A Life of Two Halves: The Chris Garland Story

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with James Ryan and Mark Leesdad

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‘Roller-coaster ride’ is an over-used phrase but for former soccer star Chris Garland, it’s very apt. Born in the red half of Bristol, Chris supported Bristol City from a very early age. Like a lot of youngsters, he enjoyed watching his heroes train and play, particularly his hero John Atyeo, and would often hang around the ground to get the players’ autographs. His footballing skills developed, along with his dream of playing for the club he loved. He was soon signing autographs instead of collecting them. Once established in the Bristol City first team, he was destined to move to one of England’s bigger clubs and in 1971 he set off for Chelsea. A move from the bright lights and the King’s Road came in 1974 when he joined First Division rivals Leicester City. In December 1976 he achieved his ultimate dream, when he came home to play for Bristol City in the First Division. But after Chris had played a key role in helping the club retain its top-flight status, things started to go wrong –successive relegation seasons, being frozen out by the new manager, long-term injury and the financial crash of 1982, when Chris became one of the famous Ashton Gate Eight. Although Chris was later to rejoin City for a third time, things were never the same. After football, ventures in the fruit-and-veg business and then in the wine trade proved unsuccessful, while a career in insurance ended in redundancy. A gambling problem created additional stresses, leading to marriage break-up and bankruptcy. At one stage he was sleeping rough and even contemplated suicide. And all this while struggling with Parkinson’s Disease. For Chris Garland it has certainly been a roller-coaster ride. A life of two halves. ISBN 978-1-906593-11-7 230 x 155mm 176pp, with 32pp plate section Hardback

with James Ryan and Mark Leesdad

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