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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2000
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JANUARY 2000

31 January 2000
ISA ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The ISA AGM takes place tonight at the Royal Mail Club, Station Road, Chester with a 19.30 start. Nominations are invited for the ISA committee. City manager Brian Croft (Football in the Community) will be a guest speaker although Ian Atkins cannot as yet guarantee his availability due to the understandable demands on his time. Members are urged to attend as many important issues will be raised.

IN THE MEDIA
Page 24 of the March issue of Match Of The Day magazine features an interview with Terry Smith, and for those fortunate to live in its distribution area!, last Friday's edition of the Football Gazzette newspaper contained an interview with Ian Atkins.

PLAYERS TO LEAVE?
It is widely believed that several City players will be released in the next few days. One player who has left the Deva is Trinidad & Tobago player Kamu Laird who has joined Ryman League side Dulwich Hamlet.

26 January 2000
MOSS FOR VILLA?
Full back Darren Moss appears to be a target of Aston Villa boss John Gregory. 18-year-old Moss who had a trial at Villa Park earlier in the season should command a fee in this day and age of around 500k. Moss was withdrawn at the last minute from this weeks reserve game with no explanation.

GREAT ESCAPE 2000
This Saturday's game with Torquay United sees the launch of the ISA's Great Escape 2000 campaign. The aim of the campaign is to get more than 2000 home fans per game. There will be balloons, trumpets, a banner and leaflets to kick start the run in. With nine home games remaining and while it is still mathematically possible to stay up the ISA are trying to encourage maximum support. If anyone has any novel ideas, or can help in anyway etc etc please let us know.

24 January 2000
NO FUTURE FOR NASH
According to manager Ian Atkins in this morning's Daily Post, midfielder Martin Nash no longer has a future at the football club. The manager has also mentioned in the Daily Telegraph that up to a dozen players will be told they have no future at the Deva.

21 January 2000
TWO NEW SIGNINGS
Ian Atkins has signed two more players in time to play at Northampton tomorrow. They are defender Jamie Robinson and forward Tony Hemmings. Robinson is 27 years old and a a former Liverpool junior. He's also had spells at Barnsley, Carlisle United, Torquay United and Exeter City. Hemmings, 23, started his career at neighbours Northwich Victoria before playing under Martin O'Neil at Wycombe Wanderers. He's recently been playing at Ilkeston Town where he's netted 15 goals in 16 games. City have paid a fee for Hemmings.

DEBT PAID OFF
It's been reported that the club have this week paid the final installment of the debt owed to the Administrator since the club was taken over last summer. With seven new signings, the wages budget has also been increased by 50% since manager Ian Atkins took over the club. The club have announced that they are expecting to lose £150,000 between now and the end of the season.

18 January 2000
CITY AFTER DEFENDER PERRY
30 year old Hull City right back Jason Perry has been having talks with Chester. It is believed the clubs have agreed a fee of £25,000 but Perry has yet to agree personal terms.

14 January 2000
ALBERT ON LOAN
Attacking right full back Albert 'Ally' Pickering has joined City on loan. The 33-year-old has previously played at Rotherham United, Coventry City and Stoke City. He's expected to go straight into the side for tomorrows game as Ian Atkins prepares to rest Darren Moss.

13 January 2000
NASH AT THE DOUBLE
City midfielder Martin Nash scored both goals in Canada's 2-0 victory over Bermuda on Tuesday, match report here. On Saturday Canada drew 0-0 with Trinidad & Tobago, the side captained by Angus Eve.

12 January 2000
ISA SHARE ISSUE
Full refunds, and a letter of explanation stating one or two very interesting points!, have now been sent out to all ISA Loanstock holders. I received mine today and presume that everyone who took up the ISA Share option will receive their refund either today or tomorrow also.

11 January 2000
BAN FOR KEISTER
Defender John Keister sent off on Saturday will receive a one match ban, this will be the Northampton Town game.

LOAN PLAYERS
The maximum number of short term (ie. one month) loan players that can play in one team at the same time is two. There is no restriction on the number of long-term loan players (ie. loans until the end of the season).

FANS FORUM
There's a Fans Forum at the Deva tomorrow night in the supporters lounge, kick off is 19.30. As yet it's unconfirmed whether Ian Atkins will be present.

10 January 2000
DEVA DEPARTURES
After handing in his notice before Christmas, Youth team coach and former first team head coach David Fogg has now left the Deva and is expected to join Shrewsbury Town as assistant manager. Meanwhile defender Nicky Spooner has returned to America following his loan spell from Charleston.

ATKINS STEPS UP SEARCH
Ian Atkins is expected to bring two or three more players on loan to the Deva this week as City prepare to battle for their last 20 matches of the season starting at home to Rotherham United on Saturday. It's looking like City will have to win half of these remaining games to achieve a total of 46 points. Various players have been mentioned in the press including former Northwich striker, Tony Hemmings who has played for Wycombe Wanderers, West Brom striker Brian Quailey and 30-year-old Northampton midfielder Dean Peer.

AUTO WINDSCREENS SHIELD
Chester travel to Hull City tomorrow night for a second round game in the Auto Windscreens Shield (ko 19.45). Both John Keister and Sigurdur Eyjolfsson who impressed on their debuts on Saturday are eligible to play but on-loan Brighton defender Gary Hobson is cup-tied.


7 January 2000
CLUB STATEMENT
"Chester City Football Cub is very proud to announce today that they have signed Ian Atkins as their Director of Football. "Ian's title of Director of Football is meant to signify his role of working with all aspects of the Chester City football programme. "Terry Smith will remain as manager and the other coaches will remain the same but Atkins will have control from his position of Director of Football. "Atkins will be spending the majority of his time working and coaching the first team, but will also be overseeing the reserves and youth programme. "The Board of Chester City has made the decision to leave Smith as the manager and leave the rest of the coaching staff in place because they feel that now is not the time to wipe the slate clean."

