax Town for around £1500. He went on to make another 150 starts at six different league clubs before retiring from the game and settling in Chesterfield.

Chesterfield FC would like to pass on its sincere condolences to Albert's friends and family.