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31 January 2003

[Tranmere Rovers]Vaughan Promotions have pulled out of their bid to takeover Tranmere Rovers. David Burford, a director of Vaughan Promotions said: “We have been exasperated by what we consider to be the moving of the goalposts. We have bent over backwards to accommodate these changes during the long negotiating period but in our meeting we unanimously agreed that enough is enough, and we have written to Lorraine Rogers (the Tranmere chairman) informing her of our decision.”

It would appear that Vaughan Promotions have become increasingly frustrated at the slow response to their offers, one of which announced yesterday, would have seen Rovers remain at Prenton Park and a new academy built for the club on the Wirral.

City chairman Steve Vaughan is turning his attentions to finding more investors and backers for Chester City. He told the Evening Leader:

�My interest in Chester City has never been in question throughout my business interest in Tranmere Rovers. Chester have only one home match in February, and we�ve only had two home games on a regular basis so far this season.

�I�m going to continue to put the shortfalls into the company, and work is continuing to happen at the club. We�ve recently put time and effort into establishing railings and a gate at the entrance to the club, and I can see a number of opportunities for Chester in the future. More investment will be possible in the team if the club win promotion to the Football League.

�And I�ve been looking at land which could be available for our School of Excellence. I�m excited about the future of Chester City. One of the first things I�m going to do is direct my attention to shareholders because I�m still owed �1.5m collectively, but I�m keen to return investment to capital. I want to ensure Chester City FC doesn�t end up in the same boat as Tranmere Rovers. I want to sell shares and find more investors for the company. I know Chester City FC has a future and I want to try and buy land, possibly in Blacon, for our Centre of Excellence. I�ve already looked at a couple of sites which may receive grant aid funding, and any development would become an asset to the company.�

30 January 2003
EnglandCongratulations to striker Ryan Sugden who has once again been included in the National Game X1 squad to face Belgium in an under-23 International Friendly. England will travel to the Albertparkstadion in Ostend to take on Belgium on Tuesday 11th February in a first international fixture between the two countries at this level. This is the first squad selected by new team manager Paul Fairclough.

The squad also includes three former Blues players in Junior Agogo, Martyn Lancaster and Michael Rose.

The full England squad is:
Craig Mawson – Morecambe
Chris Weale – Yeovil Town
Greg Oates – Margate
Adam Lockwood – Yeovil Town
Jonathan Boardman – Woking
Martyn Lancaster – Leigh RMI
Michael Rose – Hereford United
Lee Johnson – Yeovil Town
Darren Way – Yeovil Town
Paul Terry – Dagenham & Redbridge
Wayne Purser – Barnet
David Pounder – Scarborough
Ian Fitzpatrick – Halifax United
Ryan Sugden – Chester City
Robert Gill – Doncaster Rovers
Junior Agogo – Barnet

29 January 2003
Lee Wodyatt has joined Leigh RMI on a three month loan. The youngster has only played 7+3 times for City in the cup and league this season and joins former City players Martyn Lancaster and Stuart Whittaker at the Lancashire club. Chester general manager, Dave Burford, said: �Lee Woodyatt hasn�t figured regularly in the first team and it was thought it would be in the best interests of the club and the player if he was involved in regular first team action with a Conference club. Leigh have shown interest in Lee so it was the obvious move for all concerned.”

“ He can play in a few positions but I'm looking to him to play in midfield and he will give us a bit more competitiveness in the middle of the pitch,” said Leigh boss Mark Patterson.

Despite the statement from Burford, The Evening Leader reported the following day manager Mark Wright insisted that Woodyatt hadn’t gone to the Hilton Park club yet and may be joining TNS on loan – all very confusing!

27 January 2003
A headed goal two minutes from time by goal machine Daryl Clare brought City three deserved points from Saturday�s match at promotion rivals Scarborough. The goal takes Clare to the top of the Conference scorers chart after just 13 games for the Blues. City stay in second place behind leaders Yeovil Town but closed the gap to six points (with a game in hand) after The Glovers drew at Nuneaton Borough. Halifax Town have moved into third place after their win at Northwich Victoria.
With no league fixtures this week three age groups played teams from the centre of excellence at Wrexham FC. Read how the boys got on here.
24 January 2003

Ryan SugdenCity go looking for their ninth win on their travels this season tomorrow when they play promotion rivals Scarborough. Manager Mark Wright will have defender Wayne Hatswell available after serving his to match suspension, but, once again the Blues will be without Phil Bolland who will serve the last of his three match suspension.

