| 30 April 2001
This Saturday's match at Deva
Stadium with Rushden & Diamonds will NOT be all-ticket,
though will be strictly segregated. Preceding the game
will be a slow silent funeral march with coffin to the
Deva Stadium from the top of Bumpers Lane organised by
the ISA, the march will start from Kwik Save at 13:45hrs.
There will be plenty of media presence on Saturday and
ALL City fans are urged to take this last opportunity
of the season to make their feelings regarding the running
of the club heard/known. The visitors have been allocated
a whopping 3,000 spaces in the ground including three
blocks in the main stand usually occupied by home fans.
The death has been announced of Clifford
Thompson Club President at Chester City.
Angus Eve, currently on long term loan
from City to his former club in Trinidad, was sent off in the World
Cup Qualifier against Mexico on April 25th. Angus was sent off after
he retaliated against Mexican midfielder Antonio Ruiz, who had spat
on him. Apparently he elbowed the Mexican defender in the face in
full view of everyone in an off the ball incident. According to reports
the Mexican players kept taunting him and calling him some derogatory
terms and racial slurs. After the game FIFA vice-president and Trinidad
and Tobago Football Federation adviser Jack Warner said : "You know
Trinidadians and spit. We don't like spit, we don't like rain and
we 'fraid white people. We (TTFF) understand that but we still had
to tell him that he is too much of a player to do this and therefore
he was fined $9000 and suspended."
27 April 2001
LAST AWAY MATCH
City travel to Woking tomorrow for their
last away match of the season; and, according to last night's extensive
programme notes by the Chester City board of directors, it will be
the last away match in a Chester shirt for many of the players. The
2000 word statement issued by the club announced that there will
be "large scale changes in the playing personnel for next season." Apparently
the club "will conduct a nationwide scouting and player trial
system at various locations throughout the Country, and the best
available players will be signed by Chester City".
The notes went on to slate just about everyone
involved with the club as well as the PFA: "This self-centered
attitude is made worse in professional football by a Professional
Footballers Association union that overprotects the players, babying
them and pampering them to where Clubs have barely any way to control
or discipline their own players." I bet they won't be happy with
The epistle went on: "In total then, Chester
City has spoiled its players with the best wages, facilities, equipment,
weight and fitness machines, transportation, hotels, and meals
while also being completely soft on them with minimal training
time and no discipline. The result has been exactly the same as
any spoiled children of a family, the more that you spoil them
the less they appreciate it, and the more self-centered they become." etc
Back to tomorrow and all children under the age
of 16 will be let in free by Woking, a nice gesture for their last
home match of the season, Chester City take note.
Following on from the Evening Leader's decision
to ban comments from Terry Smith from the paper the Chester Chronicle
have done likewise.
RATCLIFFE TO ISSUE WINDING UP ORDER
Former City manager Kevin Ratcliffe is
to start winding-up procedures against the club in the next couple
of weeks. Ratcliffe was awarded £230,000 at a Football League
tribunal over a year ago. Ratcliffe resigned from his managerial
position at the Deva in the Autumn of 1999 involking a clause in
his contract relating to a pay-off settlement agreed with the club. "The
club must have made some money from the John Murphy and Luke Beckett
transfers and the Man City and Aston Villa cup games. That's why
I feel I need to push on." added Ratcliffe.
26 April 2001
CITY IN ACTION
Chester play a Conference fixture tonight
against relegation threatened Kingstonian at Deva Stadium, kick-off
19:45hrs. City won 3-1 at Kingsmeadow back in September and a victory
tonight would condemn K's to the Ryman Premier League next season.
However, City's record against teams from the wrong end of the division
isn't good with both Hednesford Town and Forest Green Rovers winning
at the Deva recently and of course Kettering thumped us 4-0 on Tuesday
night. These are indeed dark days at the club but there's no doubt
that the fans are right behind Graham Barrow and the players who
are doing a great job in extreme circumstances. The players are believed
to have written to the PFA in support of Paul Beesley following his
fine and ban this week.
PLAYERS RESPOND TO BAN
Following the decision by Terry Smith to drop
Paul Beesley for the remainder of the season, the rest of the playing
staff at City have issued the following statement to the press.
"Due to the recent letter to Paul Beesley,
we the players find this letter hard to believe as this player
has been totally committed to this football club as a player and
an assistant manager.
You obviously do not realise the amount of work
Paul Beesley does to bring on the younger players at this club.
How can you criticise a player that played all his career, at top
level football and indeed played under some great managers such
as Howard Wilkinson and Harry Bassett?
