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28 February 2003

City’s chief scout Alan Lewer has joined Nuneaton Borough as assistant manager to Steve Burr. Manager Mark Wright praised Lewer saying: “Alan has done a great job during his time here, he will be sadly missed, and we wish him well. Obviously it’s a disappointment to lose him, but when an opportunity like this comes along, it would be wrong to stand in his way.”

City have another tough game tomorrow when they entertain fifth placed Halifax Town at Deva Stadium. The Blues are yet to win on home soil in 2003 and will be without both Jimmy Kelly (suspension) and Ben Davies (injured) in midfield as they look to pull three points clear of their promotion rivals. Striker Mark Quayle is expected to make his home debut. Halifax are on top form with five wins from the last six games which has seen them catch City on 55 points, and may include former City (loan) player Shaun Garnett in their ranks if he passes a fitness test.

27 February 2003
Neil Turner reports in this morning’s Daily Post that Cheltenham Town midfielder Hugh McAuley could be having talks with Steve Vaughan and Mark Wright early next week with the view to a possible move. It’s believed that the player will be given a free transfer by Cheltenham Town.

McAuley said: “The club (Cheltenham) have told me that I can leave on a free transfer if I can get fixed up with a club. A couple of Football League clubs have shown interest, but I am extremely impressed with Chester City and their ambitions. I played with Mark Wright when I was at Anfield. He is an extremely fair and knowledgeable man. I will be talking to Mark and Stephen Vaughan in the next few days and we'll see what happens.”

McAuley began his career at Leek Town where he made just nine appearances scoring a fantastic 26 goals. Cheltenham Town stepped in and paid £20,000 for the player in the summer of 1999 and he has since made 86+33 appearances scoring 11 goals for the Whaddon Road side.

Any wanting to book a seat on the supporters club coach to Burton Albion on Saturday 8 March should contact Barrie Hipkiss on (01244) 379011 (between 18:00-20:00hrs), or see him at Saturday�s home match against Halifax Town. The coach to Burton leaves Delamere Street at 11.30hrs and seats cost £8.00.

25 February 2003
City midfielder Ben Davies will be out for two weeks following his injury on Saturday, the player had his knee gashed by studs in a tackle early on in the match. Manager Mark Wright said: “I don’t think we can expect to see Ben back in action for the team for at least two weeks which is a big disappointment. This means we won’t have Ben for the Halifax match, Blackie is still out with an injury, and Jimmy Kelly misses the game because of a suspension.”
Winning Dart Well!, it’s about time Chester had a home win to celebrate so let’s hear it, (because I promised the team if they won!), for the recently formed City Exiles darts ensemble. The team beat experienced league opposition Burnley last night 6-5 in the APFSCIL 6-a-side Cup in The Lord Burleigh (Victoria, London) to progress to the third round. Never behind throughout the night, helped by some great finishing from Gary Owen, victory was sealed with a double nine finish from Phil ‘Dulwich Blue’ Lewis in the final ‘beer leg’ team game. Thanks to all who took part (some at rather short notice), Rick who organised the night, and those who came along to support the team. 
Get In
Steve H, Phil, Steve C, Rich, Steve M, Gary, Rick (front). Pic by SueC.
22 February 2003

Despite the presence of Iain Jenkins in the line-up, City’s reserves lost their fourth game of the season last night when they were hammered 7-1 at Morecambe in the Lancashire League.

Correct as at 22 February 2003. P W D L F A GD Pts
Southport Reserves 22 14 5 3 80 29 51 47
Morecambe Reserves 20 15 1 4 90 35 55 46
Chorley Reserves 22 13 4 5 52 43 9 43
Marine Reserves 23 10 4 9 43 33 1 34
Chester City Reserves 17 10 3 4 52 25 27 33
Burscough Reserves 19 10 3 6 43 36 7 33
Northwich Victoria Reserves 19 9 4 6 48 29 19 31
Lancaster City Reserves 18 8 2 8 40 44 -4 26
Bamber Bridge Reserves 19 6 4 9 30 41 -11 22
Accrington Stanley Reserves 19 4 5 10 40 48 -8 17
Barrow Reserves 15 3 5 7 24 45 -20 14
Bradford Park Avenue Reserves 14 3 4 7 26 36 -10 13
Ossett Town Reserves 13 3 2 8 33 35 -2 11
Farsley Celtic Reserves 17 2 2 13 21 55 -34 8
Guiseley Reserves 15 1 2 12 22 102 -80 5

21 February 2003

Chester have completed the loan signing of 24-year-old striker Mark Quayle from Nuneaton Borough. Quayle, who has scores 18 goals in 33 games for Borough, will remain at the Deva until the end of the season and striker Steve Brodie has moved to Manor Park in a similar arrangement.

