Mariner delighted with Magpies start

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Former England star Paul Mariner has tipped Chorley to get promoted in their 130th anniversary season after hailing the job Garry Flitcroft has done in transforming the fortunes of his old club.

The former Arsenal and Ipswich striker, who now works as a pundit for ESPN in America, expressed his delight at the Magpies’ unbeaten start to the season during a flying visit to the UK last week.

The 60-year-old, who started his career with Chorley in the early 1970s, said he still keeps close tabs on his former club’s progress from the other side of the Atlantic.

And after watching the Magpies soar to the top of the Evo-Stik Premier Division table on the back of a magnificent eight-match unbeaten run, Mariner insists the club is geared up for a second promotion in four seasons under Flitcroft’s astute leadership.

He said: “The lads are absolutely flying at the moment and it’s great to see.

“Garry Flitcroft is a great guy and it’s good see success.

“It would be great to see them get back into the Conference set-up once again.”

Mariner now lives in Boston, where he has a job as a soccer analyst for ESPN.

But he still keeps a close eye on his former club’s fortunes and he’s delighted to see the crowds flocking back to Victory Park.

He said: “I made a secret mission to Victory Park last season. I was over in the UK for a flying visit so I went to one of the games and the banter was just terrific – it was great to see the place buzzing again.

“There are so many people going back to watching lower league football these days because they are starting to get a little bit disconnected with the higher echelons of

football.”

Meanwhile, to celebrate the Magpies’ 130th year, the club has launched a search to find the oldest living Chorley fan, and the oldest living Chorley player, both of whom will be guests of honour at a 130th Anniversary Ball.

The club’s main sponsor, the Chorley Group, have offered to pick them up in a chauffeur-driven Bentley on the night, which takes place at The Pines Hotel in Clayton-le-Woods on October 4.

The club can also look forward to an FA Cup tie against Skrill North outfit Vauxhall Motors after winning 1-0 at FC United on Saturday.

The fixture is to be played on Saturday September 28.

n Match report – Pages 94 & 95