Paul Beesley is a well respected person and player
and highly thought of by all professional players at this club
and many others. We recognise this and Paul has 100 per cent backing
from the team.
The players also want to show their appreciation
and respect to Graham Barrow. Graham has single-handedly put Chester
back on the football map and has restored some pride back into the
club which was lost after last year's poor season."
SMITH'S COMMENTS ARE BANNED
Well the boot's on the other foot now!,
The Chester Evening Leader have had enough of Terry Smith's daily
faxes to the paper (today's was 2,000 words long!) and are now refusing
to report any of his statements. Evening Leader Sports editor Alistair
Syme, who covered City for many years himself said: “Our reporter
Nick Harrison has travelled the length and breadth of the country,
from Durham to Dover, covering Chester City this season. That’s because
we believed we owed it to our readers, the fans, to provide the best
possible service to them. Now Nick isn’t allowed to speak to the
manager, players or staff of the club, on Board of Directors’ orders.
This has got out of hand. Smith is an Amercian, from the land of
the free. He won’t allow freedom of speech to the club’s employees
but he does allow himself the privilege of delivering virulent criticism
of those same employees which he presumably expects newspapers to
publish.” Guess who's going to be banned next?
22 April 2001
ASSISTANT MANAGER AXED
manager and England semi-pro international Paul Beesley has been
sensationally fined and dropped for the remainder of the season for
failing to stand in the correct place at set pieces against Canvey
Island. No doubt Beesley will be straight off the the PFA for a ruling
on this petty and ridiculous ban. The news, I'm sure, wont go down
well with the rest of the players either, several of who have already
asked for transfers. It is unclear if manager Graham Barrow had any
say in this decision but it would seem very unlikely. Neither Beesley
or Barrow can comment as the club have banned all employees from
speaking to the press without consent from Terry Smith or club secretary
The clubs daily press release states:
“Chester City Football Club has fined player/assistant
manager Paul Beesley for failing to follow manager Graham Barrow's
playing instructions during Chester's loss to Canvey Island in
the second leg of the FA Umbro Trophy Semi-Final.
“During the first half of that loss, Beesley
lined up in the incorrect position on every one of Chester City's
set pieces including all corners for and free kicks for. His incorrect
alignments, and his movement of other key players out of their
correct positions, let down the team and players because it made
it impossible for the other 10 Chester players to execute the planned
and prepared corners and free kicks.
“This is not the first time that Beesley's discipline
has been questioned. He has had the highest number of cautions,
sendings off, and suspensions for Chester all season and one of
the highest in the entire Conference, some for dissension, and
the Club feels that this is a bad example for the assistant manager
to have set for the rest of the players.
“The Club has also decided to sit Beesley down
as a player for the rest of the season because the Club feels that
the large number of games that Chester has played this year has
taken its toll on a player in his mid-30s.
“Beesley will now be sent on scouting assignments
for the rest of the season. Beesley has not scouted any matches
of any type throughout this season, neither to look at future opponents
nor to look for young players, because Chairman Terry Smith has
done this work throughout all the Cup competitions.
“However, now that Smith has stopped doing so
following his scouting trip to Leigh RMI last week, then the Club
has assigned Beesley to all these duties for the remainder of the
The PFA’s John Bramhall who had a short
loan spell with City in 1985 said: “We will support Paul Beesley’s
22 April 2001
NO SHOW BY SMITH
Not only have the fans had enough of the
recent actions of Terry Smith but it appears that the Nationwide
Conference aren't too impressed either. They are demanding to know
why no one from the club turned up at a meeting with the board arranged
for last Thursday. City had requested an appeal hearing regarding
the late payment of the Luke Beckett transfer fee from Chesterfield
and no one bothered to show. This comes just days after another no
show by the club at crucial talks held by Conference clubs with the
Football League regarding the possibility of a second automatic promotion
place from the Conference.
DOUBTS OVER STATEMENT
There seem to be increasing doubts over
the validity of a statement issued by the football club last week.
That statement which appeared on Clubcall, was sent to the local
press and was defended by Terry Smith on radio Merseyside, insisted
that the potential buyer for the club Phil Davies had pulled out
of talks stating that a female member of the party with his consortium
had shocked by the amount of abuse hurled at Terry Smith by some
City fans at the Canvey match. Phil Davies told the Non League Paper
yesterday that: “These comments have been made without my knowledge
or approval. It is true we have taken a step back to re-evaluate
the situation, but we still want to buy the club.”
SMITH WANTS BARRIE TO APOLOGISE!