City manager Mark Wright told the Daily Post: “We needed a new face to freshen things up at the club. We have agreed a fee with Nuneaton and if all works out well we will sign Mark permanently at the end of the season. Quayle is quick, lively, and a big asset is that he can get in behind defences. I needed a striker because Mark Beesley has been struggling with injury problems, and Ryan Sugden has lost his way in recent weeks, but he’s still only a young lad and needs a rest.

Now we can really make Yeovil fight to the finish, no one is giving up on the championship just yet. Yeovil are the best side in the league at the moment, but they have a tough run-in. If we can get five good results on the bounce who knows what could happen?”

DagenhamThe Blues face a difficult task tomorrow knowing that they will have to be at their best to get something from the Conferences’ form team Dagenham & Redbridge. The Daggers are top of the form league with six wins on the run, scoring 16 goals and conceding just three in the process, a run that has seen them rise to the fringe of the play-off area.

But, with the best away record in the Conference, City will go into the game full of confidence and hoping to complete the double after demolishing Dagenham 5-2 in an action-packed game at Deva Stadium back in September. City manager Mark Wright appears to have no injury problems following last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Morecambe, Mark Quayle goes straight into the squad and it remains to be seen whether last weeks goal hero Michael Twiss appears in the starting line-up. The home side are expected to include Tarkan Mustafa in their side, a player watched by Mark Wright earlier in the season.

The Exiles have agreed to spend £80 on buying much-needed training equipment for the club’s under-8/9s junior team. The sponsorship deal will allow juniors’ co-ordinator Mark Newman to buy the team a medicine bag (£35) and 15 training bibs (£45).
Junior under 9 players
Twenty-six 8/9 year old youngsters braved the weather at a Chester City soccer school in Saughall during the half-term break. They are pictured with coaches Dan Jones and Mark Newman.
The donation is in addition to the clean sheet sponsorship deal for the first team, which is already proving to be fairly lucrative. It also means that the Exiles’ sponsorship total has reached more than £2,200 since the group was formed as the Southern Branch 19 years ago. 

If anyone else can help out with sponsoring the CCFC Juniors please contact Mark Newman.

The ISA have produced a limited number of “The Final Countdown” T-shirts to cover the final quarter of the season, starting with ISA sponsored Halifax game.

These will be on sale at Corals, Bridge Street and also at the ground on match days, and the club Open Day. Price £5.00. Colours: royal blue and a few navy blue. If anyone wants one by post, email Les Smith or send a cheque to ISA address (add 50p postage). Sizes are M, L, XL.

Jimmy Kelly picked up his fifth booking of the season at Morecambe and will miss the home game with Halifax Town on 1 March with a one match ban.
17 February 2003
Michael TwissThe Blues managed just one shot on goal in Saturday’s 90 minutes at Morecambe, fortunately, that shot from substitute Michael Twiss (pictured) found the back of the net. Three valuable points looked to be going City’s way until a last-gasp Shrimpers equaliser from Adriano Rigoglioso after defender Wayne Hatswell had failed to clear a cross.

Manager Mark Wright praised Twiss: “Michael Twiss did ever so well. He�s been showing good things in training, he looks strong, and he held up Jim Bentley, Iain Swan, and Jamie Murphy late in the game. Michael Twiss has got a lot about him and if he can produce that for 90 minutes week in, and week out, then he�ll be a major player for us. I hope now that the penny has dropped and that he will step forward. If he does then they�ll be happy days for us.”

Goalscorer Twiss said: “We are all very disappointed to have given the goal away because we normally deal with high balls into the area very well. It was nice to score against Morecambe again but I’d be happier if we had taken the three points.”

Chester remain in second place, on goal difference from Halifax Town – the next visitors to Deva Stadium. Before then though, on Saturday, City face another difficult away match at promotion rivals Dagenham & Redbridge. The teams last met in September when City romped home 5-2 at Deva Stadium.

The Daggers have won all their six Conference games this year and currently lie in seventh place, six points behind Chester. Away wins for Doncaster Rovers and Hereford United has closed up the chasing pack behind leaders Yeovil Town whose 4-1 win at Farnborough Town gives them an eleven point lead.

