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
Chester City from: Sinclair, Davidson, Jenkins, Priest, Fisher, Richardson,
Shelton, Whelan, Alsford, Flitcroft, Thomas, McDonald, Milner, Woods, Bennett,
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”
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
“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
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.
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
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
“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 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
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Saturday’s home game against FC United of Manchester has been postponed to due water damage to certain parts of the stadium.
An awful day for Chester who have Gary Roberts sent-off and are thrashed 8-1 at Blyth Spartans.
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