CURLE TAKES CHARGE
Chester City have appointed Keith
Curle to succeed Ian Rush as manager. Curle has signed
a one year contract and will begin work on Monday. Curle
was until recently manager at League Two side Mansfield
Town, his first managerial role following a distinguished
playing career of nearly 700 games.
was born in Bristol in 1963 and began his playing career
in 1981 as an apprentice at Bristol Rovers, making 25+11
appearances and scoring four goals. Ironically he scored
on his league debut for Rovers against Chester back
Two years later he moved to Torquay
United. He scored five goals in 18 appearances before
another move took him to Bristol City for £10,000
in 1984. He made 139+10 appearances for the Robins,
scoring one goal in a three season spell at Ashton Gate.
In 1987 Curle moved for £150,000
to Reading making 40 appearances in his first season
before being snapped up by Wimbledon for £500,000
in October 1988. He made 109+2 appearances for the Wombles,
scoring four goals in the process.
He became Britain’s most expensive
defender when he left Wimbledon for Manchester City
in the summer of 1991 for £2.5m.
By now Curle was an England ‘B’
international and not long after he joined the Maine
Road club he picked up three senior international caps
under the then national manager Graham Taylor.
Curle spent five seasons in Manchester
making 205 appearances, scoring 13 goals before another
£600,000+ move to Wolverhampton Wanderers. He
made 182+2 appearances in a Wolves shirt scoring 12
goals in a four year stay at Molineux.
Next up were Sheffield United who
Curle joined in July 2000. A further 69+4 matches
played for the Blades before Curle ended his playing
career with 12+0 appearances at Barnsley in 2002.
total games played is an impressive 692.
In December 2002 Curle was appointed
player manager at Mansfield Town where he was in charge
of just over 100 games before departing in November
2004. During his spell at Field Mill he took the Stags
to a play-off final where they lost out on penalties
to Huddersfield Town.
Before landing the Chester job Curle
had spent time watching City at home to Bristol Rovers
and last weekend down at Leyton orient. He said: “I
believe the foundations are already in place at Chester
and I want to be their manager. I don’t apply
for jobs just for the sake of it. The Chester job really
interests me and I want to be successful.
I attended Chester’s home match
against Bristol Rovers on Saturday and recognised Chester
as being organised and professional from behind the
scenes. I found the staff at the club welcoming and
friendly. Saturday provided an opportunity for me to
do my homework. I’m not a person that sneaks into
a club and I’m not a person that wants to make
a noise. I was keen to see how the club operated from
2pm onwards on a match-day.
I was interested to see the team
warm-up and I wanted to take in the surroundings before
Sean Hessey and Joe O’Neill are suspended for tomorrow’s
last home game of the season after picking up straight
red cards at Leyton Orient last Saturday.
With new manager Keith Curle taking over the reigns
on Monday, caretaker manager David Bell will take charge
tomorrow and he may also be without Michael Branch who
has a groin strain, Phil Bolland who is still suffering
from an injury picked up at Brisbane Road, and Darren
Edmondson with a calf injury picked up against Bristol
Rovers. Michael Brown is also suffering through illness
visitors Northampton Town lie in eighth place, just
one place and two points behind a play-off spot. The
Cobblers are expected to bring a large following to
the Deva for this game and they’ll
be looking for their ninth league victory away from
Sixfields this season.
The sides last met on a cold November
night when the Blues drew 1-1 at Sixfields. A great
free-kick from Kevin Ellison rescued City’s
point that night as the Blues had five players booked
and saw Cortez Belle and Mark Aizlewood sent-off.
last time we met.
28 April 2005
2005/06 SEASON TICKET PRICES
The club have announced details
of the 2005/06 season ticket prices including a new Super
Saver deal available up to 31 May. Details here.
