Funeral Blues (With apologies
to W H Auden)
Stop all the papers, cut off the
Life now in Chester has a solemn tone.
Silence the Tannoy and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
I followed City North, South and
East and West.
During working week and Saturday rest.
They were my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought they would stay up for ever; I was wrong.
May 3 2000
Chester's fate is still
in the balance until Saturday. By five o'clock we
should know whether we are extending our sixty-nine
year stay in the Football League or going on loan
to the Conference. The good thing is that we are,
thanks to Ian Atkins and his valiant charges, in
a position where we know that a win at home to Barry
Fry's unpredicatable Posh will secure survival. Come
on you Blues!
April 26 2000
An eventful Easter weekend
saw Chester come away from a saturated Macclesfield
with a point. No doubt the team were inspired by
a City streaker who flew through the air like a
pink hippo to wallow in the Moss Rose mud. Then
on Monday two goals in a minute against York led
to ecstatic scenes at the Deva as Chester rose
from the dead.
Two games left but still a long
way to go. Keep it up City!
April 19 2000
A large and fanatical
away following at Leyton Orient clapped and chanted
like a choir of buddhist monks as Chester came from
behind to grab a vital victory. A non-stop barrage
of verbal support inspired the team to hold on for
the three point which have taken us off the bottom.
There is still a tough challenge ahead if we are
to stay in the League though beginning at
our Cheshire cousins Macclesfield on Saturday.
April 12 2000
A disastrous result at
a throbbing Deva Stadium on Saturday as Chester succumbed
to Carlisle's sucker punch. Not only did the visitors
score with their first shot on goal in the third
minute of added time, they had just been reduced
to nine men. Though we lost ground last week we're
hoping that City return from the Orient at the weekend
bearing gifts three points to be precise.
April 5 2000
Over eight hundred fans,
many of them taking advantage of travel subsidised
by the Independent Supporters' Association, crossed
the Pennines to cheer Chester on to a second successive
victory. It's the first time the team has managed
this all season and the excellent win at Halifax
has given fresh hope in the Great Escape Campaign.
City fans need to make their voices heard again at
Saturday's momentous match with Carlisle.
March 28 2000
City's sensational 5-0 win
over Mansfield has left their fans in a state of
dizzy euphoria for several days. This is no time
to rest on any laurels, however, as the season
draws to a climax. The Independent Supporters Association
are subsidising travel to City's next match at
Halifax. Chester expects every Cestrian to get
behind the team in their hour of need and build
on last week's morale boosting result.
March 21 2000
Although it's seemed
almost treasonable to say so until now, Chester appear
to have one foot in the Conference after recent results.
Tony Hemmings gave City the lead with a spectacular
goal against Hartlepool on Tuesday. But a second
half display which lacked nerve saw City defend way
too deep and invite pressure and an inevitable equaliser
from the visitors. Draws are hardly enough for us
March 15 2000
The woodwork twice
denied Luke Beckett as he tried to break the deadlock
at the Deva when City faced Shrewsbury. First his
header thumped against the crossbar and later a superb
angled shot hit the far post. The ball seemed to
deny all the laws of physics as, instead of rippling
the net, it bounced back into play. Let's hope for
better luck on our travels to Southend this weekend.
March 8 2000
A successful trip
to the West Country with the squad staying at an
army camp rather than a cushy hotel has yielded four
points for City and elevated them from the bottom.
The stage is set now for a crunch match on Saturday
when former boss Kevin Ratcliffe returns to the Deva
with local rivals Shrewsbury. It promises to be very
exciting not to be missed.
March 1 2000
City fans are still
smarting from our worst ever League defeat at home.
One disgruntled chap chucked his replica shirt onto
the pitch in disgust as he walked out early. In this
character-building season this has been our toughest
test. Where do we go from here?. Exeter actually.
Let's hope that the Cheshire cats will be grinning
again after we cream some points from Devon over
February 23 2000
City's run of desperately
bad luck continued at Swansea where Chester had led
for over an hour until the last five minutes. Then
they conceded an unfortunate own goal and, even worse,
the winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Our friends from Brighton with whom we shared
a memorable Fans United Day last year visit
us on Saturday. Their escape of the drop a couple
of years ago can inspire us to do the same.
