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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 1998
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FEBRUARY 1998

28 February 1998
CITY LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK
The Blues travel to Gillingham today to take on Brighton and look for three more away points to boost their promotion challenge. City have yet to lose on their travels this year and need the points to make up for the comprehensive home defeat at the hands of Torquay United on Tuesday. but will be without full-backs through injury Iain Jenkins (back) and Martin Giles (mouth infection). Neil Fisher looks set to keep his place and Nick Richardson is back in contention after recovering from a groin strain.

Brighton will be playing in front of new manager Brian Horton for the first time and are bound to be putting in that little extra effort to impress.

Chester City (from): Sinclair, Davidson, Whelan, Alsford, Fisher, McDonald, Woods, Priest, Thomas, Rimmer, Murphy, Richardson, Flitcroft, Bennett, Shelton.
26 February 1998
RATCLIFFE DENIES McKAY MOVE
Manager Kevin Ratcliffe has dismissed rumours that youngster Matt McKay had been training with Sunderland this week. There was plenty of talk about this possibility at the match last Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile Saturday's opponents Brighton are holding a press conference this afternoon when they are expected to name Brian Horton as their new manager to replace Steve Gritt who was sacked yesterday.

23 February 1998
CHAIRMAN DISMISSES RUMOURS
City chairman Mark Guterman has dismissed the latest rumours of a take-over bid at Chester. Reports in the Chester Chronicle last Friday suggested a consortium was poised to make a written bid. But Guterman, who said he was preparing legal action against the paper concerned, maintained that no-one had approached him. "I have never been approached about selling and I have no knowledge of any consortium. This talk just unsettles things. If people want to put money into the club, I would be very happy for someone to help but I'm not putting the club up for sale."

TWO MATCH BAN FOR WHELAN
Spencer Whelan has been given a two match ban following his bookings for the reserves last week and against Rotherham on Saturday. He is due to miss the games with Rochdale and Notts County.

Meanwhile defender Ross Davidson who had a great game against The Millers, looks doubtful for tomorrows match against Torquay United after picking up a groin strain in the second half which prevented him from training today.

18 February 1998
FREE FOOTBALL FOR KIDS
Kids will be given free entry at next Tuesday's Chester City FC game at the Deva stadium against Torquay United. Kick off for the game is 7.30pm and all children under the age of 16 will be allowed into the West Stand free of charge.

The club is keen to attract younger fans to the club and this is just the latest scheme to encourage kids to The Deva. It follows the re-launch of the Junior Blues club at the beginning of the season and Chester's on-going community scheme which involves visits to local schools.

Chester City's chairman, Mark Gutermann, said: "The long term success of the club depends on attracting younger supporters. The children of today are the fans of the future and it is important that we encourage them to take a look at Chester and show them the sort of entertainment that is on offer".

With Chester currently battling hard for promotion, the game against Torquay promises to be an exciting match and the club is urging all fans to get behind the team for the last few months of the campaign. Under 16's who want to take advantage of this offer, should enter through turnstiles 6 and 7. Free entry only applies to the West Stand. For more details of the offer, fans should contact the club.
16 February 1998
KEV HAPPY WITH POINT
City manager Kevin Ratcliffe was happy with City's point following the 0-0 draw at Hartlepool on Saturday. He described the Victoria Park pitch as an "absolute disgrace" while singling out defenders Martin Giles and captain for the day Julian Alsford for special praise: "Gilo was excellent while the extra responsibility of being captain helped Julian, but everyone played well."

The main talking point though was the dropping of Gary Bennett. Ratcliffe said: "I thought it was best for Gary and for the team that he was left out. He'd been playing well but in the last two games he hasn't had any chances and I felt I had to change things."

City's next match is at the Deva on Saturday against promotion rivals Rotherham United who were surprisingly beaten 1-0 at home by Shrewsbury on Saturday. Three days later City have another home fixture with fast-improving Torquay United.
14 February 1998
TRICKY TASK FOR CITY
Chester take on Hartlepool this afternoon at Victoria Park where the home side are unbeaten all season. Those sixteen home games have seen nine draws though and I'm sure we'd settle for a point today against Mick Tait's side, on not one of our happier hunting grounds

Definitely out for City is Dave Flitcroft, who starts a two match ban. There are also several players receiving treatment.
Skipper Iain Jenkins is struggling with a back injury that forced him to pull out of last week's B international between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Spencer Whelan's tongue injury is improving but isn't expected to be fit Ross Davidson and Neil Fisher both came through a reserve game at Chesterfield on Tuesday but they are both short of match practice.

Recent matches between the sides have been rather bad tempered affairs with Roger Preece and Nick Richardson both picking up terrible injuries in the fixtures. When the sides last met at the Deva in October City ran out 3-1 winners with goals from Whelan, Bennett and Murphy. The game will be best remembered for PC Evans stopping the play to have a word with the referee as the challenges flew in!

10 February 1998
SKIPPER JENKINS FOR IPSWICH TOWN?
First division Ipswich Town are rumoured to be interested in Iain Jenkins. Kevin Ratcliffe has admitted he has already turned down one approach from George Burly. "There was an interest in Jenks but it was a swap deal with two players coming here from Ipswich," revealed Ratcliffe today. "But I want money for Jenks. Financially it would cost us more in the long run because we'd have to pay the wages of two players instead of one. "I don't know who the two players were because the conversation never go that far. I want money for Jenks although I'm not going to put a price on his head."

