What a frustrating and disappointing
season this has been. Promotion should have been there
for the taking – there was even talk of the championship
in early January. A couple of additions to the squad
at that point could have made the vital difference.
A great opportunity has been missed and the club has
stood still, if not gone back a couple of steps, on
the field of play.
It all seemed to go wrong in November
when the Swansea fixture was hastily re-arranged. At
first it seemed to be the Welsh club that was in difficulties.
The Vetch Field, scene of our wretched end to last
season, was unfit to host a crowd. But when the fixture
was switched to the Deva at two days notice (What ever
happened to the police's need for ten days warning?),
it was suggested that it was because Chester needed
the cash through the turnstiles so desperately. Although
at the Fans' Forum Mr Guterman insisted that it was
the League that had urged that the game be played as
soon as possible, there was nevertheless a cash flow
And there have clearly been problems
since then. The club has been served with two winding-up
orders by the IR (International Rescue – not!) for
unpaid tax bills. creditors including the club's kit
manufacturers and the publishers of Chas Sumner's excellent
history of the blues have been queuing up. The club
shop has been so depleted of stock that not even a
scarf or a mug could be purchased to send as a small
token of solidarity with the Fans United Day in February.
More recently it emerged that the players and other
staff had not been paid, and that the PFA have been
called in to help out. More alarming still was the
news that City have had a transfer embargo slapped
on them by the League since the autumn – we were just
assuming that the club was short of money.
We all breathed a sigh of relief
on transfer deadline day when Julian Alsford was sold
to Dundee United, to be followed closely by club captain,
Iain Jenkins. Then when the promising Matt McKay departed
to Everton for a fee set to rise from £250,000 to a
possible £750,000, Chester's future seemed secure.
A few days later Mr Guterman was announcing that a
rescue package was in place and he could now put money
of his own into the equation in the knowledge that
it wouldn't be disappearing into a black hole.
Chester fans remain to be convinced
that the sale of these players will provide financial
stability or is merely a stay of execution. Some more
details about the rescue package, including a proper
set of accounts would be welcome.