February 16 2000
The fans of Manchester
United, Nigeria and Chester all suffered from debatable
decisions over whether the ball crossed the goal
line or not last weekend. Their teams' situations
are vastly different however. For Chester the two
extra points, if the goal had been given, would have
lifted them level with Carlisle. Points are at a
premium for City but The Vetch, next port
of call, is a difficult place to secure them.
February 9 2000
The Wilbutts Lane
terracing at Spotland is soon to be demolished. Work
almost began early as six hundred and seventy-eight
Chester fans raised the roof, cheering Luke Beckett's
superb equaliser with eight minutes left. Cruelly,
the point which City's second half fight back deserved
was snatched away in the dying seconds as Rochdale
struck the winner. But there were enough signs to
suggest this was a mere hiccup in the Great Escape
February 2 2000
conditions meant that it wasn't a pretty match at
the Deva on Saturday. City fans are not complaining what
mattered more than anything was the result a
welcome three points against Torquay. Ian Atkins'
organisational skills are beginning to rub off on
the team and perhaps confidence will begin to increase
as well now. After our visit to Rochdale this weekend
let's hope we're whistling the theme from The Great
Escape once again.
January 26 2000
has had many false dawns already but the fans are
preparing to launch a final rearguard action against
the drop to the Conference. Ian Atkins is chair of
the escape committee but he needs the troops to rally
round him. So every closet Chester fan is summoned
out of the woodwork to get down to the Deva and lend
their support to the Great Escape 2000 (The year,
that is, not the size of the crowd) beginning
on Saturday against Torquay.
January 19 2000
The scale of the
task facing Ian Atkins was apparent last Saturday
as City were comfortably beaten by Rotherham. He
couldn't have had a much tougher start with matches
against promotion contenders. This weekend Atkins
returns to his former club Northampton at
least he should be aware of what the opposition can
do. A few years ago he steered the Cobblers to safety
when they faced the drop. The City faithful hope
he can repeat the miracle for us.
January 12 2000
Ian Atkins has
been installed as Director of Football at the Deva.
He regards saving Chester from relegation as the
ultimate challenge. He brought an almost immediate
improvement in performance with his first match in
charge against Darlington. But for the unfortunate
sending off of debutant Keister, Chester might easily
have taken something from the game against slick
and promotion-bound opposition. Another tough game
beckons with the visit of Rotherham on Saturday.
January 5 2000
A calamitous Christmas
period saw Chester not only defeated by their relegation
rivals but well and truly hammered. Terry Smith has
finally decided to appoint a manager. Whoever takes
on the position has a difficult task ahead. Ironically
for a team that's bottom of the League, two of our
squad are on international duty at the weekend Angus
Eve for Trinidad and Martin Nash for Canada we'll
miss them against high flying Darlington.
New Year Wish List 2000
1. A mega-rich sugar
daddy who would say, "Blow the expense. Let's go
for the Champion's League but this is your
club what do you think?".
2. Some experienced players to lend guile and wisdom to a young squad.
3. Lady Luck (Deva Diva?) to convert some of City's promising performances
into the hard currency of League victories.
4. The winners of the Conference 2000 to have a ground which does not
meet the League's minimum requirements.
There's little doubt
what the majority of Chester City fans would like
to find in their stocking at Christmas. A canny and
experienced manager. Someone who will transform City's
fortunes and help them escape the trapdoor to the
Conference. We know it's wishful thinking but Oh!
how we long for a season of boring, mid-table obscurity.
December 15 1999
December 8 1999
A 4-1 defeat against
Manchester City on Sunday was cruel reward for a
Chester side who more than matched their illustrious
neighbours for eighty minutes or so. Even Joe Royle
had to admit as much. Chester's top striker, Luke
Beckett, might have had a hat trick on another day may
be his subconscious (He was a season ticket holder
at Maine Road for several years) worked against him.
