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Posts Tagged ‘debts’

Rumours of player discontent at the Deva Stadium have circulated following Chester City’s exit from the FA Trophy at the hands of Blue Square North side, Fleetwood Town.

According to a report in today’s non-league paper, Chester City’s players are planning a staged walk out from training in midweek following non payment (again!) of their latest monthly pay packets.  They will be taking advice from the Professional Footballers Association regarding their suggested actions.

An unnamed player told the non-league paper, “A number of us met Bob Gray, the managing direction, after the game against Fleetwood Town and were told wages due at the end of November will be paid on Friday.  This situation isn’t a one-off, it is happening regularly. 

“We’ve told Mr Gray we wouldn’t turn in for training this week, and if monies weren’t forthcoming as promised, we would consider not playing against Rushden next weekend.  We will take advice from the PFA, but the situation appears to be getting worse.  The lads are fed up.”

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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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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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Bookmakers have suspended betting on City’s match against Eastbourne tomorrow after news leaked that Chester may have to field a weakened team. Rumours have been circling that Chester City players have refused to play over a pay row, whilst these reports are not confirmed, it has lead bookmakers to suspend betting on the fixture as word spread on a number of forums.

The news has spread fast with many fans in the know lumping on Eastbourne Borough to win at a handsome price of 2/1. Even Chester City fans on the Deva Chat forum have got involved as well as punters around the world on the OLBG forum. It echoes similarities to Weymouth last season when the they could not afford to pay the players wages. The players then left and found other clubs leaving the club to field a youth side which subsequently lead to heavy defeats.

Latest figures on BetFair show that £31,000 has been traded on the Chester City Vs Eastbourne match compared to the £833 traded on Ebbsfleet United Vs Mansfield Town. It is thought that up to £2 million may have been gambled on this fixture through the many internet websites and high-street bookmaker shops. The crunch deadline for Chester City to pay their football debts is now just three days away with worried fans no nearer to knowing the club’s fate.

Worse than that, they are being kept in the dark. Despite repeated efforts from the media, no-one was able to to contact anyone at the club to confirm whether or not the outstanding money will be paid. And as D-day approaches, there are real fears the Blues will now be thrown out of the Football Conference.

Fans’ groups, other clubs, officials from the Football League and Conference plus the PFA were all willing to discuss the club’s crisis. But City officials wouldn’t answer the phone – or even come to the door when reporters called at the Deva Stadium.

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