Them and us – Chris Hemming (Wigan Athletic and Stoke City)

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The arrival of Stoke City in town this weekend gives TNS the chance to look back at a player who started his career at Stoke City and played a bit part in the story of Wigan Athletic.

Chris Hemming was a central defender born in Stoke on 13th April 1966.

He was a product of the Potters youth system under the watchful eye of Ritchie Barker and then Bill Asprey.  He made his first team debut at the tender age of 17 against Tottenham Hotspur in a 0-1 defeat at White Hart Lane on 3rd March 1984.  During his first two seasons with the club he played top flight football before the Potters were relegated in 1985 following a disastrous First Division campaign that saw them win just three games all season.

He was nicknamed ‘Ticker’ by the Stoke faithful due to the fact that he played the game despite being fitted with a heart pacemaker.

This fact also proved a great source of amusement on the Victoria Park terraces because for one period he played with Gerry Daley and the duo became known as Gerry and the Pacemaker!

He made a total of 78+8 league appearances for the Potters during which he netted twice.  He arrived at Springfield Park  in January 1989 after being signed by Ray Mathias because of an injury picked up by Andy Holden.

He made his Latics League debut on 21st January 1989 against Brentford at Springfield Park in a game that resulted in a 1-1 draw. His stay at the club was never extended and the fact that his other three league games for the club, Blackpool at Bloomfield Road, Aldershot at Springfield Park and Port Vale at Vale Park, all ended in defeats may have had something to do with this!

He played two further games for Latics in the Sherpa Vans Trophy, (we’ve won it twice you know!) against Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park, a game watched by just 2,015 fans all of whom saw Chris finish on a winning Wigan Athletic team for the first and only time courtesy of a Dave Thompson goal that secured a 1-0 victory for the Blues!

However the following game against Crewe Alexandra at home resulted in a 0-1 defeat.

In September 1989 he was transferred from Stoke City to Fourth Division outfit Hereford United, making his debut on 19th September 1989 in a 2-2 draw against Carlisle United at Edgar Street.  He made 41 league appearances and scored four goals in a two season spell with the Bulls before retiring from the full time game, due to the risk he was taking by continuing to play with his heart condition.

He then signed for Conference National side Merthyr Tydfil, making 21 league appearances without scoring before retiring from the game in 1994 after three season with Stafford Rangers (76 apps, 2 goals).

He was last heard of as being the area organiser for the British Heart Foundation in North Staffs and South Cheshire.

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