The scoreline at Underhill
was true to form as Barnet moved further a head at
the top of the table and Chester remain rooted at the
bottom. But the result hides a good second half performance
by City for which they deserved a share of the spoils.
Unfortunately its points that win prizes... ..Except
in the Cup of course, which provides welcome distraction
on Sunday, when Manchester City visit a packed Deva
December 1 1999
Chaotic scenes at
the Deva last weekend as fans queued to get in and
then queued again to buy a programme. The reason
for the rise in demand to see the League's currently
bottom club is the prospect of seeing them play Man
City in the FA Cup. Saturday's match programmes are
the vouchers for cup tie tickets. The larger than
usual crowd could not inspire Chester to win as they
slipped to their seventh home defeat this
time to Swansea.
November 24 1999
after City's win at Stalybridge, Chester owner/manager
Terry Smith was asked who he wanted in the third
round of the FA Cup. "We don't need to draw a big
club for the money" he said as Chester City are not
losing money at the moment a considerable
achievement. Most City fans were delighted, however,
when the other City from Manchester popped
out of the hat. Another full house at the Deva should
November 17 1999
Of the five north-east
Football League clubs, Hartlepool is the only one
where Chester haven't recorded a victory since 1980.
That hoodoo continued on Saturday as City went down
1-0. Not even England's victory at Hampden Park could
lift the gloom. A Cheshire derby with Stalybridge
looms in the FA Cup this weekend. Once again we are
everyone's favourite Goliath.
November 10 1999
Whyteleafe of the Ryman League
have certainly put their place on the map as far as Cestrians
are concerned. After a wobbly beginning and despite dense fog
billowing across the Deva, Chester finally managed to overcome
their visitors in the first round of the FA Cup. Whyteleafe players
and supporters gave an excellent account of themselves on Tuesday
night. Even the Lady Mayor was there to savour their biggest
moment in football.
November 3 1999
Chester's first ever
League win at Gay Meadow came on Tuesday at the fifteenth
attempt. The timing could not have been better as
it lifted us level with Shrewsbury and off the bottom
spot. Nick Richardson's curled free kick into the
top corner was only the fourth time City have scored
there but it was enough to win us the points. For
the long-suffering City faithful it was a historic
October 27 1999
Even though Chester
are currently bottom of the League, they are firm
favourites to progress in the FA Cup on Saturday
when they take on the Surrey club Whyteleafe from
the First Division of the Ryman League. Southern-based
City fans made a reconnaissance trip there last week
and a 2500 capacity crowd is expected. With City's
loan stars unavailable and confidence low, a slippery
banana skin of a match awaits them.
October 20 1999
"Wake me up before
you gogo" was the tune every City fan was whistling
after Tuesday night. Manuel Junior Agogo scored a
simply stunning goal after taking the ball from the
halfway line, weaving and bobbing his way into the
area, and clipping his low shot into the far corner.
His second five minutes later secured City's first
home League win at the seventh attempt against new
October 13 1999
A diversion off the
A14 took Chester fans, returning home from Peterborough,
right past Rushden & Diamonds'
Nene Park ground. If present form continues they will
be taking our place in the League next season. We hope this was
not an omen. There's a long way to go yet, of course, but its
difficult not to begin to prepare for the worst after another
defeat left us further adrift at the bottom.
October 6 1999
The winter of our
discontent continued as Lancaster put through his
own goal at York (Joke there somewhere). Or was the
culprit Goran Milosavijevic our Yugoslavian midfielder
turned centre half? It was difficult to tell from
the Chester end. Our leaky defence has not had a
clean sheet since Easter. Let's hope Terry Smith
can recruit some defenders to go with the international
midfielders and forwards who have flown into the
September 29 1999
The cautious optimism
we began to feel after good performances against
Exeter and Brighton evaporated when Chester lost
to Lincoln on Saturday. Despite a five man defence,
careless, stupid mistakes cost us the match. It was
a deeply disappointing result because a win would
have lifted us off the bottom. City have a second
chance of lift off this week as they visit York who
are one point and one place above them.
