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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2001
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DECEMBER 2001
31 December 2001
MATCH FROZEN OFF
Tomorrow’s New Years Day home match with Northwich Victoria has been postponed as the Deva pitch and ground surrounds are frozen. The club wanted to rearrange the game for this Thursday night but Vics wouldn’t agree. Next Tuesday 8 January now looks like the possible new date. With more heavy frost forecast Saturday's match at Telford must also be in some doubt.
PORTER JOINS APPLICANTS
Midfielder Andy Porter has put his name forward for the vacant manager’s job at the Deva but there currently seem to be two main candidates for the job, Mark Wright and Graham Barrow. Chairman Steve Vaughan has already spoken to Wright and is checking to see if Graham Barrow can get permission from the Bury chairman before he’s interviewed tomorrow. Vaughan added: “Mark Wright told me he’d bring in two defenders if he was given the job (Scott Guyett and Phil Bolland both at Oxford and ex-Southport), and he added he would bring in his friend Alan Lewer, but Lewer has also applied for the job. Everyone is aware that the Chester job is a good paying job for whoever takes it. But if we get relegated the club wouldn’t be able to substantiate wage demands. Whoever takes over has to give me a guarantee that they would keep Chester in the Conference because that is our priority at the moment.”

On the City bench on Saturday were Owen Brown and reserve team coach Roy Cook, they, along with Dean Spink and Andy Porter, picked the side that beat Hayes 3-1. Vaughan said: “Owen selected the side but he’s full time at the Liverpool Academy – he’s not here looking for a job, he was here doing me a favour, and he and the other lads involved did a good job.”

Along with Porter and Lewer, Jimmy Mullen and John McGinlay have asked for an interview for the post.
28 December 2001
CRUCIAL TIME FOR CITY
City have two vital home games in the next four games knowing that nothing less than six points will be good enough if they are to break clear from the bottom of the table. Dean Spink and Andy Porter take charge of team affairs for tomorrow’s visit of Hayes. Striker Mark Beesley once again faces a fitness before the match as he’s still suffering with a sore groin.

27 December 2001
MUNGALL AXED
[Steve Mungall]After just 79 days and 13 games in charge at Chester, manager Steve Mungall has been sacked following yesterday’s disappointing 3-1 defeat at Northwich Victoria. Along with Mungall, physio Chris Malkin and assistant Gary Stevens have also been shown the door. The board of directors meet today to discuss the situation and senior players Dean Spink and Andy Porter will take charge of the team for Saturday’s visit of Hayes.

Following the Northwich defeat chairman Steve Vaughan said: “One point from the last 18 is pathetic. The manager and his staff have lost their jobs as a result of recent events, but quite frankly the players must also take a serious look at themselves. Steve is a personal friend of mine, and it wasn’t easy to do, but I had to take a business decision for the good of this football club. I now need somebody who can quickly turn things around, and get us out of this mess we’re in. I won’t be rushed into a decision and I doubt if we will have anyone in place for Saturday’s game against Hayes. But whoever is appointed will have to be able to quickly rectify our problems, because time isn’t on our side if we are to avoid relegation. The timing of the sackings is poor, but I had to act because the players are failing to respond. I’ve asked both Gary Stevens and Chris Malkin to step down and they’ll be paid off, and we’ll draft in the physio from our centre of excellence for Saturday’s match.”

Various names are being bandied around for the managers vacancy including Graham Barrow, former Oxford United and Southport manager Mark Wright, as well as Owen Brown and Mike Marsh. Former physio Joe Hinnigan may also be in line for a return to the Deva to take up his former duties.
21 December 2001
COACH TO NORTHWICH
The Official Supporters Club are running a coach to Northwich Victoria on Boxing Day. This will depart Delamere Street at 13:00hrs and seats cost £5. To reserve your place please phone Barrie Hipkiss on (01244) 379011 between 18:00-20:00hrs only please.

CITY SIGN O’BRIEN
[Chris O'Brien]Defender Chris O'Brien who has been signed on a free from Liverpool. The Merseysiders will get 50% of any transfer fee should City sell the player.