LOSE FINAL GAME
reserves lost their final Pontins Holiday League game
of the season 4-1 at Burnley last night. Trailing by a
goal at half-time, Paul Rutherford equalised for the Blues
on 57 minutes, latching on to a loose back pass to score
past Mark Crossley from close range. This was Paul’s
first goal for the reserves. However it was the Clarets
who finished the stronger and further goals on 61, 81
and 88 minutes saw the home side run out comfortable winners.
Chester City: Waite, Hunter (Wade
84) Carney, Cooke, Ventre, Walsh, Lynch, Woolcott
(McCoy 73), McEvatt, Booth, Rutherford (Mealand 57).
team fixtures | Reserve
26 April 2005
MANAGERIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ON FRIDAY
announcement of City’s new manager is expected to
take place on Friday, the new man in charge will then
be unveiled to the crowd prior to Saturday’s final
home game of the season against Northampton Town.
Speaking in the local press the chairman said: “Prior
to the weekend, we will make a formal offer to one of
the candidates, and it is my intention to unveil the new
manager to our supporters, just prior to the home match
against Northampton Town at the weekend.”
Three candidates are believed to have so far been interviewed,
they are Keith Curle, John Hollins and Owen Brown, while
current aretaker boss David Bell must also come into the
reckoning. Whether the appointment comes from these of
course remains to be seen.
25 April 2005
YOUTH TEAM LOSE
The youth team lost their final
Merit League game of the season at Deva Stadiun this afternoon
when they were beaten 2 -1 by Doncaster Rovers.
POOR CITY SECOND BEST
mini revival came to a shuddering halt at Orient as the
Blues lost 2-0 and had two more players sent-off. Goals
from teenager Efe Echanomi and a penalty from Matt Lockwood
gave the O’s a two goal half-time lead that they
never looked like losing. City hardly mustered a shot
on goal all game though their cause wasn’t helped
by the loss of defender Phil Bolland through injury after
David Bell said after the defeat: “I was disappointed
that we got beat, but I thought we created as many chances
in the first half as Orient. I thought they took their
first goal very well, but I’m sure Sean Hessey
was very disappointed with the way he gave the penalty
away and with the way he eventually got himself sent
off. I was disappointed with the result, but not our
performance. I thought we continued to battle despite
going down to ten men. I was angry about Phil Bolland
having to come off and I don’t think Joe O’Neill
should have been sent off. I will look at the video
The Blues disciplinary problems
continue at an alarming rate. As mentioned, Sean Hessey
and Joe O’Neill were both given their marching orders
by an indifferent referee as Chester’s red card
count for this season now stands at 11. While bookings
for Paul Carden and Ryan Lowe took the yellow card tally
for this season to a staggering 101, by a long chalk the
worst record in the Football League which is probably
going to result in an FA fine that the club could well
OXFORD UNITED TICKETS
fans are able to pre-purchase tickets for the last game
of the season at Oxford United at a discount rate. Tickets
will be available from the club office this week during
normal office hours (10:00-16:00hrs) and after next Saturday’s
home game with Northampton Town. This will be our first
visit to the Kassam Stadium.
Seat prices in advance are: Adult £15.50 (normally
£18.50), Concessions for students on production
of an NUS card £12.00, under 16s and senior citizens
£9.50. Wheelchair users will be charged £15.50
in advance, concessions £9.50.
19 April 2005
BRANCH SET TO RETURN
Michael Branch looks set to return to the City squad tomorrow
as the Blues make the trip to east London to play Leyton
Orient. Branch has missed the last two matches with a
groin injury. Caretaker manager David Bell has hinted
that he may stick with the 4-3-3 formation that has brought
four points from his two games in charge. One player who
won’t be featuring though is defender Darren Edmondson
who limped off during last weekend’s 2-2 draw with
Bristol Rovers with a calf injury.
The sides last met at Deva Stadium
in early November when a great headed equaliser from
Cortez Belle brought City a point from the 1-1 match.