September 22 1999
For many City fans
it was a nostalgic trip to Villa Park on Tuesday
as we recalled the thrilling semi-final of twenty-five
seasons ago. This time the result was less close
as a full-strenth Premiership team overwhelmed Chester.
Last Saturday's amazing first win of the season at
Brighton, however, has given us real hope. We clash
with fellow Roman city strugglers, Lincoln and York
in the next fortnight.
September 15 1999
Two much improved
performances at the Deva have given Chester fans
fresh heart. First, a deserved victory against Exeter
was denied by a last gasp equaliser on Saturday.
Then on Tuesday, City matched Aston Villa - the team
eighty-six places above them in the League - and
were desperately unlucky to go down to a late goal
when Hendrie followed up Brown's penalty save by
scoring from the rebound. We should achieve lift
off if this form continues.
September 8 1999
Two young loan players
made their debuts for City at Hull last week but
couldn't prevent the defeat which cast us further
adrift. More signings are promised including a Yugoslavian
with a French passport and Bundesliga experience.
Owner/coach Terry Smith's new fitness regime has
been implemented this week and will be tested by
the visit of high flying Exeter on Saturday and Aston
Villa, no less, in the Cup on Tuesday.
September 1 1999
City's abject defeat
to a solid, if unspectacular, Rochdale on Monday
left us bottom of the League. We were all choked
but, to make an already dire situation worse, one
of our fans tried to throttle the referee for his
decision to send off Darren Moss. As theatre it was
pure farce but his moment of madness has ended up
as no laughing matter and earned him a lifetime ban
from the Deva.
August 25 1999
A sensational match
at Vale Park on Tuesday saw Chester progress to the
second round of the Worthington Cup. It finished
4-4 (6-5 on aggregate) after a pulsating ninety minutes one
of the most incredible games I have ever seen. All
this, after chairman, and now joint-coach, Terry
Smith had faced a grilling by supporters the previous
night, following Kevin Ratcliffe's dramatic resignation
last Friday. What a week!
August 18 1999
City's youthful and
wafer-thin squad collapsed like a pack of cards at
Millmoor on Saturday after a couple of penalty awards
went against them. With injuries and suspensions
looming the team needs reinforcements. The addition
of loan players has been sanctioned and several trialists
have arrived at the Deva but with no impact on the
first team yet. Anxiously we await the cavalry to
come over the hill to the rescue.
August 11 1999
Deja vu for Chester
supporters. Last year we lost at home 2-0 on the
opening day of the season but then scored a superb
win over First Division Port Vale. History repeated
itself on Tuesday as once again City beat the Valiants
It was a really uplifting performance
after the disappointment of Saturday. New owner
Terry Smith was on his feet all the way through
the second half he was so excited.
August 4 1999
All Chester supporters
are relieved to see their team in the Football
League fixtures for 1999/2000. Just when it seemed
a rescue would never be made, along came American
Terry Smith to combine with the ISA and the club
was saved. Not much time has elapsed since then
and players contracts are still to be settled,
and season tickets sent out. But we're hoping
to get off to a flyer against another club in
dire straits Barnet.
May 11 1999
The last match of the
season typified what had gone before for Chester.
They dominated the match, played Rotherham off
the park, but could not force home the advantage.
Luke Beckett's goal was not enough as once again
City allowed the visitors to snatch a point at
The fans are now active players
off the field in trying to put a financial bid
forward which will save the club. It promises to
be a busy summer.
May 5 1999
Chester fans are meeting
at the Town Hall at 1.pm on Saturday to march
down to the Deva. City survived the possibility
of playing their last ever match in October but
it may just have been a stay of execution. Unless
a buyer comes forward in the next week or so
then the club is likely to be wound up. So City's
fixture with Rotherham really could be the last
ever League match.
April 29 1999
The re-union of the famous
Five forward line from 1964-5 at the Deva on
Saturday was followed on Monday by an ISA meeting
at which Grenville Millington, City's excellent
goalkeeper during their 1974-5 League Cup run
was the guest speaker.
It was good to cherish our heroes
as they have been neglected by the club in past
years. If the present tide of sentiment could be
harnessed with financial backing we would not just
look to a proud past but also to a future.
