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Football supporters in Chester have voted overwhelmingly in favour of christening the city’s new football club ‘Chester FC’, The Chronicle can reveal.

The name will be used by the phoenix club City Fans United (CFU) hope to establish from the ashes of the now-defunct Chester City FC.

Supporters, who have been voting since last Wednesday from a shortlist of four options, were 70% in favour of Chester FC.

The simple title is a return to the name the club used for most of its 125-year history, before adding the ‘City’ suffix in 1983.

CFU press officer Jeff Banks said: “It’s been great to see so many fans having the chance to rename the club, and as the voting shows, the fans want to go back to the name Chester Football Club.

“Now we can well and truly prepare our club for the future, but carrying an important piece of history with us.”

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Chester City supporters group City Fans United have today announced the chance for the large community of Chester fans to have a say in the naming of the reformation of Chester City FC, where fans of Chester across the City, UK, and in fact the world, can now take part in the chance to vote for the future name of the club.

Over 40 names have been suggested from hundreds of e-mails received since we went out to CFU members on Monday morning, and now a shortlist of four names has been arrived at, based on the e-mails received.

To vote on your favourite name, we ask fans to call freephone number 0800 050 1254 and cast your vote as listed below, you’ll even get to hear a Chester legend welcoming you in the process!

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Today, 125 years of history of Chester City Football Club was ended at the High Court, and this was a sad culmination in a period of turbulence that has seen the club slip out of the Football League for a second time, fail to pay its employees, and failing to fulfil fixtures in the Football Conference, resulting in an embarrassing expulsion from their competition.

The decision to liquidate the club now allows a new era of football in Chester to commence, an era in which we feel will be a major boost to the community of Chester, and an era that all supporters can be proud of as it is they who will form the life of the reformed club.

Upon news of the liquidation, City Fans United has today submitted an application to The Football Association to reform the club, and we will be working extremely closely with Supporters Direct, who will help guide us through the process of reformation.

We will also be liaising with the Cheshire West & Chester Council, who have been very supportive of our plans to deliver an open, honest football club, properly run by the fans and which encapsulates the whole community.

Despite this being a sad end to the last 125 years, City Fans United are now prepared for the new era, and encourage anyone not currently a member of CFU, to sign up via http://www.cityfansunited.com and be part of the football club that intends to rise from the ashes of its predecessor.

We will continue to keep everyone informed as we move along the process through our usual channels of communication, including our website.

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Press release issued today from City Fans United:

Since Chester City were expelled from the Football Conference on Friday, there have been a number of rumours circulating about the future of football in Chester, specifically a number of misunderstandings about CFU’s work towards the reformation of the Club.

 We understand the concern that fans and members have about the future of football in Chester, and share your desire to see football back in the City again.

However although the Club were thrown out of the League last Friday in accordance with football regulations, Chester City FC 2004 has until Friday 5 March to appeal against the original recommendation by the Board of the Football Conference to its member clubs to expel Chester City. This appeal is not against the vote of the Clubs taken last Friday.

Assuming there is no appeal or it is unsuccessful we will be making an application to join the football pyramid as a ‘reformed’ club, and this will be assessed by The FA. We are also continuing regular and active discussions with the Council over making an application for the lease of the Deva. As a critical part of both our application for the lease, and for a league place, we have been working closely with our advisors, Supporters Direct, to draw up a comprehensive business plan.

Although some of the process may not be as clear as fans – or we – would like, we would like to reassure everyone that despite rumours to the contrary, there is no rule stating that a reformed Chester City will have to begin at North West Counties League.

We are getting the best advice on all these issues from Supporters Direct, and will continue to keep members and fans alike informed of developments.

PRESS RELEASE ENDS

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Send not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. The bell tolled for Chester City at just after 2.00 this afternoon. Against the predictions of many – myself included – the Football Conference made the right decision and expelled Chester City from its organisation. This evening isn’t a time for celebration. We should mourn the passing of the club and take a moment to consider the whys and wherefores of how this came to pass. What some people seemed to fail to grasp was how desperate the situation for supporters of the club had become. How desperate do you have to feel to actively wish for the death of your football club?

