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Chester City old boy Daryl Clare has expressed his sadness at the demise of his former club – but is delighted current club Gateshead will be the main beneficiaries.

Clare scored a superb 48 goals in 60 league games during a successful two year stay at the Deva Stadium, helping the club back into the Football League in his second season.

That saw the former Grimsby Town striker claim the Conference Golden Boot in 2003/4, but Chester are now on the brink of extinction.

The 125 year old club have been voted out of the Blue Square Premier by the member clubs causing their results this season to be expunged.

Gateshead were the only side to lose twice against Chester while Cambridge United and Tamworth will lose their six points for doing the double over the former Football League club.

Both are now in the thick of the relegation battle along with Salisbury City who will have four points deducted while struggling Ebbsfleet and Forest Green each lose three points.

Clare said: “Chester’s expulsion has given us a real leg up as there are now eight clubs involved in the battle to avoid the last two relegation places.

“I believe we would have stayed up anyway and I’ve played in sides that have pushed for the top six who weren’t as good as the current Gateshead side.

“But I am very sad at what has happened at Chester. They are a club close to my heart and I played the best football of my career there.

“The only saving grace is that the supporters want to form a new club and work their way through the leagues like AFC Wimbledon have done.”

“I wish them all the success in the future but I am now at Gateshead and we have a big two months ahead of us.”

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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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Following the general meeting the Board of the Football Conference convened and declared in line with Football Conference Rule 13.9 that Chester City’s record in the Blue Square Premier this season will be expunged.

The resultant changes to the table which will affect other club records will not be activated until any right of appeal process has expired or such appeal dealt with.

For avoidance of doubt, Chester City FC can only appeal against the original decision of the Board in relation to Football Conference Rule 8.6 which relates to their recommendation to member clubs. There can be no direct appeal via the Football Association in respect of the decision by member clubs relating to Article 5.2.

Chester City FC, although having the right to make a presentation to the member clubs against the recommendation, did not attend the meeting.

Friday’s events are unparalleled in the history of our national sport and it is with much regret these circumstances have evolved.

The Football Conference are saddened that any club should meet such a fate and it sympathises with those who hold the club dear to their hearts, especially after a proud heritage of 125 years.

Whilst the decision of member clubs was taken in respect of the club failing to fulfil fixtures, behind these failures is a lesson to every club at whatever level they participate.

Clubs have to live within their means and financial prudence can be the only way forward.

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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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The Football Conference have expelled Chester City following a vote of it’s member clubs this morning at Rushden & Diamonds’ Nene Park Stadium.

Needing 75% support of it’s motion to expel Chester City, the vote has been carried and Chester City Football Club have been expelled from the league.

The Board of the Football Conference has issued a statement following the meeting of member clubs at Rushden & Diamonds on Friday morning.

The statement reads: “Member clubs of the Football Conference, at a general meeting held today, voted in support of the Board of Director`s recommendation to erase Chester City (2004) FC Ltd from membership in accordance with Article 5.2.

“Chester City did not attend the meeting.”

City Fans United’s initial reaction to the news was one of sadness.

“This is a sad day in the history of the football club,” said CFU spokesman Jeff Banks.

“But the right decision was made. Conference chairmen have looked at the bigger picture and seen that this was the best way forward for the football club.

“We must now continue with our plans to form a new football club in the city.”

Barrie Hipkiss, once a player at the club and a fan for more than 60 years, said he was devastated.

“This is the last thing I wanted to see happen,” he said. “I feel for the players, the youngsters, the groundstaff, Tony Allen the secretary, because this is a bad day for them.

“I spoke to Bob Gray earlier and he said he was sure tomorrow’s game against Oxford would be on but he was looking at pounds, shillings and pence.

“I would have liked to see the club survive but realistically I could not see us fulfilling our fixtures and that was the key point.

“I have also lost a lot of respect for Stephen Vaughan. I volunteered at the club and gave a lot to it and he then comes out and calls the fans idiots.

“That didn’t go down very well and if he’s calling me an idiot, well, he’s lost my respect.”

