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31 August 2003

Two late goals from Michael Twiss gave City and emphatic, if flattering, 4-0 scoreline at Gravesend & Northfleet on Saturday. City took the lead midway through the first half after a mistake from home ‘keeper O’Reilly had give Darryn Stamp the simplest of chances to roll the ball into an empty net from 18 yards. Minutes later and Phil Bolland was left unmarked to score his second goal in a week. The Blues found it heavy going after the break and it wasn’t really until the introduction of Twiss that they looked like adding to their lead. The midfielder hit the post with a curling shot round O’Reilly before scoring twice from close range in injury time.

Manager Mark Wright was full of praise for the home side: “I don’t think they deserved to get beaten like that. They’ve had a real go at us today. I felt sorry for them and I don’t think the crowd were right to have a go at their manager. We have hit the post, the keeper has made a couple of great saves and we could have got more. We thoroughly deserved it, but I don’t think the scoreline is fair to Gravesend. They had a lot of possession and worked their socks off. We had chances and we took them. Give them credit, they’ve got to keep going, got to keep fighting and I don’t think they deserved as big a spanking as they got.”

The Blues are back down in Kent on Saturday for their next game against Margate which will be played at Dover Athletic’s Crabble Ground, kick-off 15:00hrs.

Prediction Competition The form for this season’s Exiles competition is available to download in Acrobat format here. There is a guaranteed first prize of £100 with runners-up cash prizes also.

Please note that the competition is open to anyone, Exiles member or not, and money remaining after paying out the prizes will be put back into the football club through sponsorship – so please support us to support the club.

The closing date for receipt of entries is 30 September. You may send as many entries as you like and cost of each entry is just £1.00. Weekly competition updates appear on this website.

29 August 2003

City skipper Andy Harris could return to the side that plays Gravesend & Northfleet tomorrow. Harris broke a bone in his hand against Tamworth and has been forced out through injury since. Several players have knocks but are expected to be fit as the Blues make their second trip to Stonebridge Road. The sides last met back in April when Mark Beesley’s strike gave City a 1-0 win in Kent. Gravesend gave fitness tests to five players tomorrow: Francis Duku (thigh), Andy Drury (ankle), Paul Wilkerson (ankle) and Robin Trott (foot).
28 August 2003

Carl RufferCentral defender Carl Ruffer has been fined two weeks wages after walking out prior to Tuesday night’s game with Shrewsbury Town. Ruffer appears to have taken exception to being dropped to the substitutes bench after starting in City’s previous four matches this season.

Manager Mark Wright said: “I was very disappointed about the unprofessional behaviour, conduct, and attitude of Carl Ruffer. Carl was named as a substitute for our match with Shrewsbury but he reacted disrespectfully by walking out on the team and refused to accept his position on the bench. It was a managerial decision to name him as a substitute and I was appalled with his attitude – he walked out on the team and the players. No one has a God-given right to a place in the starting line-up and I was very disappointed he refused to accept a substitute position. If Carl Ruffer wants to be a Chester City player he must toe the line. I’ve appreciated everything he has done as a player, but his action before Tuesday night’s match was nothing short of a disgrace.” Chester-born Ruffer submitted a transfer request in the summer but was persuaded that he had a future with the club and played in five games pre-season.

There will be a fans forum at Deva Stadium on Tuesday 2 September at 19:00hrs, all are invited to attend. Chairman Steve Vaughan, Mark Wright and other directors will be attending to answer questions.
27 August 2003

Phil Bolland’s strike two minutes from time gave City their third home win of the season and condemned the Shrews to their first defeat. The match, which had a delayed kick-off of 15 minutes to accommodate a large away following, was a full-blooded affair from the first minute to the last. The Blues missed several good chances early on, most notably Darryn Stamp’s lob wide when through one-on-one after six minutes. However the striker, making his home debut, made amends by putting City in front midway through the half was a bullet header from just inside the box. The striker managed to also hit the bar during a lively opening half as well.

