Tuesday, 14 February 2012

A tale as old as time itself

True Love:
 Chester's own Milk Tray Man
Today marks the seventeenth anniversary of St Milner's Day,  so named by Chester fans following Andy Milner's spectacular equaliser for nine-men Chester away at Wrexham on 14th February 1995.

One the one hand, it was a 2-2 draw against Chester's nearest rivals awarded vaguely cringeworthy significance by nostalgic and over-dramatic Chester fans.

On the other hand, it is a golden reason to completely ignore the more cringeworthy scam that is Valentine's Day and, most importantly, is a fantastic excuse to wind up those sensitive beings from Wrexham in a way that they don't fully understand, bless them.

The setting for the most beautiful equaliser of all time was a very grim Racecourse Ground.  Supporters of most clubs like to believe that their rivals hail from a dreadful town, but Chester fans are lucky in that Wrexham truly is that dismal.

Those who turned up to support the teams watched on as 22 aggressive men charged round a filthy mudbath, when they went to Central Station post-game.  The match itself meanwhile, was played on a pitch that looked like the groundsman had phoned in sick.  For three months.  Then finally turned up and been sick on the pitch.

The early stages of the game were hilarious enough as Chester-legend-cum-massive-turncoat Gary "Psycho" Bennett had a goal disallowed before missing a penalty.  Bennett took a lot of abuse from Chester supporters for having crossed the border but, as a psychopath, one must assume that the forward had a complete disregard for the feelings of his former fans.

"I imagine he must have obtained an official diagnosis," said Dr Eric Foreman from the Countess of Chester neurology department.

"The only other explanation is that he's used a truly crippling mental illness as an ironic nickname, and what kind of person would use such a debilitating condition as a punchline?  I'll tell you who.  A psychopath."

Following this, Eddie Bishop, brother of shiny toothed, cliché-spouting comedian John, netted a penalty for the Blues, before Wrexham scored twice, through Bennett and Karl "not that good, really" Connolly.  No-one really remembers any of those goals, and they merely set up what was to happen next.

Before the half time whistle had even sounded, Chester found themselves down to nine men, with Bishop and Chris Lightfoot finding themselves ejected from the 'field' of play.

Any other home team leading 2-1 against a team with nine men with 45 minutes remaining would have gone on to win comfortably.  Fortunately Wrexham, being the joke that they are, conspired to spend the entire second half not scoring.

Now, the words "beautiful" and "legendary" are much over-applied in modern society.  However, with five minutes to go, something happened which hit both of these words full on.  Picking the ball up on the halfway line, Andy Milner waltzed through the Wrexham defence in a show of skill literally never before or since witnessed at the Racecourse, even doing the last defender twice for a laugh.  He then swept the ball into the top corner, guaranteeing himself a unique place in Cestrian football folklore.

The draw was comically confirmed as Gary Bennett bagged another disallowed goal in stoppage time.

In remembrance of their team's achievement that day, Chester fans acknowledge the date every year as being Andy Milner's day.  Meanwhile, in an attempt to shed the horrifying memory of their team getting shown up as the jokers they are, Wrexham fans throw themselves headlong into Valentine's Day, only to watch the flowers they buy wither in the foul atmosphere that engulfs their non-city.

Happy St Milner's Day.

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