Today’s decision by member clubs to expel Chester City from the Football Conference is “unparalleled in the history of our national sport” says the league’s press officer Colin Peake. He also warned that the club’s dire plight should act as “a wake-up call” to all clubs tempted to live beyond their means.

But he also stressed that moves by disenchanted Blues fans to encourage clubs to kick City out were not taken into consideration when the big vote was held.

“Chester City can appeal, but they cannot appeal against the decision made this morning,” added Peake. “The only thing they can appeal against is the decision originally of the Conference board to recommend to its members that Chester be erased from membership.

“The fans have been disgruntled, to put it politely, with the running of the club, and have had their own campaign to try and persuade other clubs to follow the recommendation of the board. But none of that was taken into account by the board. It was kept strictly on legal terms.

“Today’s events are unparalleled in the history of our national sport, and it is with much regret that these circumstances have evolved.

“The Football Conference are very sad that any club should go such a way, but especially one with a proud 125-year-old history. So it should come as a wake-up call to all clubs that they must live within their means, and that financial prudence can be the only way forward for football clubs at all levels.”

Peake also said that Chester City officials were invited to attend today’s crunch meeting held at Rushden and Diamonds’ Nene Park ground but chose not to.

Blues director of football Morell Maison said the decision could be good for football.

“This has been coming for a long time,” he said. “My first reaction was shock, but when you think, there are probably six or seven clubs operating at the moment in a similar position.

“Where Chester failed was the fundamental principle of football, they were unable to play games. Other club keep going because they play games.

“There is a lot of shock around the club at the moment but we have been in talks overnight to look at the options because there is still a business there, it still has a ground.

“I do not know what the Vaughan family are planning but I do know that the club could continue, get on an even keel, pay off it’s debts and apply for re-entry further down football’s feeder leagues.

“There are people who say they can get this club going well let’s see if they can.”

What now? Will the Danish consortium now back off, can a City Fans United led phoenix club rise from the ashes.

Only time will tell….More news as soon as we have it….

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125 years of football in Chester has finally come to an end today as Chester City have been expelled from the Football Conference. The Conference Board received over 75% of the votes required from member clubs at today’s meeting to throw them out. The club now face a winding up order on 10 March from HMRC for an over an paid tax bill of £26,125.

Football Conference statement
The Board of the Football Conference has issued a statement following the meeting of member clubs at Rushden & Diamonds on Friday morning.

The statement reads: “Member clubs of the Football Conference, at a general meeting held today, voted in support of the Board of Director’s recommendation to erase Chester City (2004) FC Ltd from membership in accordance with Article 5.2. Chester City did not attend the meeting.”

Fans reaction
City Fans United spokesman Jeff Banks gave his reaction to the Chester Chronicle: “This is a sad day in the history of the football club.”

“But the right decision was made. Conference chairmen have looked at the bigger picture and seen that this was the best way forward for the football club. We must now continue with our plans to form a new football club in the city.”

Barrie Hipkiss, once a player at the club and a fan for more than 60 years, said he was devastated.

“This is the last thing I wanted to see happen. I feel for the players, the youngsters, the groundstaff, Tony Allen the secretary, because this is a bad day for them.”

“I spoke to Bob Gray earlier and he said he was sure tomorrow’s game against Oxford would be on but he was looking at pounds, shillings and pence.”

“I would have liked to see the club survive but realistically I could not see us fulfilling our fixtures and that was the key point.”
“I have also lost a lot of respect for Stephen Vaughan. I volunteered at the club and gave a lot to it and he then comes out and calls the fans idiots. That didn’t go down very well and if he’s calling me an idiot, well, he’s lost my respect.”

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THE Football Conference announce that Member Clubs have confirmed, in accordance with the Articles of Association of the Ltd Company, that they consent to a meeting to consider the recommendation to expel Chester City (2004) FC from membership, being convened with less than 21 days notice.

The matter is therefore scheduled to be heard on Friday, 26th February 2010 at Rushden & Diamonds FC, commencing at 11am.

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