The Shrews fought back after the break and leveled the score on 58 minutes after former City player Sam Aiston had played Tolley in. But the Blues wouldn't be beaten and just when the game seemed to be heading for a draw up stepped Bolland to rifle home a shot from Kevin McIntyre’s free-kick.

It was Bolland’s seventh goal for the club and few can have been sweeter. Manager Mark Wright said: “Bolly shouted Ian Rush when he scored and he always does that in training. He thinks he’s a poacher! But Shrewsbury played an offside, got caught on it and got punished. If we’d have come off the pitch without a win I think the boys would have been very disappointed, and I would have been. Shrewsbury’s boss, Jimmy Quinn, admitted that we thoroughly deserved the victory, and when somebody says that you’ve got to take it and say thank you very much.”
25 August 2003

City slipped to their first defeat of the season on Saturday when they lost 2-1 to Exeter City at St. James’ Park. Striker Darryn Stamp made his debut, replacing on loan Robert Gill, and there were several other changes made to the side that beat Forest Green Rovers last week. City had the better of the opening stages and deservedly took the lead through an Ian Foster penalty but were pegged back before the break and fell to the eventual winner on the hour mark.City are next in action tomorrow night for the visit of Shrewsbury Town, kick-off 19:45hrs. The visitors are expected to bring a large following for a game that should attract a crowd of 3,500+. The Shrews are currently in fourth place having won their other two away fixtures at Accrington Stanley and Burton Albion.

City will be waiting on the fitness of goalkeeper Wayne Brown who missed the defeat on Saturday, but are hopeful that Andy Harris will be fit to return. Shrewsbury are reported to be without ex-City defender Darren Moss who is suspended and Gregor Rioch, Mark Cartwright and Ian Dunbavin through injury. Shrews manager Jimmy Quinn said: “It’s a massive game for us on Tuesday and on Monday that’s the main thing I’ll be getting through to the players. The Chester game will be a gauge of how well we will do this season and we really need to be at our best”.

23 August 2003

City have this afternoon completed the signing of Darryn Stamp for an undisclosed fee. Northampton Town boss Martin Wilkinson said: “This move will be of benefit to all parties and I hope he enjoys a long and successful spell at Chester.” Stamp played 13+11 games for the Cobblers last season after being dogged by injury, he scored five goals. He will be expected to go straight into tomorrow’s side.
Phil BollandCity welcome back central defender Phil Bolland to the squad for tomorrow’s match at Exeter City. Bolland, who has missed the first three games of the season with a thigh injury, came through this weeks 5-0 reserve victory at Vauxhall Motors unscathed. Winger Jon Brady is also available at St James’ Park after serving a three match suspension. Skipper Andy Harris who broke a bone in his hand recently will have a fitness test prior to tomorrow’s game. Manager Mark Wright said: “Bolland and Brady will be traveling to Exeter and we will have to assess things. All I would say is that those who have worn the shirt in recent games have done ever so well. We are in for two hard games against Exeter and Shrewsbury. Both clubs will want to get back to the League, but if we keep doing what we have been doing, we needn’t worry about them. We know we are good enough.”

Meanwhile the Blues won’t have a new striker on show tomorrow. Negotiations have taken place this week with the Northampton Town striker Darryn Stamp who has also been a target of Lincoln City. “I’m still hopeful we are able to sign Darryn Stamp. He told us he was very interested in coming to Chester, but I need to get players out of the club before we can do anything. A big targetman is important to our team and the chairman has given me the go-ahead to get someone in. I’m trying to sort out the situation, and it would have been good to have had Darryn Stamp in our side at Exeter, but at the moment nothing has been concluded.” said Mark Wright.

