As a youngster, Les Hunter's potential to become an excellent centre-half was obvious. He had England youth trials and signed professional forms at the age of seventeen, becoming a first-team regular in '75-6. He couldn't go everywhere the team went, though: he was once spotted sitting on his own, outside a pub near Chester with an orange juice and a glum face, while his team-mates - all over eighteen - were inside, tucking into their pre-match meals! At the end of the season he was united with Graham Cross and Les's game improved appreciably, adding composure to his strength and developing the ability to read the game. He was voted the supporters' player of the year in '78-9, but moved on to Scunthorpe to resurrect his career after spending most of the last two seasons of his first Saltergate spell on the sidelines.
He and Steve Baines helped the Iron out of the Fourth in '82-3.When John Duncan began building Chesterfield's '84-5 Fourth Division championship team, he re-united the pair by swapping Derek Bell for Les. Hunter came to play his best football for Chesterfield in this period, scoring the goal at Stockport in April '85 that clinched promotion. He was on his way back to the Old Show Ground the following March, though: Duncan expressed regret at having to lose him, saying that the club were in no position to refuse Scunthorpe's offer of four thousand pounds. At the end of his first full season back there, Les moved to Lincoln but played only three Vauxhall Conference games in an unhappy few months before joining the Spireites for the third time. The Spireites had just lost Darren Bradshaw to York and Triston Benjamin to the first of two long-term injuries, and Les's experience sat well alongside the youthful promise of Darren Wood, helping the club keep its nose just above the relegation places by the season's end.
Les played his last game for Chesterfield the following season. He skippered the side for the first time for the 1-3 defeat by Mansfield, putting through his own net (he was something of an own goal specialist, having scored three times for Hereford without ever being on their books!) and looking rather out of sorts throughout the game. New manager Paul Hart was persuaded to look elsewhere for central defenders and Les was never given a chance to redeem himself. Fans felt sorrow that the great man's pro career should have ended in such an unfortunate fashion. Les trod the well-worn path to Matlock Town and Buxton. Although he hung up his boots in 1991, Les could still be seen at Saltergate, in blue - patrolling with his colleagues in the Derbyshire Constabulary, who he joined upon retirement from the part-time game.
For Chesterfield: 286+9 League appearances, 20 goals.