Terry Smith added:"I have the greatest respect for Ian Atkins and Ian will have control over all aspects of football. "I am really looking forward to working with Ian and I know that with him and with all of the players that we will be bringing in over the next week, that Chester City is on it's way back up the table."

Ian Atkins added: "My job is to keep Chester in the league, I know that and I think everybody knows that. We've got 11 home games and they're 11 Cup Finals to me. If we can get 500 more fans in tomorrow and then build on that for the next home game because I think the next three games are crucial. Darlington, Rotherham and Northampton are the three teams who I think will win automatic promotion so we know that we'll have to work hard."

ATKINS SPEAKS ON HIS TOUGH DEVA ROLE
New Chester manager Ian Atkins has been speaking after joining City yesterday:

"I know it may sound crazy but the fact that so many people have told me this is an impossible job has spurred me on," said Atkins who was yesterday appointed Director of Football.

"Titles don't bother me one bit. I've been told that nothing will be done without my say-so in the football club. I watched the game at Carlisle on Monday and, yes, to be honest the task ahead of anyone was frightening. Well, I'm going to give it a crack. I know that the other managers around the bottom of the division will be more fearful now because they know I'm a fighter and we're going to scrap for our lives at Chester."

Atkins also went on to say: "It's not my nature to operate in the comfort zone. I've taken on this challenge until the end of the season. Right now the thought of finishing 91st in the Football League is simply heaven. I would back my knowledge of players in this division against anyone. This is where your contacts come in very useful. I know that a lot of people wouldn't have had the bottle to take this job in case they were associated with failure. But if we can pull it off it will be terrific. I have been given free rein. If there is any interference I will pack my bags and walk out."

NEW LOAN SIGNINGS
City could have 27-year-old former Brighton central defender and skipper Gary Hobson on loan in time to play for the Blues against Darlington tomorrow. Prior to playing for the Seagulls, Hobson was with Hull City. Chester have also signed two players on loan from Walsall, Sierra Leone International John Keister and Icelandic Sigurdur Eyjolfsson (might be wrong that one).

SWANSEA SWITCH
According to Ceefax the away match at Swansea City has been brought forward to Friday 18 February

6 January 2000
NEW DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL NAMED
The football club, through Dan Brookes, have issued the following statement this morning.

Official:
Ian Atkins has joined the club as Director Of Football. In charge of all football affairs.
Dan Brookes

This is a little confusing to say the least. Does this mean that Terry Smith is still team manager? Several clubs have a 'Director of Football' along with a different person as team manager. Are we doing the same?

There will be more news, and hopefully a clearer statement regarding length of contract etc, just as soon as it's released by the football club – a press conference will take place at the Deva tomorrow afternoon.

5 January 2000
NEW MANAGER ON HOLD
As yet there is still no news on the successor to Terry Smith as team manager at the Deva. The club today issued a page long statement blaming speculation in the media for the latest setback (sic). Last week it was the players fault for the shambolic performance against Orient, today it's the fault of the media that a manager is not yet appointed.

The statement reads:

"As a result of the false media reporting, Chester City Football Club has now been damaged in its efforts to strengthen its coaching staff.
Therefore, Chester City Football Club can now officially say that no coaching candidate has ever been selected yet.
In addition, the club can now officially say that our search for a possible coaching candidate has now been slowed because of the false media reporting.
Finally, Chester City Football Club wants to state that the club has repeatedly asked for all the doom and gloom and negative reporting that many members of the media that has covered the club this season to stop.
However, this media has refused to stop such pessimistic attitudes, and this negativity has contributed greatly to the difficult league position that the club finds itself in now.
The club has had to deal with all this negative media since before the 1999 season ever began, and this pessimism has put extra burdens upon the players, coaches and supporters of Chester City Football Club."

I'm sure there will be some interesting responses from the media (both newspaper and radio – who have been covering City for decades) to this latest statement of blame.

PRESS CONFERENCE
No announcement of a new manager at this morning's press conference – just the launch of the new West Bromwich Building Society Chester City savings account called the Chester City Saver.

A-TEAM
City's A-Team drew 1-1 with Rotherham United. Carl Rendell scored for the Blues.


4 January 2000
ATKINS TIPPED FOR HOT SEAT
Former Northampton Town manager Ian Atkins is expected to be named the next Chester City manager, possibly today/tomorrow morning. Atkins was in the directors box at Brunton Park yesterday to witness City's second heavy defeat of the holiday period when they went down 4-1 to fellow strugglers Carlisle United, this on the back of a 5-1 home defeat by Leyton Orient at Christmas.

Owner Terry Smith confirmed after the match that he had been speaking to a prospective new manager over "the last three days" who had experience of managing in the lower divisions. He also stated that they had discussed bringing in "four or five British players who are battlers and fighters and have been in relegation scraps before," after admitting that several players weren't currently giving 100%.

INTERNATIONAL CALL UP'S
Both Angus Eve (Trinidad & Tobago) and Martin Nash (Canada) have been called for international duty this Saturday. Ironically both teams will be playing each other. There is also the possibility that Kamu Laird may be called up for u-21 duty with Trinidad & Tobago as well.

ISA SHARES
The Chester City ISA have stated that most of the associated paper work has now been done regarding the ISA Share Issue refund. All monies (along with the latest newsletter) will be returned in full very soon with a detailed letter of explanation.
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