20 August 2003
Having impressed in the opening three Nationwide Conference fixtures Jamie Heard has been rewarded with a full contract until the end of the season. The player had been playing on non-contract terms until now. Heard will be competing with Jon Brady for that right-wing slot. Manager Mark Wright said: “Jamie is a young fella, he’s 6ft tall, quick, has good feet, and he’s started all three of our games this season. Jamie has earned his place and I’ll be looking to extend his contract. He’s definitely one for the future.”
19 August 2003
Following the impressive refurbishment of the Deva Stadium ground in the last 12 months, chairman Stephen Vaughan has talked about further ground developments planned to improve the Deva Stadium facilities even further.

There are plans for five executive boxes in the West stand at the ground, with possibly two more in the main east stand. There is also the possible expansion of/or new, supporters club. “We’re severely restricted in being able to offer fans somewhere to have a drink before or after the game. There are no pubs near the ground either. The danger was they’d set out for the ground, have a couple of pints in the city centre, get comfy in front of the TV and not move.” Vaughan stated that he’d had talks with a brewery regarding a multi-purpose club room catering for up to 400 people (a new club or expansion of the existing isn’t specified). “If the brewery want to join us, fine. If not, we’ll go ahead with the £1m development ourselves. Our fans deserve it. I’m also hoping to receive permission to build bar facilities behind both the North and South Terrace Stands. We may not get permission before Christmas, but I intend to continue to improve the ground. The club has got a good relationship with both the guarantor and Chester City Council.”

A section of the West stand was closed on Saturday as building work is currently taking place for the start of the executive boxes boxes.

Building work Building work
Building work  

Fans will be please to hear that midfielder Ben Davies is to sign a two-year extension to his contract at City. Davies, who scored City’s last-gasp winner on Saturday told the local press: “Mark Wright has brought me on massively since I arrived at the club. He has improved my confidence, as well as improving my overall game. I am chuffed to bits that we have agreed this extension because the club is always looking to improve, which is extremely positive. If necessary they are always prepared to strengthen the squad, which keeps everybody on their toes. The gaffer always gets the best out of players and with the squad we’ve got and the start we have had, everybody is extremely confident at the club. We really have a bright future at the Deva Stadium.”
Mark WrightCity manager Mark Wright was a satisfied man after Saturday’s last-gasp victory over Forest Green Rovers. “I’m pleased because we’ve had three games, three clean sheets, and we’ve got seven points, so I’m more than happy.”

Saturday’s game ended on a sour note though with an on-pitch melee that saw Rovers’ Gary Owers dismissed in the tunnel after the final whistle. Things appeared to get heated following an stamping incident on the stroke of full time and escalated from there.

Wright said: “One of their lads head-butted Danny Collins, who is one of our most placid players. But another one of their players stamped on Jamie Heard before the end and that’s not acceptable. But at least we’ve come out of the game unscathed.”

15 August 2003
Chester will be looking for three more points tomorrow against Forest Green Rovers to continue their good start to the season. The Blues have four points from the opening two games that has also seen the defence of Carl Ruffer, Wayne Hatswell and Danny Collins keep two clean sheets. Skipper Andy Harris failed to make the second half after breaking a bone in his wrist on Tuesday night but just may be available for selection tomorrow.

“Andy has had the hand put in a cast and he told me if the cast broke during the game tomorrow he would have it strapped up and he would continue to play. He told me he would then have a pin put in the hand and be back in action as soon as he could be. I’ve been impressed with Andy’s attitude, and I also like the way he makes himself heard during games. He’s a dictator and an impressive captain, but I knew that when I brought him in from Leyton Orient.” manager Mark Wright said.The Blues will once again be without Jon Brady who serves the last of his three match suspension tomorrow, and City’s three main injured payers Phil Bolland, Scott Guyett and Daryl Clare are still on the mend and a few games off being available for selection.

13 August 2003
City manager Mark Wright is to step up his search for a big target man after seeing the Blues claim their first win of the season at home to Tamworth last night. Northampton Town striker Darryn Stamp’s name has been mentioned as a possible target. The Blues failed to take full advantage of their crosses in the box. Full backs Jamie Heard, currently playing on non-contract terms, and Kevin Mcintyre are getting the crosses over without much being knocked down.

