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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 1997
May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
AUGUST 1997
29 August 1997
SHELTON ADDED TO SQUAD
Gary Shelton has been added to the City squad to face Barnet tomorrow. Chester look likely to start with Bennett and McDonald up front as Stuart Rimmer has lost his fight to return to the side following injury.

Chester City from: Sinclair, Davidson, Jenkins, Priest, Fisher, Richardson, Shelton, Whelan, Alsford, Flitcroft, Thomas, McDonald, Milner, Woods, Bennett, Murphy.

CALL UP FOR JENKS
City skipper Iain Jenkins has again been named in Bryan Hamilton’s Northern Ireland squad for next month’s Group Nine qualifier against Albania. Jenks spent the last match against Germany on the bench but will be looking to regain his place following that 3-1 defeat.

NEW DATE FOR CARDIFF
Chester’s game at Ninian Park recently postponed because of international call-up’s, has been rearranged for Tuesday September 16th, kick off 7.30pm.

28 August 1997
RIMMER HOPEFUL OF RETURN
It appears now that Stuart Rimmer is hopeful of a return to the City side at Underhill on Saturday. Rimmer who had an excellent home game against Carlisle has been suffering from a hamstring strain. Chris Priest should also be in contention following his run out in last night’s Reserve match. The Blues face a Barnet side sky-high in confidence following their 3-1 home victory over Norwich City in the Coca Cola Cup on Tuesday, and subsequent plum 2nd round draw with Middlesbrough.

Manager Kevin Ratcliffe has told fans “Don’t write us off yet” following the Cup defeat at Carlisle. “People will look at the 3-0 scoreline and think the worst but I thought we played well. We just gave away three stupid goals.” he said.


26 August 1997
CITY FACE DAUNTING TASK
Chester travel to Carlisle United tonight for the second leg of their first round Coca Cola Cup tie, already 2-1 down following defeat in the first leg at the Deva a fortnight ago. City boss Kevin Ratcliffe plans to keep the 4-4-2 formation used on Saturday, with Rod McDonald llikely to partner Gary Bennett up front.

Carlisle have a number of injury worries. Centre forward Allan Smart, who scored against City, is out. So are co-strikers Lee Peacock and Ian Stevens, Republic of Ireland u-21 star Rory Delap and defender Jeff Thorpe.


25 August 1997
RIMMER OUT FOR A WEEK
Striker Stuart Rimmer is expected to be out for a further week following his hamstring strain. Rimmer who was sidelined for the match against Cambridge is likely to miss both the Carlisle and Barnet games this week. His place up front will surely go to Rod McDonald who impressed on Saturday when he came on for the ineffective Andy Milner. McDonald laid on City’s goal and hit the bar in the 1-1 draw.
22 August 1997
CITY APPOINT PR COMPANY
Chester City have appointed Altrincham based company Mere Communication Ltd to handle all the public relations affairs of the football club. The appointment has been made by club chairman Mark Guterman and according to Mere is “an indication of the progressive ethos currently employed by the Deva Stadium club”.

The commercial side of the club has improved greatly over the last couple of years and this appointment should prove another positive step in the right direction to help raise the profile of the club

21 August 1997
CITY TO LOAN OUT STRIKERS?
Manager Kevin Ratcliffe has hinted that he may have to loan out some of the City strike force to keep them all happy. “We’ve got six strikers and it’s difficult to give them all games,” said Ratcliffe. “Gary Bennett and Stuart Rimmer are first choice and they’re playing well. But we’ve got four other strikers; and only two of them can play up front for the Reserves. The others may have to play out of position but if they don’t like playing out of position then I might have to consider letting players out on loan to give them match practice.”

Chester lost their opening Pontins League Division Three reserve game of the season 2-0 at Scarborough.