Defender Mark Clifford who played one game for City on loan recently (Barnet), has joined Ilkeston Town on loan from Boston United until the end of the season.

14 February 2003
The Chronicle newspaper has announced a deal with the football club to bring its readers an offer allowing children, under the age of 16, to pay just £1 entrance fee at each of the team’s remaining six home Conference games. To qualify, youngster’s must be accompanied by an adult and produce a voucher issued in the Chronicle before each game. The voucher is exchanged on the day for a numbered ticket and fans collecting five of the six tickets will qualify for a 20% discount on a West Stand season ticket for next season. This deal does not apply to any possible play-off game.

Two Under 17 youth internationals will be played at the Deva Stadium next month. England will play the Czech Republic on Wednesday, 12 March, (19:00hrs kick-off), and Scotland will face the Czech Republic on Friday, 14 March, (16:00hrs kick-off). The award of these two matches rewards all the hard work put in behind the scenes improving the stadium over recent months.

The BBC website reports that striker Dave Cameron is expected to remain at Telford United on loan until the end of the season. “I’m pleased with what he’s done for us and keeping him means we’ve still got that extra option up front,” said Telford manager Jake King.

13 February 2003
The latest Exiles social will take place tonight at the Knights Templar, Chancery Lane, London WC2. We usually meet in the upstairs drinking area from 19:00hrs onwards. Nearest tube stations are Holborn (Piccadilly line) or Temple (District line).

Goals by Danny Byrne, Danny Collins and Adam Griffin gave City’s reserves a 3-1 home victory over Burscough reserves at Flint Town United last night.
11 February 2003

Deva StadiumThe club will be holding an open day at Deva Stadium on Sunday 9 March (the day after Burton Albion away), gates open at 11.00am. This initiative was discussed at last night’s ISA annual general meeting and more details will be available nearer the date. This will be a great opportunity to see behind the scenes at Deva Stadium which has been completely refurbished since last summer. There will also be a chance to watch the players in a training session!

The ISA are also announced at the meeting that they are currently taking orders for TOFFS replica 1974/75 CFC Seals shirts, the shirts that took us to the semi-finals of the Football League Cup and our first-ever promotion, which will be available to members at a discount price.

More details, along with the names of the five lucky draw winners for the forthcoming Halifax Town sponsored game are on the news page of the ISA website.

10 February 2003

Mark WrightManager Mark Wright admits he’s struggling to explain City’s poor run of form at the Deva Stadium which has seen them go five matches without victory. Away from the Deva the Blues are have a record second to none. Like the recent game with Barnet, it took City 45 minutes on Saturday to get into the game, then dominated for the second period. “If you are talking about percentages, we deserved to win by a mile. But we weren’t at the races in the first half.” said Wright.

“ A play-off place has always been our target, but some people are expecting us to win the title and automatic promotion. There is too much expected from the players and that pressure is not needed. Some people are expecting miracles from a group of players who have only come together this season. We’re still going to give it our best shot and try and win the title, but a play-off position was my realistic target when the season started.” added the manager.

Assistant manager Steve Bleasdale added: “We just can’t seem to fathom out why we can’t win more of our home games. Maybe the players are trying too hard or they feel a little bit more pressure. They go through the same warm-up routines and the backroom staff gee them up the same as when we play away from home. We had plenty of chances to have won Saturday’s match – Mark Beesley slots the ball home for fun every time on the training ground and we had extra shooting practice before Saturday’s match. But we’re still second in the league and we have plenty of away games left.”

City’s outstanding away form will be put to a tough test now with successive Saturday matches at two other promotion candidates in Morecambe and Dagenham & Redbridge. The Blues will have Scott Guyett again on Saturday who returns from suspension as City look for three valuable points at sixth placed Morecambe and erase the memory of their FA Cup defeat at Christie Park back in December.

Wright told the Evening Leader: “It’s not about revenge or us putting the record straight – we just want to go there and compete, and hopefully win to keep us in contention for the play-offs. We played well when we last went to Morecambe, but we won’t concede goals again like we did that day. Ryan Sugden cost us the game that day when he was sent off. We can’t afford to have anyone sent off and expect to win with 10 men. He was stupid that day and he’s learned his lesson. He knows he can’t go and retaliate in the way he did because it cost us massive. The incident taught us as a club a lot of lessons, like most things that happen in football. There are a lot of things we want to do right, and I still believe we were unlucky to lose against Morecambe on that day.”

