|30 April 1998
Following a meeting at the Football League yesterday,
the embargo has finally been lifted from Chester City's
transfer activities. Manager Kevin Ratcliffe will now
be able to concentrate on strenghtening the squad for
next season, though it doesn't
look like he'll have much money to spend.
29 April 1998
SINCLAIR RELEASED BY CITY
Goalkeeper Ronnie Sinclair will not be offered
a new contract by Chester and has been released on a free transfer by the
club. Sinclair was one of City's highest wage earners and manager Kevin
Ratcliffe admitted the Scottish shot-stopper was "gutted" at
being released. He added that it the current financial situation changed
then the way might be open for his return but it's rather difficult to
envisage this. Sinclair has been on the transfer list at his own request
for some time but had recently indicated that he was happy to stay at the
Deva. Looks like a cost cutting exercise to me..... Sinclair said: "It
was the last thing I was expecting to hear when I turned up for training".
28 April 1998
TRIO FACE SUMMER SURGERY
Three Chester players face operations
this summer on knee injuries. Ronnie Sinclair, Spencer Whelan,
Gary Shelton. Sinclair and Whelan enter hospital next week while
Gary Shelton will wait a little longer. "They're not serious
operations," said Shelton. "The three of us have got
floating bodies in the knee that need to be washed out. Hopefully
mine will just involve keyhole surgery because I want to continue
playing next season. I'll keep myself fit; and, if needed, I'll
turn out." Shaun Reid is eager to get back in the City side
following his season-long lay-off following a knee injury last
summer. Reid has just returned from treatment at Sunderland, where
brother Peter is manager.
Reid sorely missed in midfield this season is hopeful of a return to the
starting line-up in time for the beginning of the new season.
27 April 1998
WEDNESDAY DATE WITH LEAGUE
City chairman Mark Guterman and assistant
PFA chief executive Mike McGuire head for League headquarters at
Lythm St Annes on Wednesday. They aim to get the embargo lifted
that has prevented City from taking players on loan or buying players
for the last several months. At Wednesday's meeting, League chiefs
will seek assurances from owner Guterman that the club's financial
position is more secure.
WELCOME BACK RAY
Nice to see former club chairman
Ray Crofts amongst the City fans on the Moss Lane terrace
on Saturday. Ray, who retired from the club due to ill health
in 1994, saw City through their most turbulent years during
our two year ground share at Macclesfield. The announcement
over the tannoy at half-time drawing everyones attention
to this fact, brought generous applause from all sides of
the ground. Meanwhile over 100 City fans were locked out
from the ground when the gates to the away section were shut
at 2.30pm (don't remember that happening before!), and up
to 1000 Macc fans suffered the same fate as promotion fever
swept through the town.
Meanwhile we wish a speedy recovery to club general manager Bill Wingrove
who was admitted to hospital on Friday.
23 April 1998
CITY HOPING TO SPOIL THE PARTY
Chester fans will make the once
familiar trip to Moss Rose Macclesfield on Saturday for what
promises to be an interesting clash. Macc, who are unbeaten
at home this season, need a win to secure promotion to the
Second Division at the first attempt. The Blues only have
pride to play for now, but the impressive display of several
youngsters in the side for last Saturday's win over Colchester
promises well for the future, and fans will be hoping for
more of the same. Striker Gary Bennett is struggling to be
fit with a back injury so Darren Wright look certain to carry
on where they left off last week and John Murphy and Rod
Thomas are both available again after suspension. If you're
going to Moss Rose the message seems to be get down there
early as a near capacity crowd of 5,500+ is expected.
22 APRIL 1998
RATCLIFFE KEPT WAITING
City manager Kevin Ratcliffe has
drawn up a short list of six players he wants to bring to the
Deva next season, but the current transfer embargo placed on
the club by the Football League prevents him from talking to
players. Chairman Mark Guterman and Bill Wingrove are hoping
to meet with League bosses and PFA representative Mick McGuire
next week in an effort to get the ban lifted.
