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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2001
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
AUGUST 2001
31 August 2001
NO COACH & NO TUBE!
Due to a lack of interest there is no supporters coach running to Barnet for tomorrow's match. Note also there is NO TUBE between East Finchley and High Barnet tomorrow a replacement bus service is in operation so you'd better add extra time. Bookings are currently being taken for Farnborough on Saturday 8 September.

Replacement bus services to High Barnet:
A: Between East Finchley and High Barnet calling at all stations Bus service
B: Calling at East Finchley, Finchley Central and High Barnet ONLY.

Overground train from Kings Cross to New Barnet:
Kings Cross 12:11 > New Barnet 12:31
Kings Cross 12:41 > New Barnet 13:01 then every 30 minutes
New Barnet 17:17 > Kings Cross 17:40
New Barnet 17:47 > Kings Cross 18:10


SMITH'S SOLD THE CLUB AGAIN!
Once again Terry Smith has claimed he's sold the club, and, yes, once again he's stated that the new owners will be in next week. Of course we've heard all this before. Only a few weeks ago Smith disappeared off on holiday claiming the club had been sold (to Dan Brookes) and the new owner was about to be unveiled – no such deal had been done. What hope is there that things will have changed this time round.

Smith stated: “Wages at the club are due to be paid today and other bills are having to be paid but I’ve put £20,000 in today to cover the wages and by early next week every debt at the club will be paid off. The club owes me £356,000 in terms of loans but the new owners will be starting with a clean sheet from Tuesday before the team face Telford United. It’s been a tough summer and it was a tough pre-season with no income coming in but I’d been aiming to leave the club on a good note.” Smith added “I’ve arranged a meeting today with Morrisons and Chester City Council and I want approvals for other events to be held at the Deva Stadium. The club is now poised to move forward, I love the club and I care for it dearly.”

Why Smith would be interested in approvals for other events from the City Council are strange if, as he says, he's sold the club? So another press conference looms on Tuesday then, wonder if anyone will turn up this time.


30 August 2001
YOUTH TEAM THROUGH
Congratulations to City's Youth Team who won 3-0 at Guiseley yesterday in an FA Youth Cup preliminary first round match. The team now travel to Marine in the second preliminary round on a date to be confirmed.

SUPPORT THE LADIES
The Chester City Ladies are having a Grand Race Night at the Catholic Club in Brook Street, Chester, on Friday 7th September (2 days before the long trip up to Chester-Le-Street). The main reason of the event is to raise enough money to provide transport for all of this seasons away fixtures (estimated cost will be nearly £3,000). The event is being organised by the ever busy Mickey Clifford (ISA) who has worked tirelessly to get all the races sponsored, the horses sold and jockeys found. Please help the Ladies team in their cause in what promises to be a fun night out. The start time is to be confirmed. Ladies FC fixtures.

EXILES SUBSCRIPTIONS
Subs for the forthcoming season are due for renewal on 1 September. Members can renew quickly by downloading the PDF form from the Exiles pages. This is the same form for those wishing to join as well.

28 August 2001
AWAY TRAVEL TO BARNET

Due to a distinct lack of interest there was no supporters coach run to Hayes on Saturday, however, the supporters club are hoping to run a bus to Chester’s match at Barnet on Saturday (15:00hrs kick-off). It will leave at 09.30hrs and will cost £15. The Exiles meeting place is the Old Red Lion which is on the main road between High Barnet tube station and the ground. It's only a two minute walk from the away end and will be familiar to those who've been to Underhill before.

AND FARNBOROUGH
A bus is also being planned for Chester’s first-ever match at Farnborough on Saturday, 8 September, which will leave at 08.30hrs and cost £15. Anyone wanting to book a seat on one of the buses being arranged should contact Barrie Hipkiss on (01244) 379011 between 18:00 and 20.00hrs.


24 August 2001
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

Today's Daily Telegraph contains an article on the club 'Fans Farce at Chester'. The piece contains many quotes from new commercial manager Michael Beech on the lines of the fans at the picket is strangling the club etc. Here is the online version. There is also an article 'Shambles at Chester' in today's issue of The Independent, you can read that here.

MATCH PROGRAMME SLAMMED
The September copy of Programme Monthly has slammed the City v Rushden programme from May and has nominated it as the "particular issue for the worst example of content." You can read the report here.
ON THE BORDERLINE – UPDATE PAGE
The club's historian Chas Sumner has released the latest On The Borderline update page detailing complete first team fixtures and stats for last season. You can download a copy of the page (in PDF format) from here.

