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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2002
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM – JANUARY 2002
31 January 2002
CITY TO SIGN MIDFIELDER?

The official Morecambe website reports that Chester have signed 29-year-old midfielder Andy Gouck. Gouck who has recently failed to make regular appearances in the first team was keen to get back to playing each week and thought that a move to Chester would help this, he's previously played under Mark Wright at Southport and before that at Blackpool and Rochdale.
30 January 2002
NEW DATE
City have now re-arranged their postponed fixture at Nuneaton Borough for Tuesday 19 February, kick-off 19:45hrs.
RESERVES DRAW
A goal by Darren Wright helped City to a 1-1 draw in last night's reserve fixture at Rossendale United.
29 January 2002
RESERVES IN ACTION
Chester Reserves travel to play Rosendale United Reserves in a Lancashire League fixture tonight. The Blues currently lie second in the League and Mark Wright is using the fixture to give some of City's players the chance to impress ahead of Saturday's home FA Trophy match with Solihull Borough. Defenders Iain Jenkins and Dean Spink, and strikers Chris Malkin and Jimmy Haarhoff are expected to get a run out.

RUSCOE MOVES ON

[Scott Ruscoe]Good luck to midfielder Scott Ruscoe who has signed for League of Wales leaders TNS Llansantffraid on an 18-month contract. Ruscoe has found it difficult to gain a regular place in the team in recent weeks, and the signing of Stuart Whittaker, on an 18-month contract from Southport would have restricted his chances even further.

Ruscoe signed for City in June 2000 after chief scout Harry McNally had tracked the Newtown player. He'd previously spent two years at Stoke City and a year at Port Vale and in all made 44+16 appearances for City scoring seven goals in the process.

City boss Mark Wright said: “It's probably the best thing for the player and ourselves. Scott has been a model professional during his spell here, but unfortunately I couldn't guarantee him first-team football.”

More players are expected to be leaving the Deva in the next week or two as the club endeavour to reduce the size of the squad which, at 30, is the largest in the Nationwide Conference.


28 January 2002
EXTRA TRAINING FOR BLUES
The Blues were in for extra training on Saturday following the postponement of the match at Nuneaton. Over two inches of rain fell on the Manor Park pitch rendering it unplayable. No new date has been set for the fixture but it’s expected to be sometime in March. “It was disappointing that the game was called off, particularly as we are in a good run of form,” said manager Mark Wright.

25 January 2002
GORDON HILL
Former Director of Football at the Deva Stadium Gordon Hill has taken up a similar post at Scottish Second Division club Stenhousemuir with the remit to establish a premier academy in the East of Scotland.

PLAYERS RELEASED
Two players have been released by the club today. They are defender Steve Halford (left) who has joined Accrington Stanley, and goalkeeper Stuart Jones who was on loan from Torquay. Jones has now re-joined one of his former clubs Sheffield Wednesday. This morning's Daily Post hinted that both Scott Ruscoe and Darren Wright are thought to be interested in moving on and may well leave next week. Ruscoe has had talks with TNS Llansantffraid and may move on a free transfer.

Meanwhile manager Wright is on the lookout for another new player before City's match at Nuneaton Borough tomorrow: “We'd love to bring in another new player before the weekend, and I'll be chasing the chairman. There are certain players I like, but some of them now are going to cost money, and sometimes it’s down to wage demands, and that becomes very difficult to handle. The chairman has put a cap on the wages, and I think that's right, that's the way it should be. If we’re going to give them signing-on fees to make something up, that's up to the chairman, but the way he’s kept it and the way he's set up the club with Mr Williams is spot on. In the two week’s that I’ve been there a lot of things have been changed around and that’s due to the manager, the chairman, and the vice-chairman, and probably me bringing in my backroom staff, because there were a lot of things that weren’t quite right, but we’re slowly putting things right, and the most important thing is putting the first team right. If we get the first team right everything else will fall into place.”


22 January 2002
NEW SIGNING

Mark Wright has made another raid at his old club Southport and signed experienced 32-year-old midfielder Brian McGorry in time for tonight's game at Telford. He's previously played for Weymouth Town, Bournemouth, Peterborough United, Cardiff City, Hereford United, Torquay United, Telford United, Southport and has been playing on loan at Woking this month.