21 APRIL 1998
RESERVES LOSE OUT AT NEWCASTLE
John Murphy starred for City's reserves
as they went down 1-0 at Newcastle United last night. More
than 1,500 turned out to see amongst others Ian Rush, Shaka
Hislop and Steve Howey in the top of the table match. Assistant
manager Gary Shelton enthused: "We played really well
and the young lads loved it. They had a very good side out
and although we didn't see much of the ball, we probably created
the better chances. Martin Giles could have had a hat-trick
in the first half and we had a few other chances. "It
was just a great experience for the lads; and I'm sure they'll
Meanwhile, just when you thought Gary and Andy Shelton would be the only
father/son combination to play for the Blues, they've been joined by the
'Vile' clan (no puns please). Graham Vile from the Centre of Excellence,
replaced his injured son Alex during the Youth Team game at Manchester
City 'B' on Saturday. The 43-year-old last played for City's 'A' team 26
years ago! great stuff!
20 APRIL 1998
RESERVES LOOKING TO END ON HIGH
City's reserves side travel to Newcastle
tonight for their final league game of the season in the Pontins
League Division 3. City's reserves have won their last five
matches and by my reckoning are currently lying third in the
table behind Newcastle and Scarborough. The game was originally
scheduled for a couple of weeks ago but was postponed at late
notice (the City team were already at the ground!) due to a
waterlogged pitch. Kevin McIntyre, a left-sided midfielder
from Tranmere plays, while Ratcliffe also gives a trial to
a 19-year-old Wimbledon centre half Paul Reynolds (born in
17 APRIL 1998
DUO MISS MATCH
Both Rod Thomas and John Murphy
are suspended for tomorrow's home match with Colchester United.
Manager Kevin Ratcliffe is struggling to get a half-decent
side together with Ross Davidson, Gary Shelton and Jon Jones
also out carrying injuries. Expect Darren Wright and Gary
Bennett to continue in the side and perhaps there may be
a debut for Andy Shelton.
Colchester visit the Deva on the back
of a fine run and are currently lying in fourth place with
an eye on an automatic promotion place. The sides last
met just before Christmas at layer Road with the home side
running out 2-0 winners.
Chester City (from): Brown, Richardson,
Fisher, Woods, Whelan, Flitcroft, Priest, Rimmer, Bennett,
Wright, A.Shelton, Giles, Dobson.
Colchester United (from): Emberson, Dunne, Betts, Skelton, Greene, Wilkins,
Buckle, Sale, Lock, D.Gregory, Abrahams, N.Gregory, Duguid.
16 April 1998
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Those wishing to make a postal
vote for the Chester City Player of the Season may do so
Barry Hipkiss, 2 Cop Cottages, Off Sealand Road, Chester, CH1 4LJ.
No doubt midfielder Nick Richardson is the favourite to take the award,
which will be presented on the pitch prior to the last home game of the
season against Scarborough.
ANOTHER NEW KIT SUPPLIER NEXT SEASON
City will have their third kit
supplier in as many years next season, after announcing their
deal with Italian manufacturers Errea ends in the summer.
Bill Wingrove had announced that "We'll be looking
to sort out a new kit supplier in the near future." I
trust the club will keep to the traditional blue and white
for next years kit, but let's hope we don't have a repeat
of this seasons green/black away shirt disaster. Even the
players refused to wear that, giving it up after the game
at Cardiff, and preferring the previous seasons bright yellow/blue
15 April 1998
LEAGUE MAY LIFT EMBARGO SOON
Forget not having enough money to buy
players! It's been revealed that the Football League have blocked
all transfers to Chester City, even free transfers!, since early
on in the season because of City's dire financial situation. This
usually only occurs if the players wages are being paid or subsidised
by the PFA (as many fans have expected). With the sale of three key
players things will be looking a little better as far as short term
finances are concerned. Club officials are expected to have talks
with the League next week in an effort to resolve the situation. "We
are hoping to get the embargo lifted as soon as possible" said
Bill Wingrove, though he wouldn't reveal just why or when it was
placed on the club.