Terry Smith has apologised to Barrie Hipkiss
over the events of last week but has not lifted his ban. Barrie,
who received a standing ovation at yesterday's match said: “He wanted
me to apologise as well, but I told him I had nothing to apologise
for. I have done nothing wrong. I'm not going to let Terry Smith
beat me. He is destroying this club. I suspect Chester City could
be sold by the middle of next week, and it's the best thing that
can happen to the club. Terry Smith is not the savour, he's ruining
it...and I told him so”.
The next members meeting of the ISA takes
place tomorrow at the Royal Mail Club, Station Road, Chester. The
meeting starts at 19:30hrs all members are urged to attend.
The latest copy of the ISA newsletter The Independents was mailed
out to members at the end of last week.
20 April 2001
SMITH THREATENS TO SHUT DOWN CLUB
In a two page fax to the Evening Leader,
football club director Gerald Smith has threatened to close down
Chester City Football Club, the usual supporters abuse and negative
local media excuses are being used. According to the board of directors
all the abuse of the chairman is affecting the players performances.
Oh! and surprise surprise the meeting of the Democratic Supporters
Association on Monday has been postponed.
City's shirt sponsors Gap Recruitment
have decided not to take up their option of a second year's sponsorship
deal with the club. They stated: “Gap would like to thank Chester
City Football Club for its cooperation during its time as main sponsor
and take this opportunity to wish the club every success for the
remainder of the season and in the future.”
19 April 2001
LIFELONG FAN BANNED
another popular figure at the football club has been barred from
the Deva Stadium. Barrie Hipkiss (left), chairman of the official
Chester City Supporters Club and lifelong City fan since 1946 is
the latest person not welcomed following on from radio Merseyside's
Neil Turner last Saturday.
This no doubt follows his comments in last night's
issue of the Evening Leader regarding the Chester City Democratic
Supporters’ Association when he (quite rightly) stated: “I
just wish Terry Smith had approached the supporters first. I’m
adamant it won’t work and I was inundated with calls last night
from fans who can’t believe what is happening. I’ve spoken to other
supporters’ associations and they think the same. We’re all asking
the same question at the moment. What is going on?” Not only chairman
of the supporters club, Barrie also carried out many matchday duties
at the Deva. “He (Smith) got the staff to tell me I was
banned when I went to the ground this morning and they were devastated,” said
Hipkiss, This disgraceful action by the club will have many repercussions
as anger among the fans is starting to flow over.
Barrie also echoed many fans' fears when he stated: “Unibond
League and out of football altogether is where we’re heading and
Terry Smith will take us there. God help us is all I can say.”
Expect Terry Smith, who has not been to City's
last three matches, to now issue a statement denying absolutely
everything and blaming the whole 'misunderstanding' on the local
18 April 2001
BLUES IN ACTION
City make the relatively short trip to
play Leigh RMI tonight in a Nationwide Conference match. The game
at Hilton Park kick's-off at 19:45hrs. City manager Graham Barrow
may use the game to rest a few players following the Easter weekend
matches. The home side could include former City keeper Dave Felgate
who had an outstanding match when the two sides drew 1-1 at the Deva
earlier in the season.
17 April 2001
YOU WON'T BELIEVE THIS!
According to City chairman Terry Smith
negotiations to sell the club have broken down and that a deal is
now off. Not only that but unbelievably he's formed a new Chester
City Democratic Supporters’ Association to make all the decisions
regarding the running of the football club.
Smith states in the Evening Leader:
“I have now formulated a solution to the entire
problem. We will form a Chester City Democratic Supporters Association.
This Association will make all of the decisions regarding Chester
City Football Club. Every supporter is entitled to be a member
of this Association, and each Supporter will have one vote on every
issue, just like I will have one vote on every issue. We will hold
a meeting at the stadium each week to discuss all of the issues,
put in written votes from everyone on each issue, and plan together
every future aspect of Chester City Football Club.
There will be three Rules to follow in the meetings.
1) Everyone at the meeting will be on the same side. We
will all be working together. There will be no situations like
the Labour-Conservative arguments. Everyone will be allowed to
have their say, but there will be no arguing and in the end all
the issues will come down to a vote by everyone. When that vote
is taken, then we all must support that decision.
2) All decisions need to be sound financial decisions
so that we do not get the Club into financial difficulty.
3) Any decision needs to be based upon facts and not upon
emotions, hearsay or media comments. If all the facts are not
known, then a sub-committee will be set up that will research
the matter and report their findings back to the entire group
for the group to vote on.”
