Linnets legend joins coaching staff

Wed 6th June 2018 | Runcorn Linnets
By Dave Bettley

Chris Lawton is joining the first team coaching staff at Runcorn Linnets after announcing his retirement from playing.

Lawty could not have wished for a better end to his playing career, having netted the final goal of the Linnets' five in the home victory against Squires Gate, which clinched the 2017-18 Hallmark Security League Premier Division title.

The scenes of the veteran centre back being mobbed by team-mates piling on top of him - after he had come off the bench to score - will never be forgotten.

Now the popular defender will help to plot the promoted Linnets' progress in their new EVO-STIK League surroundings.

Manager Michael Ellison said: "We are really pleased that Lawty has agreed to join our backroom team.

"He has had a great non-league career and brings a wealth of playing experience, which will only benefit the club and team as we move forward.

"I know from experience how difficult it can be to hang up your boots but Lawty certainly signed off his playing days on a high note and I have no doubt he will have an awful lot to offer in coaching terms - particularly to our younger players, who can all learn from his knowledge of the game."

Chris had enjoyed his fairytale ending as a player, having returned to the Millbank Linnets Stadium late last year for his third spell with Linnets.

His second had ended with a brief move to Northwich Vics in early September 2017 but he was promptly restored to the Runcorn ranks the following month - his latest debut coming in the Buildbase FA Vase draw at Team Northumbria on October 21st.

A very experienced centre half at this level, Chris' first stint at the MLS saw him named 2011-12 Player of the Season in the annual Supporters Club poll.

In April of that season, he had made himself a hero of the Yellow and Green faithful with a headed winner in the Easter Monday victory over Runcorn Town who he later joined.

His goal for Town at The Millbank in March 2016 saw Lawty become the first player to score for both clubs in the Runcorn derby, although this time it was in a losing cause as Linnets again claimed the points in a 2-1 win

Chris originally joined Runcorn Linnets in November 2010, having been with Trafford FC, and was half of a formidable central defensive partnership with Rob Bodie. He left soon after Joey Dunn's arrival as Linnets manager to join fellow former Millbank favourite Rob Whyte at Runcorn Town.

His two spells at Pavilions were separated by a stint at Atherton Collieries while he also served Barnton as assistant manager. Chris appeared 41 times for Runcorn Town in 2015-16, scoring six goals and claiming three man-of-the-match awards.

Although initially expected to accompany former Town manager Simon Burton to new club City of Liverpool, Chris was at Prescot Cables in pre-season before getting the 'come back' call from new Linnets boss Michael Ellison, a former team-mate at the MLS.

He returned to the Linnets fold after a three-and-a-half year absence on the eve of the 2016-17 season to play in the campaign-opening FA Cup tie at Hemsworth Miners Welfare.

Already one of the few players to have played for both clubs in the Linnets/Town derby, Lawty's involvement in the fixture took a new turn on Boxing Day 2016 when he ended up in goal after Linnets then 'keeper Tom Hunt had been red carded for handling outside his area.

The stand-in No1 defied Town with a confident performance before finally conceding late on in a memorable 1-1 draw.

In total, Lawty played 143 times for Runcorn Linnets, scoring seven goals.

Chris is pictured playing at Team Northumbria in the FA Vase last season. Picture courtesy of James Eastup.

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