Paul Cheesley

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Paul Cheesley
Personal information
Full name Paul Martyn Cheesley
Date of birth (1953-10-20) 20 October 1953 (age 61)
Place of birth Easton in Gordano, England
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1971–1973 Norwich City 24 (1)
1973–1976 Bristol City 61 (20)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:44, 28 February 2010 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).

Paul Martyn "The Big Cheese" Cheesley (born 20 October 1953 in Bristol) is a former professional footballer.


Cheesley, a striker, began his career with Norwich City, for whom he made his debut as a substitute on 17 November 1971 against Chelsea in a League Cup tie at Carrow Road. His league debut did not come until 2 December 1972, a game which his side lost 2-0 at home to Manchester United. Cheesley went on to make 24 appearances for Norwich, scoring just one goal on 15 December 1973 in a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Carrow Road.

Bristol City[edit]

In December 1973, as Norwich fought to avoid relegation, Cheesley was offloaded and snapped up by Alan Dicks at Bristol City for a fee of £30,000. Initially, Cheesley didn't find life easy at his new club [1], but during City's promotion season of 1975/6 he formed a formidable strike partnership with Tom Ritchie which saw them score 33 goals; Cheesley getting 15 of them. The opening fixture of the season back in the First Division was away to Arsenal at Highbury. City won the game by a goal to nil and Cheesley scored the winning goal - a header from a Clive Whitehead cross from the right.

Cheesley had already been selected to play for England Under 23's to play Hungary, but as the game coincided with a crucial promotion clash against rivals Sunderland, he had turned down the opportunity. Despite that, England boss Don Revie was known to be a fan, and his brave approach, speed and two-footed skill suited England’s style. With Cheesley turning in another eye-catching performance at the highest level, many believed it was only a matter of time before he received a full international call-up [2].


Just three days after the victory at Arsenal, City were playing again, at home to Stoke City. It was during this game that, in one brutal moment, Cheesley’s promising career was ended. A cross came into the box and he rose to challenge England 'keeper Peter Shilton for the ball, getting there first and heading over. It was a harmless-looking clash but he landed badly, ripping his cartilage, tearing ligaments and chipping a bone in his knee. At the age of 23, and with a blossoming career ahead of him, he was taken off and never ran back onto the pitch in a City shirt again. Despite an attempted comeback he was forced to retire from league football with just one more appearance to his name [3].

He went on to have spells with non-league clubs, including Yeovil Town. He is currently the landlord of The Knowle Hotel [4], Leighton Road, in Bristol.


  • Canary Citizens by Mike Davage, John Eastwood, Kevin Platt, published by Jarrold Publishing, (2001), ISBN 0-7117-2020-7