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HELLO ALBERT, HELLO SPION KOP!
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HELLO ALBERT • ISSUE 25  

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Editorial
Fan Profile – Richard Goodier
A View from The West Stand
C'mon Arsenal!

Book Review – Moving The Goalposts


A VIEW FROM THE WEST STAND

Just before I sat down to write this article I had been reading the “Daily Mail” of 22nd April and happened to see a report that Stoke City were selling their old pitch at £3 a square metre with all the proceeds going to charity. I thought, what a difference in the public relations compared to our club and, try as they might, not a lot in this department has changed since the supporters request for pieces of the hallowed Sealand Road turf were turned down for no apparent reason. The events of the past few weeks have been a classic example of a sheer lack of communication between the club and it’s dwindling band of supporters.

The main reason has been of course, the lack of details in the recent Rescue Package and because of this, cynical supporters, hardened by similar disappointments in the past, do not trust, rightly or wrongly, the pronouncements coming from the boardroom at the Deva Stadium.

Why, I wonder, if we are to believe what we are told, that, not only has the cash from the sale of three players gone to pay off debts, but included in the package, is a cash injection from the chairman, has there been continued criticism of him?

The general opinion seems to be, why was the club allowed to reach a point where the bank bounced wages cheques? Having been in business myself for nearly twenty-five years, I know that banks are very reluctant to stop wage cheques. It is usually the last resort before a business goes bust.

What is needed is a frank statement from the club about the exact amounts involved in the "Rescue Package". For instance, how much is the chairman’s
contribution to the package? Is it a gift? Or is it a loan? If the latter, when would he require its repayment and at what rate of interest? These are the kind of questions that are troubling supporters and making them fear for the future.

Amongst other things, supporters will wish to see is a radical cut in the running costs of the club – for instance

•the amount of cars being run at the club’s expense;

•the amount of club officials there are, especially on match days.

•also the number of complimentary tickets that seem to be handed out before every home game. Remember for every free ticket, the club loses a potential £9. Multiply this by a hundred, for instance, and the club is deprived of nearly £1,000 a match.

The club is not in a position for such generosity.

As far as the playing side is concerned this season, Kevin Ratcliffe and his staff have, yet again, performed miracles. With all that has gone on behind the scenes, for the club to have been involved again in the promotion chase is totally remarkable. And to do it playing true football has been an added bonus. It was a delight to watch the youngsters going through their paces in the Colchester Utd game and playing in the Ratcliffe/Shelton pass’n’run mode.

My own favourite player of the season has been Neil Fisher (Not everyone’s favourite, I know). A true class player, perhaps playing in a division lower than he’s worth. He may not be the hardest worker in the side but a true delight to watch when either dribbling or passing the ball. He is without doubt, the best long-ball passer we have had for years. He very rarely wastes a pass – you never see him lump the ball anywhere for the sake of it. He is a similar player to Derek Jefferies, another class performer, who starred for City during the seventies (He used to get some stick from supporters as well). I’m hoping that Fish will be included in the manager’s plans for next season. And what about his goal against Colchester? Goal of the Season without doubt.

The management team’s achievements have been realised on very limited resources – and will not have gone unnoticed by other clubs in the League. Let’s hope the club’s future is assured before an approach comes in for their services.

I don’t want to cover old ground, yet again, in this publication but it must be obvious to all that Chester’s future can not be assured on a football only basis. The stadium must go all-sports with added leisure facilities for there to be any future.

And finally can I appeal once more for a sign at the end of Bumpers Lane, telling people where the club is? No-one seems to know why there isn’t one as the cost would not be prohibitive. Or is the club too embarrassed to tell people where it is?!

Editorial note. At the Fans Forum Mark Guterman said that the Council has promised new signs when the road works by the stadium are complete.

Chris Courtney-Williams


ISSUE 25 Editorial
Fan Profile – Richard Goodier
A View from The West Stand
C'mon Arsenal!

Book Review – Moving The Goalposts
 
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