Meanwhile Kevin Ratcliffe has had talks with Matt Woods and John Murphy
about contracts for next season. The players whose contracts expire in
the summer are: Nick Richardson, Ronnie Sinclair, Ryan Dobson, Martin Giles,
Neil Fisher, Stuart Rimmer and Rod McDonald though it's been made clear
he won't play for the club again.
14 April 1998
BRADY HEADS FOR LIBEL SHOWDOWN
According to Saturday's Daily Express,
Birmingham City's Karren Brady has started libel actions against
Chester chairman Mark Guterman. Guterman received a letter of intent
from lawyer Henri Brandman on the day of the last meeting between
the lower leagues and First Division clubs led by the Birmingham
boss who want to negotiate their own television rights.
Brandman said: "Karren's complaints are
about her bullying other first division clubs, and having no finesse
or style. She is gravely offended by these comments."
Guterman, who according to the paper intends
to use top lawyers, said: "I find the situation ridiculous.
I can't understand what the fuss is about."
9 April 1998
COME AND WATCH US FOR FREE!
Chester City have announced that all under
16s will be admitted free to the Deva Stadium for this Saturday's
match with Doncaster Rovers.
Chester forward Rod McDonald has effectively
been sacked by Chester. A culmination of disciplinary problems within in
the club has proved too much and manager Kevin Ratcliffe confirmed today
that the striker won't play for City again. "Rod McDonald won't be
picked again because of disciplinary reasons," said Ratcliffe. "It's
an accumulation of things."
8 April 1998
Radio Merseyside reports that
City goalkeeper Ronnie Sinclair will miss the rest of the
season following an operation on an elbow injury. With Ronnie
still on the transfer list, last Saturday's defeat at Exeter
could well have been his last game in City's colours. Wayne
Brown, who had a nine match run in the side in Oct/Nov, will
come in for the injured keeper.
REID EAGER FOR RETURN
Midfielder Shaun Reid is looking forward
to making up for lost ground as he steps up training in an
effort to be fit for the start of next season. Reid, who
has one more year on his contract, saw a specialist last
week and has admitted that his injured knee is in the best
shape since rupturing cruciate knee ligaments in a pre-season
match at Newport last July. The tough tackling midfielder
has been sorely missed all season and his return alongside
Nick Richardson is eagerly awaited. Ironically Richardson's
best form at Chester has come after recovering from a similar
7 April 1998
BAN FOR MURPHY
John Murphy has been given a one match ban following
his sending off at Exeter. he misses the home game against Colchester on
April 18. Ratcliffe described Murphy's performance in the 5-0 Exeter embarrassment
as 'awesome.' "I thought he was the best player on the park and he's
been our best player since Christmas," added Ratcliffe. "He looks
to have put his knee injury problem behind him and he's only missed half
a dozen games this season. He's getting better all the time and he's certainly
one for the future."
BENNETT SPEAKS OUT
Gary Bennett has spoken in the
local press about the outburst at the end of Saturday's 5-0
defeat at the hands of Exeter City. Tempers started to rise
amongst City fans when a certain player who Gary won't name
(so let's just say he is a fair haired ex-Evertonian midfielder!)
started smiling at the supporters, this, as we were 0-5 down
and reduced to ten men!
"We all know they (the fans) are frustrated but I don't think it's right
for them to have a go at the players," said Bennett.
"But we've got to be able to speak to the fans and that's why I went over.
We appreciate that the fans have paid their money have a right to have their
say and it was a disappointing performance. I think it's a build up of the things
that have happened in the past few weeks but I told the fans this; I can guarantee
them that we'll be giving 110 per cent in our remaining games. We're not just
here to see the season out; the gaffer's made that perfectly clear. I can understand
how the fans feel and they were upset that one of the players was smiling at
them at the end of the game. I'm not saying who it was but I did have a word
with him in the dressing room after the game and he admits he was wrong. I told
the fans at Exeter that I'll never walk away from the fans; and I'm all ears
to what they have to say. We need the fans more than ever now and it's a case
of everyone pulling together for the good of the club."