April 22 1999
Time for an old boys'
re-union on Saturday as Chester's "Famous
Five" forwards are re-united. In season
1964-5 Jimmy Humes, Mike Metcalf, Elfed Morris,
Hugh Ryden and Gary Talbot all scored more than
20 goals in League and Cup. Chester were rampant
that year, scoring 119 League goals.
Before the game with Halifax,
City fans will present their heroes with commemorative
t-shirts which proclaim that their feat will never
April 15 1999
The uncertainty drags
on at the Deva. Only 1766 turned out on Tuesday
night to see a cracking match with high flying
Brentford. This included a sizeable following
from the Bees who were thanked for their fund
raising efforts on our behalf last November.
The low home turn out is indicative
of the fatigue fans are feeling as the prospective
buy out by a mysterious consortium drags on. It's
getting worrying now.
April 8 1999
A very creditable draw
snatched from the cauldron of the Vetch Field
was followed on Monday by a comprehensive demolition
of Barnet 3-0. If it hadn't been for the financial
turmoil this season Chester would surely have
challenged for promotion but after all
we've been through the fans will happily
settle for midtable obscurity. Now that League
status is assured for next season will the mystery
buyers come out of the woodwork? Please?
April 1 1999
The sale of Alex Smith
to Port Vale for £75,000 was the sacrifice
necessary to ensure Chester's survival until
the end of the season. City's status as a League
club was all but secured with a welcome 3-2 win
against Plymouth at the weekend. Luke Beckett
got Chester back in the game with a superb individual
goal after they had gone behind. Thankfully the
transfer deadline has gone or he might have been
on his way too.
March 25 1999
This time last year Chester
fans waited, biting their fingernails to see
if City could sell a player before the transfer
deadline to ensure survival. We find ourselves
in the same position this week. Some things never
change including our inability to win
on Shropshire soil. Despite running rings round
the Shrews last week, City failed to win at Gay
Meadow at the thirteenth attempt.
March 18 1999
Chester City have now been in administration
since October. The sale of players, the efforts of the fans and a
match shown on sattelite TV have enabled the club to survive. A consortium
of businessmen is reported to be ready to buy the club but we still
await a positive announcement. The strain is beginning to show on
fans and players alike. Let's hope the silence is broken soon and
we have a future to look forward to.
March 11 1999
A fine draw at table topping
Cardiff last Friday set up Chester's home match
with rock bottom Scarborough nicely. A win would
have put City on the fringe of the play-offs.
The battling Sea Dogs should have been swept
aside in City's second half onslaught. But, unable
to administer the killer blow, Chester were undone
by two late goals. All very disappointing after
the fans' great efforts on Monday to raise £6,000
through an auction of promises.
March 4 1999
A wonderful goal from
Nick Richardson, on a par with Dennis Bergkamp's
finish last week, brought Chester level with
Carlisle on Saturday. Not content to settle for
the 1-1 draw to which we have become accustomed
at the Deva this season, Beckett and Woods combined
to set up the winner for Murphy. He's not bitter
and neither were we.
February 24 1999
The Cheshire cats couldn't
make it a double dose of Devon cream as they
lost to Plymouth on Tuesday night. But at least
they brought a three points haul back after a
fine 3-0 win at Torquay at the weekend. Players
and fans had clubbed together so that the stay
in the West Country could be extended over four
days. Another example of the spirit of co-operation
that exists at the club at the moment.
February 17 1999
Way back in 1983 Chester
pulled off a 1-0 win at Peterborough on a freezing
cold February night. The biggest cheer of the
evening followed the announcement that Ken and
Deirdre of Coronation Street were getting back
together. Last Saturday City won another hard
fought victory over the Posh and the next day Ken
and Deirdre were having the last waltz at the
Valentine's disco. The more things change....
February 10 1999
Some goalless draws are
scintillating and full of incident. Chester vs.
Exeter last Saturday was unfortuately not one
of those. Not even the appearance of Uri Geller
doing the half time draw could transform the
game form a mind numbing as opposed to mind bending
encounter. This was Chester's tenth draw out
of fourteen home games sponsors from the
Pools companies are being sought.
