| 29 July 2001
WIN OVER VALE
Just 254 people turned up
for City's friendly match with Port Vale on Saturday;
31 fans stood on the home end with many familiar faces
now determined to stay away from the Deva while Terry
Smith is in charge. Over 100 fans elected to join the
picket outside the ground. For the record City won the
game with a goal ten minutes from time by Steve Whitehall.
The club also unveiled a new kit, sky blue and black
striped shirts (without sponsors name) black shorts and
27 July 2001
Highly rated midfielder Chris Blackburn
has joined Manchester City for a trial and will play against Radcliffe
Borough in a reserve friendly on Saturday.
26 July 2001
The ISA committee have today issued the
following press statement:
Chester City owner, Terry Smith, has recently accused supporters of a string
of misdeeds and singled out the ISA as particular culprits. We do not wish
to dignify the multitude of outrageous claims by referring to them in any
detail but simply take this opportunity of issuing a categorical denial
of these allegations.
It is true that members of the ISA, along with
other supporters, take part in the peaceful picket outside the Deva
Stadium, which is now heading into its fifth week. During this time
the pickets have not attempted to dissuade anyone from entering the
Deva whilst our presence (which has included fans of all ages, men,
women and children) has not created any problems with the police.
Neither the pickets nor the stewards need accept
any responsibility for the failure of the club to sell season tickets,
the postponement of the Everton friendly, the absence of a main sponsor,
the departure of numerous first team players, etc. Nor do we condone
violent or irresponsible behaviour as we wish to maintain the good
name of Chester City supporters even in the face of the current and
We would ask all supporters to recognise the seriousness
of the current situation and give their support in any way they can.
Chester City ISA
25 July 2001
Following Terry Smith's deal with a security
firm to steward matches at Deva Stadium, Cheshire County Council have
lifted their zero rating at Deva Stadium. It's believed that the capacity
has been reduced to 3,000 which should be more than adequate this season!
Saturday's friendly match against Port Vale (15:00hrs) goes ahead,
though, if you are going, no admission prices were known when the club
was rung this morning.
24 July 2001
PAUL CARDEN SOLD
Paul Carden is the latest player to leave Chester; he's joined fellow
Conference side Doncaster Rovers.
The fee for the player is just £3,000. Third
Division Carlisle United had also been linked with the player.
Following his signing Carden stated: “I'm free
at last. I'm just so glad to get away. Things were getting me down
at Chester. I've noticed the difference immediately on how a club
should be run and although I'm sad to leave Chester I just hope that
the good times will return there.
We all know what the problem is at the club
and I just hope for Chester supporters' sakes that the club survives
and who knows, in a couple of years time, I could be back with them
as a player. I'd like to thank the City fans for their support during
my time at the club.”
23 July 2001
TRANMERE CANCEL FRIENDLY
Tranmere Rovers' official
website states that they have taken the decision to cancel their
pre-season friendly against Chester City. Following discussions with
the police and emergency authorities, Rovers have been unable to
gain adequate assurances from Chester City regarding safety issues
and the licensing of the stadium. The club have therefore decided
that the friendly, which was set to take place on Tuesday 31 July
at the Deva Stadium, should not go ahead. A similar decision was
recently taken by Everton who also pulled out of their friendly fixture
against Chester. Rovers are now playing Macclesfield on that night.
20 July 2001
DOUGHTY AND MOSS BOTH LEAVE
Defender Matt Doughty has today signed
for Rochdale. To make things worse Rochdale's official website states
that the signing was made on a free transfer due to an administrative
error by Chester City. Doughty had been linked with a move
to Shrewsbury Town earlier in the week. After leaving Matty said: “I'm
relieved to get away after what has been going on there but I'm sad
for the players who are left. If Graham barrow would have stayed
then so would I but I had to move on and I've moved to a club where
I can just concentrate on playing football and I'm back in the Football
League”. Darren Moss has also left the club today after signing a
one year contract with Shrewsbury Town.
SMITH BOOKS SECURITY FIRM
Terry Smith has claimed that City's pre-season
fixtures will go ahead after he hired a security firm Special Projects
Security to do the Deva Stadium stewarding. The cost of this will be £30,000
over the season, about £1,400 per match which is three times the
cost last season. He said: “We solved the stewarding problem late yesterday
(Thursday) afternoon. We have booked the security firm who cover Manchester
United matches. The friendly games will go ahead and we have booked them
for the season. It will be very expensive because of their standard but
it will make it better for the club, and will make the council and police
happier. They will be able to deal with any potential problems because
they are so highly trained.”
