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Another excellent article pinged back from those wonderful guys at twohundredpercent.
The festive period may have come and gone, but the confusing world of the ownership of football clubs continues to rumble on. The recent break has seen developments involving two names that have graced these pages before, Morell
Maison and John Batchelor. with mixed results. Maison came to our attention because of his time in charge at Southern League club Halesowen Town, but has now resurfaced at, of all places, Chester City, where he was announced as their
new Director of Football on Boxing Day.
During his time at the club, the Yeltz were kicked out of the FA Cup and the FA Trophy by the Football Association, ran up horrifying debts, were boycotted by the club’s own supporters, had the West Midlands Police Economic Crime Unit
investigating allegations of fraud at the club and ended up being released on bail by the police over the matter. There are several aspects of this appointment that are curious, though. The first is the issue of whether he is being paid or not because, if he is, he’s doing better than the players, who are believed not to have been paid since November.
The second interesting aspect of this is the issue of Stephen Vaughan’s continuing interest in the club. Vaughan failed the Football Association’s Fit & Proper test when he was banned as a company director because of his admission of
carousel fraud, and should have offloaded his interest in the club by the middle of December. It was, however, Vaughan that was reported as having met Maison and as recently as the 22nd of December Vaughan was confirmed as not having sold his share in the club, although he told the Liverpool Daily Post that a consortium had “due-dilligence on the football club and I am now hoping we can expect a completion of a deal before the new year”. Three days left, then.
There is, amid all of this bad news, a small chink of light for Chester City supporters. Yet another of the serial football club owners whose name had occasionally been mentioned in association with the club (and another bête noire
of this site), John Batchelor, can now scrub his name off the list of buying any football clubs in the near future. Batchelor was ruinously involved at York City earlier in the decade, was sniffing around Mansfield Town earlier this year and described himself as an asset-stripper in his involvement in football clubs, but he has now been banned from acting as a company director for seven years.
Batchelor, who seemed to take a perverse pride in what he seemed to believe was no more than being plain speaking but seemed only to alarm anybody connected with any football club that he went within ten miles of, was investigated by the Insolvency Service’s Disqualification Investigation Team over his conduct in the affairs of two companies that he was acting as a director of, Moornate Chemists Limited and The Besglos Polish Company Limited. He was found to have been making payments to himself – the sum total being around £50,000 – while he knew that these two companies were insolvent. They both went into administration in the summer of 2007 with debts of £750,000.
The full extent of Batchelor’s asset-stripping, therefore, is clear. While at York City, he took £120,000 on sponsorship out of the club and diverted it towards his motor racing team. Of the twenty-four companies of which he has been
a director, fourteen had been struck off the companies register and six have been insolvent. He would, however, still have passed the Football Association’s Fit & Proper Persons test until his disqualification was announced. As we have
seen repeatedly over the last few months, though, it is almost impossible for anyone to be declared as unfit and improper to run a football club unless an outside organisation such as the Insolvency Service gets involved first.
Chester City will finish 2009 with a negative points tally after their match this afternoon was postponed. No-one at the Football Conference, the Football League or the Football Association has yet made a public statement on the
startling success of their decision to allow Vaughan to perform what could best be described as a “switcheroo” during the summer. Exactly who will benefit, and in what way, from the involvement of Morell Maison at Chester City Football Club is anybody’s guess, and the bare fact of the matter is that there is precious little to suggest that the issues surrounding the ownership of the club has been resolved. Still, at least John Batchelor now cannot get his paws on another football club for a few years, which is a start.

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Chester City travel to face York City  at Bootham Crescent on Tuesday night (kick off 7.45) just days after the conference side overcame our Cheshire rivals, Crewe Alexandra, last weekend in the FA Cup.

Martin Foyle’s men will be looking to extend their season-long unbeaten home run as well as reduce the four point gap between themselves and the Play Off places. 

Struggling Chester are resurgent since the vastly experienced Jim Harvey took over as manager after the sacking of former Scarborough chief Mick Wadsworth little over a month ago.

