Archive for November, 2009

The Football Conference have this evening published the following statement on their official website:

“The Football Conference confirm that positive discussions have continued today between themselves, the Football League and Chester City FC concerning the club’s continued membership and participation in the Blue Square Premier.

We are able to report that the Football League is playing an active role in endeavours to ensure the Club is able to meet its financial commitments regarding their legal undertaking to settle with creditors which formed part of their requirement for membership in 2009/10, and which also incorporates payment to creditors which the Club has with the Football Conference.

To enable the Football League to provide maximum assistance in drawing matters to a satisfactory conclusion, Tuesday evening’s match (1st December) between Cambridge United and Chester City will proceed as scheduled.

The Football Conference will then convene an emergency Board meeting on Thursday, 3rd December to receive a report from the joint deliberations between all parties, before discussing what further action may be necessary in light of the information provided.

Following that meeting the Football Conference will issue a further statement.”

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Cambridge United’s official website is reporting that tuesday’s match at home to Chester City will definitely go ahead.

Troubled Chester City were due to be dealt with by the Football Conference today regarding their non-payment of debts to creditors, but this evening Cambridge United have received confirmation that tomorrow’s fixture will definitely go ahead.

The Football Conference will issue a statement later tonight.  Latest rumours suggest an emergancy meeting is to be called for Thursday to discuss Chester’s fate.  Presumably to canvas fellow conference member clubs.

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Well done to wrexham based non-league side LEX XI who arranged a minute’s silence prior to their weekend game in memory of former coach and Chester City player George McGowan who died recently following a battle against cancer. The following emotional tribute was paid to him.

“George McGowan was a perfect gentleman and was coach at LEX in the early 1990s where he forged a formidable partnership with Gareth Powell.

It was the true LEX dream team and under their stewardship, LEX lifted the Cymru Alliance League Cup in 1991 and again the following year defeating Caersws and Flint Town United respectively.

In his teens, George had a promising boxing career ahead of him in his native Scotland before leaving home to become a professional footballer with Preston North End in the early 1960s and he teamed up and shared digs with former Everton legend Howard Kendall.

He made his football league debut at Sealand Road with Chester City where he made 18 league appearances. After successful spells playing in Europe with Rhyl and Bangor City, George eventually set up home in Wrexham.

The word legend is never used lightly at LEX, but George’s five year stint with them put him in the same bracket as Ross Sankey, Alex Lucas, Sammy McMillan, Russ Edwards, Gareth Powell and Colin Wright.

A dressing room came alive when George was about and his impersonation of Norman Wisdom was something really special.

George moved to Cefn Druids with Gareth Powell but for the last decade or so, he did become heavily involved in a coaching capacity with Wrexham FC. Gone? Yes, Forgotten? Never.”


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PROTESTING Chester City supporters who caused yesterday’s Blue Square Premier clash with Eastbourne Borough to be abandoned are being treated with a degree of sympathy by sources close to the club. Managing director Bob Gray says he is “totally upset” by the way event unfolded, the Chester Chronicle is reporting. He says:”“The police said it (the decision to abandon the game) was made in the best interest at the time, and certainly not our decision. There are loyal supporters who vent their anger in better ways than we have seen here today. “But we are sympathetic, we don’t hold grudges. We understand their frustrations and why the demonstration has taken place but, next week, give them a slap on the wrist and don’t do it again.” But offical supporters club stalwart Barrie Hipkiss is taking a harder line against the demonstrators. He says: ““I know they’ve got frustrations, but the way they’ve let it out doesn’t help the club at all, because now I can see us having a hefty fine, and what the league will think on this now with the meeting coming up, it does concern me. “The club desperately needs stability on and off the field and until we achieve that I can’t see us going anywhere.”

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City Fans United, the fans group for supporters of Chester City FC, have pledged to rebuild should the club be forced out of existence due to ongoing financial problems.

They have the support of Christine Russell MP who has raised the plight of Chester City FC directly with the Sports Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe.

With the club facing possible expulsion from the Conference today and with further signs that the financial situation at the club is dire, the fans have set wheels in motion to rebuild a new Chester Football Club should the current set-up become extinct.