There�s good news on the injury front as a trio of players have resumed training. Midfielder Chris Blackburn is recovering well following his cartilage operation and strikers Mark Beesley and Steve Brodie are both now back in training.

Striker Ryan Sugden will be making a return tomorrow to face a side he played for last season. Sugden, then with Oldham Athletic, played 9+4 games on loan for The Seadogs scoring 2 goals in the process. �I�ve still got a lot of good friends from my days at Scarborough and it will be good to see them again � but my main objective is to help Chester win three points, and it would be great to score against my old club.� said the striker.

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

The ISA currently have CCFC flags for sale, these can be purchased for £3.00 in the club shop and also at Corals Bookmakers in Bridge Street, or order from Les Smith by email (without stick in the post, please add 20p for postage).
23 January 2003
Seats are still available on the Chester Official Supporters Club coach for Saturday�s match at Scarborough. The coach leaves Delamere Street at 10.00hrs and places, priced �12.00, can be reserved by ringing Barrie Hipkiss on (01244) 379011 between 18.00 and 20.00hrs asap.

The Chester Evening Standard reports that Lee Wodyatt has joined Leigh RMI on a month’s loan however this news isn’t confirmed elsewhere and has since been denied by the Lancashire club.
22 January 2003
Manager Mark Wright has had a word to say for the boo-boys who jeered the side off at half-time on Saturday. With the Blues trailing 1-0, a very small section of the crowd chanted “What a load of rubbish” as the players trooped off. �Some of our supporters need reminding where their club were 12 months ago. And they need to consider what effect booing the players has on the team. I understand they pay money and are entitled to say what they want, but booing the players will have a negative effect on the team�s performance. They must remember that they are watching a team that has only been put together this season. The players have put Chester second in the league table which is absolutely brilliant, and now we�re going to try and finish in a play-off position. I know the players have got to be better, but if we get into the play-offs it will be a brilliant achievement. Our supporters need to look at the positives instead of pointing out the negatives. They should think back to where their club was 12 months ago, and look at the current team.”

21 January 2003
Despite two goals from Dean Buckley, City’s youth team were beaten at home 4-2 on Saturday by Rotherham United Youth. The side currently lie seventh in the table.

Correct as at 21 January 2003. P W D L F A GD Pts
Mansfield Town 14 12 1 1 35 17 18 37
Port Vale 15 10 2 3 38 26 12 32
Rotherham United 16 8 3 5 42 28 14 27
Notts County 14 5 4 5 31 31 0 19
Shrewsbury Town 13 4 6 3 25 24 1 18
Doncaster Rovers 16 4 5 7 28 30 -2 17
Chester City 14 4 2 8 17 31 -14 14
Chesterfield 12 4 0 8 14 25 -11 12
Macclesfield Town 12 2 3 7 15 22 -7 9
Wrexham 12 3 0 9 17 28 -11 9

20 January 2003
City chairman Steve Vaughan has said that he’ll be speaking to his counterpart at TNS Llansantffraid today in an effort to lure back midfielder Gary Brabin to Chester. Brabin, a hero at the Deva towards the end of last season, was voted Player of the Year after his battling performances and goals lifted City clear of the relegation zone. Brabin has been a spectator at City’s last two home games. Vaughan told the Daily Post: “I will be talking to the TNS chairman, and we will make an offer for Gary.”
City’s Junior sides were in action yesterday and recorded an impressive four wins and a draw. Read the match summaries here. The Juniors now have a new under 8/9 team and need some support for kit etc. If anyone could help the side out could they please call David James 01244 377408. Any help for this worthy cause would be greatly appreciated by all.

19 January 2003
Daryl Clare scored his 15th goal for the Blues on Saturday but it wasn’t enough to bring three points as City had to be content with a 1-1 home draw at home to Barnet. Manager Mark Wright rang the changes with a recalled Danny Collins in the starting eleven that also included loan signing Mark Clifford. The Blues started slowly and conceded a goal on four minutes as defender Greg Heald pounced on some hesitancy in the City defence following a corner. Ryan Sugden went close for the Blues following a fine move but it wasn’t until the second half that Chester look like scoring. The equaliser on 71 minutes was just reward for Clare who battled all night despite a poor service to him. Bees keeper Naisbitt made two great saves late on to deny Scott Guyett and Kevin McIntyre while substitute Adam Griffin, making his City debut, his the outside of the post with another close effort.