18 August 1997
SHAUN SETS HIS SIGHTS ON CHRISTMAS
Shaun Reid has taken up an offer from brother Peter to use the brand new facilities at Sunderland’s Stadium Of Light on Wearside for a month, in an effort to speed up his rehabilitation after rupturing his cruciate knee ligaments pre-season. Speaking in the Evening Leader the midfielder commented: “My target is for Christmas. Get my muscles built up first then work as hard as I can. I’m determined to be back playing this season. I know what the doctors said about me not playing again this season but I never listen to doctors.”

No one will doubt Shaun’s determination to get back into the side and we all wish him a speedy recovery.

14 August 1997
CARDIFF GAME OFF
Saturday’s game at Cardiff City is now OFF. Bobby Gould had called up three Cardiff players, Lee Phillips, Lee Jarman and Scott Young for the Welsh u-21 squad the previous week but the game wasn’t called off until Thursday morning. Chester officials were furious about the late cancellation and lodged a complaint with the Football League. Chester tried to get the game back on but the Football League accepted Cardiff’s explanation. “They have known about these players all week and I wouldn’t have minded if they called it off on Monday” said Ratcliffe. “We knew we’d be without Iain Jenkins and made plans accordingly”

UNDER FIRE
Some of Chester City’s senior pros today came under fire.
The Blues lost 3-0 at Winsford United last night despite having nine pros in the side.Strikers Rod McDonald, Andy Milner and John Murphy and defender Mattie Woods all played in last night’s friendly.

“I was very disappointed in the attitude and commitment from some of the pros,” said assistant manager Gary Shelton. “We had a strong side apart from a young keeper and a couple of trainees. They can’t be blamed but the others can. They should have no excuses for their performances and the way they approached the game. These are players challenging for first team places but they haven’t done themselves any favours. I told them that at half-time; we were already 3-0 down by then; and at full time; what I thought. I hope it sinks in.”

13 August 1997
JENKS TO MISS CARDIFF MATCH

Iain Jenkins will be missing from the Chester line-up at Cardiff this Saturday following his call up to the Northern Ireland squad . Northern Ireland boss Bryan Hamilton has told League bosses that none of his called-up players will be allowed to play on Saturday.

IMPS BID FOR WHELAN
Chester City have turned down a reported £80,000 bid from Lincoln City for central defender Spencer Whelan. The bid came in before Saturday’s game with The Imps. Lincoln boss John Beck has tried to sign Whelan before when he was manager at Preston. He was prepared to up his bid to £100,000 but Chester said no.

12 August 1997
CITY FEEL THE HEAT

On-fire Chester City sent temperatures rising on Saturday. But their opening day defeat of Lincoln City in sweltering summer heat did have it’s drawbacks. Centre half Julian Alsford lost an amazing half a stone during the 90 minutes and all the other Blues boys also lost weight.

“We weighed the lads before and after the game,” revealed Blues boss Kevin Ratcliffe after the game. “Julian’s one of our heaviest players and he lost six pounds. If you take into account that he had drinks during the game he probably lost half a stone.” But none of the players have shown any effects of heat exhaustion as they reported for training today.

“Everybody seems fine,” said Ratcliffe, who was more than happy with his side start to the season. “You couldn’t have asked for a better start. Everybody played well. Ronnie Sinclair kept his concentration and made a crucial save. If they’d have scored it could have been a different story. But I knew that if we kept passing the ball around we would grind them down. We created chances but when the ball hit the bar and didn’t go in early on I thought it was going to be one of those days. But we kept on going and got the goals we deserved late on.”

City’s first goal fell to Dave Flitcroft, who was one of a whole host of players to be praised by Ratcliffe.
“Flicker had a bad first half but was a different player in the second,” added Ratcliffe. “He doesn’t play well on that far side and it's something he needs to work on.
“But when he plays on our side, when we can talk to him, he always does well. I thought we’d got his brother playing for us in the second half. He did much better. He scored by following up a shot and then set up Benno’s goal with a great cross.”

Co-midfielder Neil Fisher was another City star to catch the eye. Fisher has erased memories of last season’s nightmare and looked back to his best in the midfield along with Nick Richardson, who was playing his first league game for 11 months. Ronnie Sinclair, Ross Davidson, Julian Alsford, Spencer Whelan and skipper Iain Jenkins were all tower of strengths at the back.

