Posts Tagged ‘football’

On Friday 5th March Chester City advised the League of their resignation from the Football League Youth Alliance, with immediate effect.This followed their expulsion from the Blue Square Conference on 26th February.

As a result, and to maintain the integrity of the competition, Chester City’s results this season have now been expunged.

All remaining fixtures involving Chester City have been canceled.

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An excellent article written by respected Journalist and Chester City supporter, Charlie Lambert:

I was at Burnley v Portsmouth today and normally I’d be listening out for the latest score from wherever Chester were playing. But not today and not for some time into the future. Yesterday my club was expelled from the Football Conference and that is pretty much that.

Bad news is still bad news even when it is expected. I doubt if I am the only Chester fan who will remember for the rest of our lives where we were when we heard the news. Of course if you’re not a Chester fan this may sound like so much hyperbole, but think for a moment: what if this was YOUR club? I was in one of the broadcast rooms at the University of Central Lancashire when the news flashed up on the screen. It was a horrible feeling.

Of course we all knew it was coming. It was obvious for months that the club could not complete the season. Appalling business practices, an atmosphere of violence and intimidation, and alienation of the supporters, had been going on for years. But it was still a hammer blow.

I suspect the football authorities will want to wash their hands of the Chester saga as soon as possible. I doubt if the national media will bat an eyelid. That would be a mistake. There are many lessons which can be learned for the benefit of other clubs. One is the over-indulgence of the football authorities who should have clamped down on the Vaughan regime much sooner. And even more deserving of penetrating questioning is the administrator who took over the club last summer and unbelievably sold it straight back to Vaughan, the very man who had created Chester’s crisis in the first place. This was akin to giving a convicted arsonist a can of petrol, a box of matches and a pat on the head. Who regulates these financial wizards? The administrator – Refresh Recovery of Skelmersdale – should be forced to answer for its actions. They were supposed to make decisions that would keep the company going. They made decisions that guaranteed its demise.

Among other lessons is that it always worth listening to the supporters. The fans are the only ones who have come out of this debacle with credibility. Their reading of events, as expressed on messageboards and by the City Fans United group, has been spot on.

So we have been kicked out of the league, and rightly so. What next? Unbelievably, things could get even worse. In less than two weeks the Chester City 2004 company faces a winding up order. If the Vaughan family contest this, or manage to hoodwink the court into allowing them to continue, we will be left with the ultimate lose-lose situation – the club with nowhere to play but the Vaughans still owning the company. The best solution is for the company to be wound up, leaving the way clear for the supporters to launch a phoenix club and start the long trek back to respectability.

And even here the waters are muddy. A group of football enthusiasts from Denmark have arrived on the scene, banding together through Facebook to come up with the spiffing wheeze of buying a football club. You guessed it, Chester. The Vaughans claimed to have sold it to them a week ago. Clearly they haven’t. But the presence of the Danes is an unwelcome distraction. There is no evidence that they have the money or the knowledge to carry this scheme through and it is hard to avoid the fear that they will bite off far more than they can chew if they proceed.

So our season is over, our reputation is trashed, and we have no idea if we can launch a new club or not. Football Association, Football Conference, the Vaughan family, and Refresh Recovery: you have a lot to answer for.

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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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Nine men and they still can’t beat us!  This was one of the most thrilling derbies of all time.  It remains to be seen if we will ever take part in another derby date with Wrexham ever again.

The Original match report…

Derek Mann for manager? Nearly 1,000 Chester fans will be nominating him and his team for the freedom of the city after a truly amazing derby clash on Tuesday. This game had everything golden goals, great saves penalty drama, sendings off and white-hot passion and at the end of it, who would dare write off battling Chester as relegation certainties?

One point was scant reward for a second half come back with only nine men following the dismissal of Chris Lightfoot and Eddie bishop but the performance will take pride of place in the annals of these cross border skirmishes.

Two men short and 2-1 down, this should have been a St.Valentines day massacre, instead Chester won the hearts of the fans by not only frustrating Wrexham but at times outplaying them It was a triumph for organisation character and physical fitness on a glue pot pitch, yet this was not just about the second half The game had an astonishing start with three goals and a penalty save in the first 18 minutes and the first half ended with Lightfoot getting the red card for a second bookable offence, quickly followed by Eddie bishop following and off the ball incident with Gary Bennett. The former city striker was never out of the action.