“This will be a great learning experience for
both the Supporters and for myself. I have full confidence in our
Supporters working together to create a bright future for Chester
City, and I am very excited about starting work with them.”
Smith blames a breakdown of communications between
himself and the supporters as the root of all the recent problems,
this same breakdown of communications also seems to be causing
problems between the club and the Inland Revenue.
Apparently the first meeting of the Chester
City Democratic Supporters Association takes place next Monday night
at the Deva Stadium 19:00hrs, by coincidence the same night as the
ISA meeting! in fact, there's no coincidence at all. No doubt we
can expect three pages in Saturday's match programme all about this.
It will be interesting to see just how many of the 1,500+ City supporters
want to work with him. Should be a lively meeting on Monday then.
More (today) on the Evening Leader website.
16 April 2001
PLAYERS ON TRANSFER LIST
of City's most promising players Chris Blackburn and Carl Ruffer
(left) have asked to be put on the transfer list at the Deva. Several
other players are rumoured to be joining them including Andy Porter
and Paul Carden.
These moves follow continued unrest with matters
off the field at the club. Radio Merseyside's Neil Turner was banned
from the press box on Saturday he paid to sit in the seats,
and the local press are reporting unrest among the matchday stewards
who are all on the verge of resigning together. If this happened
it would cast a doubt over Saturday's home fixture with Dagenham
The club have already been reprimanded by
he Conference following the late postponement of the Hayes game earlier
in the season.
City are set to receive a financial windfall
of £85,000 in the next 14 days following the outcome of the
recent enquiry into the financial irregularities at Chesterfield.
Chesterfield have been ordered to pay Chester the £75,000 still
outstanding from the deal as well as £10,000 in lieu of interest
accrued on the late payment of the fee. It is reported in some sections
of the press that the whole Beckett transfer may go to a new tribunal
hearing, and, with the striker notching up 20 goals this season the
value may be higher.
12 April 2001
City have a provisional date for their
postponed Nationwide Variety Club Trophy match with Nuneaton Borough
and this is Thursday 3 May at Deva Stadium, kick-off 19:45hrs.
Chester were the only Conference club
not to be represented at Tuesday's important meeting between the
Conference and Football League chiefs discussing the possibility
of a two-up two-down system between the league's.
10 April 2001
Following a pitch inspection, tonight's northern
final match with Nuneaton Borough in the Nationwide Variety Club
Trophy is off due to a waterlogged pitch. With City already scheduled
to play three games a week until the end of the month (on the 14th,
16th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 26th and 28th!), it's not easy to see where
this match will be fitted in. There's also the matter of the final
against either Yeovil Town or Kingstonian should we get through.
9 April 2001
SIMPLY SECOND BEST
Well City's recent run of bad form continued as
they were well and truly dumped out of the FA Trophy on Saturday by Canvey
Island. The part-timers from Essex played far better that Chester over
the two legged semi-final and City will have no complaints over the eventual
0-4 aggregate scoreline to a side who would cope well in the Conference.
The number of real efforts on goal over the 180 minutes can be counted
on one hand as the players failed to exert themselves for any length of
Since the quarter-final victory over Southport on 13
March City have lost five of the seven matches played as their form has
slumped alarmingly. The home pattern of play also seem far too predictable,
with City seemingly only able to adapt one style of play, a defensive
one, with few options available should things need to be changed. City's
lack of a strong midfield and firepower up front were once again found
Saturday's game also saw several demonstrations against
chairman Smith. Twelve supporters were ejected (not without a struggle)
from the ground at half-time and a large SMITH OUT! banner appeared,
was then confiscated, then reappeared in the west stand.
No doubt the trouble off the pitch seems to be getting
to the players as much as it is the fans. That Southport match appeared
to herald a new era with Smith's copious programme notes that day indicating
that he would very soon be off. Six weeks later and a new owner is waiting
in the wings but still not in place. Various rumours circulated the Deva
on Saturday that the deal had been done but nothing has so far come of
it, the sooner the new owner, named in the Daily Post as Phil Davis,
is in the place the better.
“I think the cup runs have glossed over the fact
that we’ve under-achieved in the Conference,” said Barrow. “It’s going
to be a difficult job to lift the players and the fans after Saturday – and
really I have to start turning my attention to next season.”