With further information emerging that the players have not been paid for a second month fans are wondering how long the club can continue to lurch from crisis to calamity.

A collective statement from City Fans United states: “While we hope for the best, we must also plan for the worst. All fans of Chester City want the club to survive, but if it does not then we will build a new club in Chester and continue to play football at the highest level possible.”

Commenting on how a new club could be formed, the CFU statement added: “Should the club not survive, we will be issuing an urgent rallying cry to our members to support the creation of a phoenix club. To do this we will need funds, a ground to play in and a licence from the FA to play football. We will seek to raise funds from our members by the issue of loan notes, whereby each purchaser would have a say in how the funds are invested, and would also ask potential partners from the business community to get in touch. We have already held informal discussions with Cheshire West and Chester council regarding the use of the ground and will be lobbying the FA in conjunction with Supporters Direct to allow us to enter at the highest possible place in the football pyramid.”

High-level support for the continuation of top-level football in Chester has been provided as Christine Russell MP has raised the issue directly with the Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe. Christine Russell has also offered to facilitate a meeting between City Fans United and the FA.

The statement from City Fans United continues: “We welcome all the support that CWAC, Christine Russell, Supporters Direct and the Sports Minister can bring. We hope and pray that the club continues but feel forced to plan for the worst – our club is just too important to lose.”

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The Barrow AFC supporter who threw a bottle into the Chester supporters section at Holker Street earlier this season has been given a football banning order. Shaun Taylor Nightingale, 20, is banned from every football ground in England and Wales for three years by Furness magistrates.

The court heard Nightingale was arrested after throwing a glass bottle from outside the ground into the Holker Street end of Barrow’s home ground during the Bluebirds’ home tie against Chester City on October 24. The bottle narrowly missing Chester supporters.

He had been inside the ground earlier that evening but left with another fan who was ejected for drinking alcohol on the terraces.  Nightingale, of Oxford Street, Barrow, pleaded guilty to a section five public order offence at Furness Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

He was given a three-year football banning order, fined £100 and ordered to pay £85 in court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

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City expect to find out their immediate fate by the end of today following another troubled weekend.

City were already due to be dealt with on Monday regarding their continued non-payment of debts to creditors. But the Blue’s now face a new investigation following Saturday’s pitch protest.

Chester fans, upset at the running of the club under former owner Stephen Vaughan, caused an abandonment of the home game with Eastbourne Borough.

And they will almost certainly have to answer both to the Football Association, as well as the Football Conference.

Conference general manager Dennis Strudwick told BBC Sport: “I’m waiting for the referee’s report. And it will depend on what he says before we decide what action should be taken. All misconduct charges are dealt with by the FA. But the Conference will deal with what happens with regards to the game itself.”

Although Chester had just taken a 3-2 lead when Saturday’s game was abandoned, the precedent already set by the Conference suggests that they will be further punished. Gateshead’s players allegedly refused to return to the pitch after a long delay following Martin Brittain’s leg-break in a home game against Hayes & Yeading on 5 September.

Following the resulting abandonment, Gateshead were charged by the Football Conference for “failing to fulfil a fixture” and the points were awarded to Hayes & Yeading. As for Chester’s financial fate, the club have been threatened with expulsion from the Conference if they do not settle outstanding debts to the Professional Footballers Association, as well as to two neighbouring clubs, Wrexham and Vauxhall Motors.

But Chester are holding out for their share so far of the £225,000 discretionary parachute payment due to them from the Football League. That already amounts to a six-figure sum. And they are also due an as yet unpaid £70,000 share of the £1m payment kindly made by the Premier League in September to help all 68 Conference football clubs cope with their ‘current financial difficulties’.

Conference boss Strudwick added: “It’s not a problem that can be solved by the Conference or Chester City but there might be a solution provided by the Football League. “We’ve done our best to promote the game and to help Chester but the creditors have to be paid. We’ve done everything we can and we hope Chester have done everything they can. We hope the Football League can help. And we know they’re keen to come to the party.” A statement is due from the Conference by the end of the day.

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