Former Yeovil Town forward Chris Weller has passed away at the age of 78 years old. Chris spent most of his life living in Dorset - as well as his prolific spell with the Glovers, he played professionally for Reading, AFC Bournemouth and Bristol Rovers as well as managing a number of Dorset and Hampshire sides. He died on June 4th, after suffering with dementia.
Chris was born in Reading on December 25th 1939 and represented his county at cricket as a teenager. But he became a professional footballer for Reading, and at the time he made his debut for his hometown club he was their youngest player to represent their first team, aged just 17 years old. He transferred to Bournemouth in the summer of 1959, in what was to be the first of two spells for the Cherries, broken up by a six month spell with Bristol Rovers during the 1965-66 season. Overall he made 119 league appearances for Bournemouth, scoring 26 goals, with three more league appearances for Rovers.
In the summer of 1967, Yeovil Town manager Ron Saunders was building a new squad, and he brought in Weller, for the start of that season. He was the club's top goalscorer during the 1967-68 campaign and managed to hit double figures in all six of the years that he was with the club. He was part of Yeovil Town's first team during the 1970-71 season when the club won the Southern League title and the Western Counties Floodlight Cup, as well as reaching the FA Cup Third Round and a money-spinning home tie against Arsenal at Huish, and an FA Trophy Semi-Final.
Across his six seasons with the club, Chris scored 104 goals, putting him in an elite group of just six players who have broken through the century barrier for the club since the end of the Second World War. At the end of the 1972-73 season, he was one of four long-serving players that were given joint testimonial matches against Fulham, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Ipswich Town and Hereford United, with the proceeds being shared by the quartet as an aggregate of 19,296 turned out to watch the four matches. Overall, he made 218 appearances for the club, meaning that he left with a strike rate of almost one goal in every two games.
He went on to play for Salisbury, Poole Town and Ringwood Town, at which point he moved into management as Holt United's player-manager. When he hung up his boots entirely, he managed Shaftesbury, Wimborne Town, Brockenhurst and Bournemouth Poppies. Off the field, he worked as a self-employed plumber and heating engineer. He also managed Grange Athletic Under 16s and Parley and Brockenhurst Under 18s.
He married just before his move to Huish, having met his wife Dorli whilst playing for Bournemouth. She had arrived in England as a hairdresser from Austria and they married in her home country in 1966. He moved to Verwood at that time, where his daughter Britta and son Kristian were born and raised.
Chris Weller's funeral will take pace at 12.30p.m. on Friday 29th June, at Wimborne Woodland Burial Ground. Family flowers only. Instead, donations can be made to Dementia UK.
Chris Weller and his wife Dorli outside their bungalow in Verwood
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