This is City’s first trip back
to Brisbane Road (though the youth team played there
in the FA Youth Cup) since the great 2-1 victory there
on 15 April 2000 during the height of Ian Atkins’
great escape era, Carl Heggs and Neil Fisher with the
goals on that day for City who were backed by a vociferous
Brisbane Road (The Matchroom Stadium)
itself is currently undergoing major redevelopment with
just two sides of the ground available at present. The
capacity is set to 4,913 and Chester fans have been
allocated 500 seats in the north wing of the East Main
last time we met | Leyton
Orient 1 Chester City 2 [15
NELSON STIFFLE 1928-2005
Former Chester player Nelson Stiffle
died recently in Brisbane, Australia at the age of 76.
The Indian born outside right played seven league games,
scoring twice, in the 1951/52 season having joined Chester
from Ashton United late in 1951.
Nelson moved to Altrincham in summer
1952 and was a regular at Moss Lane for the next two
seasons. He was given the chance to resurrect his league
career when he was transferred to Chesterfield in March
1954 and went on to play for Bournemouth, Exeter and
Coventry with his final Football League game coming
in the 1960/61 season.
Nelson emigrated to Australia at the
start of the 1960s and played for Bankstown in the New
South Wales League where he later became coach.
FOY LOAN EXTENDED
Robbie Foy will remain at Chester until the end of the
season after his loan period from Liverpool was extended
19 April 2005
DEFEAT FOR RESERVES
second half goals were enough to give Carlisle United
Reserves a 2-0 win over City at Brunton Park yesterday
afternoon. The Blues play their last match of the season
away to Burnley next week. As a result of the latest round
or results Manchester United have clinched the title.
team fixtures | Reserve
18 April 2005
BELL DELIGHTED WITH WIN
manager David Bell (left)
was delighted after seeing
his side remain undefeated following his second match
in charge at Deva Stadium.
Blues, two-down at the break, fought back to earn a
priceless point against Bristol Rovers that seals their
place in League Two for another season. And with that
pressure now off the club, chairman Steve Vaughan will
be putting a bitterly disappointing season behind him
as he takes stock and builds for another assault next
Three interviews were being held today
for the vacant manager post, it’s likely that
others will follow, however chairman Vaughan has said
that no appointment will be announced until towards
the end of the season.
Bell hasn't ruled himself out of contention
either after tasting the managerial role for the last
two games. He said: “The chairman speaks to me
most days and it’s just about me working hard
each day, but obviously the harder I work and the harder
the players work it probably gives Mr Chairman a nice
I did see Keith Curle in the main
stand on Saturday and there were probably other people
watching the game and quite rightly they’d like
to be manager of Chester City, but if I can make it
a little bit more difficult in them getting the job,
then why not me? But I’m enjoying myself and hopefully
we can carry on.”
Once again the crowd on Saturday was
little over 2,000 causing concern for Vaughan. He said:
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank
the 2,475 people who attended, 2,015 of whom were diehard
Chester City supporters, the remainder having made the
long journey up from Bristol.
As regards my own position, I now
need to take stock seriously of just how much more money
I am prepared to throw at this football club unsecured.
By the time we play Oxford United on 7 May, my input
of capital this season alone will exceed £500,000.
I have done my bit this season, making the necessary
finances available even though it has back-fired and
left me holding the baby.
For me to be committed and motivated
enough to pledge another half a million pounds next
season, I’m calling on the support of this City
to turn out in their numbers for our final home game
on 30 April against Northampton Town.”
On Saturday it was midfielder Stewart
Drummond who earned the acclaim after his second-half
brace. had pinned back Ian Atkins’ Bristol Rovers
who remarkably picked up their 21st draw of the season.
“We can go to Leyton Orient on Saturday a little
bit more relaxed and still go with a similar system and
make it exciting for those supporters who follow us. It’s
fantastic that the club is now mathematically safe from
relegation and everyone could see the relief on the players
faces after the game on Saturday.” added Bell.