He had a header disallowed for pushing in the second minute and then had his penalty brilliantly saved by David Felgate a minute later after he had been brought down by David Flitcroft. He had another effort ruled out in the last minute of the game after suffering a barrage of abuse from the Chester fans who were incensed at what they considered to be an over the top reaction to the incident which resulted in Bishops dismissal. Chester responded well to the early Wrexham pressure by snatching a 13th minute lead. Milner was felled by Barry Jones and bishop converted the spot kick. Wrexham though were inspired and bounced back with two goals in three minutes.

Karl Connolly fired in the equaliser and then Bennett put them ahead with a glorious goal which he started himself with a cheeky back pass to Gareth Owen in midfield. Chester re-organised at half-time and sent out Chris priest at left back and Iain Jenkins at the centre of defence and both were outstanding in a stirring performance. Felgate, already a hero for his penalty save kept Chester in the game with a superb save from a Steve Watkins header, but was grateful to Julian Alsford for a goal-line clearance later.

Chester fans would have settled for a 2-1 defeat in the circumstances but hopes of something better grew as Wrexham failed to make their numerical advantage count. City counter attacked effectively and six minutes from the end were handsomely rewarded.

Iain Jenkins sent Milner away from the half way line and with a sight of goal appeared to have missed his opportunity by checking back with defenders hot on his heels. He needn`t have worried, for Milner wrong footed a defender, spotted Andy Marriot off his line and chipped the ball over his head and into the net.

The final whistle brought scenes of celebration reminiscent of promotion. A point will do little for their Division 2 survival hopes but the performance will live long in the memory.

Quotes from the main men

Gary Shelton was quick to pay tribute to the City supporters. He said: “The fans were fantastic. They were worth two players to us and I was pleased that were able to reward them . We showed a lot of character. We knew that if we stuck together we could get a result.”

City midfielder Chris Priest said: “The fans were brilliant and it irritated Wrexham. That’s what kept us going. There is a great team spirit at the club and this performance proved it. We knew we had to get behind the ball and rely on quick breaks and I must admit I could not have predicted the result.”

There was also generous praise from beaten Wrexham FC manager, Brian Flynn. “I must admire Chester. They were fighting for their lives and we weren’t. We didn’t make our advantage count.”

But nobody was more delighted than City’s caretaker manager Derek Mann. “I have never seen a performance like it with only nine men. It was magnificent. We knew we would be in for a pounding early on but Dave Felgate got us out of gaol with his penalty save.”

Mann continued: “The performance speaks volumes for the type of lads we have at the club. There have been a lot of downs at the club this season and this match has given everyone a big boost. I think this result worth more than three points to our supporters whop were magnificent. I hope they will carry on where they left off.”

The match programme…

My prized possession, an autographed souvenir from the day itself.  Oh what memories.

Fifteen years on, St Milner himself recalls…

Speaking to the Chester Chronicle earlier in the week, Chester City legend Andy Milner remembered the moment that sent City fans into wild ecstasy.

“I set off and there was no-one around so I thought I’d have a nice little run with the ball because it just might give the defence some breathing space,” said the 43-year-old, now a driving instructor living in Crewe. “I just kept on going and it opened up.

“I didn’t fancy taking it on with my left so I made a little step back and got it on my favoured right. Anyone who watched Chester regularly knew that my left foot wasn’t the best!”

“The bus journey back was lively,” he recalled. “We just knew what it meant to everyone. It was nice. Even though we were having a terrible season and it was obvious we were going to go down, it was a little bit of local pride. It was something for the fans, to be honest.”

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Can you help fill the gaps in a piece of research i’m undertaking?  In trying to build a captains roll-call, I’m trying to identify a complete record of Chester FC first team captains.  Here’s the results so far.  If you can help fill the gaps, please email me directly at fammauview@yahoo.co.uk.
Graham Barrow was captain, but which season(s)?
Trevor Storton – which season(s)?
Reg Matthewson – which season(s)?
Cliff Mansley – which season(s)?