MALKIN SIDELINED
A groin strain keeps striker Chris Malkin out of the City side for two weeks. The Blues travel to west London to play Hayes tomorrow (15:00hrs) looking for their first points of the season following two defeats this week. Getting through the first minute without conceding a goal would be a start. City's youth team travel to Port Vale tomorrow.

ASSISTANT MANAGER
Dean Spink has been appointed assistant manager at the Deva. Director of Football Gordon Hill said: “In the last couple of weeks I’ve realised Dean is a leader, an elder statesman, and a senior professional. I had a nice chat with him yesterday and tested him about a few things. It’s great that I’ve been able to appoint someone in-house as my assistant because I needed to bounce things off someone during and after matches. Dean will remain as a utility player which pleases me, and I’m going to announce the news of his appointment this morning.”
22 August 2001
SECOND DEFEAT FOR CITY

Chester slumped to the second defeat of the season 3-2 at Southport last night. Despite goals from Mark Beesley and Darren Wright, City were always second best to a part-time team who had no less that 21 attempts on goal throughout the night. The defeat leaves Chester next to bottom of the table ahead of Dover only on alphabetical order. City travel to Hayes on Saturday and but won't be cheered on by many fans, even the once regular supporters coach isn't running to Church Road due to a lack of interest.

NUNEATON MATCH
City's match on bank holiday Monday against Nuneaton Borough kick's-off at 15:00hrs and not 19:45 as stated in the match programme on Saturday.

20 August 2001
FA WANT ANSWERS

The Football Associations Financial Advisory Unit have sent letter to Chester City FC regarding a number of financial matters are are still awaiting a response from the club. They have not, as reported on BBC Radio5 Live, yet been charged.

A press statement has been issued by the new commercial manager at the Deva Michael Beech (why not the press officer?) stating that:

“This rumour [on 5 live] is obviously another attempt to discredit CCFC and its employees, it is also a coincidence that on Wednesday, August 15, it was found that files, documents and records were found to be missing and are believed to have been stolen from CCFC. These documents could be altered to give a false impression of CCFC. We have no idea how long they have been missing.”

One assumes then that this matter was reported to the police last week. It is rumoured that the Unit are investigating the under-reporting of attendance figures at the Deva.

18 August 2001
HOME DEFEAT FOR CITY

City's defence lasted a mere 51 seconds before leaking their first goal of the season at home to the part-timers from Woking. The quickest goal of the season came after Warren Haughton ran through on to a ball on the left to shoot into the bottom corner. A second goal, an easy tap-in from a corner minutes before the break rocked the home side who, despite one or two half chances, were unable to get back on level terms in the second period. The crowd at the Deva Stadium was just 745, less than half who attended the corresponding fixture last season.
17 August 2001
NEW CONTRACTS

Several players have signed new contracts at the Deva. New club captain Carl Ruffer has signed for 2 years, Martyn Lancaster (2 years), Chris Blackburn (2 years), Chris Malkin (2 years), Wes Kilgannon (1 year) and Paul Roberts (1 year). City are also trying to sign ex-Hull City defender Jon Witney who has been training at the club, however he's also been offered a contract from Lincoln City.

Club spokesman Michael Fair said: “It's a major boost to keep these three. Blackburn was getting interest from Ipswich, Leicester and Manchester City so to keep him was important for the club. We're disappointed not to have bounced back to Division Three last season, but I think we adjusted to life in the Conference as the season went on. We're now ready for the new season.”


SPONSORSHIP
The club have announced a one year sponsorship deal with an international alcoholic drink company Red Square, there is an option of a second year with the deal.
DUO DOUBTFUL
City have two players doubtful for tomorrow's opening Conference fixture with Woking. Defender Martyn Lancaster is suffering from a dead leg, while striker Chris Malkin is struggling to be fit with a groin injury. All eyes will be on the Deva attendance tomorrow with many Blues fans mounting a boycott of home matches while Terry Smith is still in control at the club, others will be swelling the picket line outside the stadium. A gate of around 500 may not be too far off the mark.

16 August 2001
WHITEHALL FINALLY LEAVES

Steve Whitehall has finally left Chester City after a week's delay with the paperwork (nothing new from Chester there then!). Nuneaton Borough this afternoon issued the following press release.