Scott Guyett picked up his fifth yellow card of the season which will bring him a one game ban, probably the home one against Forest Green Rovers on 8 February.

17 January 2003
[Martyn Lancaster]Central defender Martyn ‘Burt’ Lancaster looks set to join Conference side Leigh RMI. Lancaster, a product of the club’s youth policy, hasn't featured in Mark Wright’s plans all season until Wednesday night and in all has played 135+6 games for the Blues scoring 2 goals.

Lancaster is expected to go straight into the Leigh team at Burton Albion tomorrow. “My first priority is a clean sheet,“ Manager Neil Patterson told the Bolton Evening News. “On paper it is a good time to play Burton as they are struggling a bit at home with only two wins all season. With Lancaster in there we will have a stronger defence and if we can keep a clean sheet we can always nick a goal. Lancaster is experienced, a good athlete and will give us more pace at the back.”

Other players are expected to leave the club soon as Wright clears the decks for new players. One player who has been loaned out is striker Dave Cameron who’s joined Telford United for a month. Boston United wing-back Mark Clifford is one player who may be featuring soon. Initially, signed for a week’s trial, the club have extended that to one month.

16 January 2003

[Mark Wright]City manager Mark Wright was furious after City suffered their second home defeat of the year, this time at the hands of part-timers Worksop Town who won last nights FA Trophy Third Round tie with a winner deep into injury time.

The Blues were missing several regulars through suspension and injury but that was no excuse according to Wright: “When we go away to places like Kettering we roll our sleeves up and battle, and that�s all they had to do against Worksop. But they didn�t do it and they know themselves, and I�m not very happy with a lot of the players. People will turn round and say we had a reason for the defeat because we had five key players out. Paul Carden and Ben Davies in midfield were both out because of suspension and they�ve been our engine room, and they�ve done so much running and have formed such a great partnership, and I�ve got two centre halves in Wayne Hatswell and Phil Bolland out suspended, and I�ve got striker, Daryl Clare, out injured. People can use that as an excuse, but I won�t, because the bottom line is that there was enough out there on the field to have won Conference games, and there was certainly enough out there to have won a game against Worksop.”

Goalkeeper Wayne Brown played despite seemingly carrying an injury. “I wasn�t tempted to replace Wayne Brown because other players can take his goal kicks [as Scott Guyett did]. He collected the ball from crosses and he made saves.”

So, the Blues must once again look to bounce back after a Deva setback. Barnet are the visitors on Saturday when the Blues can welcome back Ben Davies and Paul Carden from suspension, though Wayne Hatswell and Phil Bolland are serving bans and the extent of Daryl Clare�s injury is uncertain, City fans will be hoping his absence has only been precautionary and will start. The game is being screened live by SKY TV and will kick-off at the later time of 18:00hrs.
15 January 2003
City go into tonight’s game against Worksop Town with a much depleted squad. Phil Bolland, Wayne Hatswell, Ben Davies and Paul Carden, are all serving suspensions while other key players, including Daryl Clare, are nursing injuries. Martyn Lancaster will start in defence alongside Carl Ruffer and Scott Guyett may also make a return following his injury on New Year’s Day. 

There are strong hints on the BBC website today to suggest that City are to set sign Nuneaton Borough striker Mark Quayle. Liverpool-born Quayle has scored 15 goals in 25 appearances for Borough so far this season, including the winner at the Deva in October, and is joint leading scorer in the Conference. Borough manager Steve Burr said: “My chairman has spoken to the Chester chairman about Mark Quayle and I think the club is going to be prepared to let him go.” Quayle, who asked to be put on the transfer list before Christmas, joined Borough from Telford United last summer, having previously played in the Conference with Morecambe following his departure from Notts County. He began his football career as a trainee with Everton in 1985. City are believed to have offered Nuneaton £15,000 and a player in part-exchange.

The winners of tonight’s FA Trophy third round match between City and Worksop Town will host Hayes in the fourth round after the Missioners 2-1 home win over Crawley Town last night at Church Road.
13 January 2003
FA Trophy
The draw for the fourth round of the FA Umbro Trophy was made this morning and the winner of the Chester City/Worksop Town tie on Wednesday night will play Hayes or Crawley Town at home on Saturday 1 February.

