Archive for October, 2009

The opportunity of making a few quid with a lucrative cup run has passed cash strapped Chester City by for another season.

Careless and naive – Chester’s defending in last night’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay was a perfect reflection of their off-the-field problems.

Three goals in four minutes blew apart this tie after the Blues had begun to make a decent fist of an even game. Fewer than 1,000 Chester fans turned up to see their side as the game swung one way then the other in the first half.

Barrow had a clutch of chances in the opening 10 minutes before Clark Keltie, Mark Beesley and Michael Coulson began to create some opportunities for the Blues.

A free kick on the half-hour mark saw Anthony Barry, who had earlier passed a fitness test, gather up a half-clearance and feed Neil Ashton.

He crossed to the back post where Jonathan Flynn rose to head at goal, but his effort was saved by Stuart Tomlinson in the Barrow goal.

A minute later, Keltie and Beesley linked up to create a chance which full-back Kevin Roberts blasted towards goal but again, Tomlinson was on hand to thwart his effort.

Two minutes before half-time, Barry was replaced by young Lloyd Ellams as his thigh problem resurfaced. And at half time boss Jim Harvey was forced into another change as Michael Lea succumbed to a knock and was replaced by the hard-working James Owen.

A minute after the restart, Mark Beesley fired in a shot that Tomlinson could only parry into the path of Ellams but with the goal at his mercy the forward could only place the ball back into the keeper’s grateful arms.

Frustration began to creep in for the Blues and Coulson was booked for a foul on Barrow winger Malvin Kamara on the hour before just 60 seconds later James Owen also received a yellow card for fouling the same player. It was this inability to deal with Kamara’s skill of winning free-kicks that eventually sparked Chester’s downfall.

Barrow’s opening came on 73 minutes when, having rejected two previous appeals from the visitors for backpasses, referee Ross Joyce gave a decision against Tim Ryan, the ball coming off his shin as he shepherded it back to John Danby.

Despite packing the box with blue shirts, Jason Walker rolled the ball to Andy Bond and he blasted through the defences to make it 1-0.

This sparked huge celebrations from former Chester City player Dave Bayliss, now manager of Barrow, after he took stick from the Blues fans throughout the game, and the throwing of blue smoke bombs onto the pitch which delayed the restart. When play resumed, the ball was only in play for two minutes when Barrow had a penalty.

Ashton brought down Kamara inside the box and the referee, who had a good position, didn’t hesitate to point to the spot. Walker stepped up and smashed home to double the lead. By this time Chester had imploded and on 77 minutes they were all over the place, allowing Bond to steal in and head home his second of the match.

Ellams had a shot tipped over on 78 minutes as Chester desperately strived for anything positive, but with 10 minutes to go skipper Ryan was booked for petulantly kicking the ball away after Joyce had awarded a free-kick. A late rally two minutes from time saw a Beesley effort cleared by Barrow but in injury time substitute Andy Cook took full advantage of some poor defending to turn last-man Ryan on the halfway line and speed away.

He had plenty of time to come inside on his stronger right foot and slip the ball past Danby to end the Blues’ hopes of a lucrative run in this competition.

Chester City: Danby, Roberts, Ryan, Barry (Ellams 43), Lea (Owen 45), Ashton, Keltie, Coulson, Beesley, Flynn, Kay. Subs: Murphy, Meynell, Wilkinson, Kelly, Blundell.

Barrow: Tomlinson, Spender, Jelleyman, Jones, Pearson, Kamara (Logan 88), Bond, Sheridan (Boyd 94), Walker (Cook 88), Shaw, Rutherford. Subs: Deasy, Bayliss, Dugdale, Morris. Goalscorers: Bond (2), Walker (Pen), Cook.

Referee: Ross Joyce (Cleveland).

Attendance: 996 Chester City fans- 291 Barrow fans.


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Chester Fans United, a coming together of the different fans’ groups at the stricken Blue Square Premier club, meet tonight to formally agree their formation. They have a few thousand pounds in the bank, which is enough to get them up and running, but it certainly isn’t enough to save their club and the general consensus now is that they already know it. A new deadline has been set. By 5.30 on Monday evening, Chester City may well have ceased to exist. At this point, CFU’s raison d’etre will become to form a new club, freed from the shackles of the wretched ownership that they have suffered under for the last few seasons or so.

