Funeral Service of the Late John "Dan" Archer
The funeral of John “Dan” Archer took place on Friday 7th January 2021 at St Mary's Parish Church in the village of Newbold Astbury, Congleton. John passed away peacefully on Sunday 12th December 2021 at Greengables Nursing Home surrounded by his loving family aged 80.
The Reverend Canon Veronica Hydon led the service and offered Opening Prayers before leading the congregation in the Hymn, “The Lord is my Shephard”. She then gave a reading from the Holy Gospel according to John 14:1-6, before reading Johns Eulogy which included tributes from Bournemouth FC & Chesterfield FC.
John was born in Biddulph on 18 June 1941, a ray of sunshine in the dark days of wartime. He had a sister Joan, two older brothers (the now late Roy and their brother Terence) and he was later on blessed with a younger brother Barry. Their mother was called Nellie, and their father Nehemiah worked as a coal miner (a reserved occupation during the war) at Black Bull Colliery. Those who knew him, won’t be surprised to hear that John’s best thing in his school days was when he was allowed out of the classroom to go and mark out the football pitch! When John left school at the then customary age of 15, he followed his father working down the mine and was there for about a year until his talent was spotted by Port Vale Academy, playing for Staffordshire Youth. From then on, John’s footballing career took off .
John met Ann in Congleton when they were both aged 16, so Ann always knew she was destined to become a “footballer’s wife”. They were married on 26 May 1962 at Mossley Church and instead of a honeymoon they moved away immediately to live in the flat provided by Bournemouth Football Club. Their daughter Jane was born the following year, followed by their son Andrew in 1965. The little family then moved up north after John was signed up with Crewe Alexandra in September 1966. It wasn’t until nearing the time John eventually retired from professional football, that he and Ann finally bought their own home in Congleton, where they’ve lived happily ever since.
John loved all kinds of sport – football, but also cricket and golf and he especially enjoyed being the greenkeeper at Malkins Bank in Sandbach. He enjoyed gardening at home, and neighbours would often stop to admire the state of his front lawn. Pigeon racing was another of his passions, although sadly John became unable to manage the pigeon loft after he had quite a debilitating stroke at the age of 63 and he had to give up that hobby. However, John never complained or dwelt too much on his condition – he lived a somewhat quieter life after that, but he recovered sufficiently from the effects of the stroke to be able to continue living at home with his beloved Ann, until only about five months before he died, when he was fortunate enough to find a place in the excellent care of Green Gables. John was a very sociable man, who lived life to the full and in his heyday was the life and soul of the party. He had a great sense of humour and loved nothing better than winding people up!
Here are the two heartfelt tributes which the family has recently received from some of “Dan’s” professional colleagues:
AFC Bournemouth is saddened to learn of the passing of John Archer, who played for the club for five years between 1961 and 1966. Born in Stoke and a former Port Vale academy player, he moved to Dean Court on a free transfer in July 1961, making an immediate impact by scoring twice on his home debut. During Archer's first campaign with the Cherries, he and the side narrowly missed out on promotion under Bill McGarry in what was a strong season for the club. The forward partnered the likes of Dickie Dowsett and Ken Hodgson in attack and featured in the historic win over Newcastle United in the third round of the League Cup in the 1963/64 competition. Archer netted 37 goals in 139 third division games, before moving on to Crewe Alexandra for £3,000 in September 1966. He went on to play for Huddersfield Town and Chesterfield, where he captained the side to the Fourth Division title in their 1969/70 campaign. Everyone associated with AFC Bournemouth sends its condolences to John's family and friends at this sad time.
Chesterfield FC’s Stuart Basson pays tribute to Spireites legend ‘Dan’ Archer, who passed away recently. Every player who has joined Chesterfield FC since the 1970s as a ball-winning midfielder or as a motivational leader of the team has been hopefully compared to Dan Archer. Any player who played well in those roles has been hailed as the ‘new Dan Archer’. Even people too young to have seen him play make these comparisons. Such was the impact of John ‘Dan’ Archer, who joined Chesterfield for a £1,000 fee from Huddersfield Town in May 1969, and whose death was announced this week. The fee itself has a story attached to it: it was said that Jim McGuigan, Chesterfield’s astute manager, became aware of Archer’s potential availability on a free transfer. Fearful that other clubs might move for him before the Spireites could make an offer, he asked the Huddersfield manager to put a £1,000 fee on him, in the hope that it would discourage any other moves from being made. True or not, every great manager needs an inspirational captain, and McGuigan got his.
Nicknamed after the patriarchal character in the eponymous long-running BBC radio series, Dan was born in Biddulph in 1941 and joined Port Vale as a centre-forward, signing pro forms in July 1958. He played only ten times for the Valiants before moving to Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic, where he found a more appreciative employer. The Third Division club enjoyed their best spell in the Football League to that date and achieved top five finishes in Dan’s first three seasons, but with no play-offs in operation at the time, they couldn’t make the step up.
