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Chris Pile (footballer)

Personal information
Playing positionGoalkeeper

     Home | Football | Chris Pile (footballer)

Christopher James "Chris" Pile (born 4 April 1967 in Huyton, Liverpool) is an English former footballer whose career was curtailed by injury.

A goalkeeper, Pile never actually made a professional appearance, and in fact only made the bench for one senior game. Uniquely, however, this game was the 1985 European Cup Final, which saw him become the youngest footballer to be involved in this fixture, generally considered to be the biggest in club football.

Pile came through the Liverpool F.C. youth system, and signed professional forms in 1984 at the age of 17. Initially fourth-choice 'keeper, injuries to Bob Wardle and then Bob Bolder elevated Pile to second place (behind Bruce Grobbelaar) and saw him facing a possible European Cup winners medal having just turned 18. Pile was indeed named on the bench for the final, but Liverpool lost to Juventus in a game overshadowed by the Heysel Disaster. Pile collected his runners-up medal but his time in the spotlight was coming to an end. Initially, Bolder's departure and Wardle's retirement saw Pile hold on to the number two spot for the next season, but there were no substitute goalkeepers in English domestic football in those days, and a ban on English clubs from European football resulting from Heysel saw Pile's chances of matchday involvement reduced to almost nothing. Pile was a regular in the reserve team, but then disaster struck in the form of an injury. Needing goalkeeping cover, Liverpool signed Mike Hooper who firmly established himself as second choice. Although Pile recovered, he was unable to dislodge Hooper, and served out his contract before leaving in 1987.

He joined Tranmere Rovers and then Bury as a non-contract player, playing reserve team football and impressed sufficiently at Bury to be offered a contract. Unfortunately though, the deal was scuppered when he broke his wrist on the day of signing. Needing regular football, he accepted an offer to move to New Zealand, a move that he initially expected to be short-term. However, he settled so well, playing for Wellington side Waterside Karori, that he was able to ignore reported interest from Scottish giants Celtic. A couple of years later, personal reasons saw him return to England, and he joined Southport, where he had some success until he suffered a broken hand, the third of his career. This caused him to quit playing, and he returned to New Zealand where he has remained to this day.

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