AT the age of 88, former Hereford United striker Tommy Best, who now lives at the Rose Garden Independent Living Scheme in the city, has visited Chester City for the first time in 60 years.

He played for the League 2 club during the 1947/48 season and scored 14 goals in his 40 appearances as a forward.

After his visit was announced over the tannoy before the game started, Best was welcomed with rapturous applause and cheers from the supporters.

He was also asked for his autograph and met people who remembered him playing for the club.

Best left Chester to play for Cardiff for a fee of £7,000 which was a record at that time. His professional career at Hereford was cut short by injury.

Best was taken to see Chester play Gillingham by John Cullen, manager of the Rose Garden.

“We told him about the trip on his birthday in December,” says John, who also has links with Chester as a former manager of several hotels in the city.

With resident support worker Dan Maitland, Cullen and Best travelled to Chester on the Saturday morning and stayed overnight in the city.

“It was a wonderful weekend,” said Best. “I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the club and meeting so many people including those who remembered me. I certainly got a warm welcome from the staff and directors.”

Best, who was a baker working for Mother’s Pride after his soccer career ended, was one of the first to move into the Rose Garden and appreciates the support that is available.

He still leads an active life and plays mat bowls, spends time in the gym and enjoys socialising with the other residents. He also goes to a local club once a week to play snooker.

“I don’t stay in my apartment for long. I like to get out and about and join in the activities. You’ve got to stay active to keep fit,” he says, adding that moving into the Rose Garden has created a new lease of life for him.