February 3 1999
The main stand at Mansfield
Town had a former life at Hurst Park Race
Course. What it did to come back at Field Mill,
I'm not sure. It certainly witnessed a one horse
race in the second half last Saturday. Once Chester
had gifted them a goal there was no catching
the Stags. Consolation for City fans was the
news that, at another Racecourse Ground, the
home side had lost 5-0.
January 27 1999
After a first win last
year, Chester reverted to their usual Abbey (Stadium)
habit of failing to beat Cambridge last Saturday.
In truth the Fenmen look a well organised outfit
and on course for promotion. City fans drew consolation
in the award winning bacon rolls and by far out-singing
the strangely subdued home supporters. Another
City bogey team looms on Saturday as we travel
January 20 1999
The atmosphere at the
Deva Stadium was superb last Friday as fans from
all over came to Chester's match with Brighton
for the third Fans United event. Over forty clubs
were represented with some travelling from Norway,
Sweden and Germany to be there. Oxford fans brought
their hundred yard, 92-club scarf, Lincoln their
air raid siren, others their banners. Later in
the Town Hall, a party celebrated our love of
the people's game.
January 13 1999
All eyes on the Deva Stadium
on Friday night as Fans United Three takes place.
There will be supporters
ther from Norwich, Bournemouth, Lincoln, Hull City, Oxford, who
will be bringing their "longest scarf in the world",
and many others besides. Let's hope that Chester's match with
Brighton is a good game to go with what should be a fine event.
Altogether now: "The Fans United will Never be Defeated!"
January 6 1999
Calling all football fans.
Chester's match with Brighton on Friday 16th
is to be the third Fans United Day. Dubbed "The
United Colours of Football" the match will
be a chance for fans of all clubs to come along
in their team's colours and show solidarity in
the face of the forces which are tearing apart
the game as we know it. Be there and make it
a night to remember.
December 30 1998
Simply survival as a Football
League Club is my main hope for Chester City which
is pretty similar to last year. I hope that more
football clubs will be taken over and run by
the people that matter their fans. Football
is being ruined by Mr Big's on an ego trip, spending
beyond their means then taking their loaned money
back and clearing off. Together we have the power
to keep them out of the game for good.
December 23 1998
What every Chester fan
would like to get for Christmas has been voiced
by Mark Howell, Chairman of the ISA. He speaks
for us all when he says the best present we could
have is a rescue package. Chester fans have pulled
out all the stops since the club went into financial
crisis they deserve League Football in
the City. After all, a Chester fan is for life,
not just for crises.
December 16 1998
At last a win for City the
1-0 result against Darlington was their first
victory since 3rd October. The goal was a beauty Richardson
and Smith combined with the latter floating over
a perfectly chipped cross for young Andy Shelton
to nod in at the far post. It meant that everyone
went to the Christmas Social with light hearts.
December 9 1998
Chester's match against Brighton on
Friday 15th January is going to be televised live. It seems
a perfect opportunity to highlight the plight of Nationwide
League clubs in crisis. It looks certain to be designated Fans
United Three (Snappier title to follow!) with supporters of
all clubs invited to come and stand together for the sake of
the League Football in general. Watch this space!
December 2 1998
Because of injuries and suspensions
City were forced to give full League debuts to three youngsters
at Brentford last
Saturday. It was a brave team performance but ultimately pointless once
again.We hope that our off the field problems can be sorted out soon.
Once more we saluted another superb display of solidarity from fellow
fans. Ron Noades inspired the Brentford faithful to have a bucket collection
which raised about £900.
November 24 1998
The new experimental flourescent
yellow ball came into play at the Deva on Saturday.
Rochdale brought out an away kit which matched
it exactly. At one point it looked like Rochdale
must have had someone collecting them in the
car park as their defenders hoofed balls over
the main stand three times in a minute. One slack
piece of defending meant that Dale did steal
a share of the points.
