Posts Tagged ‘Attendance’

Former Chester City Chief Executive Bob Gray revealed how many people paid to go through the turnstyles at Chester City’s Blue Square Premier clash against Salisbury City at the Deva Stadium on Tuesday night.

A record low attendance of 425 made it through the turnstyles, but with an estimated 200 to 250 season ticket holders, plus free admission granted to the likes of the local media and press reporters, player’s relatives and friends of club staff, the actual number of paying punters was put at 192.

This, probably an all time low EVER since Chester City were established in 1885, was releaved in a Bob Gray interview made by BBC Radio Merseyside correspondent Neil Turner.

With an official boycott now on the cards, the question is… how low will Chester City’s home attendances go?

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A late penalty meant defeat yet again for troubled Chester City at the Deva Stadium on Tuesday night, but their troubles escalated with an all time low attendance of just 425 making their way through the turnstyles, the majority of which was probably season ticket holders.

Most of the action in a first half high in commitment but low in quality came off the field, with a number of supporters making their feelings known towards the Vaughan family and Morell Maison.

Chester’s unpaid players kept their composure and, with a little bit more luck, could have taken a lead into the break. They had a decent penalty appeal turned down in the 13th minute when Ben Wilkinson went down in the box under the challenge of Daniel Webb, while Ben Jones, Glenn Rule and Wilkinson saw half chances come and go.

The best opportunity of the opening period fell to Salisbury, however, but the unmarked Matt Tubbs headed wide from 10 yards out. Sean Clohessy also went close for the visitors, who, not without problems of their own, could name only four substitutes on the bench.

The spectacle initially failed to improve after the restart before sparking into life just past the hour mark, with Jones firing over from close range when he really should have scored. But it was Salisbury who looked the more likely and after Stuart Anderson somehow failed to head in Bradley Gray’s corner, Tubbs settled the contest five minutes from time when he punished Kevin Roberts’ needless handball in the box, following another Gray delivery.

Chester City: Danby, Rule, Kelly, Ryan, Lea, Ellams, Roberts, Davidson, Meynell, Wilkinson, Jones. Subs: Murphy, Freeman, Coulter, Maxwell, Chadwick.

Salisbury City: Bittner, Clohessy, Turley, Webb, Ruddick, Gray, Adelsbury, Clarke, Flood, Anderson, Tubbs. Subs: Monhon, Cox, Widdrington, Osman.

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When Chester City’s Stephen Vaughan won permission to start this season in the Blue Square Premier, there were several gasps of disbelief. While the issues relating to the financing of football clubs are seldom a black and white issue, there seemed to be little question that, in having an application to enter into a CVA successfully opposed by HMRC during the summer, they should not by any rational logic (and certainly not under the rules of the league in which they play) have been allowed to start the season.

The decision to dock them twenty-five points but to allow them to play on was a classic fudge, the equivalent of applying a sticking plaster to an amputated leg. The authorities spared themselves the indignity of having to play a season with an odd number of clubs, Vaughan got himself theoretically endless time to try and arrange alternative financing for the club and everybody was happy. Everybody, that is, apart from those that considered Vaughan to be far from a fit and proper person to run a football club.

Chester’s start to the season hasn’t gone according to plan, either on or off the pitch. They have won just two games from their first thirteen in the league and are currently on -14 points. They are still twenty-four points from safety and would only be in seventeenth place in the league without any points deduction. Crowds have slumped to around 1,000 and there remains no sign of any sort of investment that may just give the club a fighting chance of staying up this season. The supporters remain in a state that seems to be not far short of civil war with each other. It doesn’t sound like it’s much fun to be a Chester City supporter at the moment.

Their situation took a turn for the worse after Tuesday night’s 2-1 home defeat by Forest Green Rovers. Setting aside the fact that winning a home match against Forest Green Rovers should be the bare minimum requirement if they are to stand any chance of staying up this season, the match showed up fundamental, institutional cracks in within the club which seem irreparable. There was a fight in the dressing room between two players at half-time, and this morning manager Mick Wadsworth (not a man that is unfamiliar to financial crises, having been previously been involved with Carlisle United during the 1990s, Scarborough and Gretna before going to The Deva Stadium) departed from the club  yesterday with some telling (if somewhat garbled) words about the atmosphere at Chester City at the moment:

This place is full of negativity and it’s really difficult. I’ve not known an environment like it. I know I’ve got to change it and we got to change it and I appreciate that and I take that responsibility but it’s so negative at times it’s very wearing. We were rubbish first half and good second half, it was as simple as that. We gave ourselves too much to do. We knew how we wanted to start and we talked about that and didn’t do it. I never want to be negative against the lads because they are a great bunch. But we said and they said we didn’t have one player in the first half that was on top of his job.

Considering all of the above, this week might not have been the best week to make public the exact extent of their current financial plight. At Chester City, though, common sense doesn’t seem to be a commodity that is much in supply, so perhaps it is no surprise that this peculiar message turned up on the clubs official website on Tuesday – a website which, it should be added, doesn’t appear to have been updated in any other respect since the start of the new season. The spreadsheet that comes with it makes for fairly horrifying reading, although it is worth wondering aloud why it announces a profit as a loss and, more significantly, the question of how the “the 09/10 Profit and Loss account” (the website’s own words there) can be calculated in September 2009.