21 January 2002
AWAY COACHES

Spaces are still available for tomorrow’s supporters coach to Telford. Seats, priced at £7, are available for the coach which leaves Delamere Street at 17:00hrs. Bookings are also being taken for the coach to Nuneaton on Saturday. The coach will leave at a 10:45 and seats are £11. Ring Barrie Hipkiss on (01244) 379011 between 18:00 and 20:00hrs for further details.
WRIGHT PLEASED WITH WIN
Not surprisingly City manager Mark Wright was delighted with Saturday's 1-0 victory over Barnet. “It should have been three, four or five nil – the players played very well, and I'm pleased with them. The players have got to be pleased with themselves, but they've got to get better. One game, one win, doesn't make anything. We've got a big league game against Telford tomorrow, and we're still hoping to get three or four more new players in, and if we can do that then it looks good for Chester City. There was a lot of good football played against Barnet. I was very pleased with what I saw, and now it looks better for us, but I still think we need competition for places, and there may be a few fringe players we need to let go to new pastures, and then we can step forward.”

20 January 2002
ISA DRAW WINNERS

Winners of the ISA membership renewal draw for two guest tickets each vs Solihull Borough (pre match meal, stand seats and choice of man of match etc)
Tony Hewitt Chester, Graham Webb Newbury, Dave Evans London, Derek Garner Chester, Andrew Hearndon Gateshead.

Winners of additional draw for ISA match ball sponsorship game (vs Barnet)
Dennis Ballard Chester, David Thorp Chester.

Many thanks to all ISA members who have renewed their memberships. Annual report and accounts for June 2000/01 will be sent out shortly prior to the AGM of 11th February at the Deva Stadium. The committee would welcome applications for committee membership for the forthcoming year.
SCARBOROUGH DATE
City's home Conference match with Scarborough will take place on Tuesday 12 February, Kick-off 19:45hrs.

19 January 2002
RESERVES WIN

A 2-0 victory at Southport today has consolidated City's position in second place in the Lancashire League.

LANCASHIRE LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
As at 19 January 2002 P W D L F A GD Pts
Morecambe Reserves 20 15 3 2 81 21 60 48
Chester City Reserves 18 13 2 3 62 18 44 41
Marine Reserves 17 10 3 4 44 29 15 33
Guiseley Reserves 19 11 1 7 53 35 18 34
Southport Reserves 17 10 0 7 49 24 25 30
Ossett Town Reserves 15 10 0 5 27 31 -4 30
Accrington Stanley Reserves 18 9 1 8 35 29 6 28
Rosendale Utd Reserves 17 8 4 5 36 33 3 28
Buscough Reserves 17 8 2 7 34 30 4 26
Lancaster City Reserves 16 6 3 7 23 28 -5 21
Northwich Vic Reserves 16 7 0 9 34 48 -14 21
Altrincham Reserves 18 4 4 10 19 39 -20 16
Barrow Reserves 15 5 0 10 33 46 -13 15
Leigh RMI Reserves 15 4 2 9 24 52 -28 14
Bamber Bridge Reserves 18 3 2 13 25 54 -29 11
Ashton United Reserves 17 3 1 13 19 44 -25 10
Colwyn Bay Reserves 14 1 1 12 15 45 -30 4

18 January 2002
CITY SIGN BOLLAND AND WHITTAKER

[Phil Bolland]Chester have signed central defender Phil Bolland (pictured left) on loan from Oxford United and he will debut tomorrow against Barnet at the Deva. Liverpool-born Bolland played 23 games under Mark Wright at Oxford this season but lost his place when manager Ian Atkins signed former City central defender Andy Crosby.

Manager Mark Wright said: “I’ve signed Bolland on loan, and I hope he’s going to be with us for the rest of the season. He shouldn’t be playing in the Conference because he’s too good a player for this level of football. He played for me when I was manager at Oxford United, and I know all about his ability, but he hasn’t been able to get in the first team at Oxford of late. He is 6ft 4in tall, he has unbelievable pace, and to sign him is a massive plus for Chester because he’s a quality player. I’m now hoping to pull in at least another two players before our game at the weekend.”

