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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2000
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
FEBRUARY 2000

29 February 2000
WORST EVER HOME LEAGUE DEFEAT
City's 7-1 defeat on Saturday was their heaviest home reverse in their Football League history, beating the previous record the 5-1 defeat by Leyton Orient last Christmas.

Top 10 League defeats
1. Stockport County (A) 8-5 (6 May 1933)
2. Barrow (A) 9-0 (10 February 1934)
3. Oldham Athletic (A) 11-2 (1 January 1952)
4. Wrexham (A) 7-0 (25 April 1953)
5. Millwall (A) 1-7 (23 April 1960)
6. Brighton & Hove Albion (H) 7-1 (26 February 2000)
7. Rochdale (A) 6-0 (31 March 1934)
8. Peterborough United 6-0 13 March 1961)
9. Brighton & Hove Albion (A) 6-0 (11 September 1975)
10. Brentford (A) 6-0 (10 March 1979)

During the war years Everton won 9-2 at Sealand Road.

Speaking after the match City manager Ian Atkins said: "If there's one good thing that's come out of this defeat, it's that it has shown me that there are certain players who turned out today, who shouldn't be playing at this level."

26 February 2000
CITY SIGN HICKS
Stuart Hicks has finally joined Chester in a two and a half year deal. He's expected to make his debut against Brighton at the Deva today.

25 February 2000
INGLETHORPE JOINS EXETER
Orient striker Alex Inglethorpe, who was penciled in to play in the Chester reserves at Bury on Wednesday never turned up and has now joined Exeter City who were after the player earlier in the season. Grecians manager Noel Blake said: "We've been after Inglethorpe for some time so I'm very pleased to have finally got him on board. "We know that Alex is a quality player at this level. He has experience and a decent goalscoring record. At this stage I need to be looking to bring proven performers to the club." Meanwhile O's defender Stuart Hicks has yet to put pen to paper with any deal at Chester. City lost the reserve game at Bury 3-1 with Steve Finney netting the goal. Defender Ally Pickering is suspended for the Exeter game a week tomorrow, while off the pitch City chairman Terry Smith intends to sue the BBC over allegations made in the recent 'On The Line' Radio 5 Live programme.

22 February 2000
HOBSON LOOKING FORWARD
City skipper Gary Hobson is looking forward to playing against his former team mates at the Deva on Saturday. "I've been playing at left back for the last four or five games that probably means I will be marking Darren Freeman. I've been thinking about that and I'm quite looking forward to it. I've got a bit of a groin strain, but I think I'll be all right. I felt it after the Swansea game and I was sore for a couple of days, but it's not so bad now. I'll play no matter what." Although Carlisle have two games in hand at the moment they don't look like winning," Hobson said. "They've signed a few players though and we have got to start putting a run together now.

It was the same at Brighton. Every time we played at home we dragged ourselves a little bit closer to safety. "We did it without winning away, so we have got a chance at Chester if we can win at home. We are still fairly optimistic and a win against Brighton could take us above Carlisle. "Points are more important than games in hand. I learnt that a couple of years ago, because the pressure builds even more when you are bottom. Irrespective of who we are playing we need three points on Saturday. In our last four or five games we have played quite well and should have got something from all of them.

"I know Brighton are going through a patch of form which has not been so clever, but I understand they played well at Northampton and I know what they are capable of. When a team goes on a run like they've had you know it is going to change. I just hope it's not against us."

Quotes: Brighton Evening Argus

NO NEWS ON SIGNINGS
All seems to have gone quiet regarding the two O's signings. Both Stuart Hicks and Alex Inglethorpe are wanted by Ian Atkins and have agreed terms with the club until the end of the season. Looks like it's all down to Terry Smith and Leyton Orient now. Meanwhile defender Jamie Robinson misses Saturday's match against Brighton with a one game ban, as does the Seagulls' former City player Rod Thomas. Andy Crosby will be making a first return to the Deva.

22 February 2000
CITY TO SIGN ORIENT DUO
Chester are poised to sign the Leyton Orient pair Stuart Hicks and Alex Inglethorpe. Both were going to be watched by Ian Atkins playing for Leyton Orient reserves at Northampton yesterday but the match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch; both were training with Chester last week and have agreed personal terms with the club. Hicks is a 32-year-old central defender who has made over 350 league appearances for Scunthorpe, Huddersfield and Preston. Inglethorpe is a striker who started his career at Watford (with Julian Alsford) before joining Orient. As well as playing for Orient he currently runs the youth team at Leatherhead. Atkins is attempting to loan out some players this week with Kwik Ajet and Goran Milosavijevic expected to join non-league clubs. Danny Carson and Steve Malone have both gone on loan to Winsford United.