O'Brien was signed at the start of the season on a three month loan deal but, after a string of solid performances, the club have made the move permanent.

MOORE DEAL OFF
Chairman Steve Vaughan has stated that the deal to bring Neil Moore to the Deva is off. Vaughan stated: “I met Neil Moore’s agent yesterday (Wed), but negotiations broke down. Chester agreed a fee with Telford United for the player, and Moore want's to join us, but his agent was requesting second division money. It’s a bitter blow for the club, but I’m not prepared to pay ridiculous money. We had a management meeting at Chester yesterday, and Neil Moore was on the agenda because we were desperate to sign him, but we cannot accept the financial demands of a players agent. I’m not prepared to line the pockets of a players agent who is jepordising that players move. That’s the last time I’m dealing with an agent.” According to the Non-League Paper Moore rejected the move because of Chester’s precarious position.
18 December 2001
CITY TO LAND MOORE?
[Neil Moore]Chester have agreed a fee with Telford United, rumoured to be about £40,000 for defender Neil Moore (left). The player is now discussing terms with City before he puts pen to paper. The Blues’ defence has been shipping sloppy goals in recent weeks and chairman Steve Vaughan reckons Moore’s experience is just what is needed. “We offered Telford £35,000 which they rejected, but we’ve now gone back and revised our bid which is still five figures. The deal has been done with Telford, and it’s now just down to the player and his agent to sort out personal terms with us. It’s a lot of money to pay out for a player at this level, particularly when they would be available on a Bosman at the end of the year. I understand the player is wanting to join us, and we need him. He’s 29-years-old and has plenty of experience after playing for Everton’s first team against Manchester United, and he spent a number of seasons at Burnley.” said City's chairman.

Meanwhile the club are discussing a two year deal with striker David Brown who made his first appearance on Saturday. Brown lives in Wigan and has been offered deals to play for Torquay United and in China but wants to stay in the north-west. The Blues are also hoping to persuade ex-Wrexham defender, Phil Hardy, to join Chester from his current club Port Vale.


BLUES SIGN YOUNGSTER
Chester have signed highly rated 21-year-old Danny Collins from Buckley Town. Collins has been linked with several league clubs including Wrexham, Tranmere Rovers and Cambridge United. Collins has played for Buckley in the Cymru Alliance for the last two-and-a-half years, and had a contract at Buckley that Chester have paid-off. “My dad is a Chester fan and he used to take me to matches when I was younger. Obviously he’s delighted and now I've just got to get my head down and prove to the manager that he was right to take a chance on me”, said a delighted Collins who's signed a two-and-a-half year full time contract at the Deva.

17 December 2001
DEFEAT FOR CITY

[Steve Mungall]Another defeat at home on Saturday leaves Chester second bottom of the Conference and desperate for a return of form if they are to survive a second relegation in as many seasons. The season is only just past half-way, but with only one point gathered from the last fifteen manager Steve Mungall's comment that “that just isn't good enough” is the understatement of the season. Supporter unrest is surfacing and the three games over Christmas and the New Year against Northwich (twice) and Hayes must yield at least seven points.

Against Southport, City gave a debut to striker David Brown, the latest player to sign on a one-month loan deal, and he fitted in well, though he's a similar style to Mark Beesley, before being substituted by Jimmy Haarhoff. Chester don't play next Saturday and have a tough game next with a Boxing Day derby against Northwich Victoria at the Drill Field (kick-off 15:00hrs), where one or two more new signings may also appear.

City’s youth team match at home to Macclesfield Town on Saturday was postponed due to a frozen pitch.


VAUGHAN NOT IMPRESSED
Following the latest defeat against Southport chairman Steve Vaughan said: “If a joiner can’t fix chairs, and if an electrician fails to fix a plug, they’d be replaced, and the same applies to a football manager in charge of a losing team. Steve Mungall is obviously under a lot of pressure at the moment and I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’ll have to do something soon otherwise we’ll find ourselves dead and buried by the new year. I think we’ll have to approach Telford United with a revised bid for central defender Neil Moore, because the team and Steve Mungall are now under a lot of pressure.”