HOT RECEPTION FOR HILL
City kicked-off their pre season with a 3-0
victory at Connah's Quay Nomads last night. Chester's goals coming from
Martyn Lancaster, Scott Ruscoe and a penalty from Mark Beesley. Off the
pitch, manager Gordon Hill received a hostile reception from City fans
and there was a scuffle involving Hill before the game as he walked out
of the players tunnel, he received a police escort from the pitch at the
Unless a security firm are hired and trained
by the club in the next few weeks City will play their opening Conference
fixture against Woking behind closed doors. A letter has been sent from
the Conference Board to the club asking for an explanation of the current
situation at the Deva. Back in the 1980s Newport County were thrown out
of the Conference for failing to fulfil a fixture, and, following on from
the Hayes fiasco last season, City are sailing close to the wind. The Conference
Board next meet on 9 August and they will demand answers, and, no doubt,
a valid safety certificate by then.
19 July 2001
SHORT TRIP FOR CITY
Chester play their first pre-season friendly
tonight when they travel to League of Wales side Connah's Quay Nomads
(19:30 kick-off). A large number of Blues fans are expected to make
the short trip to the Deeside Stadium to see the first outing under
Gordon Hill's leadership, and to carry on the Smith Out! campaign.
Only three new players have been signed during the summer (not counting
Jimmy Haarhoff), brothers Michael and Stephen Rose and Chris Malkin,
and all will be expected to feature tonight. In the corresponding
fixture last season City drew 1-1, where a number of trialists also
featured. If anyone can send a
match report for the site it would be appreciated. Tomorrow morning
Chester play a practice match behind closed doors at Burnley's training
CAR STICKERS & T-SHIRTS
Car stickers (£1) and T-shirts (£5.50)
were on sale at the joint meeting of fans in Chester on 16 July and
can now be bought at the Deva Stadium picket line.
There is a choice of two slogans for stickers:
The t-shirts have both slogans on (back & front).
Chester City FC Boycott The Ultimate Sacrifice
Chester City Hall of Shame Smith. Evans. Fair. Hill. Cross
Following a meeting yesterday, Cheshire
County Council's Grounds Safety Committee have withdrawn the safety
certificate for the Deva Stadium as the club only have only a handful
stewards signed up for next season. The certificate states that 34
safety stewards and four fire stewards are present when paying customers
are admitted into the stadium.
Cheshire's Civil Protection manager Martin Smith said: “We must emphasise
that this action was taken with the greatest reluctance but regret that
there was no alternative. The safety of the public must always be paramount
and it is in the interests of public safety that we have been forced to
take this action. We are prepared to work with the club to help resolve
this issue and will look at the matter again as soon as the club considers
that it is in a position to fulfil its legal obligation with regard to
The clubs safety certificate is held by secretary Michael Fair but he was
unable to attend yesterday's annual meeting. The Council have stated that
the certificate will be restored once the club have convinced the safety
committee that adequate measures to supply stewards have been taken. This
decision must cast a major doubt over City's chances of staging their three
home pre-season friendlies against Port Vale, Tranmere Rovers and Manchester
City. Not only that, but the opening Conference game of next season against
Woking is now less that a month away.
17 July 2001
Around 150 people turned out for last
night's supporters meeting. Many items were discussed and there was
a show of hands on how many people were going to boycott home games
and it was 99% boycotting.
It was mentioned that some of the pickets went
into the club yesterday to confirm that Terry Smith had indeed
evacuated his office (he's now working from home to avoid the picket).
His PC wasn't there but the office was strewn with papers. The
most disturbing story was that the Nationwide Trophy was lying
in the corner of the office broken Bob Lord would turn in
It was very encouraging to hear people talk about
a resurrection and the ways in which it could be done. It was also
good to see all the supporters groups backing each other.
It appears that Everton FC have also now joined
a long list of people being sued by Smith.