New signing Rod Thomas showed signs that he could be a matchwinner while up front the Gary Bennett/Stuart Rimmer partnership was rekindled. Bennett celebrated his third Chester debut with a goal while Rimmer worked hard throughout. Rimmer was preferred to last season’s top scorer Andy Milner, and looks set to continue in the number nine shirt. “Stuart got through a lot of work up front,” added Ratcliffe. “A lot of his work goes un-noticed by the fans but it doesn’t go un-noticed by us.”

11 August 1997
PRIEST SET TO SIGN
Midfielder Chris Priest is expected to sign a new deal today. “We have reached a compromise and Chris has agreed to a two year deal. Some players hear of the wages other players are on and other clubs and what they have to realise is that they are in Division three. We are Chester City not Manchester City” added Kevin Ratcliffe. Priest missed Saturday’s game through suspension and is currently sidelined with a stomach injury.
CARDIFF GAME DETAILS
Despite the Internationals the following week, City’s game at Cardiff on Saturday is definitely on. There will be seating only for Chester fans down the side in the main stand. Prices are as follows:

BLOCK A (towards the end) £10 adult, £6 juniors
BLOCK B (towards the centre) £12 adult, £7 juniors


7 August 1997
DAVIDSON AGREES NEW DEAL
City fans will be relieved to hear that full back Ross Davidson has agreed a new two-year deal with the club. The 23-year-old formed an outstanding partnership at the back with Iain Jenkins last year and this signing has come as a great boost on the eve of the new season. This leaves only midfielder Chris Priest who has yet to accept a new deal. Priest is currently holding out on a weekly contract.
JENKS CALL UP
Congratulations to full back Iain Jenkins who has been included the the Northern Ireland squad to play Germany in a World Cup qualifier in Belfast on August 30th.
INJURY NEWS
On the injury front Chris Priest is carrying a groin strain but aims to be back in contention for a reserve game by the end of next week. The only other injury worry is winger Rod Thomas who has had a thigh strain. He is back in full training today though he will struggle to be fit for Saturday.
6 August 1997
IN GOOD NICK

Kevin Ratcliffe has picked up a midfielder of proven quality – and it hasn’t cost him a penny. Ratcliffe’s new boy is likely to be thrust straight into the thick of the action on Saturday against Lincoln. He’s impressed already in pre-season, playing most of the games. Who is he? Nick Richardson, of course.

The tall playmaker missed most of last season with a serious knee operation but he’s made such a startling recovery that Ratcliffe is pleased as punch with him.
“He’s surprised us by getting his fitness back so quickly”, admitted Ratcliffe: “He’s proved he’s fit again and has played most of the pre-season games – he’s raring to go. Now I’ve a decision to make as to whether to play him or not but we’ve given him every chance.”

The City manager is playing his cards close to his chest with the opening match of the new season just 72 hours away but Richardson’s presence in most of those warm-up games gives an indication that the gangling Yorkshireman will start. And that could be down to his attitude. Ratcliffe added:“After a really bad injury you always look at people’s characters to see how they’ll cope.

“Nick has come away and thought about it long and hard and gone out and given it his best shot. He’s worked extremely hard. When you’ve had an injury like his you have to to get back playing. He gives us something extra, he’s tall and he can get goals with his head. We’ve missed him. To have him back is like having a new player in the squad.” Ratcliffe is quite happy with his complement of players but if the opportunity arises is prepared to add to it – within his very tight budget.

1 August 1997
CITY TRAVEL
City are on their travels again tomorrow to take on newly promoted Leek Town. Town who will start in the Vauxhall Conference next season have signed former City goalkeeper Ray Newland from Torquay United and striker Wayne Biggins from Wigan Athletic during the summer and are bound to prove still opposition. Manager Kevin Ratcliffe will no doubt be using his last pre-season game to get as near to his finalised starting line-up as possible, though Rod Thomas looks doubtful through injury.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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