The people involved in Chester Fans United weren’t professional activists chasing their own agendas for quasi-political reasons. They were ordinary football supporters like you and I, just people that wanted a football club that they could be proud of and they could support without the seeds of doubt in the back of their minds about what it was that they were supporting. To follow a football club is an act of faith which transcends merely turning up on a Saturday afternoon, handing over some money and moaning or cheering. It is an extension of one’s own personality. Most football supporters put up with a considerable amount of ill treatment in the name of their love of the game. Chester’s supporters have put up with more than almost anybody else in the game over the last few months. Now, from the ashes of this loss, something great can be created.

The overwhelming majority of us cannot even imagine how it feels to be in the situation that Chester supporters have been put in over the last few months, a period during which their relationship with the club that they support has collapsed into something approaching an abusive relationship. As recently as last week, Stephen Vaughan Senior, still acting as the owner of their club even though his shouldn’t have been since December, attempted to ridicule the people of CFU. The Chester Projekt attempted the same thing and, although they did at least a feeble and half-hearted apology a couple of days ago, they have no place in Chester. They backed the wrong horse, and they should have the good grace to understand this and withdraw from any further involvement in the proposed take-over of the club with what is left of their dignity intact.

For all the hurt, however, hope can start now for Chester supporters. The lower divisions of non-league football may prove to be culture shock for them, but the road back to the perch from which they have fallen will be an adventure that will certainly prove to be more exciting than the spousal abuse that they have suffered over the last few months. With the support of the council (who surely are now left with no option but to evict the broken shell of Chester City from The Deva Stadium), they can rebuild – a club that the people of Chester can be proud of. A club, the very existence of which continues the spirit of the club. A club that stands as a testimony to the fact that this situation must never be allowed to happen again.

They will find that they make many, many friends on the way. They will find that there is a community that will support them and will stand alongside them and offer the best advice that they could hope to receive. And one day the rest of the world will feel that Chester are back, when the truth of the matter is that the spirit of the club never went away – it was just hijacked by other people for their own means for a while. Nobody wanted Chester City to die. To suggest otherwise is insulting the motives of those that opposed the regime that ran this club to the grave.

There are still loose ends to tie up, of course. There is still talk of appeals, legal action and until we hear otherwise, the take-over of Chester City remains firmly on. They are still dependent to an extent on the actions of others. The council now has to do the right thing. Their decision, however, has been made infinitely easier by the Conference’s decision today. It will be hard work for CFU and there will doubtless be times when those involve will take a moment to wonder about their sanity in taking on such a job in the first place. However, the will is there and the passion and belief are there. For Chester City supporters, today is the first day of the rest of their lives.

As a final aside, it is worth taking a moment to congratulate the Football Conference for making a courageous decision – one which may have gone against their natural instincts and seemed unlikely, on the basis of a couple of public statements made during the week, to come to pass. They have shown clear resolve in making this decision, and it is easy to understand how they could have fudged it again, even though it would have been the wrong decision to make. The league has rescued its credibility and integrity in making this decision.

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An interim statement has been issued by City Fans United in light of today’s news that Chester City Football Club have been expelled from the Football Conference.

Today the member clubs of the Football Conference have voted to expel Chester City FC from the competition.

City Fans United are dismayed and saddened that this situation has been allowed to occur, however we have previously stated our belief that years of financial mismanagement meant that this decision was inevitable.

We are angry that Chester City FC was allowed to fall into such a sorry state and we call upon the football authorities to review their rules on the ownership and financial control of football clubs, before the supporters of another football club are forced to endure the pain felt by fans of Chester City FC.

CFU have previously outlined our vision for the future for football in Chester but, like all supporters of Chester City FC, we must take some time to grieve.

We believe that 125-years of footballing history will live on through and each every supporter of Chester City FC. Rest assured that City Fans United will continue to fight for the future of football in Chester.

A further statement will be issued in due course.

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Members of a Danish consortium met representatives of the CFU yesterday before they met the club.
It was made clear to them that any rescue bid would need the support of the fans, the wider community, and a viable Business Plan. We were not satisfied with the very brief report we had after the meeting with the club.
In our opinion the Danish consortium also have no adequate business plan or strategy for running the club on a day to day basis. They do not have adequate finances to cover the current debt, and have no plans for community involvement.
We are saying clearly and directly to the Danish consortium: On Thursday you stated that if we did not wish you to continue with your bid, you would not proceed. We are saying that we do not wish you to proceed with your bid. We would however welcome you to be part of an exciting journey with us as we rebuild our club in our own vision. But if you proceed without us, you are proceeding against us with all that entails.
City Fans United are trying to clarify the full situation surrounding the reported sale of the club and will make a further statement in due course.

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