On what could be the day that Chester City Football Club is finally killed off, two open letters have been written to Mr Vaughan. Firstly the Chester Chronicle have issued the following passioned plea to Vaughan:
Dear Stephen Vaughan, Chester City is once more standing on the brink of disaster and it is time for you to truly consider your legacy, your reputation and the future of the club you stepped in to save almost a decade ago.
Yes, you paid a pretty penny to win the Conference and give Blues’ fans their greatest achievement to date, a title. But what is that worth if the club goes out of business? If, by some miracle, the club clings on through yet another Football Conference deadline today, now is surely the time for you to bid Chester and the Deva Stadium farewell and hand over a debt-free club to someone who will protect and nurture its historic name.
Fans care little for business practice, profit and loss. All they care about is seeing their team play football and do as well as they can. When supporters are boycotting games and hoping the club will fold, when they are invading the pitch and forcing games to be abandoned when the focus of Conference chiefs is trained on the club closer than ever, that is when the club truly has hit rock bottom.
Why save a club from extinction only to drive it back there? Over the last couple of seasons, as the club’s finances have worsened, you have consistently stated that anyone wishing to buy the club can do so if they make a realistic offer.
Well right now, a realistic offer is surely a figure counted in a few thousands rather than millions. There is a recession taking hold of the world and everyone has taken a hit on their investments. Even in the best of times you would never convince someone to part with millions for a Conference or even a League Two club with no tangible assets and a rented stadium. By your own admission you got caught up in Chester City and overspent in the early days.
Think about those who are still caught up in the club. Think about the effect on them of their club dying. Write off the debt. Don’t be remembered as the man who forced two clubs to start again. Whatever happened at Barrow is in the past, but if you learn the lessons, if you clear the decks and hand the club over to the fans, the custodians who will ensure its history and status are protected, then in the annals of the club your final act will be remembered as a good one, one to dispel the bad memories of your tenure.
The club shares may now be in the name of your son, Stephen Vaughan Jnr, but while the club is with the Vaughan family, you can still have influence and make sure it lives on. Even if the club survives this pressure and the Conference later today decide to give the Blues another chance, how long before the next crisis? Gordon Taylor has admitted the club has loaned a lot of money from the PFA in recent years for players wages and it is clear to anyone with a passing interest that the club can no longer cover basic expenses like player salaries.
So now, on Judgement Day, with a once-proud club probably in the 11th hour of its life, we send a simple message to you… Write off the debt, give the club back to the fans and walk away today.
This letter has quickly been followed up by former City director and passionate Blues fan Paul Baker who had the following to say via the Deva Chat messageboard:
By this evening Stephen Vaughan could have the blood of this football club on his hands. Just for a moment think what this will mean to every fan that has passed through the turnstiles at Sealand Road, Moss Rose or The Deva Stadium.
If this doomsday scenario is finally acted out today and believe me our very future existence hangs by a very fine thread then it is not a case Stephen of visiting a confession and being granted forgiveness providing you say three Hail Mary’s and a Our Father.
As I write this I am acutely aware that many supporters of the Vaughan dynasty have pleaded with him to do the honourable thing and GO, today’s Chester Chronicle has an impassioned open letter to Stephen Vaughan to Go.
Over the years I myself have given him my support both vocally and financially. There is probably no one more aware than me that understand the trials and tribulations of being a custodian of a football club.
The difference between me and Stephen Vaughan is that I recognised when I could not take that club any further and handed the baton over to someone else. I choose the word Custodian very carefully as I never ever consider that you own a football club, a football club will always belong to the supporters and to the community in which it belongs.
Stephen Vaughan will tell you that Chester City Football Club is an institution and that every thing he does is in the best interests of the football club. But at this very moment in time I am finding it very hard to believe given he has had countless opportunities to sell up and go.
As I look out on a dark wet cloudy Chester skyline the storm clouds are gathering one hundred miles away in Birmingham. The games power brokers are trying to resolve the issues that surround Chester City FC.
Over the years every sinew of patience with every football authority has been stretched, The FA, The Football League, The Football Conference, The Professional Footballers Association and The League Managers Association have all been played by Stephen Vaughan’s brinkmanship.
Yet today in the eleventh hour these football authorities are still trying to broker a solution that will see Chester City Football Club survive, even if the Football League agree to pay Chester City Football Club the parachute payment and The Conference agree to hand over the Premier League solidarity payment and that money is offset against football creditor debts then it is believed that Chester City Football Club would still owe circa £30,000 to fully settle the debt to football and that is before you even get to normal trade creditors.
But the most important question that The Conference wants answering, is given the club’s own financial projections of a £660,000 loss, how do they plan to cover this loss and complete the season, given the fact they are unable to meet all the current overheads? Many will take solace in the fact that should the club be expelled from The Conference that a new “Vaughan Free Club” plying it’s trade in The Unibond North would at least be able to represent the City of Chester.
But with the death of Chester City Football Club, also dies nearly 125 years of history and that can never be replaced but it will always remain in our memories. I fully expect that today The Conference will make a decision one way or another and what ever decision they make will no doubt be the wrong one depending on your particular viewpoint. But in the end it comes down to one simple question that only Stephen Vaughan can answer.
If everything you do is in the best interests of Chester City Football Club then why are we so close to extinction? So, there will be an extraordinary board meeting of the Football Conference on Thursday and the understanding is that the league is absolutely at the end of its tether with the club.
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