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Magpies can soar higher, says legend Mariner
6:37am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in Football
FORMER England star Paul Mariner has backed Chorley to get promoted in their 130th anniversary season – after hailing the job Garry Flitcroft has done in transforming the fortunes of his old club.
The ex-Arsenal and Ipswich striker, who now works as a pundit for ESPN in America, expressed his delight at the Magpies’ unbeaten start to the season during a flying visit to the UK last week.
The 60-year-old, who started his career with Chorley in the early 1970s, revealed he still keeps tabs on his former club’s progress from across the Atlantic.
And after watching the high-flying Magpies soar to the top of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division table on the back of a magnificent eight-match unbeaten run, Mariner insists the club is geared up for a second promotion in four seasons under Flitcroft’s astute leadership.
He said: “The lads are absolutely flying at the moment and it’s great to see.
“Garry Flitcroft is a great lad and, watching from afar 3,000 miles away, it’s just fantastic to see my old club doing so well.
“It would be great to see them get back into the Conference set-up once again, and the way they’ve started the season they’ve got every chance. They just need to keep believing.”
Born in Bolton, Mariner took his first steps on the road to stardom with the Magpies in the early 70s, before Plymouth Argyle snapped him up in a £23,000 deal.
He then went on to play for Ipswich Town, winning the FA Cup and UEFA Cup under Bobby Robson, before sealing a dream move to Arsenal.
He also represented England in the 1980 European Championships and the 1982 World Cup. He now lives in Boston, where he has a job as a soccer analyst for ESPN.
But he still keeps a close eye on his former club’s fortunes and he’s delighted to see the crowds flocking back to Victory Park.
He said: “I made a secret mission to Victory Park last season.
“I was over in the UK for a flying visit so I went to one of the games and the banter was just terrific – it was great to see the old place buzzing again.
“There are so many people going back to watching lower league football these days because they are starting to get a little bit disconnected with the higher echelons of football.
“As long as Garry and the lads keep doing well, the crowds will turn out to support them because Chorley have always been well supported.”
Meanwhile, to celebrate the Magpies’ 130th year, the club have launched a search to find the oldest living Chorley fan, and the oldest living Chorley player, who will be guests of honour at a 130th Anniversary Ball.
The club’s main sponsor, the Chorley Group, have even offered to pick them up in a chauffeur driven Bentley on the night of the ball, which takes place on October 4.
Chorley Group MD Andy Turner said: “Like Paul, we’re delighted to see the club flourishing at the top of the table. Garry Flitcroft is doing a top job and it would be great to see the club promoted in its 130th year."
If you think you are the oldest living Chorley fan, or oldest living player, please contact Dave Swanton at the football club via email@example.com.
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