The latest threat to their existence comes from the Football Conference, who have issued a complete player embarago upon the club and the deadline to pay up over unpaid bills to other clubs – a split of gate receipts that was due to be paid to their local rivals Wr**h*m, and has also failed to make any payment to another club, Vauxhall Motors, for a player that they took on loan. They also make reference to, more generally, Chester City’s non-compliance “with the terms of the compromise agreement set by the Football Conference to allow the club to participate in the competition at the commencement of the current season.

One might wonder what the mish-mash of authorities that actually allowed the club to start the season were actually thinking of when they arrived at the decision. The financial situation at The Deva Stadium was clear for anyone to see at this point. What Stephen Vaughan said to them in the course of the meeting that ended up with the club being allowed to play has never been made public. It has even been suggested that the Football League leant on the Football Conference because they didn’t want to see a club dropping straight out and going bust.

When previous manager Mick Wadsworth left the club last month, he commented that, “This place is full of negativity and it’s really difficult. I’ve never known an environment like it”. This was coming from a man that had managed at Scarborough, Gretna and at Carlisle United under Michael Knighton during the 1990s. This sort of a statement, coming from a man that had left his previous managerial position after becoming one of forty people to be laid off because they couldn’t afford to pay him any more, spoke volumes for the depth of the difficulties at the club. Crowds have plummeted again and, even if they were to survive this particular crisis and the other crises that would inevitably follow it over the course of the remainder of the season, relegation to the Blue Square North is surely something approaching inevitable.

It’s possible to argue that Chester supporters should have acted earlier, but the clubs owner’s actions over the last few weeks would seem to indicate that they could have protested all they wanted and for as long as possibly could have and he still wouldn’t have left the club. The rumours continue to circle that John Batchelor, who almost drove York City to the wall several years ago, is circling with a desire to rip up the history of the club and “re-brand” it as Harchester United or Red Bull Chester City. Any Chester supporters hoping that Batchelor might be a knight in shining armour should take a moment to read this, from The Guardian last year:

Of 24 companies of which he has been a director, 14 have been or are about to be struck off the companies register, six have been insolvent, three are still going but he is no longer involved – he says he sold them on successfully – and only one small company in which he is a director is active.One company Batchelor took over – although he did not become a director; his partner, Cheryl Hopkins, did – was Moornate Chemists in Nelson, near Burnley, a steady, solvent, family business selling cleaning products. Within three months, last July, Moornate was insolvent and in administration, after effectively being merged with another company he took over, Besglos, which was also in administration the following month.

David Brown, Moornate’s former owner, says Batchelor promised to pay him £485,000 for the business, in instalments, and did pay him £70,000 up front. However, he has been left devastated, without the business he built up over 30 years, and still owed £415,000 of the price agreed. Batchelor, however, has said he bought and sold Moornate’s factory, making £75,000 for himself.

“He ruins people’s lives and walks away with money,” Brown says. Several former staff of Besglos, and their families, are still struggling to recover, having moved to work for Batchelor on the promise of handsome salaries, then been left unpaid and lost their jobs.

Brown recalls that in one meeting Batchelor told him: “This is what I do for a living: I f**k companies.”
Of course, any talk of Batchelor getting involved is likely to be irrelevant, since Vaughan has shown no intention whatsoever of giving up control of the club and, in any case, there is entirely possible that there will not even be a Chester City Football Club by the middle of next week. Ironically, Chester’s next (and possibly last) match will be an FA Cup match at Barrow on Saturday. Barrow, of course, are the club that Vaughan almost sent to the wall in his previous attempt at running a club, during the late 1990s. It will be interesting to see how quickly they give them their split of the gate receipts for the match. One would imagine that Vaughan will be knocking on the office doors at Holker Street at about ten to five on Saturday afternoon. Even if he gets the money in used fivers, however, it is unlikely to be enough in itself to keep them afloat.