November 17 1998
In order to get last Saturday's calamitous
FA Cup defeat out of the system, Kevin Ratcliffe put the first
team out at Altrincham in the Cheshire Cup. Unfortunately they
lost there as well. But on a brighter note the Alty fans donated
money to our survival campaign on behalf of smaller professional
football clubs. We are still basking in the euphoria of an audience
with the Sports Minister last week.
November 10 1998
Chester went to the top
of the League on Wednesday. A coachload of City
supporters went down to London to present their
petition to new League chief Richard Scudamore.
Next stop was the Houses of Parliament to lobby
Tony Banks and members of the all-party committee
on football. Market forces have been allowed
to dictate to football for too long it's
time for the fans to reclaim the game.
November 3 1998
The hard work of Chester
supporters brought results again last Saturday.
The attendance for City's match against Shrewsbury
was almost a thousand up on the equivalent fixture
last season and a bucket collection raised £1300.
The struggle goes on. But glib comments such
as Mark Lawrenson's "Chester is not a football
town" don't do us any favours.
October 27 1998
Chester City FC is now
in the hands of an administrator. So we, the
long suffering fans, wait with baited breath
to see what cuts will be made, which players
sold. But we are not sitting back. The fans are
continuing their campaign to get more people
to matches and to make Chester City a community
club in a real way. Viva Deva!
October 20 1998
A superb response to a
supporters' campaign drew a double than average
crowd to the Deva on Saturday. It was an emotional
occasion with players, staff and supporters standing
together in the fight for survival. Thankfully
a short stay of execution was granted in the
County Court hearing on Monday and the club's
administrator has a little more time to find
an elusive investor. It's still a case of watch
October 13 1998
October 6 1998
I spoke too soon. No doubt
Rod Thomas will continue to terrorise Third Division
defences but sadly not for Chester. He was sold
with indecent haste to Brighton last week. Most
fans suspect that this is a symptom of the club's
continuing cash crisis. With another winding
up order looming on Monday the message is "Get
down to the Deva on Saturday" the
Swansea match might be our last.
Due to injuries to team mates, Rod Thomas has been playing in a much more
forward role for City. He's struck a rich vein of form with two goals last
Saturday to star in a brilliant team performance at Scarborough. He was
already unpopular with the locals there because Chester gazzumped them
for his signiature last year. We're hoping he continues to torment Third
September 30 1998
Chester and Cardiff played out a pulsating 2-2 draw last Saturday. It
was top rate entertainment. Shaun Reid starred in midfield and
was substituted before he dropped from exhaustion. The diminutive
strike force of Wright and Thomas terrorised the visitors' defence.
On work rate and possession Chester deserved to win but
we must learn to hold on to a lead.
September 23 1998
There was no giant killing at the Deva arena on Tuesday night but Chester's
finest held their own against a rampant Sunderland. The visitors
would beat half the Premiership on current form and City were not
disgraced to lose 0-1. Even better, it warmed the heart to see
Shaun Reid back to his combative best and debutant Andy Shelton
performing so well he was named man of the match.
September 16 1998
Chester had a magnificent away following at the Stadium of
Light on Tuesday. A three-nil defeat to a sharp Sunderland
side did nothing to dim their
spirits. A special banner bore a message for the FA "Don't let the
little clubs die". Our club, our game is being taken from us.
We don't want to see it sacrificed on the altar of commercialism.
September 9 1998
Mixed fortunes for Chester on their travels this week. A good victory
at Exeter was followed by a defeat at in-form Posh. In both games
the players could not be faulted for their efforts and the travelling
fans applauded them off on each occasion. We're looking forward
to following them to The Stadium of Light next week. That'll be
over a thousand miles in ten days.
September 2 1998
Cambridge have long been a bogey team for City and, despite a blip last
season, normal service was resumed at the Deva last night as Chester
crashed 0-3. But for a fine win at Southend on Saturday we'd be
bottom. City were grateful not just for three points but for the
home fans' superb gesture to have a whip round for the hard pressed
August 25 1998
The crisis at Chester City deepened this week as once again the players
have not been paid. Many of them, with families to provide for and mortgages
to pay are at the end of their tether. Serious questions must be asked
of the chairman, Mr Guterman, about how this point has been reached after
the lucrative sale of three players in March and a rescue package had
August 12 1998
After an abject opening day performance in which City lost to ten man
Orient, Chester fans travelled to Vale Park last night in masochistic
mood. Our groundless optimism was rewarded as City pulled off the
surprise of the round with a 2-1 win. The same eleven who flopped
last Saturday were brilliant last night. Will it be Dr Jekyll or
Mr Hyde we see on Saturday?