15 April 2005
SAFETY IN SIGHT
charge of his second game tomorrow as City entertain Bristol
Rovers, one of his former clubs, at Deva Stadium (15:00hrs)
knowing that victory will guarantee league safety for
are managed by a former City favourite Ian Atkins who
performed miracles at the Deva five years ago taking
over the managerial reins from Terry Smith when City
were 12 points adrift and dead and buried, to give the
Blues a fighting chance of league survival only to fall
at the last hurdle as City were relegated to the Conference
on the last day of the season in May 2000.
For tomorrow’s game, Bell welcomes
back Phil Bolland from suspension but there are injury
doubts over both Michael Branch and Michael Brown.
The two sides last met in December
when City were well beaten 4-1 at the Memorial Stadium,
Kevin Ellison scoring an equaliser for City that night.
last time we met
14 April 2005
club have terminated the contract of midfielder Ashley
Sestanovich following “non-football related serious
misdemeanours.” The former Sheffield United player
made 3+4 appearances for the Blues.
13 April 2005
Gavin Lynch and Michael Walsh gave City a 2-1 victory
in their last Pontins League reserve home game of the
season against Stockport County in front of 61 people.
The Blues remain seventh spot and have two matches remaining
at Carlisle United next Monday (14:00hrs) and at Burnley,
who play reserve games at Accrington Stanley, on 27 April
team fixtures | Reserve
12 April 2005
BLUES CONSIDER LINKS
Steve Vaughan has revealed that the club have been approached
by an as yet unnamed north-west Premiership side in a
bid to forge a link. The proposal would involve City taking
on players from the Premiership side during the season.
Crewe Alexandra have a similar link-up with Liverpool.
Meanwhile the club are also believed
to be close to tying up a deal with the Football Association
of Thailand. The proposed deal, could see young Thai
players joining City’s School of Excellence programme
and possibly senior Thai internationals joining Chester’s
Thai Government official Kriangsak
Sirisambhand met with Vaughan recently and said: “It
is an exciting prospect, football is very big in Thailand,
it is the most popular sport. Hopefully we can formalise
things quickly, and start working officially with Chester
City. Stephen Vaughan has been very understanding, and
very open in his discussions with us. We hope to link-up
with one Premier League club, one club from the Football
League, who we see as Chester, and possibly a Conference
club will also be involved. We would then have contact
with clubs at all levels of English football.”
RETURN FOR WRIGHT
Steve Vaughan has made it clear that former manager Mark
Wright won’t be returning to the Deva Stadium while
he is still chairman. Vaughan put an end to rumours that
the former manager had been tipped for an early return
to the club he quit on the eve of the season.
told the Evening leader: “While I’m in charge
at Chester Mark Wright will never return as manager.
I will make no apologies for Mark Wright walking away
from the club the day before the season started –
Mark Wright pressed the self-destruct button and walked
I have no apologies to make for
Mark Wright walking away for the club and he will never
return as manager while I remain here as chairman.”
NEAR SAFETY ZONE
2-1 home win over Boston United leaves City needing one
more victory to guarantee League safety for next season.
For the second home game running, the Blues battled back
from behind after conceding an early goal. They equalised
on the stroke of half-time thanks to Robbie Booth’s
first-ever goal for the first team and Ryan Lowe sealed
the three points with a deflected free-kick on 77 minutes.
Disappointingly the attendance of 2,040 was the second
lowest at Deva Stadium this season.
delighted David Bell remarked: “It was a fantastic
performance. At first I thought I’d
made a mistake playing 4-3-3 but then we came good.
Ryan Lowe thoroughly deserved his goal. He was full
value for his man of the match award. It was a fantastic
point against Bury leaves them still mathematically
able to catch City providing they win their remaining
four matches and City, who have a superior goal difference,
fail to pick up a point. Those matches are against Yeovil
Town (H), Boston United (A), Grimsby Town (H) and Northampton
League Two Table
manager David Bell takes his first game in charge of City
on Saturday as they entertain mid-table Boston United
at Deva Stadium.
by physio Clive Goodyear, the former Blackpool, Rochdale
and Bury player Bell, has the task of keeping City in
the Football League and two more wins should see that
aim achieved. It may not even need that should any of
the sides below City fail to pick up points.
