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Logo: Tom Bates, Derbyshire Local Histrory writer  
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Ernie Moss - Blues Legend.

Posted Saturday, June 23, 2007

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Ernie Moss - (2003 Interview with Tom Bates)

"My dad was a fitter at Staveley Works and my mum worked at Robinsons, so I was born into what I would call a very stable `working class family at Hollingwood on October 19th 1949.

`We moved to Inkersall when I was still a child'

We moved to Inkersall when I was still a child and I spent my schooldays and most of my formative years there, attending Inkersall Green Junior School, and then in 1961, becoming a pupil at Staveley Middlecroft.

It’s often said that childhood and schooldays are `the best days of your life’ and I can identify with that sentiment.

Unlike many of my contemporaries who seemed to regard school as an unpalatable but unfortunate necessity, I actually enjoyed learning and the sense of achievement that it gave me, consequently I have only happy memories of my schooldays.

School isn’t just about academic learning, it’s also about character building, and I count myself fortunate that the foundation stones laid at Inkersall Green Junior School underpinned the structure of the good education I enjoyed later at Staveley Middlecroft.

`I was no budding Einstein'

I wasn’t particularly bright, but I had learned from my parents example that practical application and honest endeavour were an accomplishment in themselves, and I took these values with me into the classroom where I quickly learned that they paid rich dividends, - but in some subjects more than others! No matter how hard I tried it soon became apparent that I was no budding Einstein.

I wrestled constantly to solve the equation of why my brain wouldn’t go into arithmetical numbers, - and I was pretty useless at woodwork and metalwork too, but I especially liked English, history, geography and most of the other subjects on the curriculum.

What I lacked in such subjects as technical drawing and woodwork, I made up for in the gym and on the sports field where I represented the school at both football and cricket, and where I had my first taste of success when our school football team won the Clayton Shield.

I suppose being part of a succession of teams throughout my schooldays gave me an early understanding of the part that each individual plays and a sense of the corporate responsibility that successful teamwork demands, and I seemed to thrive on the responsibility.

Most schoolboys dream of being professional footballers, of winning trophies and becoming rich and famous, but I never did. For me competing was all about the pride and dignity of honest endeavour, - and winning was’nt all about riches and rewards, it was about preserving ones sporting integrity, it was about honour.

I always remember our P.E. teacher echoing my father’s words that `you only get out of a game what you put into it’ - which in it’s turn echoed the parable heard in my scripture class that `as ye sow, so shall ye reap’. This wisdom impressed itself upon me to such a degree that I applied the same philosophy to my sporting endeavours and to my schoolwork with a fair degree of success.

`I was made Head Boy of the school'

I `stayed on’ into the sixth form at Middlecroft and felt very honoured when I was made Head Boy of the school, and despite my earlier dislike of mathematics I was delighted to find the subject included in the seven G.C.E. O – level’s that I managed to pass in my final term. My one disappointment, especially as I had been so confident of passing, was that I failed the English Literature exam.

The lessons learned during my schooldays have stood me in good stead throughout my career as a professional footballer and I believe that as it is in the game of football, then so it is with life. In this respect the one mirrors the other - and you only get out of either, what you put into it”.

Tom Bates writes:

`Chesterfield Footbal Club's all-time leading goalscorer with 165 league goals'

Ernie Moss is a footballing legend, - the local boy who made good; Chesterfield Football Club’s all time leading goalscorer with 165 league goals – none of which, he points out with the pride of a genuine striker, were penalties!

These days Ernie runs the Moss & Miller Sports shop on Chatsworth Road in Chesterfield with wife Jenny and their two daughters. The business was launched 18 years ago with former Derbyshire and England cricketer Geoff Miller, when the shop was officially opened by Ian Botham in 1982.

England had just won the World Cup at Wembley when Ernie Moss left school and took a job as a local government officer at the Derbyshire County Council Offices in Matlock. He was soon playing for the staff team and had early spells in local football with Chesterfield Tube Works before playing for Chesterfield Juniors and being invited to train with Chesterfield Reserves. Chesterfield manager Jim McGuigan was suitably impressed by the lanky goalscoring youngster and signed Ernie on professional terms at Saltergate in October 1968.

He made his debut against Barnsley Reserves, and then scored in the F.A.Cup against both Skelmersdale and Wrexham before netting his first league goal for Chesterfield against Brentford.

The following season Ernie won the first of his three Championship Winners medals when he topped the goalscoring charts at Saltergate with twenty goals as the Blues won the old Division Four title and were promoted. All Blues fans over 40 will remember his four goals at Saltergate that season against Newport County!

In 1970 he had scored ten goals in Division Three before the end of October, but then suffered a bad ankle injury when he ruptured ligaments at Swansea and missed most of the rest of that season.

He met his wife-to-be at a cricket match, of all places! Jenny was a nurse, and they married at Clay Cross Church on Boxing Day 1971. They have two daughters, Nikki born in December 1974, and Sarah, in May 1977.

Ernie had a brief spell at Peterborough and then joined Mansfield Town where he won the second of his Championship medals by helping them into the old second division in 1977. He returned for his second spell with Chesterfield and won his third Championship medal in the promotion winning side of 1979/80. He also played in promotion winning sides at both Port Vale and Doncaster Rovers and during a professional career which spanned over two decades and took in a host of other league clubs such as Lincoln City, Stockport County, Scarborough and Rochdale, Ernie made 744 league and F.A.Cup appearances and scored a total of 246 league goals.

He played his last league game for Rochdale against Newport County when he was 38 years old and then joined non-league Kettering Town where he played until he was 42.

He has had spells in soccer management at a number of non-league clubs and currently manages Gainsborough Trinity. He is as passionate and enthusiastic about his football at 50 as he was at 18 and still turns out to raise funds for charity with Johnny Quinn’s All Stars.

A true sporting ambassador, Ernie Moss is regarded as a `model professional’ by his footballing colleagues and is respected throughout the game by fans and players alike. They will all be cheering his `practical application and honest endeavour’ in this years London Marathon when Ernie attempts to add to the medal he won in the 1995 event -and thus have one for each of his daughters. He is also raising money for cancer research ,- and, you guessed it,- junior football development!

Ernie Moss is still putting plenty into his football, - and into his life. Let us all wish him luck in his honest endeavours, and hope that he will be rewarded by winning the honour, - and the marathon medal that he deserves.

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