Let’s be generous, though, and imagine that these are projected figures for this season (after all, they take the £30,000 “gift” from the Premier League into account and that was definitely arranged since the start of this season) and that they are for the whole season. The figures reveal a club that has been trying to arrange a CVA but is still paying fifty per cent over its annual turnover on wages for players, full-time staff, management & support staff and YT scholars. It pays £23,000 per year in “overheads” for those scholars. There had better be some great young players in there – they’re costing an arm and a leg.

On top of that, there is over £100,000 on “football overheads”, but this is listed quite separately to almost £90,000 on “match day costs”. There is also a cheeky £135,000 that is being paid on “general overheads”, although what these are is also not explained. The bottom line – quite literally – is that, if these figures are correct (and it is almost impossible to believe that they are), Chester City Football Club is currently making a loss that is almost the same amount as its annual turnover. To put that into perspective, let’s quickly take some figures from elsewhere. Manchester United had an annual turnover of around £300m last year. If they were following Chester’s example, they would have made a loss for that year of around £600m, and they would have paid out about £450m in wages.

It’s difficult to believe that these figures are true, but this raises a further question. If they’re not, then who put them on the club’s official website? A disgruntled employee? Stephen Vaughan, in the hope that he can dissuade HMRC from issuing a winding up order against the club by demonstrating that there would be no realistic prospect of a dividend from such a petition? Whatever way this is spun (and, considering that the clubs official website has hardly been otherwise updated since the summer, it’s likely that it won’t be spun at all), it is bad news for the club. Whether these figures have any truth in them or not and whomever made them publicly available, that such a thing could happen at all can only indicate Chester City is in a state of complete and utter disarray from top to bottom.

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As we prepare to visit the Racecourse on Sunday to face Wrexham in the Blue Square Premier League, today we reflect one of Chester best victories over the old enemy.

Wrexham Football Club

Wrexham Football Club

Chester 6 Wrexham 1 – 27th Febuary, 1965


 With some 68 league games and several cup ties played between ourselves and Wrexham the choiced for our memory match were many.  The big temptation was to plump for our FA Cup meeting just a few seasons ago but that might have caused Gary Bennett some embarrassment amongst his current teammates.  Instead the choice is our league meeting at Sealand Road in 1964/65.

The game was played on Feb 27 1965 and came at a time when Chester were looking to extend their unbeaten run to 8 league games and at a time when goals were flying in left right and centre.  In addition we were unbeaten at Sealand Road since our first home match of the campaign and looking to record our 15th home league win.  A crowd of 14,872 were present to watch the drama unfold and they didn’t have to wait too long.

Chester were fielding their famous Humes, Metcalf, Talbot, Ryden, Morris forward line for the 22nd consecutive game with Mike Metcalf and Elfed Morris in particular looking to do well against their former club and both succeeded almost immediately.

In the opening minute Peter Hauser set Gary Talbot up with a half chance but Steve Fleet in the Wrexham goal averted the danger but then in the third minute Talbot turned provider with a fine cross for Metcalf to volley the ball home for his 32nd goal of the season.  Wrexham came back strongly with Arfon Griffiths forcing a fine save from stand in keeper Reg Barton whilst Keith Webber and Sammy McMillan also went close.  Gary Talbot was caught offside a couple of times but then with just 12 minutes gone Chester went 2-0 up when Elfed Morris slid a low cross wide of Steve Fleet.  Back to the other end and Reg Barton again earned his keep saving from Webber, Phythian and King.  Ray Jones cleared another effort but with Metcalf in brilliant form in the middle of the park Chester were not short of attacking ideas either. 

On the half hour the score was 3-0, Metcalf did the spadework feeding the ball out to Morris who crossed for Jimmy Humes to slot the ball home.  Within a minute the Chester fans had a fourth goal to celebrate with Jimmy Humes again on target following good work by Talbot and Ryden.  Back came Wrexham with Barnes hitting the post and then with just two minutes of the half remaining they gained some reward for their efforts when Ernie Phythian netted.  Even then, however, Chester almost scored again before the break only for Morris to be denied by a fine save by Fleet.

The half time scoreline was 4-1 and yet the game had been fairly even, the difference was that Chester took their chances!  No one could really expect the second half to live up to the first but Chester gave it a go nevertheless.  With just three minutes gone Jimmy Humes completed his hat trick, heading home a centre from Morris and then six minutes later Gary Talbot got his name on the scoresheet with another header after fine work from Dave Durie.  That was the end of the scoring and Wrexham were no doubt grateful for that but Gary Talbot who’d been injured in the first half was rapidly consigned to the role of passenger and Chester were happy with their afternoon’s work. 

Not only had we recorded our biggest win of the season but we’d also established ourselves as the Football League’s top goalscorers!

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