For tomorrow the Blues will be without
central defender Phil Bolland as he serves a one match
ban, and there are fitness doubt over Richard Hope (cold)
and Michael Branch (groin) ahead of this crucial game.
Ahead of the game Bell said: “All
Clive and I can do is get our heads down and carry on
coaching the players. All the players have been super
to Clive and I since we’ve taken over from Ian
who was keen for me to wish them well for the rest of
the season. The players had a lot of respect for Ian
Rush, but now they realise we have to get on with things
and the most important matter of trying to get a result
this weekend. The players know we’re still not
safe from relegation and want to finish the season on
a high note. I hope we can all continue to pull together
and ensure Chester has a future in the Football League.
The players all know they need to work hard because
it’s not only about Chester’s future it’s
also about their careers.”
Boston United currently lie 12th,
thanks largely to an impressive home record. On their
travels they have won on three occasions and have a
similar record to City’s. Former City favourite
Daryl Clare will be absent from the side tomorrow, a
clause in his selling contract to the Pilgrims prevented
an appearance against his former club this season. The
sides last met on the August Bank Holiday as City crashed
3-1 at York Street. Branch scoring a consolation goal
from the penalty spot on a day that also saw a home
debut for Paul Gascoigne.
last time we met
APPLICATIONS FLOOD IN
Steve Vaughan has received nearly 40 applications so far
for the vacant manager’s position at the Deva. Vaughan
has stated that he won’t be rushed into naming the
successor to Ian Rush.
will be considered on their merits and we will go through
an appropriate interview process. Making the right appointment
is important, particularly as the new manager will undoubtedly
want to be assured that funds are available to make
changes to the new squad during the close season.
I am not rushing into anything, and
I still have an open mind about the position. One thing
is for sure, whoever the successful applicant is, it
will be a solo appointment, because the new boss will
have to work in tandem with David Bell and Clive Goodyear.
I am determined not to have too much upheaval again
at this club.”
On his decision to sack Mark Aizlewood,
which in turn led to Rush resigning, Vaughan told the
Chronicle: “All I will say on the matter is that
I believe that it was in the best interests of the club.
The league table does not lie and I take full responsibility
and apologise to our supporters.”
6 April 2005
IAN RUSH RESIGNS
eight months in the job, Ian Rush has resigned as Chester
City manager, stating that the sacking of his assistant
Mark Aizlewood without his knowledge was the last straw.
The former Chester player was given
his first managerial role in August 2004, taking over
from Ray Mathias, and has been in charge of City for
41 games. His record in charge reads W14, L14, D13.
Rush had been under pressure after a series of poor
displays cumulating in a 5-0 defeat at Shrewsbury Town
recently that saw City slide dangerously close to the
Rush has made the following statement:
“Unfortunately, throughout my
tenure, various events have gradually made it impossible
for me to carry on. The club’s decision to terminate
the contract of my assistant, Mark Aizlewood, without
my consent was the final straw.
I was already considering my position after the much
publicised comments from the club a few weeks ago. Loyalty
is vital in football and I am a loyal person. When a
valued member of my team is dismissed against my wishes,
I have no option but to follow my principles. People
never know what goes on behind the scenes and that will
remain the case.
All I can say is that, in these extremely difficult
circumstances, I believe that I was achieving the only
goal I set myself – to keep Chester in the Football
League. When you have to sell your best players at low
prices, then are told there is no money for strengthening
the squad, survival is the only target you can set yourself.
Since I came to Chester, the team
has lost only 13 games in 41. We have steered the club,
slowly but surely, away from the foot of the table where
it was when I joined. Today the club is a good nine
points away from relegation.
People talk of a slump but how can
you slump from the foot of the table to nine points
clear of relegation? As for the future, my team and
I have plenty to offer in management and coaching and
I hope to return to the game as soon as possible.
