Tributes to former Chorley FC player Eric Spencer

Eric Spencer leading his teamEric Spencer leading his team
Eric Spencer leading his team
The footballing community is mourning the loss of a well known former Chorley FC player, who died, aged 95.

Eric Spencer, who played for the club for five years from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, died on October 30, following a month-long spell at Royal Preston Hospital, suffering from metastatic lymphoma.

The youngest of three sons, Eric began his footballing career aged 15 when he played for Bolton Boys. He started working at Horwich Locomotive Works before being called up to be in the Royal Navy as part of the war effort in 1942. He served in Australia, witnessing Japan surrendering and ending the Second World War. As Eric returned in 1945, he went back to Horwich Locomotive Works, as a tool maker.

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He met his Chorley-born wife, Joyce, in the early 1950s and they married at Rivington Parish Church in 1954. Their good friends, Douglas and Pauline Hoyle (Sir Lindsay Hoyle’s parents) were at the wedding.Joyce and Eric made their home in Blackrod and Adlington and had one son, Neil. Eric, who had two grandsons and a great grandson, continued working and played football professionally, for Horwich RMI, Stalybridge Celtic FC and then Chorley FC.

Chorley FC in 1957. Eric Spencer is second rightChorley FC in 1957. Eric Spencer is second right
Chorley FC in 1957. Eric Spencer is second right
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Eric on the ball with Chorley FC memories

His son, Neil, said: “My dad was a very private man but was well known. “He worked during the day, finishing at 5.30pm and then would play professional football in the evenings, travelling on the train. “Chorley FC was quite a successful team when he joined and he played with Harry McShane, whose son was Lovejoy actor Ian McShane. My dad remembered Harry bringing him to the matches.”

A spokesman for Chorley FC said: “Everyone connected with Chorley Football Club has been saddened by the news of former player Eric Spencer passing away aged 95.“Eric joined the Magpies during the 1957/58 season and played 130 games for the club, scoring 59 goals from his inside forward position. “During his career at Chorley the team won the Lancashire Combination League title three times and were runners up on two further occasions. “They also won the Lancashire Junior Cup four times and lifted the Combination Cup twice.“During the 1959/60 season, Spencer was made captain when Chorley defeated Wigan Athletic in the Lancashire Junior Cup final. The campaign after, he was plagued with injuries but managed to make an appearance against Marine, again another Junior Cup final, scoring in the 2-1 win. This was also a record of four consecutive Lancashire Junior Cup victories which has never been surpassed.By 1961/62 Eric was captaining the reserves before retiring from semi-professional football after previously playing for Horwich RMI and Stalybridge Celtic. Chorley FC would like to offer condolences to Eric’s friends and family at this sad time.”

Eric will be laid to rest at Rivington Parish Church on Monday, November 11, at 11am.