Wright has also swooped to sign Southport winger Stuart Whittaker on an 18 month contract. Whittaker started his football career at Liverpool as a junior before moving on to Bolton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic (loan), Macclesfield Town and finally Southport where he’s made 10 appearances this season. Career stats for both signings can be found on the Players pages by clicking the link in the left hand column.
TROPHY PRICES
Prices have been reduced for Chester’s FA Umbro Trophy fourth round tie at home to Solihull Borough on Saturday, 2 February. The following admission prices will come into effect: Adults (£10 seats, £8 standing); pensioners (£8 seats, £7 standing); and children (£5 seats and standing). Executive lounge prices are £15 for adults and £12.50 for concessions.

16 January 2002
ISA BUY 500,000 SHARES IN THE CLUB
The Chester City ISA have bought 2% in shares of the football club for a cost of £10,000, although they don’t have representation on the Board. ISA chairman George Rogers handed over a cheque today and the organisation have issued the following statement.

“On December 19, 2001, Stephen Vaughan invited ISA Committee representatives to a meeting at the Deva Stadium where an offer was made to the ISA to buy shares in Chester City FC. In accordance with the wishes of the ISA Trust Fund contributors and those of ISA members, we are pleased to purchase 500,000 shares to the value of £10,000 and the necessary arrangements have been put in place. This purchase is in line with the ISA policy of support for Chester City FC and Football in the Community in general. Ongoing consultation with the ISA membership is expected to result in other forms of investment for the benefit of Chester City FC and its supporters.”
Chester City ISA Jan 16, 2002.

The ISA are also involved in ball and match sponsorship. The match ball is sponsored for this Saturday’s Barnet game where two members, drawn from a ballot, will receive two guest/VIP tickets. The match against Solihull Borough in the fourth round of the FA Trophy has also been sponsored and this time five members will be drawn out and each will receive lunch and stand seats for the game.

BLUES WIN THROUGH
Two late goals by Mark Beesley sealed victory for City last night at Stourport Swifts. David Brown’s first senior goal for the Blues gave them the lead just prior to half-time before Beesley’s brace in the last five minutes set up a home fourth round tie with Solihull Borough. It didn’t all go City’s way last night though as Scarborough’s 1-0 home Conference victory over Doncaster Rovers drew them level on points, though with an inferior goal difference, at the bottom of the table with Chester.

LATEST OFFER REJECTED
Chester have had a £5,000 bid for Telford United central defender Mark Albrighton turned down by the Shropshire club. He's the latest in a line of players that City have chased which have so far included: Jim Bentley and Gary Fitzpatrick within the past week, and Telford skipper Neil Moore and striker Jake Edwards previously.

15 January 2002
TRICKY TIE FOR CITY
City travel to the Midlands tonight for their FA Umbro Trophy third round replay game against Stourport Swifts. Paul Carden returns to the squad following suspension with manager Mark Wright expected to ring the changes following Saturday's inept display.

The home side are certainly up for the tie. “It will be a completely different game and we know what our pitch conditions are and that will work in our favour, but from their point of view they will not have the crowd on their backs. Now that we have played them once I don’t think they will be able to pass the ball around as much as they did.” said Stourport player-manager Tim Langford. Swifts are billing the replay as the ‘biggest game in the clubs history’.

14 January 2002
FA UMBRO TROPHY DRAW
[FA Trophy]If, and that’s a big if, City overcome Stourport Swifts in tomorrow night’s FA Umbro Trophy third round replay they will play Solihull Borough at the Deva in the fourth round on Saturday 2 February. Solihull play in the Dr. Martens Western Division, the same division as Stourport. Whether City win tomorrow or not, Scarborough's progress in the Trophy will mean the re-arrangement of the home fixture with them that is scheduled for fourth round day.

The other fourth round ties are: Morecambe v Southport or Gresley Rovers, Farnborough Town or Carshalton Athletic v Burton Albion, Histon or Gravesend & Northfleet v Cambridge City or Hendon, Woking v Welling Utd, North Ferriby United v Braintree Town, Yeovil v Doncaster Rovers, Margate v Leigh RMI or Emley, Vauxhall Motors v Northwich Victoria, Dagenham & Redbridge v Telford United, Mangotsfield United v Stalybridge or Nuneaton Borough, Forest Green Rovers or Aldershot Town v Worksop Town, Grantham Town v Canvey Island or Purfleet, Chesham United or Hereford United v Hampton & Richmond Borough, Barnet v Scarborough, Stevenage Borough v Bashley.