ATKINS STAYING PUT
City manager Ian Atkins has hit out at reports that he's about to take the vacant manager's job at Cardiff City. "I don't know where this story came from, it's rubbish" said Atkins. "I haven't been approached by Cardiff, and as far as I'm concerned, I've got an important job to do at Chester City."

18 February 2000
DOUBTS SURROUND SMITH'S PAST
Last night's Radio 5 On The Line programme cast certain allegations over Terry Smith's past achievements in the American football arena. It claimed Smith's stint with the New England Patriots NFL team only amounted to two pre-season friendlies before a knee injury forced him to quit. The programme also said that Mr Smith organised an exhibition match at Sheffield's Don Valley Stadium involving a team from Munich in Germany. It was claimed that many of the "German" players were in fact British and included students who played American football for their college in Sheffield, interviewing those who took part. Terry Smith claims that the programme was instigated by people who had grudges against him from his days of coaching American football in Britain with the Manchester Spartans and Sheffield Spartans. He described the allegations as lies and misinterpretations.

TOUGH JOB FOR BLUES
Chester take on Swansea City at the Vetch Field tonight in another difficult third division match against the highly placed Welsh outfit. And The Swans won't be taking City for granted as manager John Hollins explained: "His (Atkins') record speaks for itself. He is well respected in the game and knows how to get the best out of people. We had someone watch Chester's game against Hull last week and you can already see a vast improvement even though he's only been in charge for two months. The team has a totally different look to it. They are stronger, better organised and as Hull found out they are no pushovers anymore. It's not going to be as easy and we certainly won't be taking anything for granted."Chester have injury scares over Keister and Porter while for Swansea Richie Appleby starts the three-match ban.

CITY TO SIGN HICKS?
City are reported to be interested in signing 33-year-old Leyton Orient player Stuart Hicks. HIcks, a big strong defender has certainly been around a bit having played at Peterborough United, Colchester United, Scunthorpe United, Doncaster Rovers, Huddersfield Town, Preston North End and Scarborough before moving to Brisbane Road in 1997.

17 February 2000
SMITH ON RADIO 5 LIVE
City chairman Terry Smith will be featured tonight in BBC Radio 5 Live's 'On The Line' programme at 19.30 (909, 693 MW). Having heard the trailer this morning it promises to be a very interesting programme!

15 February 2000
WINGROVE WINS TRIBUNAL CASE
Former club chief executive Bill Wingrove has won his case for unfair dismissal and has been awarded a £10,268. pay-out at a Liverpool industrial tribunal. Things could get worse next month when former manager Kevin Ratcliffe takes the club to court. After the hearing terry Smith said it the decision would adversely affect the third division club involving money which could have been better spent elsewhere. The tribunal rejected claims from Chester City FC that the chief executive had said that he did not want to continue his employment at the club if he was forced to give up his position as director. Mr Wingrove, speaking after the ruling, said he was always confident the tribunal would find in his favour and added: "Despite this incident I hold nothing against Chester City Football Club and have fond memories of my time there."

Chairman Terry Smith called the decision a “joke”. “Every shred of evidence showed there was no written contract, In testimony Mr Wingrove and Mr Guterman couldn’t even decide who wrote the contract. There was no way there was any type of unfair dismissal, If we had wanted to build a case to dismiss him we would have prepared one five inches thick.”

I think it is unbelievable. Tribunals must have to be highly biased towards employees to come to such a decision. I don’t know how companies in the UK can survive under these conditions.”

Mr Wingrove, 55, of Stoke-on-Trent claimed he was forced out of his job last July shortly after Smith had taken over. He told the tribunal he was first removed from the board of directors and offered the job of commercial manager. He reluctantly signed a letter agreeing to resign from the board but resisted the change of job, which he considered a demotion. On 8 August Mr Smith told Wingrove he wa accepting his resignation from both the board and his employment with the club.

Former City chairman Mark Guterman told the tribunal: “Bill Wingrove wa always trustworthy and reliable and I was happy to leave the day-to-day running of the club to him. I decided to offer Mr Wingrove a manager-style contract including bonuses for sponsorship deals and transfer deals. I originally asked him to name his price to stay with the club but he said the club couldn’t afford too much because of the financial trouble we were in. I had been trying to get rid of the club for a long time and he was keen to sign a contract to ensure a continuity of employment. We decided to keep the contents of the contract confidential and he duly signed it in July 1998.”

