Monday, 23 May 2011
402 James Spencer
Position : Goalkeeper
Played : 2007-08 to 2008-09 (only played for Chester in latter season)
Appearances : 20
Goals : 0
At the beginning of 2007-08 we didn’t really know what to expect. The second half of 2006-07 had been fantastic as the players responded to their liberation from crap team-mates and Parkin’s sterile tactics with a goal bonanza but would the effect last over a full season ? Moreover we lost two very good players as Gilks and Goodall decided to move on and replacing them wouldn’t be easy. We needn’t have worried; after a shaky start Hilly got the show on the road and while we didn’t hand out thrashings in the manner of the previous season we got enough results to get into the play-offs and went to Wembley where we were beaten by a better side.
Apart from Neil Bennett’s solitary game for Paul Simpson, James was our first new keeper since 2001 , arriving on a free from Stockport on a two-year deal. He had come up through the ranks making his debut at 16 in 2002 and had been touted for a big money move in the past but was now out of favour.
James was one of the few really poor signings of the Hillcroft era. He was a big guy and capable of pulling off spectacular saves but he never inspired confidence in either the fans or his team-mates. Against Hereford in particular (where we somehow got away with a 1-1 draw) he looked a bag of nerves and that’s the last thing you want in a keeper. When Matt Gilks conceded a goal his fingers were usually pretty close to the ball when it hit the net ; with James he often wasn’t in the field of vision. Our poor start to the season had a lot to do with him and he only kept three clean sheets for us.
Fortunately for us James got injured in November and non-contract signing Sam Russell got in the side and stayed there until he got injured. James came back for 6 games , his last first team appearance being the 4-1 defeat of Accrington in March 2008. He then picked up a hernia injury and we had to go for a loan keeper.
James had to make do with reserve team football in his second year until April 2009 when he went to Chester on an emergency loan playing in their last 5 games of the season.
He was released in May 2009 whereupon he joined his current club Northwich Victoria.