12 January 2002
DRAW FOR CITY
City could only manage a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Stourport Swifts from the Dr. Martens Western Division in today’s third round game in the FA Trophy. Substitute Jimmy Haarhoff gave City the lead on 72 minutes but this was pegged back by Swifts five minutes later. The replay will take place this coming Tuesday 15 January at 19:45 hours at Stourport’s Walshes Meadow ground which is at Harold Davies Drive, Stourport-on-Severn (Tel: 01299 825188).

11 January 2002
WRIGHT RECALLS WRIGHT
[Darren Wright]City forward Darren Wright (left) has been recalled to the Chester squad that faces Stourport Swifts tomorrow in the third round of he FA Umbro Trophy. Wright, who has been on loan at Droylsden, looks certain to start on the bench. Paul Carden misses the game as he serves a one match suspension.

There will be no other new faces as manager Mark Wright steps up his interest in Telford United central defender Jim Bentley, and the Oxford United and former Southport defender Phil Bolland in time for the visit of Barnet on 19 January.

City have already tabled a bid for Bentley but this has been rebuked by Bucks chairman Andy Shaw: “Chester have put in a bid for Jim, but it’s a derisory offer and we won’t be selling him unless they come up with a vastly improved offer. It's not an acceptable bid and none of our players will be leaving unless we get reasonable offers for them. The only way Jim will be going to Chester is if he comes to me and says he wants to go, but I don't think that's going to happen as he's probably had enough years of fighting relegation with us.”
9 January 2002
MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB FOR WRIGHT
Following last night’s disastrous home defeat to Northwich Victoria, most of City’s first team players will be turning out again this afternoon for the reserve match with Lancaster City as new manager Mark Wright casts an eye over the squad. The 2-1 defeat for the Blues leaves Wright with a mountain to climb, a tougher job arguably than Ian Atkins had, if he is to keep City in the Conference. Chester currently have 23 points (P26 W6 D5 L15) and have just 16 games remaining, fewer than all their relegation rivals. The size of the task can be gauged by the fact that Kettering Town were relegated last season with 43 points, a target that’s still seven more wins away for City.

BBCi article on Mark Wright’s challenge.

NOT A HAPPY MAN!
Manager Mark Wright has spoken out in the Chester Evening Leader following last night’s 2-1 home defeat.

‘‘I think to turn things around there’s got to be at least five players who have got to come in now, and that's only on the conservative side, to be perfectly honest, because I think it's got to be done now. The chairman has said to do it now, and I think in the next couple of days it's got to be addressed, and addressed very quickly, otherwise they leave themselves a very, very, uphill task.

I was shocked by what I saw tonight, and that’s not being harsh on a lot of them. They didn't have a pre-season, so maybe that's a little bit unfair, but they've got to improve their fitness greatly – you can't do that overnight, so it's got to be done over the next two or three weeks, and then all of a sudden we're running out of games, so I think that's why you've got to bring players in to help out now. That's the only way you can do it.

I have players in mind and we’ve tried to make contact with a few clubs today. I got turned down on one, but we're optimistic on two or three, but maybe when they see our result it all changes, so I’ll have to start all over again. For a part-time outfit like Northwich to out-run a full-time side in the last 10, 15 or 20 minutes, is not quite right and it doesn’t add up.

I think I'm going to be very thoughtful and very thorough in what we want to do, and hopefully bring players in at the back end of the week. The chairman said the team were down, and they were struggling, but I couldn’t quite believe that to be perfectly honest, because when I was at Southport, Chester were the only side that gave us a complete and utter hiding, and yet there were a lot of the players involved who played tonight.

I haven't seen enough of Chester to tell you what should or shouldn't be done. The team is still in the hands of Owen Brown and Alan Lewer, because I don’t know the players.”