Miracles do happen and they happen more regularly in football, it often seems, than anywhere else. This time, however, Stephen Vaughan has p**sed the Football Conference off (that much is evident from the terseness of their official message on the subject) and in the modern game it seems that you can bend the insolvency laws as much as you like, keep your ownership structure buried under impenetrable layers of holding companies, mess the tax man (and, by extension, the taxpayer) around and treat your supporters with little more than contempt, but if you get on the wrong side of the people that run the game, then you’ve done something very wrong. Chester Fans United deserve our support for getting their act together, and one would hope that they would decide not to throw money onto the bonfire that is Chester City Football Club. It is surely clear that a new club is the only way forward for the supporters of Chester City.

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The following press statement has been issued by the Football Conference regarding Chester City.

In accordance with Membership Rule 11 – for the non-payment of football creditors – Chester City FC have been placed under an immediate player embargo, in as much that:

1. Chester City FC has not complied with the terms of the compromise agreement set by the Football Conference to allow the club to participate in the competition at the commencement of the current season; and further to that fact, the club has been given 7 days, operative up to 5.30pm 26th October 2009, in which to meet the said payment terms of that agreement, otherwise they face the threat of expulsion from the Football Conference.

2. Chester City FC has failed to pay monies owing to Wrexham FC for away ticket sales relating to their fixture played on 27th September 2009 and further to that fact, the club has failed to meet a 7-day payment deadline imposed by the Football Conference.

3. Chester City has failed to pay Vauxhall Motors FC monies owed in relation to the loan of Paul Taylor, which should have been met no later than 14th October 2009.

The Football Conference will not be making any further statement on this matter at this time.

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Save Our Seals

Financially crippled Chester City today faced a fresh fight for survival.  According to the BBC website, the Blues could be expelled from the Football Conference if they do not repay debts to Wrexham AFC and Vauxhall Motors by 1730 GMT Monday.

The article on the BBC site continues:

“In addition the Conference have enforced a transfer embargo on the club for the non-payment of creditors.   City failed to pay Wrexham for away ticket sales and owe Vauxhall Motors for the loan of ex-striker Paul Taylor.

“Chester are bottom of the Blue Square Premier after suffering a 25-point deduction at the start of the season.

“They currently trail Hayes & Yeading and are 21 points off safety in the table.

“City started the season a week late after the Football Association initially refused them permission to play following a controversial takeover during the summer.

“Owner Stephen Vaughan put the club into voluntary administration in May, following their relegation from the Football League, and then was part of the family consortium that bought back the club.”

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Former Chester City skipper and legendary defender Peter Jackson has lauched his blog on the Football League.  It’s well worth a read!…


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Gateshead Football Club

Gateshead Football Club

Chester City striker Mark Beesley scored his first goal since his return to the club to earn the Blue Square Premier’s bottom club their first away win of the season.

The on-loan Cambridge United front man latched onto Kevin Roberts’ cross to hit a close-range winner 11 minutes into the second half.

And, although City old boy Daryl Clare came close to a Gateshead equaliser on his debut, the visitors hung on for three valuable points in their struggle for survival in the Blue Square Premier League.

 Gateshead: Farman, Williams, Curtis, Swailes, Cave (Mackay 80), Phillips (Baxter 62), Gate, Francis, Winn (One 61), Clare, Armstrong.
Subs Not Used: Provett, McDermott.

Chester: Danby, Roberts, Flynn, Ryan, Ashton, Coulson (Ellams 92), Keltie, Barry, Lea, Blundell (Wilkinson 50), Beesley. Other Sub: Kay (for Wilkinson, 91).
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Kay, Owen.

Scorer: Beesley 56.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Carnforth).

Attendance: 631.

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Gateshead Football Club

Gateshead Football Club

Today’s opponents, Gateshead have signed experienced Mansfield Town striker Daryl Clare on an emergency loan and the 31 year old goes straight into the tynesiders squad.

The former Republic of Ireland B international has twice won the Conference Premier Golden Boot and has been a prolific goalscorer throughout his career.

After 79 appearances for Grimsby Town, where he was part of the Mariners promotion squad in 1997/98, he had a productive season at Boston United where he scored 25 goals in 47 games.




Clare scored 48 goals in 65 games during a golden period at Chester City, helping the Deva Stadium club to promotion back to the Football League five years ago.

The 31 year old Irishman will now attempt to put one over his former club on his first appearance in a Gateshead shirt.

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