A last farewell as former Bristol City, Chelsea and Leicester star dies at 74, RIP Chris Garland

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Chris Garland has recently died at the age of 74. Born on the 24th of April 1949 in Bristol, making his league debut for home town club Bristol City in December 1966. He was carefully nursed into the first team as a teenager by legendary boss Alan Dicks.

After 143 league appearances at lower tiers in English football, Dave Sexton came calling as Chelsea became next destination. A fee of £100.000 made the move possible to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea ended 7th in the top flight, and reached the League Cup final, playing Stoke, in his first season with The Blues.

Chris Garland made the team at Wembley and played alongside the legendary Peter Osgood, who scored in the 45th minute as his goal levelled the score, but sadly for Chris and Chelsea, George Eastham scored the winner for Stoke in the 73rd minute.

With a number of sales of the best players and also legendary manager Dave Sexton leaving the club in 1974, it looked difficult at Stamford Bridge, and Leicester manager Jimmy Bloomfield did see his chance to get him to join, again a fee of £100.000 agreed. He scored eight goals in ten matches, including a hat-trick in a 3–2 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Filbert Street on 22 March, to help the “Foxes” to finish three points above the First Division relegation zone at the end of the 1974–75 season.

He was one of three regular rotated forwards in the 1975–76 campaign, alongside Frank Worthington and Bob Lee, and City went on to finish seventh; he claimed another hat-trick in a 3–0 FA Cup victory over Sheffield United on 3 January. He scored three goals at the start of the 1976–77 season, but said to have placed in a transfer request, and was eventually sold back to Bristol City.

He will always be remembered for his goals and great contribution to the well documented escape from relegation in the 74/5 season as well as being a key player in the season after (75/76) what was to become Leicester’s best season in the top flight, until that 15/16 PL winning triumph. Garland scored 15 goals in 55 league games while at Filbert Street.

After his return to Bristol City he stayed at the books of the club from 1976 to 1983, and in that period making the iconic record of scoring in all football league divisions for the same club as he took part in the slide and relegations at Bristol City, also being part of the team at the time current Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson was in charge. Hodgson was one making a move to Vesteras SK possible, strangely at the time having former Leicester defender Pontus Kåmark among their recruits.

Garland also had spells in Hong Kong and made a return to Bristol City under the management of Terry Cooper, playing as a non-contracted player until his retirement in 1983.

Chris continued in football for a number of years with coaching at non-league level at places such Yeovil Town and Minehead.

Sad to see another of the great hero’s from the Jimmy Bloomfield era leaving us,

RIP Chris Garland.


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