1885-86 James Southworth
1892-93 Tommy Flemming
1894-95 Bob Bull
1903-04 David Hall
1904-05 Tommy Delaney
1921-22 Donnachie
1922-23 Robinson
1924-25 Tommy Fleetwood
1925-26 Jack Barton, Emlyn Hughes
1930-31 Joshua Atkinson
1931-32 Tommy Jennings
1932-33 Baden Herod
1933-34 Harry Skitt
1934-35 Jonnie Pitcairn
1935-36 Arthur Wilson
1936-37 Ted Common
1937-38 Ted Common
1938-39 Harold Howarth
1939-40 Harold Howarth – Vice Captain = Willis Gregg


1946-47 Tommy Burden, Trevor Walters
1947-48 Trevor Walters
1948-49 Reg Butcher
1949-50 Eric Sibley, Tommy Astbury, Eric Lee
1950-51 Tommy Astbury
1951-52 Eric Lee
1952-53 Ralph Morement
1953-54 Ray Gill
1954-55 Ray Gill
1955-56 Ray Gill
1956-57 Ray Gill
1957-58 Billy Foulkes
1958-59 Saunders
1959-60 Frank Clempson
1960-61 Frank Clempson
1961-62 Hennin
1968-69 Cliff Sear
1969-70 Terry Bradbury
1970-71 Terry Bradbury
1971-72 Dave Pountney
1973-74 Reg Matthewson
1974-75 Reg Matthewson
1975-76 Reg Matthewson
1976-77 Alan Oakes
1977-78 Bob Delgado
1983-84 Andy Holden ?
1985-86 Andy Holden
1989-90 Graham Barrow
1993-94 Iain Jenkins, Chris Lightfoot
1995-96 Peter Jackson, Eddie Bishop
1996-97 Peter Jackson
1997-98 Iain Jenkins
1999-00 Andy Crosby
2002-2003 Jimmy Kelly, Gary Brabin
2003-2004 Paul Carden
2004-2005 Paul Carden
2005-2006 Stephen Vaughan, Graham Branch, Stewart Drummond
2006-2007 Roberto Martinez
2007-2008 Paul Butler, Paul Linwood
2008-2009 Paul Linwood
2009-2010 Tim Ryan, Shaun Kelly

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Stephen Vaughan, the former (hmmm?!?!?!?) owner of Chester City Football Club, is not a man to look a gift horse in the mouth.

He has, he says been “speaking to possible investors in the football club and one potential investor in talks has been boxing promoter Frank Warren”.

Perhaps Vaughan’s description of a “potential investor in talks according to today’s issue of the Guardian newspaper” is different to what yours and mine would be. But one thing is for certain: his description of an investor is different to Frank Warren’s. “I am not buying Chester City,” Britain’s most successful boxing promoter told the Guardian. “Someone rang me yesterday but I’m not interested.”

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The weekend press reports of players striking at Chester City are causing new and even greater concerns to the members of City Fans United.

The financial and ownership problems are well documented, but this weekend has revealed a new and even more intolerable situation as it appears that the club is now finding itself in difficulties fulfilling its fixtures on a week to week basis.

One match has already been abandoned due to a small, well behaved protest by supporters. Last Saturday’s match was moved, at the club’s request, to Friday evening due to an inability to provide the necessary number of stewards. Next week’s match is currently in jeopardy as the players are threatening to withdraw labour due to their wages not being fully paid yet again.

In the past it has emerged that the PFA have helped with wages, but this new development is potentially terminal for the Club. CFU would therefore call upon the Vaughan family to explain to the long suffering supporters of this wonderful, historic Club their business plan.

We call upon them to tell us their short term survival plans for the Club. Plans which will hopefully stop the Club lurching from crisis to crisis. We would then ask them to make public their long term plans for the Club. Plans which aim to reintegrate us into the family of football that we have seemingly isolated ourselves from.

Plans that will see our Club survive long beyond us, for our children and their children to enjoy. We also call upon the owner Stephen Vaughan, whose father has repeatedly stated that he has the best interests of our club at heart, to make the above knowledge available to its supporters, or quote a sensible price to sell the Club and move on.

We beg them to act now. To act decisively to try and keep this 125 year old much loved institution alive before it is too late.

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