Manager Wright said: “If we can find a striker who just works in the 18-yard box, be assured, I’ll play three up front. I’ve got someone in mind, and the chairman has already told me to go and do something. I’m going to look at it, and if I’m lucky enough to get someone I’ll take them, and I’ll take them very shortly.” Wright has also confirmed his interest in Doncaster Rovers central defender Mark Albrighton although Carl Ruffer, Danny Collins and Wayne Hatswell have done a tremendous job in the first two games.

The Blues won last night through a Carl Ruffer goal four minutes after the break and will be looking to build on that success this Saturday when Forest Green Rovers visit Deva Stadium. Rovers have a 100% success rate at the Deva but were well beaten 5-1 at Hereford United last night.

12 August 2003
The Nationwide Conference game against Burton Albion at Eaton Park has been put back 24 hours to Wednesday 8 October for live coverage by Sky Sports, kick-off 19:45hrs.
11 August 2003

Both sides will have been content with a draw after failing to break the deadlock in the stifling heat at Stevenage on Saturday. Wayne Brown made his 200th appearance for the Blues on a day that Kevin Rapley, Andy Harris, Jamie Heard, Ian Foster, and Robert Gill all made their first.

Jamie HeardManager Mark Wright was pleased with the sides performance, especially given the injuries to a number of key players. He told the Evening Leader:

“We went down to Stevenage with five key players out and yet the players who have come in showed and proved we have a strong squad, because they all played remarkably well. On that performance in the heat and what I had out I’ve got to say I’m more than proud of my players. Not to concede a goal away from home is a plus, but with the chances we had and we created I thought we should have won. We defended really well and did a lot of things very well. Wright named four debutants in his starting line-up and praised the quartet for their contribution. Andy Harris is from a league club and he was our captain. Everyone could see he dictated, partrolled, did everything simply, but snapped into his tackles, and we missed out a bit on that last year. He gave us guidance. Jamie Heard (pictured) hasn’t got a contract at the club, but we threw him in because we knew he is a right full back and a good marker. He’s only a baby, yet he proved how good he was at Stevenage.”

There were no further injury worries ahead of Tuesday’s first home game of the season against promoted side Tamworth. The Lambs suffered an opening day home defeat to Hereford United 3-1.
8 August 2003

The Blues kick-off the new Nationwide Conference season with a difficult game at Stevenage Borough tomorrow. The team traveled south tonight and the starting X1 at Broadhall Way could contain just five of the side that played the last competitive game against Doncaster Rovers in May.

Scott Guyett, Phil Bolland and Daryl Clare have been ruled out for some time, as had winger Jon Brady who serves the first of a three match suspension. The crisis forced yesterday’s loan signing of striker Robert Gill from Doncaster Rovers. One player who has impressed during pre-season is Jamie Heard who today signed non-contract forms with the club. Several players could debut for the Blues tomorrow, Andy Harris and Gill look likely to start with Kevin Rapley, Ian Foster and a fit again Mark Beesley competing for a place up front.

If Wayne Brown plays tomorrow, he will be making his 200th appearance for the club since his debut back in November 1996 against Cardiff City – a great achievement.

Wayne Brown, closing in on a double century.

Defender Tom Jordan who played two pre-season games for Chester, scoring at Colwyn Bay, has signed for fellow Conference side Tamworth who visit Deva Stadium next Tuesday.
7 August 2003
Wayne HatswellIn a surprise move defender Wayne Hatswell has submitted a transfer request to the club. The England semi-pro international had been having a good pre-season but has not played since the game against Connah’s Quay Nomads. It is being reported that the defender may move to Doncaster Rovers as part of a deal that could bring central defender Mark Albrighton to the Deva. Chairman Steve Vaughan told the Daily Post: “I have spoken to John Ryan my opposite number at Doncaster and we appear to be close to an agreement. ‘Ways’ has submitted a transfer request to us, and the discussions I have held with John Ryan appear to be agreeable to all parties. Hopefully the respective deals can be completed by the weekend.” Nothing confirmed on this as yet.