I wish Chester all the best for the
future and would like to say thank you to the players
who have been a pleasure to work with. I also wish to
thank the supporters and ask them to get 100% behind
the team for these next important matches.
I would like to thank the chairman
for giving my first opportunity in management, I am
certainly more experienced and wiser for it.”
A month ago chairman Steve Vaughan
was reported to have offered the manager, and his assistant
Mark Aizlewood, a pay-off to leave but it was rejected.
Rush denied at the time any formal offer had been made.
City’s technical co-ordinator
David Bell will take over first-team affairs in a caretaker
capacity, assisted by the club’s physiotherapist
Bell had his post as technical
co-ordinator terminated at Chester in early March and
joined Bath City as assistant to Gary Owers. However
he lasted there only a week before being reinstated
at Chester. He has previously been Manchester United
Ladies boss and he has also held coaching posts at Bristol
Rovers and Cardiff City. He holds a UEFA ‘A’
list of the club’s managers
reserves re-arranged Pontins Holiday League game at Carlisle
United this afternoon was called off due to a waterlogged
4 April 2005
COACH AIZLEWOOD LEAVES CITY
Assistant manager Mark Aizlewood
has had his contract terminated by Chester City.
Aizlewood was appointed at Chester with manager
Ian Rush in August 2004. Rush’s position
remains unchanged but he is due to meet with chairman
Vaughan today and is reported to be considering
his future after this latest development.
City chairman Steve Vaughan
said: “We have terminated Mark Aizlewood’s
contract with immediate effect. Our chief executive
David Burford is negotiating the settlement formalities
with Mr. Aizlewood and his advisers.”
PENALTY DENIES CITY A POINT
suffered their first defeat in four matches at Darlington
on Saturday as a Clyde Wijnhard penalty 15 minutes from
time was all that separated the Blues from their opponents
who are on the edge of the play-off zone.
add to City’s woes defender Phil Bolland
(left) picked up Chester’s ninth red card
of the season three minutes from time and now faces
a one match ban and will miss Saturday’s home
game against Boston.
After the defeat manager Ian Rush
said: “We fell behind but still felt that we could
get something from the game. We were the better side
but once they took the lead, they seemed to step up
a gear and suddenly we were unable to get among them
at the back. It seemed a fair penalty and I think the
referee got that one right. But the sending off seemed
harsh after the foul on Wijnhard. He seemed to go down
As a result of their defeat the Blues
slip to 21st in League Two. As mentioned, next up is
Boston United who visit Deva Stadium on Saturday. The
Pilgrims lie mid-table and have three away wins at Kidderminster
Harriers, Cambridge United and Wycombe Wanderers.
League Two table
YOUTH TEAM WIN
done to the youth team who won away at York City 4-2 in
their Merit League Northern Section Division Two match
on Saturday to move fourth.
team fixtures | Youth
1 April 2005
CITY LOOK FOR SAFETY
make their first-ever visit to the Williamson Motors Stadium
tomorrow as the Blues travel to Darlington looking for
three more points to take them to their safety target
of 50. Although the first half performance against Bury
left a lot to be desired, the Blues have taken seven points
from the last nine to ease their relegation worries, and
they know that one more win will just about guarantee
League football again for next season.
who currently lie in eighth spot, are on the edge of
the play-off zone. They relaunched their stadium last
week with the opening of the new north stand. However,
a crowd of almost 7,000 saw a surprise 2-0 home defeat
to strugglers Kidderminster Harriers.
The two sides last met in August
when the Quakers ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at
Deva Stadium, the same day that the club announced Ian
Rush as their new manager.
Tomorrow’s game will be officiated
by referee Phil Prosser from Yorkshire, the same official
took charge of the away match at Southend United just
last time we met
youth team are scheduled to make to the trip to York City
tomorrow for a Merit League Northern Section Division
Two match. The Yorkshire side have lost all five of their
league games to date and sit bottom of the table.