The Fourth round draw in full:

Colwyn Bay v Havant & Waterlooville
Stalybridge Celtic/Scarborough v Dover Athletic/Gravesend & Northfleet
Halifax Town/Doncaster Rovers v Purfleet/Grays Athletic
Windsor & Eton v Leigh RMI/Vauxhall Motors
Northwich Victoria/Barrow v Canvey Island
Kettering Town/Altrincham v Aylesbury United/Kingstonian
Chester City/Worksop Town v Hayes/Crawley Town
Hereford United/Yeovil Town v Lancaster City/Morecambe
Alfreton Town v Ilkeston Town/Burscough
Farsley Celtic/Gainsborough Trinity v Forest Green Rovers/Barnet
Worcester City/Newport County v Margate
Dagenham & Redbridge v Leek Town/Southport
Gloucester City/Lewes v Woking/Chesham United
Wakefield & Emley v Heybridge Swifts/Hendon
Tamworth v Stevenage Borough/Oxford City
Rugby United/Telford United v Farnborough Town

11 January 2003
Despite getting the go-ahead earlier this morning, today’s game with Worksop Town was abandoned after 26 minutes because of the frozen pitch. The game will now take place next Wednesday 15 January, kick-off 19:45hrs. Those who attended today’s game (1,614) were given a voucher to gain free admission on Wednesday, those with vouchers who can’t make the new date should post them off to the club to claim a refund.

Referee Tatton told reporter Neil Turner after the game: “I made the decision because the surface was becoming dangerous and I was concerned for player safety. The club had worked hard to try and get the game on and, when I inspected at 9am the pitch was OK.”

Chairman, Stephen Vaughan said: “We’ve done everything we could to get the game on and the playing surface was no different at 2 o’clock this afternoon than at half past three when the referee called it off. The players are actually warming down on the pitch now and doing a good work out, so they’re running all around it.

“I can’t understand why he wanted to start something and abandon it 26 minutes later. That’s for the referee to decide but at the same time, it would have been a lot easier to decide at 2o’clock before any of our supporters had paid to get into the stadium.

“The only solution we have to it is to issue vouchers, if they produce that on Wednesday they will be admitted free. Lucky enough, it was a disappointing turnout anyway, but it is an embarrassing situation for the club. At the end of the day, we have done what we have needed to do, and we’ve got to stand by the referee’s decision.

“I’ve now got to reimburse sponsors or offer them another game. I’ve got to pay for the coach travel or the overnight stay, whatever Worksop have had so this will be hitting us severely in the pocket. I’m very disappointed.”

Manager, Mark Wright added: “The referee had made his mind up that the game was going ahead. But we made it perfectly clear that if people went down injured we wouldn’t be best happy. We know our pitch and we know where the sun goes down and that far side was never going to thaw in these conditions. It’s treacherous over there and somebody was going to get really hurt. I’m glad that everybody came out unscathed, even Worksop’s players but in my opinion, it shouldn’t have gone ahead. We will be hoping the thaw comes soon, otherwise Wednesday night will be in real doubt.”

This was the first game to be abandoned at Deva Stadium. The last Chester game to be abandoned was the Autoglass Trophy against Rotherham United on 14 January 1992 (66 minutes fog). The last home game to be abandoned was the League game against Carlisle United at Sealand Road on 23 February 1982 (56 minutes fog).

Today’s game against Worksop Town is ON following this morning’s pitch inspection. Well done to Gary Kent and his groundstaff.

10 January 2003
Worksop TownThere will be pitch inspection at Deva Stadium at 12:00 noon today for tomorrow’s FA Trophy game. The pitch was in a frozen state on Thursday night but the club have ordered extra covering in an effort to keep the game on.

Weather permitting, City take a break from the Conference tomorrow when they entertain high-flying UniBond Premier League side Worksop Town. The Blues have various injury and suspension problems leading into the match. Phil Bolland starts the first of a three match ban, and Paul Carden is suspended for one match, while Scott Guyett is very unlikely to be risked following his head injury on New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, both Ben Davies (ankle) and Daryl Clare (knee) are carrying knocks. However, the Blues will be able to welcome back defender Kevin McIntyre after suspension. Should the game be postponed tomorrow it will probably take place on Wednesday 15 January at 19:45hrs.

9 January 2003
Tonight’s mini-derby between Liverpool and Everton at Deva Stadium has been called off because of a frozen pitch.