During the tactical revolution that swept English football around the time of the 1966 World Cup win, Dan made the transformation from forward to midfield with ease, scoring 37 goals from 139 appearances at Dean Court. Crewe Alexandra were persuaded to part with £3,000 to take him to Gresty Road in September 1966, and the Railwaymen were on course for promotion from division four in January 1968 when they found Huddersfield’s offer of £8,000 and a player to be too good to decline.
Playing Division Two football for the first time, Dan stayed at Leeds Road for 18 months but made only seven full appearances in the league as injuries began to slow him down. Any lack of pace was of no concern to Jim McGuigan, however, who was building a side that mixed young lads with a few seasoned pros and knew that Dan would be the glue that held it all together.
Even today, there is still a note of awe in the voices of Chesterfield fans, who fondly remember his vision, his accurate passing and the quality of his dead-ball delivery. In the course of his 116 league games for Chesterfield, Dan took over penalty-taking duties from Kevin Randall in 1971 and netted eight of his 22 Football League goals from the spot.
Most of the others are remembered as free kicks, and he scored directly from a corner too. Indeed, his accuracy at corner kicks was the foundation for a near-post flick-on routine that became briefly ubiquitous in English football at this time. With the likes of Ernie Moss and Charlie Bell gathering menacingly at the far post, Dan’s corner would be unexpectedly aimed at the near one, where Tom Fenoughty, usually, would steal in to flick the ball on; Kevin Randall was the usual beneficiary of the chaos this caused in the opposing defences, being on hand to force the ball home. Aside from his ability on the ball, Dan’s greatest value to the side might well have been as its skipper. He led by inspiration, but if inspiration happened not to work, he was not shy of using clenched fists and curses. Dan wasn’t averse to giving the ref the benefit of his opinion too and was sent-off at Wrexham in 1969/70 for dissent!
Dan’s transformational effect on Chesterfield’s fortunes saw the club promoted as champions of the Fourth Division in 1970, ending a long decline that had begun 20 years earlier. He stayed as the club established itself in the third division before retiring from full-time football in the summer of 1972. Dan gave something back to the game in his locality by serving as player-manager to Sandbach Ramblers and Nantwich Town. From his Staffordshire base he scouted for the Spireites in Wales and the West Country. In later life he was able to indulge another great passion in his life, golf, by becoming the green keeper at the Malkins Bank course, near Sandbach. Away from work, he served as the President of the Wrekin Federation of Pigeon Fanciers. Everyone at Chesterfield Football Club -and especially its longer-serving fans – offer their deepest condolences to Dan’s family and friends at the loss of a fondly-remembered footballer, and a thoroughly decent man.
Following the eulogy, the Lords Prayer was then offered and the congregation were then led in the Hymn “The Old rugged Cross”. Reverend Hydon then led the prayers of commendation and farewell and gave a closing blessing. John’s coffin was then taken to Astbury Cemetery, where it was interred in the presence of his close family.
Attending mourners and friends were invited to continue the celebration of John’s life at the Egerton Arms Country Inn, Peel Lane in Astbury and donations were collected for the Stroke Association.
Attending Mourners were: Mrs A Archer (Widow), Mrs J Lynch (Daughter), Mr & Mrs A Archer (Son & Daughter in Law) - Rep Mr and Mrs P Barlow & Family (Cornwall), Mrs J Healy (Sister), Miss J Archer & Mr J Long (Grandaughter & Partner), Mr G Archer (Grandson), Mr & Mrs S Jandric (Grandaughter & Husband), Mr & Mrs B Archer (Brother & Sister in Law), Mr T Archer (Brother), Mr & Mrs K Archer ( Nephew). L. Price, Mr & Mrs P Thompson, Mr D Thompson (Representing Mr & Mrs G Thomson), Mrs K Murphy, Miss N Thompson, Mr & Mrs C Machin, Mrs C Myatt, Mr T Booth, Mrs M Booth, Mr D Challinor, Mrs M Moores. G Moores (Representing Wayne & Deborah), Mr & Mrs F Whitehurst (Representing Mr D Townley), Mrs S Holland (Representing Mr D.Holland), B Long (Representing J.Percival, A Long, K & O Long, A Willis, L.Long), Mr P. Plant, Mr A Winstanley (Representing Mrs J Winstanley), B.Turnock, Mr G.Bowyer, Mr B.Lee, Mrs S.Lee, M.Sherwin, Mr M Ash (Representing H G Ash), Mr M Ash (Representing Mark & Amanda), Mr & Mrs G.W.Kirkland, Mr R.Egerton, Mr M Buckley (Representing S Buckley), Mr & Mrs L Lawton (Representing Diane and Claire), Mr R & Mrs P Sutton (Representing Andrew, Greg, Bob & Brian Smith), B.Dearn, S.Beardmore, Mr & Mrs R Campbell, Mr J Kearton, Mr & Mrs N Tunstall, Mr R Cooper, Mr J & Mrs L Drumm (Representing Jean Archer & Family) Mark & Cynthia, Mr D Sibson, W.Beech (Representing Miss M Beech, M Cliffe (Representing J, R & L Tweates), Mr S.Little, R Cooper, Mr A Price, Mr R and Mrs S Gough.
Coffin bearers were Mr A Archer (Son) & Mr G Archer (Grandson), and attending Larvin & Clegg staff.