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Another Thursday, another date with destiny.

As the protracted game of brinkmanship between the Vaughan Family Football Club and the Football authorities continues, the game seems like it is heading for a conclusion.

Much like a game of chess where the opponent still has all his pieces on the board the Vaughan family are being pursued by creditors and the authorities until that final piece in the Vaughan chess set is backed into a corner from where it can not escape.

Today the club will answer five charges of breaking Conference rules,

Rule 2.12
Failing to declare the officers of the club and file the fit & proper person’s declaration for those club officials……….CHECK

Rule 4.8
Failure to attend to competition business…………CHECK

Rule 8.6
Failure to fulfil two fixtures against Forest Green Rovers and Wrexham AFC………….CHECK

Rule 11
Failure to pay Football Creditors as they fall due……….CHECK

Rule18
Bringing the Competition into disrepute………..CHECK

There is no doubt in my mind that the Vaughan family delegation headed by Stephen junior and assisted by Gray and Metcalf will try to paint a picture that does not mirror the devastation that our once proud club has become. No doubt the financial picture painted will not mention the Vaughan loans, as they only seem to come into play when a credible buyer takes an interest. We know that the Conference yet again have contacted their membership to gauge their reactions to the expulsion of the club. It may be a case of dotting I’s and crossing T’s but that is a pointless exercise as most will vote in the way that favours their individual clubs and not in the best interests of the competition.

When Vaughan junior appears today before the Conference it should come down to a simple question,

Can you guarantee that the club can complete its fixtures this season?

We know, the football world know that they can not guarantee being able to fund the coach to Histon on Saturday or guarantee that any players will be on it as both those creditors still remain unpaid…………….. CHECK MATE

With mercy killing a topical subject at present, we the fans stand over the patient’s bed and hope that those who have the power use it wisely and do not let this farce continue.

If the Conference sanctions expulsion today we should never forgive and never forget the actions of those who have the blood of this club on its hands.

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Chester MP Christine Russell has said Chester City FC fans are losing out most from their current plight.
Ms Russell said: “It’s a really sad day. You have to ask yourself where have the football authorities been through this, with their Fit and Proper Persons Test and carrying out due diligence?
“I feel ever so strongly about the club – it’s the loyal fans who have stuck through this and they stand to lose the most from it. It’s sad as the fans deserve to have a voice in the ownership of the club.
“The overall city will be a loser too, from hearing the results come through when Chester play on a Saturday. You lose that recognition.
“Technically the government cannot dictate to the Football League, but they have to bring in tough regulations, and enforce the ones they have, regarding ownership of clubs.
“There are so many which are owned by rich men, or ones who call themselves rich men, and others who are asset-strippers, at football clubs across the UK.
“The situation was desperate from when the club went into administration last summer. They had such a mountain to climb.
“We just need someone at the club who has a first and foremost interest in football.”

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Reports today have suggested that Chester City have been invited to an urgent meeting with the Football Conference to discuss the acute financial problems affecting the Deva Stadium club. 

The Blues cash crisis appears to be no closer to being solved, especially after the Blues home game against Grays Athletic was called off due to a frozen pitch (hmm?) … or was that a player strike… or even a rumoured walkout by match stewards.

Reports in the local press suggest the meeting, which will include representation from the Football Conference, Football Association and the Football League will take place on Wednesday.

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The following abandoned matches have been ordered to be replayed by the Football Conference….
Lewes v St Albans City (28th October 2009) due to referee’s decision in relation to fog.

Chester City v Eastbourne Borough (28th November 2009) due to advice by police after pitch incursion.

A report from the match referee is currently subject of investigation by the Football Association and therefore it would be inappropriate for the Football Conference to make further comment.

Arrangements will now be made by the Football Conference and the clubs involved to set the dates for these matches to be replayed and the clubs themselves will confirm those new dates in due course.

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The excellent twohundredpercent.net and their forthright views on CCFC.
The axe swung, then, and the side of the neck was lightly grazed. Actually, in spite of what we may well be thinking (and this is a feeling that is spreading around the game ilke wildfire at present), there may be an ounce of common sense in the Football Conference’s decision to allow Chester City a temporary reprieve until Thursday: they are playing Cambridge United at The Abbey Stadium tomorrow night and Cambridge would have been put to a considerable amount of inconvenience (and, of course, expense) were the match to not be played. Here is the Football Conference’s statement on today’s talks in full:
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.
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. The money owed to Wrexham and Vauxhall Motors, which are the crux of the issue being debated (as opposed to the various misdemeanours of Stephen Vaughan Senior and/or Junior), have not, apparently, been paid. If the issue of inconvenience to Cambridge United has been taken into account, however, and this turns out to be the reason for Chester being thrown a further seventy-two hours to try and sort themselves out, then Thursday’s meeting will end less than forty-eight hours before Chester are due to play Luton Town at The Deva Stadium.
More protests are likely for Saturday and this time the media, who were largely caught napping by the abandonment of last weekend’s match against Eastbourne Borough, are likely to be paying much closer attention this coming Saturday if the club does manage to somehow to get itself yet another stay of execution on Thursday. What surprises might the increasingly militant and agitated Chester crowd have in store to try and top last Saturday’s events? It seems unlikely that they would make the mistake of publicising it first. Should the Football Conference confound expectations and grant them another chance, though, the likelihood is that all Chester home matches will become publicity stunts to varying degrees, until the league does the decent thing and puts the club out of its misery.
The irony of this situation is that there is nothing that the Football Conference wants more than to be Taken Seriously. The ground requirements are stiff so that as many teams as possible have a chance of promotion into the Football League, and the financial requirements used to be stringent with clubs being denied promotion unless they could prove that they were sustainable. What is happening at the moment, however, is making a laughing stock of the Football Conference and, in a broader sense, of non-league football in general. The question that we therefore have to ask is who is this being dragged out for the benefit of.
It isn’t for the benefit of the clubs in the league, who are playing matches against a club without even knowing whether the results will be worth anything in a few weeks. It isn’t for the benefit of the Blue Square Premier, which is being made to look like a league that has a member club that is a combination of a tragedy, a soap opera, a disgrace and a laughing stock. It isn’t for the benefit of the players and staff, who aren’t being paid. It isn’t even to the benefit of the supporters, who now seem resigned to the death of this club and who would probably benefit the most from the closure club, to give them a chance of getting a new, democratically-owned club into The Deva Stadium, even if it was to start a far lower level than that at which what passes for Chester City currently plays.
To an extent, however, the Football Conference have been stuck between a rock and a hard place. Leant on from one side by the Football Association, who considered them to be in breach of their own rules, and on the other by the Football League, who were exerting pressure to guarantee the future of clubs that fall out of the league. The “easy” solution would be for someone to give the club their Football League parachute money (a sizeable amount of money), but this money is discretionary and there is, presumably, a reason why it is not being released by the Football League. In the meantime, the match against Cambridge United goes ahead – whether there is any point in this match being played, however, will not be known until Thursday at the earliest

 

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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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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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