6 April 1998
City manager Kevin Ratcliffe gives a trial to
left-sided midfielder Kevin McIntyre; a first year pro at Tranmere Rovers,
in tonight's reserve game at Newcastle United. This is City's last match
of a successful season in the Pontins League Division 3. Also expected
to turn out are Rod McDonald, Rod Thomas and Gary Shelton. Intriguingly,
there's a chance of former Chester forward Ian Rush playing for the home
PFA DIVISION THREE SELECT TEAM
As expected, the Division Three
select team announced at last night's PFA Awards Dinner was
picked around the Notts County defence. The select X1 was
Darren Ward (Notts County)
Ian Hendon (Notts County)
Dennis Pearce (Notts County)
Gary Strodder (Notts County)
Dean Walling (Lincoln City)
David Parnell (Peterborough United)
Scott Houghton (Peterborough United)
John Cullen (Hartlepool United now Sheffield United)
Martin Ling (Leyton Orient)
Jimmy Quinn (Peterborough United)
Rodney Jack (Torquay United)
2 April 1998
CHAIRMAN DUE IN COURT
Chester City chairman Mark Guterman
was due to appear before magistrates court yesterday (Wed)
charged with three motoring offences.
The 37-year-old is charged with exceeding the 30mph speed limit, not driving
in accordance with his licence and driving an uninsured vehicle. The businessman
from Wilmslow was stopped by police as he drove along Parkgate Road, Chester,
in August. The court at Northwich heard Guterman, who had given his address
as care of Chester Football Club, could not attend because he was involved
in other matters at the High Court in London regarding the football case.
The club chairman's case before Northwich magistrates was adjourned until
May for Guterman to appear and face his charges.
1 April 1998
The football club have been fined £100 for
a non-return on the current set of accounts for the year 1996/97. Chairman
Mark Guterman stated that this will be settled in the next few weeks. This
is nothing new to the chairman though. The last set of club accounts (31/5/96),
revealed the parent company of the football club to be another of Guterman's
companies Dovedene Ltd. On 18 November 1997 Dovedene Ltd (formed 25/1/95)
were struck-off the companies list for non-compliance they didn't
issue a set of accounts! The football club annual return was due in December
1997 and the club were issued with a warning letter then.
Former City favourite and Huddersfield Town manager
Peter Jackson finally hangs up his boots tonight when he plays for Huddersfield
reserves against West Brom reserves. And there will be a contingent from
Chester to cheer him on. Gary Shelton, Nick Richardson, Dave Flitcroft
and physio Stuart Walker all plan to be at the McAlpine Stadium. Jackson
is a veteran of more than 700 league and cup appearances and celebrates
his 37th birthday at the weekend.
"The responses I've had has been brilliant" said
Jackson. "I've had faxes from Chester fans saying their coming and
it will be a real party atmosphere. They had special shirts made with
my name on the back and "the final game" embroidered on it
and it'll be the famous number five. I don't know how long I'll last
because I played in a practice match the other day and I could only last
20 minutes! I'll throw my shirt into the crown and never play again." "A
few of us are going tonight" said Richardson; "But if he throws
his shirt anywhere near us, we'll throw it straight back."
(Postscript) Jacko scored a penalty in the match,
(though I don't know the final score). Nice to see over 5,000 fans turned
out for the occasion, we all wish him well.
NICK WANTS TO STAY
Midfielder Nick Richardson has made it clear that
he wants to stay with Chester City next season. He is one of the ten players
whose contracts are up at the end of the season and has yet to have talks
about a new one. "With everything else that's gone on, it's been a
season you want to forget. We've all know that the club's been stretched
financially and there's been a lot of anxiety among the players. Our play-off
chances haven't been helped with the sale of three key players but we know
that money has helped keep the club alive. But despite the problems, we've
really got no excuses for our form since Christmas we've thrown
too many points away. From a personal point of view, I've been happy with
my form. It was a big season for me after the knee injury the year before
last but thankfully I've come through ok. I've missed only two games, but
that was because of a groin strain."