*Age on opening day of the season
FAC: FA Cup; FL: Football League; D1: Division 1; D2: Division 2; D3: Division 3; PL: Premier League; CH: Championship
James Grant Chester
Monday, 23 January 1989
West Bromwich Albion
Friday, 12 August 2016
2008-11 Manchester United |
2009 Peterborough United (L) |
2009 Plymouth Argyle (L) |
2010 Carlisle United (L) |
2011-15 Hull City, £315k |
2015-16 West Bromwich Albion, £10.17m |
2020 Stoke City, 31 Jan 2020 to 31 May 2020, 16 (0) |
Monday, 10 August 2020
2020- Stoke City, Free |
Seasons Active, Fee, Starts (Sub) | Goals |
2016-20 Aston Villa, £8.37m, 126 (0) | 9 |
Roberto Di Matteo |
Steve Bruce |
Dean Smith |
First Squad Appearance
Saturday, 13 August 2016
Saturday, 13 August 2016
Rotherham United (h), Championship
Saturday, 25 February 2017
Saturday, 4 January 2020
Fulham (a), FA Cup
Final Squad Appearance
Tuesday, 28 January 2020
2017-18 Play Off Finalists |
2018-19 Play Off Final Winners |
(5 ft 11 in) 1.8 m
Player #897 for Aston Villa, James Grant Chester played as a centre back for the club between 2016-17 and 2019-20 making 126 appearances, scoring 9 goals.
James was born in Warrington on 23 January 1989
Roberto Di Matteo had signed James from West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £8,370,000 on 12 August 2016 and his arrival was one of a number of notable Villa signings that the maligned and brief Di Matteo management team oversaw including Tommy Elphick, Mile Jedinak, Albert Adomah and Jonathan Kodjia.
James made his debut appearance for Villa at the age of 27 on Saturday, 13 August 2016 in the 3-0 Championship win over Rotherham United at Villa Park.
Although Di Matteo’s regime was short-lived, his transfer legacy was not. Chester, quite rightly was viewed as a modern day Villa legend, a fine defender with the ability to motivate on and off the pitch and on the terraces too.
Chester made 46 consecutive starts in his debut season but Villa, still troubled by the previous season’s relegation, and yet to clear the decks of deadwood of the previous era, struggled in the Championship.
Chester scored his first goal for Villa on Saturday, 25 February 2017, hitting the winner in the 1-0 Championship win over Derby County and added two more to the season end.
In 2017-18 Chester was an ever-present in the Championship and led Villa to their first appearance in the Play Off final on Saturday, 26 May 2018 where Villa fell at the last to Fulham.
Chester had scored four goals for Villa in 17-18 and marshalled a defence that conceded just 0.94 goals per game across a 53 game season and kept 22 clean sheets - 42% of all the games played.
Chester started the 2018-19 campaign as he finished the previous season and was a virtual ever present in the league - missing just one game to suspension - through to the end of January 2019 before injury ended his season.
It was subsequently revealed that Chester had played through the pain barrier for a considerable and risked his own health to pull on the claret and blue and drive his club back to the top flight.
Despite that being achieved under Dean Smith in the 2018-19 season, and Villa’s success in their second successive play off final, sadly Chester couldn’t reap the reward he deserved - to represent Villa in the Premier League.
Still carrying his injury and unable to come into first team reckoning as Villa made their reappearance in the Premier League, Chester was however retained by Dean Smith to share his experience with a newly formed squad and would make his final appearance for Villa on Saturday, 4 January 2020 aged just 30 in the FA Cup third round defeat at Fulham.
Smith then opted to send Chester out on loan to Stoke City from 31 January 2020 to the season end for Chester to regain match fitness ahead of the expiry of his Villa contract at the end of the campaign.
Villa released Chester at the end of his contract in June 2020 aged 31.
James Chester. He will never be forgotten. A hero.
James played under Roberto Di Matteo, Steve Bruce and Dean Smith.