16 July 2001
GET DOWN TO THE ROYAL MAIL CLUB
An open meeting will take place
tonight for all Chester City supporters at the Royal Mail Club,
Station Road, Chester. This meeting, like the last one, sees
all the Chester supporter groups, as well as individuals who
do not currently belong to one of the existing organisations coming
together as one where they will be updated on the current situation
at the Deva and what steps can be taken next. The meeting
starts at 19:30hrs and with the situation spiraling out of
control at the Deva all supporters are urged to attend. The
following press release has been issued:
At recent meetings of the principals of various groups of supporters
including the ISA, The Supporters Trust, The Official Supporters, The
Exiles, The Executive Club, the Able-Disabled and the Chester Supporters
Group, it was unanimously agreed that picketing of the Deva Stadium
and encouragement of the boycott of season ticket sales and sponsorship
be continued until such a time that matters regarding the current custodians
of Chester City FC have been resolved.
It was agreed that a further open meeting
for all fans be arranged at Chester Royal Mail Club on Monday
16th July at 7.30pm to update fans, discuss further actions
and agree upon a united campaign to bring further pressure
to bear on the current owners to bring matters to a swift
13 July 2001
EVERTON GAME CALLED OFF
Not surprisingly Everton have pulled
out of the pre-season friendly at the Deva Stadium on 25 July.
They have cited concerns over safety at the ground as their
reason. City were forced to make the match all-ticket with
a reduced 3,000 capacity, after having failed to provide an
adequate number of stewards, or to back up their claim that
they would get a professional security team in.
CLOSED DOORS FOR FRIENDLIES?
City face the real prospect of playing
their home pre-season friendly matches behind closed doors.
The club's current lack of stewards, only six have reported
back, is causing great concern among the local authorities,
and, despite the club announcing last week that they would
hire a professional security firm, no details have been submitted
to the police.
A reduced capacity of 3,000 could also be slapped on the club if, and when,
sufficient stewards are found. Decisions are expected to be made next Wednesday
at a meeting between the local safety authorities and the football club.
The Nationwide Conference board, who met on Wednesday, are keeping close
tabs on the situation at the Deva. Said Conference chairman Bill King: “We
noted Chester's position at our board meeting on Wednesday and we are monitoring
the way it could affect our competition. We have been notified by the police
about their safety concerns and they must do whatever they have to do.
As far as playing behind closed doors is concerned we would have to deal
with that if it happened, but we have a responsibility to the fixture.”
12 July 2001
DEVA PICKET ENTERS THIRD WEEK
fans picket at the Deva Stadium has now entered its third week. About a
dozen City supporters are stoically manning the line every day “until Terry
Smith goes” and are getting plenty of support from passing motorists.
With the temporary closure of a section of Sealand
Road, traffic is currently being diverted down Bumpers Lane right past
Earlier in the week Terry Smith launched a bitter attack
on the local police (as well as the usual: supporters, local media, Morrisons
etc) for not breaking up the picket, who, the police have said are committing
One of the picket line faithful George Rogers said
their action is working and that the people of Chester are talking about
their protest. He said: “In pubs and on the streets you can hear people
say ‘have you heard about the picketing’ at Chester City. “Terry Smith
might not like it but we will stay put until he leaves”. Another fan
Phil Bailey said: “Terry Smith has been out and said we have made our
point and told us to go. The police have also been down but they can’t
do anything because we are not doing anything wrong.”
Thanks to Mike Rowe who helped man the picket on
Wednesday and has sent some pictures.
GAUNT LEAVES CITY
Defender Craig Gaunt has been released by Chester
at his own request, he's going to spend more time with his textile business.
Gaunt made 28 appearances for the Blues last season. This leaves Martyn
Lancaster as City's defence for next season! Both Darren Moss and Matt
Doughty are targets of former boss Kevin Ratcliffe at Shrewsbury Town.
Moss is on non-contract terms and would move to Gay Meadow for free. Gordon
Hill said of both players: “They’re gone. They’re not in my squad and they’re
not in my plans.”
EVE SIGNS FOR JABLOTEH
Midfielder Angus Eve has signed for Trinidad & Tobago
professional club Jabloteh. Eve signed a new two-year contract with CL
Financial San Juan Jabloteh on Tuesday July 11, 2001 after being approached
by Jabloteh's coach Terry Fenwick. A delighted Fenwick said: “We are really
happy to have a player like Angus come to our club. He is a popular figure
in Trinidad and the Caribbean and one of the bigger players to come out
of Joe Public. We are sure that he can bring a lot to our club. With us
signing Angus, it shows just how ambitious our club is and now we can say
that we have a team of good experience and youth. What we are trying to
do is really develop the youth of TnT but to do this we need a couple of
really good experienced players. Not only is Angus an experienced lad,
but he is also a 'Trini' which can only be good for some of the younger
ones,” said Fenwick. Eve was on loan with Joe Public from English club
Chester City. His contract with Chester ended on June 31.