7 January 2003
Manager Mark Wright has taken Boston United’s Mark Clifford. Wright told the Evening Leader: “I’m really pleased to be having a look at Mark Clifford for a week rather than a month. I’m going to really look at the situation because I think he can be of great use to us. Lee Woodyatt did a great job at Kettering but we need a bit more. At the moment I need to be certain and cautious of the players I bring in and start to build for next season. I need to do everything I can to bring in players who can do a good job in the Football League. It’s important to bring in experienced players. A lot has been made of us being a good outfit, but now I really need to bring players in. Several players haven’t fitted into the team and that’s a shame, but the bottom line now is that I need to off-load some players before I can bring in anyone else.”

Since joining the club in 2001, 24-year-old Clifford has made 58+2 appearances (no goals) for Boston United, nine of them this season. He started his career as a trainee with Mansfield Town in 1995 before joining Ilkeston Town two years later.

6 January 2003
It looks like there will be players both in, on loan, and out at City this week. Manager Mark Wright has stated that: “I’m hoping to bring some new players into the club, but first I have to move some players out, however, there will be movement.” One player who appears to have joined is 18-year-old Adam Griffin a winger with Oldham Athletic, who, according to Athletic’s official website has joined the Blues on work experience, rather than on loan as he is still a scholar at Boundary Park. He made his first-team debut at Boundary Park as a substitute in the final game of last season at home to Queens Park Rangers, but has yet to feature during the current season.

City remain in third spot in the Conference following Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Kettering Town. Daryl Clare scored the games only goal with a first-half close-range header after Phil Bolland had flicked on Ben Davies’ inswinging corner.

3 January 2003
Kettering TownKettering Town say this morning (10:30hrs) there are no plans as yet for a pitch inspection for tomorrow’s game. However, with the weather so unpredictable at the moment, the best bet for City fans is to ring the club in the morning on (01536) 483028 to confirm the situation. It’s simply too early to judge the situation at the moment.

Striker Mark Beesley’s back injury means that he must be considered as doubtful for tomorrow’s game where City will also be without long-term injury victims Chris Blackburn (knee) and Steve Brodie (calf), while Scott Guyett is still suffering from his head injury on Saturday. Ryan Sugden returns to the squad though following a three-match suspension, but defender Kevin McIntyre is serving a one-match ban after collecting five bookings.

Fixtures for this weekend are as follows:

Under 12s home v AFC Waverton (Duke of Westminster Cup, quarter final)
Under 13s home v AFC Waverton (Duke of Westminster Cup, quarter final)

Both games at Clifton Drive, off Sealand Road, and kick-off 14:00hrs.

1 January 2003
Wayne HatswellHow do you explain that one then? The Blues are coasting, 2-0 up five minutes into the second half thanks to two more from goal machine Daryl Clare. The Vics pull a goal back through a deflected shot and City fall to pieces. A rather dubious penalty from Jimmy Quinn and a winner from Gregg Blundell, all three goals in a quick spell, bring Vics an unexpected victory. City, with plenty of time to do something about it, have no answer. To make matters worse, Wayne Hatswell (pictured) is given his second red card of the season so City are left with yet another suspension to contend with.

Chairman Steve Vaughan summed up most of the fans feelings after the match: “They were a disgraceful. They were a disgrace to the club. They were a disgrace to their manager and they were also a disgrace to the large crowd that turned up to watch. For years I have been involved in the fight game, but to see the team capitulate so disappointingly and meekly really has annoyed me intensely.”

Manager Mark Wright was of the same opinion: “I'm afraid it was disgraceful. To surrender a two goal lead like that is unforgivable.” The manager also, quite rightly, had some very harsh words to say about Wayne Hatswell and the manner of his dismissal. Hatswell was given his first yellow card for a persistent argument with the referee over a free-kick decision, the defenders continual row with the referee was always going to earn him a yellow card. His second booking was for a foul on the goalkeeper and more back chat with referee Stephen Brand.

“I will not tolerate dissention, and players in my team have got to understand they will be fined and fined heavily. Wayne’s actions were disgraceful and it is not acceptable in my book. You can’t beat the referee, you can’t change their decisions, you can’t influence them, so what’s the point?”

Hatswell can expect a two match ban for him moment of madness, one game for the offence and a second game for this being his second red.

So, Chester end up with just four points from twelve from the festive season and will be looking to quickly bounce back at Kettering Town on Saturday where they will welcome back striker Ryan Sugden from suspension but will be without suspended full-back Kevin McIntyre. The weather in the Northamptionshire area has been appalling in recent days and there may be some doubt about Saturday’s match taking place.
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