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
Chester City (from): Sinclair,
Davidson, Whelan, Alsford, Fisher, McDonald, Woods, Priest,
Thomas, Rimmer, Murphy, Richardson, Flitcroft, Bennett,
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
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
"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."
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.