Knighton-born Ron Powell joined Manchester City from his
home-town club, signing professional forms in November, 1948. As a youngster at
Maine Road, Ron waited patiently for his chance, turning in consistently good
performances in the reserves and showing well on his occasional first-team
outing. One can only imagine his
frustration, then, upon seeing Frank
Swift call it a day, only to find Fleetwood's Bert Trautmann signed and plonked
straight in, ahead of him.
Like many City players who could not quite call a first-team
place his own, Ron found his way to Saltergate in the summer of `52 and, at
first sight, it is somewhat difficult to understand Chesterfield's reputation
for producing goalies, considering that the club only had this one for much of
the next thirteen years. Powell played
in the first ten games of `52-3, then missed two before returning on October
4th., 1952. From that point, he remained
a fixture in the first team until being displaced by Gordon Banks (no shame in
that!) on November 29th., 1958. In that
run, Ron clocked up 284 consecutive League appearances and 301 consecutive
appearances in all competitions. Scandalously, he was overlooked by his
national side at all levels.
In 1960-1, competition arrived in the shape of John Osborne,
and these two jousted for the first-team goalie's spot for the next five
years. The battle was still going on
when Ron was injured in the 1964 car crash that claimed the life of Ralph Hunt:
Ron's leg was broken in two places and, although he stayed until the summer of
`66 and fought for eighteen months to regain full fitness, he was forced to
retire, never having regained his place after the crash.
After retirement, Ron ran a local newsagent's and grocery
before returning to Lancashire to work for I.C.I. His son Richard played for Blackpool and saved a Dave Waller penalty at Bloomfield Road in May 1988!
For Chesterfield: 471 League appearances; 111 clean sheets, 733 conceded.