<start>
After a week of anxiety Nuneaton Borough have finally clinched the signature of Chester City's much fancied Steve Whitehall on a free transfer. The transfer of the 34-year-old striker had been delayed due to unsigned paperwork between Chester and the Football Association but the deal was completed today (Thursday) and Whitehall will make his debut at Morecambe on Saturday on the opening day of the Nationwide Conference season. Relieved Boro chief Steve Burr said: "It's been a bit of a saga but it's not all done with and Steve is with us I'm very pleased. It's a massive bonus for me and the team. "He's a quality performer at this level of the game. Evidently the Chester fans are up in arms about him leaving as they reckon he's one of their best players but their loss is our gain."
<end>


15 August 2001
SMITH DECLARES NEW INTERESTED PARTY
Gerald Smith has stated in the Evening Leader that he's been speaking to a local businessman regarding the sale of Chester City. “I won’t say who it is because I believe that all business deals should be done confidentially but we are talking to another party.” It would appear that there's no way that the Smith's are going to agree a deal directly with Phil Davies.

13 August 2001
BROOKS DEAL IS OFF
It's no surprise to hear that former director Dan Brooks has pulled out of the possible takeover deal at Chester. Brooks stated “We’re out of the game. Three times the deal was done and three times it wasn’t. We kept on agreeing a deal and then we didn’t. There was no relationship between Terry Smith and myself on this. This was purely a business transaction. It’s the second time we’ve shown an interest in buying the club. The first was a couple of months ago while these latest talks have been on-going for three weeks.”Brooks is believed to have spoken to the Supporters Trust about representation on the Board, should he have gained control; but this latest twist leaves Phil Davies and his backers as the only party still showing an interest in the club, and it may take another stint in administration before he could gain control.

SMITH MEETS FANS
Club director Gerald Smith, over from America, has had talks with both Barry Hipkiss and ISA chairman George Rogers in recent days. “What was said in the meeting was confidential but the talks were frank and honest and I am more positive about the situation. I hope things sort themselves out as soon as possible. We all want to be inside the ground and support the side but fans have said they won’t go back the way things are and they’re standing by that.” said George following his meeting.

11 August 2001
WHITEHALL MOVES ON
Striker Steve Whitehall is the latest player who's left the Deva Stadium, he's joined Nuneaton Borough on a free transfer. Whitehall scored 16 goals for City last season. Gordon Hill has already been told he couldn't bring players in until others left, but City must now be down to one of their smallest ever squads.

Goalkeeper:
Wayne Brown
Defence:
Martyn Lancaster, Michael Rose, Stephen Rose, Carl Ruffer
Midfield:
Chris Blackburn?, Sam Hill, David Kerr, Andy Porter, Scott Ruscoe
Attack:
Mark Beesley, Paul Berry, Jimmy Haarhoff, Chris Malkin, Dean Spink, Darren Wright


YOUTH TEAM DRAW
Two goals from Chris Hopwood gave City's youth team a 2-2 draw away at Rushden & Diamonds in a pre-season friendly this afternoon.

10 August 2001
DAVIES STILL IN THE FRAME
Phil Davies, the local businessman who's been trying to buy the Blues for almost half a year now has stated he's still determined to get control at the Deva. Davies has gone public and named the three other members of his consortium; they are property developer Chris Farley, and fellow investment brokers Gareth Stewart and Austrian Willi Koerner.

Davies has stated: “We’ve kept a low profile for a while because we were humiliated last time. We do want the club and are desperate to get it. We want people to be aware that we’re still there and more determined than ever. I’ve been around for five and a half months. Taking over at Chester City would not mean any financial gain for me. I genuinely want to work in football and I want to work with Chester City. We have a strong, well-organised bid worked out which includes shirt sponsorship and I believe Graham Barrow will agree to come back with me as manager. We are very real and we’re not going away and if the fans could back us it would be a big help.”

So City fans still have a glimmer of hope that a deal with Davies can still be done. Dan Brooks insists that he's also making progress with his offer, but Blues fans will be highly suspicious that the bid is merely a front for Smith. Canadian Brooks, a long-time friend and associate of Smith, was appointed commercial manager at the Deva back in August 1999 and left the club soon after our relegation from the League.

CONFERENCE MEETING
The Nationwide Conference Board met yesterday and chairman Bill King has stated that the crisis at Chester City wasn't on the agenda. As long as Chester provide proof of their Deva Stadium safety certificate then there should be no problems for next season.

