Chipper Russell has to be one of the best and most loyal players ever to pull on a Hammers Shirt. In his playing days he joined H.U.F.C. which was then managed by Cliff Balsam in 1977.
This was after transferring from Poole Town, and he very quickly became an ever-present in the team. He was a very gifted footballer who could play anywhere on the pitch including in goal. This he often did when the regular keeper was not available or injured. He did it so well that he could have played in goal permanently, not only for Hamworthy, but many other teams in the then Dorset Combination League, which was later to become the Dorset Premier. His favoured position was left back, but he was also an excellent centre-forward and centre-back. He was both good in the air, and on the deck.’ and was very good at reading the game, making him an ideal Captain.
This also made him a constant transfer target for other Clubs some of whom were playing at a higher level. Despite this, and offers of money Chipper remained loyal, a thing very rarely found nowadays. Alec Pike tried to persuade him to join him at Wimborne Town despite Chipper coming towards the end of his playing days. Alex wanted him to play in his 1996 FA Vase Team at Wembley, but Chipper declined the offer.
He was certainly not a medal hunter either, but he did get a Dorset Combination Cup winners medal after captaining United to a 2-0 win over Wareham Rangers in 1990. As usual he led from the front scoring both goals in the replay at Swanage; this after the first game had finished in a 2-2 draw. He also won a winners medal when playing for the Reserves in the Dorset Division 1 Cup in 1999 towards the end of his playing days.
Chipper is a top class carpenter and joiner, a skill that he often put to very good use for the Hammers. None more so than when he helped to construct the original Bar. For this he neither asked for nor received a single penny in payment. Another voluntary job he took on both during and after his playing days was putting up and taking down the nets before every home game. Chipper is an excellent all round sportsman especially golf. It was only natural therefore that after retiring from football he was able to concentrate more on getting his handicap down well into single figures.
Chipper was a one club man and a role model, the likes of which we will be lucky to see again, a real Hamworthy United Legend.