In fact, the Blues’ only defeat on the road this season was a 4-0 thrashing at runaway leaders Oxford way back in August and Harvey has also led his new side to wins in each of their last three games.

Weighed down by a 25 point deduction, the Blues are still on minus four points even with their good run of form after a poor start to the campaign and remain a hefty nineteen points from safety.

Chester City will be without highly rated defender Johnny Flynn, who had been on loan from Blackburn Rovers, after he was called up to the Northern Ireland under 21s squad and recalled by the Premiership side.

Former Scarborough prospect Michael Coulson recently joined Chester on loan from Barnsley and is likely to start in an advanced role alongside seven-goal top scorer Nick Chadwick.

Mark Beesley should also be involved after extending his loan spell from Cambridge United which means midfielder Ben Wilkinson, released by the Minstermen last season, is expected to warm the bench for the Blues.

 

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Chester City manager Jim Harvey says the Blues can survive in the Blue Square Premiership after watching Chester’s impressive away victory over hapless Grays Athletic.
The former Morecambe manager has turned Chester City’s fortunes in dramatic fashion with three wins on the bounce boosting the players confidence big time.
Harvey told reporters on Saturday night: “Our target has always been to try and get out of our minus points deficit and into positive numbers. If we can manage that then we’ll start to put a little bit more pressure on the teams above us.
“If we can get results now at York City on Tuesday night and at Tamworth next Saturday then we can maybe start to look over our shoulders and close the gap on the four teams immediately above us.
“There is no reason, with performances like the one at Grays, why we shouldn’t survive in the Blue Square Premier Division.”
Let’s hope Jim can fix it for us!

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Jim Harvey believes his Chester City players will get a huge psychological lift if they take seven points from their next three matches – as it will haul the Blues up to the magical zero-point mark.
A trio of away days await City in the next eight days and if they return from the trips to Grays Athletic, York City and Tamworth with two victories and a draw, they will have wiped out the debilitating 25-point penalty incurred for the club’s off-the-field problems.
While Chester’s future remains far from clear, impressive boss Harvey is going about his business as usual and he reckons the Blues will have the chance of survival if they are within 12 points of safety come the New Year.
“It will be undoubtedly be a lift once we get to zero as you’re then in the same street as the other teams,” said Harvey, whose rock-bottom side make their way to fourth-from-bottom Grays Athletic on Saturday (3pm) and play-off chasing York City on Tuesday (7.45pm). “Just to see that 25 points wiped off will be a boost.
“We were seven wins behind but Saturday’s win over Wimbledon probably means we’re down to about 6.1 wins! But in all seriousness, if we can get that down by the end of Christmas and be about 12 points behind, then that would not be something we couldn’t achieve.
“That’s the focus and we’ve just got to keep showing the same focus and belief we showed on Saturday.”
The 3-1 victory over an AFC Wimbledon team boasting a seven-match unbeaten away record was the first time City had recorded back-to-back league wins in 99 games.
Harvey said: “The lads have set the standard and now they have to try and maintain that level of performance.
“Grays is a six-pointer and it would be nice to think we will be going down there with a little bit more confidence following the Wimbledon win and go there expecting to get a result.”
The Blues have not lost on the road in eight but with seven of those matches ending in draws, Harvey said: “Although the results have been good away from home, we haven’t scored many goals. If we can keep that dogged resilience and keep getting draws that would be great, but it would be even better if we can get a few away wins because then we really would be back in business as I’m sure the home form will improve because of our style of play.”
Michael Lea and Anthony Barry have not trained this week and so are major doubts for the Grays clash.
City have until a week on Monday to settle their football-related debts or face being kicked out of the Conference, but Harvey prefers to stay focused on on-the-field matters. He said: “We’ve got to forgot about that and just to concentrate on what we can influence – and that’s players and results.

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Cheshire based business man John Batchelor is back in to buy the Blues.

The controversial former York City owner claims Gillico – the company he is fronting – have made a £1.5m offer for Chester City and is waiting on Stephen Vaughan’s response.

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