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Ex-Liverpool, Shrewsbury, Chester player dies aged 49

Tributes have been made after news confirmed that ex-Liverpool, Shrewsbury, Chester player Spencer Whelan dies aged just 49.

Predominantly a tall central defender, he began his short career in football with Liverpool as an apprentice, though at 18 years old, he was not offered a full contract and subsequently joined Chester on a free transfer in April 1990.

He had to wait until November 1990 for his first Football League appearance, when he came off the subs bench during Chester’s 2–0 home loss to Bolton Wanderers. His full debut came two months later, during a 3–2 defeat by AFC Bournemouth in the FA Cup third round.

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In his early years at Chester, Whelan played most of the time in a right back position, having spells in and out of the side. It was not until regular central defenders Colin Greenall and Mark Came left in the summer of 1994 that Whelan became a regular in the centre of defence as well as captain.

He was to be ruled out between September 1994 and February 1995 with a broken leg. The season also saw Whelan finally score his first goal for the club in a League Cup tie with Lincoln City, with his first league goal arriving at Wycombe Wanderers in April 1995.

Whelan largely remained a regular for his next three years at the club, and many will remember when he scored from the halfway line against Colchester United in April 1998.

But he missed the start of the 1998–99 season through a knee injury and still had not played when he joined Shrewsbury Town at the start of November 1998, for a reported £35,000.

Unfortunately injuries limited Whelan’s appearances for the Salop and he made just 25 league appearances over the next two seasons.

His final appearance was ironically on his return to Chester in March 2000, being substituted at half time in a goalless draw. Although Whelan stayed with the club during the following campaign, he failed to recover from his injury problems and retired from football at the relatively early age of 29.

The National League North club paid their respect, saying on Twitter: “Chester Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Spencer Whelan at the age of 49.

“The defender made more than 200 appearances for the Blues in the 1990’s.

“We send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. RIP Spencer.”


Youth career
1988–1990 – Liverpool

Senior career
1990–1998 – Chester City – 215 games (8 goals)
1998–2000 – Shrewsbury Town – 25 games (0 goals)

Tributes were paid following the sad news that the ex-Liverpool, Shrewsbury, Chester player dies aged just 49…

@_DavePowell: Spenner was one of the group of players who was there when it all started at Chester for me. Synonymous with a memorable few years. A great player on his day and a marvellous servant to the club. 49 is no age. Rest easy, big fella.

@WrexhamDragons: Rip thoughts are with his family and friends

@Robbieclegcfc: The sadness is relentless,will remember his smile & his pride in the blue and white CHESTER F.C. 🙏

@Billyth51601367: Sad to hear this. RIP Spencer

@banks247: Terrible news this tonight. Always put in 100% and remember him coming through, breaking into the team. Never shirked a tackle and remember a goal from the half way line if my memory serves me correctly. Very sad, Rest in Peace, Spencer.

@5th_fret: Really sad news. Great player in my early days as a fan. Still remember him scoring from the half way line

@ChesterBluey: Sad to hear this earlier. That’s no age at all. RIP

@ChesterSteve81: Just seen this, such sad news my thoughts are with him and his family 😔

@rogiedav75: Fantastic team mate, outstanding personality and a really good down to earth man. Will never forget your little red fiesta XR2 going to training mate. 🙏🏻 RIP Spen. 😢💙

@char_chivers10: R.I.P Spencer. Thoughts and prayers goes out to his family and friends! X

@KopiteMay: Shocking news, great bloke and decent player…RIP Spencer 🙏

@ScottCooksey1: Sad news, spent many a car journey with Spenna! Gutted. RIP big man ❤️

@andrewtretton: Terrible news 😢 RIP big man

@RussJon94660033: Very sad news – Remember watching Spencer over many years in a Chester Shirt a true servant to the Club and an excellent player – 49 is no age very sad RIP Spenner

@SteveDodd75: Very sad news. So many good memories of him playing for Chester and he always gave 100%. RIP Spencer.

@alanpj18: Very sad and shocking news being so young. Spencer was part of the Macclesfield days and of the 1993/94 promotion winning side.

@BrownbillJoe: RIP spencer great servant 💙💙💙💙

@darrenryan11: So sad, thoughts are with his family at this sad time RIP Spencer

@AndrewM21863757: Such sad news 💙 RIP

@RussJon94660033: Very sad news – Remember watching Spencer over many years in a Chester Shirt a true servant to the Club and an excellent player – 49 is no age very sad RIP Spenner

@Rio_Doherty: Utterly devastating news. Spencer was a fantastic servant to our club gone far too soon. My condolences go out to his family, friends, and all affected at this heartbreaking time. RIP Spencer

@kwchas: Really sad to hear about the passing of Spencer Whelan at such a young age. RIP

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