There's been speculation in the past about a possible move to Sunderland but no firm offer was made. Interestingly enough And ex-Northern Ireland manager Bryan Hamilton, who gave Jenkins his international chance, is now on the coaching staff at Portman Road, and the Suffolk club has scout Mel Sutton was at the Deva on Saturday afternoon.

Stockport County and Birmingham City are also believed to be keeping tabs on the defender, though no offers have yet been made.

ON ME 'ED SON!
A little bit of Chester history was created on Tuesday night when Gary Shelton and son Andy lined up in the same side for the reserve match at Chesterfield. There aren't many clubs who can boast a father/son in their set up. Does anyone know of any other?

9 February 1998
BROWN OFFERED NEW DEAL
City keeper Wayne Brown is poised to sign a new two year deal for the Blues. Southampton-born Brown had a run of 11 games in the first team earlier this season, before losing his place to Ronnie Sinclair after a couple of disappointing displays. During his spell in the first team Brown proved a more than capable member of the squad and in re-signing a new contract would give City the stability they need with Sinclair still on the transfer list at his own request.

SPENNER DOWN IN THE MOUTH
Spencer Whelan has lost an incredible nine pounds due to his painful mouth injury.
City centre half Whelan bit his tongue in the 1-1 draw at Shrewsbury nine days ago; and that forced him to pull out of Saturday's home clash with Mansfield.
"Spenner's not too good," revealed Ratcliffe today. "He's lost eight or nine pounds in weight and he was seeing the doctor again today.
"The lad's really down. The gash on his tongue is horrible; I don't know how his tongue fits in his mouth. I've never seen anything like it and it was touch and go whether he needed plastic surgery. When he first went to hospital, they didn't give him any stitches and I must admit, I thought he would be alright to play on Saturday. He trained last week but his mouth was so painful that he couldn't eat and with him being such a lean lad, losing eight or nine pounds doesn't half take it out of you. The wound has now got infected and the doctor has put him on more powerful antibiotics. He's been told to stay away from the club until he feels better. We just hope it clears up as quickly as possible because Spenner is really down."

(Evening Leader)

7 February 1998
THUMBS DOWN FOR DEVA GRUB
This week saw the publication of the 'Coleman's Football Food Guide' (£4.95, of free with this month's issue of Goal magazine). As the name suggests it's a guide to the culinary delights of all 92 league grounds plus Wembley Stadium. Food is rated for quality, variety and value. Of the 93 grounds visited the Deva Stadium came an embarrassing 87th with only Oxford, Wembley, Wrexham (yes), Bristol City, Swansea City and Leyton Orient scoring less points. The book describes the Deva's cheese and onion pie thus:

"To Chester's impressive array of Roman remains must now be added the Deva Stadium cheese and onion pie. The omens were bad from the start: an audible pause from behind the counter as the order went in. What followed fully justified deep foreboding. The pie had all the hallmarks of a previous age. Blackened, bone-hard crust suggested this particular species rarely emerged from its protective warmer. But there was wore to come. Under the surface, oozing menacingly, lay a dense, gooey stick you could paper the walls with. It may once have had a passing acquaintance with cheese; there may have been onions buried within. It was best not to probe too deeply. Two bites were more than enough before it was laid solemnly to the terraces, perhaps to be unearthed by future generations. The cheese and onion pie experience even made the lacklustre meat and potato pie seem appealing."

I think that's put me off for good! The highly amusing book's a great read though, and is certainly recommended to those of you who spend your afternoons on the away terraces around the country.

The top five grounds were: 1. Cambridge United, 2. Huddersfield Town, 3. Rochdale, 4. Chesterfield, 5. Charlton Athletic.
6 February 1998
CITY AIM TO FIND THE NET
City take on Mansfield Town tomorrow looking to improve on their recent dismal home record. While performances away from the Deva have improved dramatically, at home the Blues have only scored once in their last three games.

Matt Woods, scorer of another spectacular goal at Shrewsbury, continues at right back with Ratcliffe again having to choose between Rod Thomas and Rod McDonald on the left side of midfield. Midfielder Chris Priest has resumed training following his stomach injury at Shrewsbury and will face a late fitness test.

In September the Blues were comprehensively thrashed 4-1 at Field Mill despite taking the lead through a Ross Davidson penalty, and tomorrow they may find it equally hard to break down a stubborn Stags defence. Ex-Rochdale striker Steve Whitehall is the dangerman with 17 goals already this season.

City (probable): Sinclair, Woods, Jenkins, Richardson, Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Rimmer, Flitcroft, Thomas. Subs from: McDonald, Murphy, Giles, Jones.
WIN FOR RESERVES
City beat Rhyl 3-1 in last night's friendly match. Manager Kevin Ratcliffe organised the game against the League of Wales side because the reserves have no friendly this week. Rod Thomas, John Murphy, Jon Jones and Wayne Brown were all expected to play. "We keep in touch with a couple of local clubs and I used to play in the same Flintshire Schools side as their assistant manager Dean Martin. "He rang me up a couple of weeks ago and I told him we might be able to fix something up", added the City boss.

2 February 1998
INJURY BLOWS FOR CITY
Shaun Reid is out of action for the rest of the season. He suffered a setback last week and needed a graft on his knee. Reid ruptured cruciate knee ligaments in a pre-season match and had been hopeful of a return before the end of the season. "I've just got to get on with it and start again and I can't see me being involved in any transfer deadline deals," said the 32-year-old midfielder who will be out of action for another six months.

Even more worrying is a stomach injury that midfielder Chris Priest picked up at Shrewsbury. He's already rated as doubtful for the match with Mansfield at the Deva this Saturday. Spencer Whelan is also recovering after being struck in the mouth by Devon White.
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