CITY RESERVES
Chester City will field a reserve side next season in the first division of the Lancashire League. They kick-off their season on 22 August at home to Colwyn Bay Reserves. Other teams competing will be: Accrington Stanley, Altrincham, Ashton, Bamber Bridge, Barrow, Burscough, Guiseley, Lancaster City, Leigh RMI, Marine, Morecambe, Northwich Victoria, Ossett Town, Rossendale United and Southport.
CHESHIRE CUP
The Blues have been drawn at home to Congleton Town in the first round of the FA Umbro Cheshire Senior Cup. The match is due to take place on or before 22 September.

9 August 2001
DAN BROOKS IN NEGOTIATIONS
Former commercial manager Dan Brooks has admitted that he's been in talks for two months with Terry and Gerald Smith in a view to buy the club. His lawyers are currently studying documentation relating to this.

Speaking to the Evening Leader Dan Brooks said: “We are in discussions and active negotiations with the club about a potential sale. We are interested in the club but, as it stands, we have not exchanged shares or signed a formal deal. These things, administratively, take time. If successful the fans will know at that moment.”

Brooks currently works for a north-west based marketing, media and communications company called Datoga. Datoga have links with a company called Catch44 whose website states that throughout the 2001/2002 Nationwide Conference football season, they will broadcast live commentary from over 1000 League and Cup fixtures.

So it appears that Terry Smith hasn't sold the club yet at all. The Conference Board meet today and no doubt will be reviewing the latest installment of the Deva farce. As for the whereabouts of Smith?, nobody knows.

MATTIE WOODS
Former City defender Mattie Woods has joined fellow Conference side Stalybridge Celtic, whilst Manchester City have stated that, following his two week trial at Maine Road, they won't be signing midfielder Chris Blackburn. Since his trial finished Blackburn has not reported back to Chester for training.

FINAL RUN OUT
Chester travel to Caernarfon tonight for the last of their scheduled pre-season games. City are expected to field their first team for the match at The Oval which, according to the club, kick's-off at 19:30hrs.

8 August 2001
NO SHOW AT PRESS CONFERENCE
At this morning's 10:30 press conference only journalists and players turned up, there was no mystery new owner. Director of Football Gordon Hill and secretary/press officer Michael Fair admitted they knew nothing of the identity of the new owners and were now unable to contact Terry Smith. According to radio reports it's also believed that Smith has cleared out from his house in Elton. Director of football Gordon Hill said: “I spoke to Terry's father last weekend and he said he would be in touch, but I have heard no more.”
VICTORY AT GLOSSOP
A Chester team, that comprised mainly youth team players and trialists, played at Glossop North End last night and a goal midway through the second half by Jimmy Haarhoff, and a header at that, brought City a 1-0 victory.
7 August 2001
OUR NEW KIT
City's new sky blue and black kit is manufactured by Italian company Virma sportswear. You can check it out on the distributors website at www.footballtown.co.uk. Click on Virma and there's the kit. There's even a blue and white version available. Complete kit there costs under £25. The away kit is a rather garish looking yellow and black squares.

Read club historian Chas Sumner's article on City's previous colour schemes.


WHEN SATURDAY COMES
More publicity about our plight. The latest issue of WSC, in the shops around now, contains an article on Chester City written by Colin Mansley. You can read the full article on the Hello Albert pages.

[Book Cover]Also just out is a new book by George Rowland entitled The Ultimate Drop, which looks at relegation from the Football League to the Conference. If you can bear to relive the day again there's a section on City v Peterborough.

Illustrated with photographs throughout, this book charts the experiences of the nine clubs who have dropped from the Football League since 1987, including Lincoln City, Newport County, Darlington, Colchester United, Halifax Town, Hereford United, Doncaster Rovers, Scarborough and, of course, Chester City.

The book is available from Tempus publishing, priced £12.99. ISBN number 0-7524-2217-0.
6 August 2001
SMITH STATES THE CLUB'S SOLD
In a hefty fax issued to the press Terry Smith has announced that he has sold his major share in the club. Expect an announcement from Smith on Wednesday regarding the new owner(s).