8 January 2002
WRIGHT'S IN CHARGE

Chester City have this morning named former Liverpool and England defender Mark Wright as their new manager though he won’t take charge until Saturday's home FA Trophy game with Stourport Swifts. Chester chairman Steve Vaughan will introduce Wright to the Deva Stadium crowd at tonight's match against Northwich Victoria, with City chasing a win to lift them out of the bottom three in the Conference. Owen Brown and Alan Lewer will continue in their caretaker capacity for tonight’s game.

Wright started his managerial career at Southport before moving to Oxford United in May 2001 before leaving six months later. His record at Oxford was: P22, W4, L11, D7.

After his appointment was announced Wright said: “I’m delighted to come to Chester, but I’m under no illusion about the task facing the club. We’ve got 18 games left in which to turn this club around. The players need a lift. I was beaten by Chester when I was Southport manager – the players looked solid and competed on that occasion, but I’ve been told they need to work on their fitness, which I’ll address straight away. The players will be taught to work very hard, but it will also be enjoyable”.
BRABIN ADDED TO SQUAD
Chester have added experienced midfielder Gary Brabin to the squad that beat Hayes in their last match for tonight’s visit of Northwich Victoria. Brabin is believed to be on a short contract at the Deva and has previously played for: Stockport County, Runcorn, Doncaster Rovers, Bury, Blackpool, Lincoln City, Hull City, Boston United and Torquay United.

7 January 2002
NEW BOSS NAMED SOON
The club are expected to announce their new manager in the next day or so and it appears that Heswall-based Mark Wright is the leading candidate. Chairman Steve Vaughan said: “I’m hoping to appoint a manager within the next 48 hours, and my shortlist is down to two people. I’ve been impressed with both Graham Barrow and Mark Wright, and I think you can speculate that it’s going to be between those two. I am expecting to interview former Northwich manager Keith Alexander, who has been highly recommended, and ex-Liverpool, Everton, and Irish international player, Kevin Sheedy, but they’ll both have to impress me because I think I’ve already made up my mind about who I want in charge. The board have already reached a unanimous decision. I took a backseat to hear their views on the issue, and we’ve all agreed who we want as manager.”

City fans will be hoping that an announcement can be made before the crucial home Conference game with Northwich Victoria tomorrow night. A win for City would lift them out of the bottom three.

SATURDAY’S TROPHY PRICES
[FA Trophy]Chester have announced admission prices for Saturday’s third round FA Trophy match with Stourport Swifts. Adults will be charged £10 for seats or £8 standing; pensioners will be charged £8 for seats or £7 standing; and a child’s admission with be £5 in a seated or standing area. City fans are reminded that the FA Trophy tie is not covered by season tickets.

4 January 2002
MATCH OFF
Tomorrow’s Conference match at Telford United has been postponed due to a frozen pitch. The game will now take place on Tuesday 22 January, kick-off 19:45hrs.
3 January 2002
MATCH IN DOUBT
Saturday’s match at Telford United is in big doubt. According to Bucks vice chairman Robert Cave in the Shropshire Star: “As it stands, the pitch is unplayable, but it’s still too early to determine about the game on Saturday and we will review the situation tomorrow, we have left the snow on the pitch to try and protect the surface, but unless we get the thaw that's predicted we're going to struggle.”
1 January 2002
NEW NORTHWICH DATE
City's home fixture against Northwich Victoria, frozen-off on New Year’s Day, will now take place next Tuesday 8 January with a 19:45hrs kick-off.
ISA ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The Annual General Meeting of the association will take place on Monday 11 February at the social club at the Deva Stadium. The meeting starts at 19:30hrs.

Volunteers are urgently needed for the committee. Les Smith, the ISA Secretary and Press Officer, and Alan Case, now a club director recently left the committee after long and valued service. Other members of the committee, including the Treasurer, are standing down at the AGM. If you would like to apply for one of the committee positions: Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, or committee member, please apply in writing with a brief CV to:

Chester City Independent Supporters Association
PO Box 308
CHESTER CH1 5ZF

KEEPER COVER
Chester have signed 23-year-old goalkeeper Stuart Jones on a non-contract basis as cover for Wayne Brown. Bristol-born Jones has been on the books of Sheffield Wednesday (including a loan spell at Crewe Alexandra), and Torquay United where he made 37 appearances.
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