RATCLIFFE TO SUE CHESTER
Former manager Kevin Ratcliffe is stepping
up his attempt to get the estimated £230,000 from City awarded
to him by a Football League Tribunal over 12 months ago. Ratcliffe
resigned from his managerial position at the Deva in the Autumn of
1999 involking a clause in his contract relating to a pay-off settlement
agreed with the club. "Despite exploring every avenue to try
to obtain the cash from the club I am constantly coming up against
brick walls so I am having to resort to further legal action to obtain
the ash which was awarded to me." Another person still waiting
cash from the club is former chief executive Bill Wingrove. Wingrove
was awarded £12,000 following a case or unfair dismissal also
back in the autumn of 1999 and has yet to receive payment.
6 April 2001
SMITH QUITS BOARD
Terry Smith has resigned as a director of Chester
City FC. The resignation was lodged at Companies House on 17 March. However
he still has an interest in the club and his father Gerald, who is at the
Deva tomorrow, is still registered as a Director of the company along with
his brother Mark, and another, as yet unnamed person. This morning's Chester
Chronicle also revealed that no football club accounts have been lodged
since 30 May 1996. This could mean a heavy fine for the directors and could
even lead to the company being struck off the Company's Register. Where
have we heard all this before?! This must bring into serious doubt all
the claims that the Football Club is in the best financial state it has
ever been in made on so many occasions by the chairman. The fans and shareholders
(indeed also the Inland Revenue) want proof of this. No doubt more news
will be forthcoming in the very near future.
All this turmoil off the pitch helps in no way
with the preparation on it for tomorrow's crucial FA Trophy semi-final
second leg with Canvey Island. Carl Ruffer is definitely out and Andy Porter
is doubtful as City attempt to claw back the two goals conceded in the
first leg in Essex. Wayne Brown is expected to be fit. Canvey made eight
changes from last Saturday's game in their 2-0 midweek win at Harrow and
are staying the weekend at Carden Park.
4 April 2001
VARIETY CLUB TROPHY
Chester will play Nuneaton Borough in
the northern final of the Nationwide Variety Club Trophy. Borough
beat Morecambe 2-0 last night in their semi-final. The match takes
place next Tuesday at the Deva Stadium. The winners will play either
Yeovil Town or Kingstonian in the main final. City have reduced the
prices by £2 for the match next Tuesday. Prices, which include
a match programme are Adult: Sitting: £10; Standing: £8.
Concessions: £8/£4. Children: £5/£4.
3 April 2001
City travel to Dover today for a resheduled
Conference game postponed in January. Carl Ruffer, who aggravated a hamstring
injury on Saturday misses out and could also be sidelined for that vital
second leg coming up. Radio Merseyside report that Wayne Brown [shoulder],
Neil Fisher, Matt Doughty, Paul Carden [foot] and Mark Beesley [foot] will
all be missing as well. Chris Blackburn who broke a bone in his foot during
the home Yeovil Town match several weeks ago has resumed training and may
play a part tonight. Goalkeeper Phil Priestley, who has signed on loan
from Rochdale until the end of the season, will start for the third time
this season.The game kick's-off at The Crabble at 19.45hrs.
LADIES UNBEATEN RUN CONTINUES
With Bolton's home pitch unfit for play and
the Ladies' League Cup final being staged at the Deva, Jon Cross (C of
Ex) offered to share the Centre of Excellence facility at Clifton Drive
to ensure the girls were able to continue their excellent season.
Last Sunday they entertained Bolton, possibly their
greatest adversaries for the North West Womens Premier League title.
Chester, missing three key players through holidays and suspension, led
2-1 until 3 minutes from time when a through ball from deep in the Bolton
half, broke free into the Chester 18yd box. The Chester keeper's hand
appeared to catch the chasing Bolton forward and the referee had little
option but to award a penalty and, although the Chester keeper stayed
on the field, she had no chance with an excellently struck spot kick.
This result leaves the girls needing a maximum of
5 wins from their remaining 7 games (unless Bolton drop further points).
Interestingly, having already beaten Chorley, Newsham and Bury, and having
held Preston away from home, any other win against either Trafford (still
to play twice) or Bolton (away, last game of the season!), will be enough
to bring the title to Chester and secure long awaited promotion.
2 April 2001
UPHILL TASK FOR CITY
Saturday's disappointing defeat at Canvey Island
leaves City facing a real problem to get things right for the return leg
at the Deva on Saturday. The Blues didn't perform at all and have now lost
four out of their last five matches since the quarter final victory over
Southport failing to score in all four defeats. Around 4-500 City
fans made the long and expensive trek down to Essex from all over the country
and were rewarded with very little to cheer in fact, nothing!. Only
some fine saves from Wayne Brown and several near misses prevented the
tie from being completely out of reach at the half way stage.