August 5 1998
Kevin Ratcliffe looks to have made some astute signings over the summer
with Luke Beckett, from Barnsley, one to watch as the new season
begins. But it's events off the field giving City fans sleepless
nights once again. More than 200 supporters packed in to a Chester
pub to form a new Independent Supporters Club. Now its time for
our voice to be heard.
30 April 1998
Chester fans had long awaited the return to the Moss Rose, scene of our
exile in the wilderness of a few years ago. It was a highly charged
game, not only with nostalgia, but because Macclesfield gained
promotion. Citys team and fans played a full part in creating
a superb match atmosphere but it was the Silkmens day and
we didnt begrudge them at all.
23 April 1998
Just when we thought the season couldnt end early enough, City
put on a brilliant display to beat high flying Colchester. It was mainly
due to some inspired performances from teenagers, Wright, Dobson, Giles
and Shelton. The scoring began when Spencer Whelan launched a clearance
from the centre circle which somehow ended up in the back of the net.
Despite later claims to the contrary, no-one was more surprised than
16 April 1998
Chester got plenty of mentions on the radio last Saturday but sadly it
was because Doncaster Rovers lost their League status when they
lost to us. There but for the grace of God go we we all
thought. Easter is the season of resurrection, maybe next season
will see Doncaster rising again from the Conference.
9 April 1998
Chester are now in freefall down the Division Three table. Their heaviest
defeat of the season last Saturday compounded the trauma caused
by difficulties off the pitch recently.City captain Gary Bennett
put in overtime at the final whistle as he held an impromptu conference
with disgruntled fans by the corner flag.
2 April 1998
There cant be many Chester fans with a full set of fingernails
left after a tense few days. The transfer deadline last Thursday seems
to have brought reprieve from the threatened winding up order. Defenders
Alsford and Jenkins both joined Dundee United and the promising McKay
went to Everton. The money from the deals is welcome as City should now
be able to pay their bills.
24 March 1998
Citys match at Peterborough last Saturday was a pale shadow of
the thrilling clash between the same two sides earlier this season. Both
have lost form badly this year. But Chester fans now have a more urgent
concern as the club faces a second winding up order. The High Court hearing
is fixed for April Fools Day but its no joking matter.
17 March 1998
Chester fans danced to a new beat on Saturday when a drummer roused the
supporters to several courses of the theme from The Great Escape.
What an appropriate choice that was as Notts County escaped from
the Deva with all three points. City outplayed their high flying
opponents but couldnt deliver the killer blow and now face
a three weeks route march to Peterborough, Swansea and Exeter.
10 March 1998
Chesters play-off push is faltering after only winning one
in their last nine fixtures. They are still in touch with the chasing
need to recover their scoring touch. So too does Gary Bennett who last
found the net against Notts County at the beginning of November. As the
runaway League leaders visit the Deva on Saturday, we all hope Gary has
a touch of deja vue.
3 March 1998
City fans know what its like to be a club in exile after the two
years we spent commuting to Macclesfield. So we have every sympathy with
Brighton supporters having to make the long haul to Gillingham just to
watch a home match. But we could have done without our players allowing
themselves to be rolled over by a team with only one previous League
win under their belts. Thats taking sympathy too far.
25 February 1998
We can only speculate at what used to happen at Chester's Roman amphitheatre
hundreds of years ago. It's likely that some of the entertainment
was enjoyed at the expense of others' misfortune if so,
that ancient tradition continued at the Deva last Saturday. City
fans were gleeful not only because of four second half goals against
Rotherham but, rather cruelly, at the spectacle of two opponents
receiveing the equivalent of the thumbs down the dreaded