“After five months of effort to find a buyer, on Monday of last week, Terry Smith was finally able to find a legitimate buyer, and he signed the share sale agreement this past week. He is very happy now to be away from the club. I have realised that I do not have the money to develop the club in the way the supporters want and so, for the good of the club I love, I want to be certain of its survival and success. My place in the club's history was simply to save the club and then to pass it over to more financially strong individuals. I have finally been able to find such a purchaser and so have left the club in excellent hands.” said a club statement.

Club press officer Michael Fair said: “We have had a meeting with the non-playing staff and told them that this announcement has gone out. Other than that, we know nothing more about it and we have not been able to contact Mr Smith. The players will be told when they are next at the club.”

You do have to ask yourself though, what kind of business person(s) is going to buy a club that hasn't issued accounts to shareholders for six years, is currently under investigation from the Inland Revenue and Football Association, has many fans boycotting home matches, no major sponsor and is facing a possible winding-up order?!. And all this just two weeks before the start of the new season.

Meanwhile the deadline is fast looming for the club to put in writing their assurances to the Nationwide Conference that they can guarantee stewarding for the Deva Stadium for the forthcoming season. The Conference Board next meet in London on Thursday.


DOUBLE DEFEAT FOR CITY
Chester City fielded two sides on Saturday losing both friendly games in the process. One lost 2-3 at home, to what was in effect Manchester City's Youth Team, Chester's goals were scored by Sam Hill and a Wes Kilgannon penalty. Another side made up mainly of youth players and trialists lost an entertaining game 0-1 at Denbigh Town. Jimmy Haarhoff missed a penalty for the Blues in the dying minutes. Another low attendance of only 440 spectators (charged £10) saw the match at the Deva.

BLACKIE DECISION
Manchester City will decide today if they want to sign young midfielder Chris Blackburn who has been at Maine Road on a two week trial. Blackburn's agent Mickey Walsh has stated that Rochdale, West Brom, Stoke City and Kidderminster are also showing interest in the 19-year-old who played against Chester on Saturday.

SEASON TICKETS
The club have released details of season tickets but not, as yet, matchday admission prices for the coming season. A season ticket for the Executive Lounge costs £350 (£250 OAPs). Stand prices: £190; £140 (OAPs and unwaged); £100 (under 16s). Terrace prices: £152; £121 (OAPs/unwages); £90 (u16s). The only matchday admission price that has been released is for the Executive Lounge and that will cost £20 (£15 OAPs). A car park ticket for the season will be £25. The season ticket prices are the same as for last season.

ON THE BORDERLINE – UPDATE PAGE
The club's historian Chas Sumner has released the latest update page detailing players/match stats for last season. You can download a copy of the page (in PDF format) from here.

CHESTER CITY LADIES
The fixtures are now out for next season's matches and can be found on the Fixtures pages. There's some new opposition this season as well after the side were promoted to the Northern Combination League. Home matches take place at the Cheshire County Officers Club on Sunday's and admission is very reasonable, in fact it's free and there will be a match day programme available for all home games and even this is rumoured to cost as little as £1!

3 August 2001
TONIGHT'S GAME OFF
Tonight's match with Lincoln City has this afternoon been called off due, according to the official Lincoln City website, to a waterlogged Deva pitch.

CITY WELL BEATEN
Chester lost 2-0 last night in their pre-season friendly at League of Wales side Total Network Solutions. Despite City having the better of the opening period, goals either side of half-time by Alexander (pen) 41, and Jenkins 48 swung the game and eventually sealed victory for the home side. A Chester X1 beat Brymbo Broughton on Wednesday night with goals from Jimmy Haarhoff, Lee Woodyatt and three trialists.

CLUB UNDER INVESTIGATION
Today's Chester Chronicle reveals that the Inland Revenue are currently interviewing former employees regarding the tax affairs at the club for the period 1999-2000, it also states that the Football Association's Compliance Unit are also continuing their investigations regarding the running of the club. Only last week former manager Graham Barrow complained that he still hadn't received his P45 from Chester and, without it, was unable to collect any benefits.

CAPACITY INCREASED
The Deva Stadium capacity has been increased to 4,000. The club hope to have the full capacity of 5,800 in place before the opening Conference match with Woking on 18 August.

1 August 2001
LINCOLN CITY FRIENDLY
A call to the club this morning confirmed that Chester will be playing Lincoln City in a friendly on Friday, kick-off 19:30hrs. No admission prices are known but expect the same as last Saturday – a whopping £8 for adults and £4 for concessions. Before then, City have an away friendly tomorrow night (Thurs) at Total Network Solutions.
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