MARK SHAIL
Kidderminster Harriers central defender Mark Shail has turned down a loan move to the Deva. Shail, who was watched by Steve Mungall last week, was looking for a more permanent deal but the club couldn't guarantee that.

13 December 2001
BUSINESS CLUB
Chester will launch a business club at the Deva Stadium tonight (17:00-19:00hrs), when businesses in the city are being invited along to pledge their support for the club. Further details from Jim Jones on (01244) 371376.

12 December 2001
MAKE OR BREAK TIME FOR CITY
Chairman Steve Vaughan has hinted that the next few weeks are crucial for the club. “We’re facing a make or break situation within the next month, with three of our next four league games at home, but we need the support of people in the city to turn out and support our manager and our players. I’m obviously frustrated about the team’s run of bad form at the moment, but we need to build up to crowds of 2,000 in order to break even. Steve (Mungall) is obviously under a bit of pressure at the moment because of our league position. I’d like to get some talented players in but we have to try and get rid of some deadwood first”.

Mungall is spending tonight watching Kidderminster Harriers central defender Mark Shail, meanwhile former Manchester United and Oldham Athletic player David Brown has joined the club for a trial.


SPONSORS SOUGHT
Roy Cook, the man now in charge of Chester's centre of excellence, is on the look-out for sponsorship this season. Roy said: “Chester City’s centre of excellence is thriving at the moment, and we’re enjoying our two-year licence from the Football Association to operate. Everyone at Chester City is pulling together in a bid to make the development programme happen”. Roy is currently looking for sponsorship of Chester City’s centre of excellence teams, and he can be contacted at the Deva Stadium on (01244) 371376.

PLAYERS BACK
Carl Ruffer, Jimmy Haarhoff, and Dean Spink are all expected to make appearances for the reserves tonight when they entertain Ashton United in the Lancashire League at Deva Stadium, kick-off 19:30hrs. The team will be managed by physio Gary Stevens as Steve Mungall is away scouting. Meanwhile striker Gary Williams has returned to Accrington Stanley following his loan period at the Deva.

10 December 2001
ANOTHER DISAPPOINTMENT

It was another poor performance from City on Saturday as Morecambe went away from the Deva with a point, and, but for some woeful finishing would have taken all three. Mark Beesley equalised from close range just after the break after Ian Arnold had given the visitors a half-time lead from the penalty spot. Iain Jenkins fitted straight in and gave a solid performance at right back, but fellow defender Martyn Lancaster will be out for at least two weeks after suffering concussion in the match. On Sunday the Ladies team turned in a disappointing display in losing 2-1 at home to Newcastle United in the third round of the Womens FA Cup.
EXILES SOCIAL NIGHT
The Exiles Christmas social night will take place this Thursday 13 December at our regular venue, The Windmill, Mill Street, London, WC1 (five minutes from Oxford Circus). There’ll be no agenda, but it’ll be the best way to pick up all the news and gossip from the club and look back on yet another eventful year at the Deva!

7 December 2001
TEAM NEWS
Despite being placed on the transfer list, defender Martyn Lancaster starts in tomorrow’s home match with Morecambe. “It’s his chance to put in a good performance, and it’s an opportunity for him to show me he’s the best centre half at this club.” said manager Steve Mungall. Iain Jenkins will also start and there will be a place in the squad for Jimmy Haarhoff following his recovery from an injury picked up in City’s last home match with Forest Green Rovers. City will be looking for their first 'double' of the season having already beaten the Shrimpers 3-0 back in October with goals from Mike Rose and Mick 0’Brien (2).

CITY LADIES
The Chester City Ladies are at home to Newcastle United on Sunday in a third round FA Cup tie. The girls are having a wonderful season so why not get along and cheer them on into the fourth round, they’d all appreciate it. The game kick’s-off at 13:00hrs at the County Officers Sports ground in Upton.

AGREEMENTS REACHED
[Graham Barrow]City fans will be pleased to hear that former manager and player Graham Barrow (left) is to receive a testimonial by the club in the summer after he and chairman Steve Vaughan came to a pay-off agreement following Barrow’s sacking in June.

