Former Chester goalkeeper Jim
MacLaren died at the beginning of August. Our condolences
go out to
his family and friends. The following article is taken
from an interview with Jim a few years ago.
MacLaren joined Chester after being demobbed in 1947.
During the war he served with the Scots Guards
and went for a trial at Chester on the recommendation
of a colleague in his regiment. Jim spent just under
two seasons at Chester but after leaving Sealand Road
had a long and successful career at Carlisle where
he made more than 250 appearances.
Jim was born in Crieff in Perthshire
on November 26th 1921 and came from a family of goalkeepers.
His three younger
brothers were all on the books of football league sides.
Roy MacLaren played for St Johnstone, Bury and Sheffield
Wednesday. Dave played for Dundee, Leicester, Plymouth,
Wolves and Southampton and Monty was with Liverpool.
After leaving school Jim had worked on the railways
and had been due to sign for Motherwell when war broke
out. In 1940 he joined the Scots Guards and represented
his regiment in wartime football. When Jim signed for
Chester in 1947 he says that he forgot to ask for his £10
signing on fee. Although manager Frank Brown said the
club would sort it out he never received the money
and says that he is still waiting for it! Jim was 25
when he made his League debut towards the end of the
1946/47 season and the following year he shared the
goalkeeping jersey with George Scales.
Jim said that it was always hard
work keeping his place at Chester under competition
and a young Harry Threadgold. In October 1948 Chester
signed Ted Elliott from Wolves and this prompted his
move to Carlisle a couple of months later. Jim said
that his career at Chester had effectively ended when
Frank Brown blamed him for a goal that he had conceded
when a centre forward had kicked the ball out of his
hands. From that point he was consigned to the Reserves
and he was pleased to be given the chance of first
team football at Carlisle. Jim recalled that the move
came about when Carlisle and ex Chester player Phil
Turner recommended him to Ivor Broadis the Carlisle
For the next seven years Jim was
a regular at Carlisle and at one point made more than
and cup appearances for the Cumbrian club. At the end
of the 1954/55 season Jim decided to retire but was
soon talked out of it by Berwick Rangers where he spent
a further 18 months. After leaving football he became
a rep selling veterinary products in Scotland and Lincolnshire.
In 1976 he returned to his native Perthshire where
he sold agricultural machinery until his retirement.
Jan 1947 – Dec 1948 Chester 30 apps
Dec 1948 – June 1955 Carlisle United 261 apps
First Chester Football League game – v Bradford City
(H) May 10th 1947
Last Chester Football League game – v Darlington (H) September 11th 1948