Doncaster forward Robert Gill has joined the Blues for a one-month loan, he scored twelve goals in 37+21 appearances for the Yorkshire side last season. Rovers’ manager Dave Penney said: “this is not a transfer and after one month he will return but with the abundance of strikers at the club we felt he needed to be playing more to get his match fitness up. Hopefully when he comes back he will be raring to go for us.”

“I’ve brought Robert Gill in on a one month loan deal with a view to signing the player, and he’ll be in contention for a starting place at Stevenage, along with our other strikers, Mark Beesley, Ian Foster, and Kevin Rapley.” said Mark Wright.

In another move, striker Dave Cameron has joined Conference rivals Halifax Town on a three month loan. “We tried to make it permanent but he’s come for three months and we’ll take it from there. I just thought we were lacking a bit in that department and Dave is a player who has been around the lower leagues and knows what it’s all about. He has got a bit of experience, will hold the ball up and lead the line for us.” said Halifax boss Chris Wilder.

5 August 2003

Daryl ClareThe Blues will be without three of their main players for Saturday’s opening Nationwide Conference fixture at Stevenage Borough. Striker Daryl Clare and defenders Phil Bolland and Scott Guyett are all ruled out through injury, added to that Jon Brady will miss the game through suspension.

“We need strength in depth which is why Guyett and Bolland are major losses, and Clare is our top striker, and is another major loss. But I am looking at a couple of situations and I’m going to speak with the chairman again to see if we can do something before the weekend.” said manager Mark Wright. Wright knows that if he want’s to bring players in on loan then others must be loaned out to make way.

With key players missing it does however give others in the squad a chance to stake their claim for places. Carl Ruffer is almost certain to return to the defence at Broadhall Way but who will pay up front remains to be seen. New signings Ian Foster and Kevin Rapley have both scored pre-season and Mark Beesley appears to be heading back to full fitness. City’s opponents have problems too with Graham Westley having 17 players receiving various kinds of treatment from the overworked Stevenage physio.
4 August 2003

City take a side to Colwyn Bay tonight, mainly reserve players, for the last of their pre-season matches. Ian Foster’s first goal for the club on Saturday gave the Blues a draw at Vauxhall Motors where Manager Mark Wright took another opportunity to take a look at trialists Matt Carragher and Sam Sodje. Sodje played the full 90 minutes while Carragher played the first 45. Meanwhile goalkeeper Ian McCaldon looks set to sign for City. Mark Wright stated today: “We’re hoping to sign Ian McCaldon today. The deal has all been agreed and the chairman has given the go-ahead for that, and I think it’s right for that to happen. We’ll be signing Ian on a two-year deal because I’m wanting competition for places all over the field.”
1 August 2003
Away End The new season is just days away and coach bookings can still be made for the opening match at Stevenage Borough. The official supporters coach leaves Delamere Street at 09.30hrs. The fare is £15.00 and Barrie Hipkiss will take bookings between 18:00 and 20:00hrs on 01244 379011.

Supporter Survey Chester City Supporters Trust in conjunction with Chester City FC are conducting this survey to find out what existing (and potential!) supporters think about the club and what would make attending Chester City matches easier and more attractive. We would be grateful if you could spend just a few minutes completing it.

Every survey received by Tuesday 19th August will be entered into a prize draw with a first prize of £50 and several runners-up prizes of Chester City goodies.

Download the survey form (2 page PDF) here.

City are expected to play a strong side for tomorrow’s friendly match at near neighbours Vauxhall Motors. The match at Rivacre Road will kick-off at 15:00 and admission costs are: £6.00 for adults to all parts of the ground, £4.00 for concessions and £2.00 for children.
The Blues will be kicking off the new season without their familiar blue and white striped shirts. The has been a delay in receiving them from the Italian suppliers and, with Conference approval, last seasons white away shirt will be used until the new kit arrives in September.
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