City’s Junior sides were once again in action on Sunday. Read Mark Newman’s summaries of the games here.

Commercial manager Ian Knox has released a new date for the rearranged Chester City Golf Day. This will now be held on Friday May 16th and is already proving very popular with 17 teams already booked in. A team of four players will cost £399, and the day will consist of nine holes in the morning and 18 holes in the afternoon. If you would like to book a team please contact Ian on 01244 371376 for further details. Teams places are available on a first-come first-served basis.

The club has organised a Sportsman’s Dinner for Thursday 27 March at the Mollington Banastre. Further details, including the guest speaker and ticket price, will be announced shortly but you may reserve a place in advance by calling Ian Knox on 01244 371376.

7 February 2003

After a break of two weeks The Blues are back in Conference action tomorrow with a home game against Forest Green Rovers (ko 15:00hrs). Phil Bolland returns to the side following his three match suspension, as does Wayne Hatswell against one of his former clubs, but fellow defender Scott Guyett will serve a one match ban after picking up five bookings as City look to complete the double over the Gloucestershire side following a 2-0 victory at The Lawn in August, Mark Beesley scoring twice on that occasion.

5 February 2003

A hat-trick by Dean Buckley gave City’s youth team a 3-2 away win at Shrewsbury Town yesterday. The Blues have one game left, at Chesterfield, though this may be scratched, before the Merit League starts at the end of the month. Meanwhile City’s reserve game against Bamber Bridge at Flint Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, and tomorrow night’s match at Barrow has also been called off.

Correct as at 5 February 2003. P W D L F A GD Pts
Port Vale 17 12 2 3 42 28 14 38
Mansfield Town 15 12 1 2 37 20 17 37
Rotherham United 18 10 3 5 49 31 18 33
Doncaster Rovers 18 5 5 8 33 33 0 20
Notts County 14 5 4 6 32 33 -1 19
Shrewsbury Town 16 4 7 5 28 33 -5 19
Chester City 17 5 3 9 20 32 -12 18
Chesterfield 14 5 1 8 18 26 -8 16
Macclesfield Town 14 2 5 7 16 23 -7 11
Wrexham 14 3 1 10 18 34 -6 10

The next ISA members meeting will be the Annual General Meeting and takes place at Deva Stadium on Monday 10 February at 19:45hrs. Manager Mark Wright and Commercial manager Ian Knox will be among guests present. The latest copy of the ISA newsletter The Independents is now available online on the ISA website.

Volunteers are required for the ISA Committee to help maintain their role in supporting the football club and football in the community in general. Nominations are invited for positions prior to Monday’s AGM. Please specify which position you are applying for, ie Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary or member of the Committee and enclose a brief CV.

Volunteers are also required to help sell matchday raffle ticket sales to help Youth Development at the football club. If you are able to offer assistance please contact the membership secretary Les Smith.

3 February 2003

Vaughan Promotions have made enquiries about the purchase of the Mollington Banastre Hotel on the Parkgate Road. “The potential of the hotel and surrounding land is boundless, and if we are successful in concluding a deal, then we will maximise that potential and develop the facility into one of the premier hotel and sporting complexes in the area.” said chairman Steve Vaughan. With the Tranmere takeover saga well and truly over the ambitious chairman has turned his attentions to building up Chester City. These plans include a possible School of Excellence built on the outskirts of the City with the help of grants. Several sites have been noted including two in Blacon.The chairman also has plans to succeed where others before him have failed and buy the Deva Stadium ground outright from the city council. “I envisage the Deva Stadium having multi purpose usage, so I am going to sit down with the city council with a view to purchasing the Deva at market value, and with it securing the future of Chester City Football Club.”
FA Trophy
The draw for the fifth round of the FA Trophy was made today and is as follows:

Scarborough or Dover Athletic v Forest Green Rovers
Margate v Tamworth
Farnborough Town v Halifax Town
Yeovil Town v Northwich Victoria
Alfreton Town or Burscough v Wakefield & Emley or Hendon
Aylesbury United v Windsor & Eton or Vauxhall Motors
Gloucester City or Woking v Dagenham & Redbridge or Southport
Havant & Waterlooville v Worksop Town or Hayes

Thirteen of the sides still left in the competition are from outside the Conference. The next round is on February 22, the same date as City’s scheduled visit to Dagenham and Redbridge who must replay at Southport (weather permitting) tomorrow night.

1 February 2003

Lee Woodyatt has decided against a loan move to Leigh RMI or TNS.
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