On Saturday on the way to the game, the conversation turned to York City goalkeepers, and more importantly lunatic York City goalkeepers. Now bearing in mind my time supporting City started in 1988 I can't comment on goalkeepers before Scott Endersby. There were a couple of contenders in the mix, Ovendale and Porter both had a bit of a loony streak in them, but there was going to be only 1 winner. Step forward Chris Marples!!!!
Signed by Bobby Saxton for the pricely sum of £28000 from Stockport county, Marples established himself as Yorks number 1 keeper for a number of years before a young Dean Kiely displaced him in the side. Marples was the kind of player who worked hard and played hard. Known to like his beer and fags just as much as his football. Supporters in the Selby area regularly saw Marples in the Mad House in Selby on a Friday night getting the best pre match preparation for Saturdays game. Not that it ever showed as he put in many good displays in between the sticks and bearing in mind he was the last line of defence at a time when we were not that great. He had a presence behind the scenes at the club as well. A lad in my class at school was an apprentice at the time Marples was at the club. I think it's fair to say that alongside Shaun Ried, Marples was pretty much top dog. They both enjoyed terrorizing the youngsters at every opportunity. To be fair to Chris he had great sporting ability playing county cricket for Derbyshire. Admitting in an interview that he could have taken his cricket much further if he had not enjoyed the social side of the game too much.
A few years after leaving City and playing in non league after a bad leg break ended his proffesional career, he was interviewed by a national newspaper for his up coming game for Emley in the FA cup against West Ham. Pictured with a pint and a fag, he reasoned it was good enough for Leeds in the 70s then it was good enough for him. His FA cup ritual was a few beers and a garlic pizza on the Friday before the game (shades of the Madhouse). Players like Marples are now few and far between and I think the game is poorer for it.