Report from the Chester Chronicle
RESERVES HAMMERED
City's reserve team, containing several first team regulars, were thrashed 9-3 away at Darlington in the Pontins League. Steve Finney scored a hat-trick for the Blues including a penalty.

14 February 2000
TOTAL FOOTBALL
The March issue of Total Football magazine contains a five page article on Chester City, concentrating mainly on Terry Smith and Ian Atkins - nice photos too.

NEXT ISA MEMBERS MEETING
The next members meeting of the Association will take place on Monday 28 February 2000 at the Royal Mail Club, Station Road, Chester. The meeting will start at 19.30. The guest speaker with be radio Merseyside/BBC Radio 5 Live commentator, author, and Chester City fan Charles Lambert - not to be missed.

9 February 2000
SIGGI LOAN SPELL EXTENDED
?
According to Teamtalk, Walsall have agreed to extend the loan spell of striker Siggi Eyjolfsson at the Deva Stadium for a second month. The Icelander is still far from agreeing the deal with Chester himself. His plans are to discuss whether to stay on with Chester for a further four weeks with his agent after the latter returns to England.

ISA MARCH
As part of the Great Escape 2000 ISA campaign, there is a march from Chester to the match on Saturday against Hull City. The march down Bumpers Lane starts at 2.00 from the Kwik Save car park.

7 February 2000
PLAYERS ON LIST
The following players have today been told to find another club by manager Ian Atkins as they do not feature in his plans for the rest of the season. Martin Nash, Steve Finney, Steve Malone, Kwik Ajet, Danny Carson, Carl Rendell and Goran Milosavijevic. Jon Jones has gone on loan to Caernarfon. Meanwhile Angus Eve has joined up with Trinidad and Tobago to play in the CONCACAF Cup and will now expected to miss several City games as a result.

FANS PITCH IN
Manager Ian Atkins has described the gesture of fans to pay for improved training facilities: "It is a brilliant gesture" said City manager Ian Atkins. City had been training at the Chester Racecourse but now the ISA, along with the Chester City Exiles, the Official Supporters Association and the Away Travel club have pitched in to pay the £30 a day costs for the team to train at the Impressive University College grounds in Clifton Drive, Chester. Atkins added: "The players love training there as it's a super facility".
FORMER PLAYERS
Former City player Andy Milner has joined Northwich Victoria from Morecambe and Ray Newlands has joined Dave Felgate at Leigh RMI from Winsford United.
4 February 2000
PORTER / HOBSON SIGN ON LOAN
Chester have signed 31-year-old Wigan Athletic midfielder Andy Porter on a month's loan. The hard working player has just the experience City are looking for having played over 300 games for Port Vale prior to his move to the Latics. He goes straight into the side tomorrow as Shaun Reid is struggling to be fit. Chester have also extended Gary Hobson's loan period from Brighton until the end of the season.

The reserves lost 2-0 at home to Mansfield on Wednesday. Having trials in the City team were Neville Roach (given a free by Southend), Chris Collins (about to be released by Southampton) and Neil Corrigan.

Chester have denied reports that Sunderland have bid £400,000 for Darren Moss and Matt Doughty, and manager Ian Atkins denied any interest in Orient player Simon Webb.

2 February 2000
BLUES TO SIGN WEBB?
According to last night's Evening Standard, Chester are expected to sign midfielder Simon Webb, from Leyton Orient on a month's loan. The former Tottenham player has failed to establish himself in the first team at Brisbane Road this season, starting only three games. O's manager Tommy Taylor said: "Simon is not a 100 per cent fit and I think a loan spell at Chester would do him the world of good".Note: As of 11.30am on Friday Webb had yet to sign for City and reports on an Orient website state that the move is off. No news whatsoever from Chester.

1 February 2000
PLAYER SEARCH CONTINUES
Ian Atkins is hoping this week to sign Gary Hobson from Brighton on a permanent deal. The versatile defender has certainly impressed on his month's loan at the Deva, and if this is agreed then Hull City's Jason Perry will become a loan target. Atkins is also having talks this week with Walsall with a view to signing Icelandic striker Siggi Eyjolfsson on another month's loan. Eyjolfsson scored his first goal for City on Saturday. 
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