Tributes to Grantham Town ‘legend’ Chris Gardiner

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Tributes have been paid to former Grantham Town goalkeeper Chris Gardiner, who recently passed away.

The club website described Mr Gardiner as a ‘Gingerbread legend’, and his years with the club made sure of that.

“The club are saddened to hear of the death of Gingerbread legend Chris Gardiner,” it stated.

“Chris, who had been ill for some time, was 69.

“A true sporting legend, Chris will be sadly missed by all who knew him and the thoughts of everyone at the club are with his wife and family at this sad time.”

Mr Gardiner moved from local football into the Town set-up, where he was the first-choice keeper throughout the 1970s glory years, under Terry Bly.

His appearances included the FA Cup third round tie against Middlesbrough, one of 629 times he turned out for the club.

Former Journal sports editor Peter Clawson also sung the praises of Mr Gardiner.

In a letter to the newspaper, he described him as ‘one of the best all-round sportsmen I have been privileged to know’.

One anecdote which stuck with Mr Clawson was at Telford for a Southern League Premier Division contest, when World Cup winner Geoff Hurst was their manager.

“Despite having a reputation for avoiding the press before important league games, the England striker voiced his admiration of the Grantham side we now know as the Legends in an exclusive pre-match interview,” Mr Clawson wrote.

“Afterwards, he was even more impressed, especially with Chris Gardiner, so much so that he and the Telford team lined up in a guard of honour to applaud the Gingerbreads’ keeper off the pitch.”

Mr Clawson added: “That wasn’t Gardiner’s only match-winning performance of course, but as usual Chris took it all in his stride as a true professional and sportsman right to the end.

“He will be sorely missed by the local sporting fraternity and never forgotten.”

Mr Gardiner’s funderal was held yesterday (Thursday) at St Wulfram’s.