Vaughan stated; “Graham Barrow stressed to me he never had any intention of harming Chester, and I’ve transferred money into his account. I’ve also agreed to Graham Barrow having a testimonial match at the Deva Stadium, and the proceeds will be split 50/50 between Graham and Chester City. The testimonial will be held either at the end of this season or before next season.”

Vaughan has also confirmed that former managing director Bill Wingrove has reached an agreement over monies owed to him following a tribunal decision.

PLAYERS LOANED OUT
Both Darren Wright and midfielder David Kerr have joined Unibond League Premier Division side Droylsden for a loan period. “They need to go out and get experience at a better standard, rather than play reserve football for us, which is not doing them any good. It’s up to them to go out and do the business. The starting XI are not automatic choices.” said manager Steve Mungall. Kerr's contract has since been paid up by Chester and he's joined Droylsden on non-contract terms.

5 December 2001
JENKINS‘ BACK AT THE DEVA
Former full back Iain Jenkins has re-signed for Chester from Shrewsbury Town on a two and a half year contract. Jenkins said: “I don’t think there’s much difference between the Conference and Third Division. I have dropped down to the Conference as I need and want to be playing first team football. Because of the injuries I’ve had people will look at Iain Jenkins and 'oh he’s been injured'. But I’m happy to prove a few people wrong by playing week in and week out. I know I'm not guaranteed first team football, nobody ever is, but I have that chance rather than going somewhere and sitting on the bench.”

4 December 2001
GRAHAM VILE
Former Director of the Centre of Excellence Graham Vile has been awarded £17,155 for unfair dismissal by Chester City. The tribunal heard of a report of Terry Smith’s attack on him. Neither the club nor Smith were at the tribunal.

Meanwhile former youth team player James Hussaney is seeking personal compensation from ex-manager Kevin Ratcliffe (not the football club) after he accused him of racial abuse. The incident happened on January 29, 1997, just before a reserve team match after James Hussaney, had changed the studs in Mr Ratcliffe’s boots. Mr Hussaney, who was 18 at the time, had fitted them wrongly and Mr Ratcliffe was looking for him when he made the racially abusive comments in front of two other players, who reported the incident.

A tribunal has already sat and awarded Mr Hussaney £2,500 compensation for injury of feelings. A second tribunal was held in June this year in an attempt to overturn the dismissed claims and the appeal panel ruled the original hearing was flawed and ordered the case to be reheard.

PLAYERS ON THE LIST
Martyn Lancaster is one of eight players placed on the transfer list by the club. Others listed are: Wes Kilgannon, Paul Roberts, Stephen Rose, David Kerr, Brett Baxter, Paul Berry and Darren Wright. Their names have been circulated to Nationwide Division Three, Conference and UniBond League clubs. Expect a few of these players to be loaned out in the next few days.

3 December 2001
FA TROPHY
Chester have been drawn at home to Stourport Swifts in the third round of the FA Trophy. The match will be played on Saturday 12 January 2002. Swifts got to the third round by beating Bishop Auckland 5-4 at home on Saturday and are currently ninth in the Dr Martens Western Division. Swifts secretary Nigel Green said: “The tie will be a great experience for all our players – they know what’s expected of them, and I’d expect it to be a good game because our lads like to play on a good surface. We beat Bishop Auckland 5-4 at home in our second round trophy tie on Saturday, after leading 4-0 at half-time – some of the lads were really struggling towards the end, but we hung on to win.”

EXTRA TRAINING
City players reported in for extra training on Sunday after another poor display resulted in a 2-1 defeat at Woking. Joining the squad for training this week is former defender Iain Jenkins, currently available on a free transfer from Shrewsbury Town. “We will have a look at Iain, with a view to a possible permanent deal. In the extra training session we have worked on defensive formations, because we are conceding too many stupid goals because of silly mistakes and the players know I just won’t tolerate it.” said manager Mungall.

A number of trialists are also at the club and Mungall has also stepped up enquiries for Telford’s Jake Edwards but warned that. “There will be movements this week, because we need to move some players out as well.”
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