11 July 2001
FISHER MOVES ON
Midfielder Neil Fisher, released at the end
of the season, has joined part-time Conference side Leigh RMI. Fisher had
received offers from elsewhere including becoming full-time with Shrewsbury
Town. Fisher decided on the part-time contract as he's going to college
in September to train to be a chef.
9 July 2001
MAN CITY FRIENDLY?
Chester's scheduled friendly match on
4 August with Manchester City would seem to be in some doubt, the
fact than no one at Maine Road knows about the game is also a mystery. There
is no mention of it on their official website listing
of pre-season matches and a phone call to the Manchester club this
afternoon brought the following polite response: “nothing is arranged,
it must have been provisional and nothing came of it.” It later transpires
(in an email from Man City) that it will be a Reserve team only that's
coming for the fixture.
EVERTON MATCH ALL-TICKET
City's match with Everton on 25 July will
definately be all-ticket. Explaining their decision a Chester police
spokesman said: “The police are obliged to consider capacity issues
in respect of each match. We assess this based on information from
the clubs and experience at previous fixtures. If there is evidence
that attendance may exceed capacity at the ground, we advise the
club’s safety officer and the local council’s safety advisory group
that the match needs to be all ticket. Chester Police’s advice in
respect of the forthcoming match against Everton is that the game
should be all ticket. This advice is based upon experience of the
previous fixture between the two teams when there was evidence that
numbers attending may have exceeded official capacity. We have been
advised from the visiting team that their travelling supporters group
could, on their own, fill the stadium to capacity. On this basis,
to ensure the safety and comfort of those who attend the match, the
official police advice is that only fans with an advance ticket should
be given entry to the stadium.”
The previous fixture referred to took place on 20 July 1999, when a crowd
stated as 5,800 crammed into the Deva with many people standing in the
aisle's in the over-full main stand.
PAY LATE AGAIN
The Evening Leader reports that the players
wages were late again this month, the Professional Footballers Association
have been informed and are monitoring the situation. Meanwhile Terry Smith
has issued another threat to close the club down, this time on 14 July.
Former manager Graham Barrow has been linked
with the manager's vacancy at third division Carlisle United. United's
boss for last season Ian Atkins had now joined the coaching staff at second
division Cardiff City. Barrow was interviewed for the Brunton Park job
before Atkins was appointed last season. And with Northwich Victoria boss
Keith Alexander resigning to join Lincoln City as assistant manager there's
a post to fill there as well.
6 July 2001
Paul Beesley has won his tribunal case against
the club at Telford yesterday. The hearing lasted three and a half hours
with the PFA representing Beesley and Smith the club. Beesley is now considering
what action to take before making any comment on the situation.
Fifteen of last season's stewards who resigned en
masse after the Rushden game, have now signed-up to return to the Deva
Stadium for next season. However, this is about half the required number
and the club are thinking of bringing in a professional security team to
make up the numbers this would have to be approved though by the
local authorities, including the police and Cheshire County Council trading
standards officers, as specialist training would be required. This lack
of stewards would also call into question whether City are capable of staging
their pre-season friendlies, especially the higher profile Everton game.
A charity match between a Hollyoaks TV X1 and the
Cheshire Fire Brigade has been moved from Deva Stadium after City demanded
a £3,000 match fee to stage the event. The game will now be played
for free at a more charitable Winsford United. Secretary Mike Fair said: We
were just covering our costs of opening the ground. I was not party to
a specific figure being mentioned. The club wanted to take part. It wanted
to support the event. We were looking to cover the cost of stewarding it
really. There were safety factors to consider.
City's youth team have been drawn away at Guiseley
in the first qualifying round of next season's AXA FA Youth Trophy. The
match is to be played before 1 September. The winners will go to
Dunston Federation Brewery or Marine in the second qualifying round.
5 July 2001
Paul Beesley's appeal hearing against his recent
sacking(s) is due to take place at Telford today. Beesley's case is being
supported by the PFA. Meanwhile, tonight's Evening Leader states that Matt
Doughty has had talks regarding a possible move to Shrewsbury Town, and
Doncaster Rovers are interested in midfielder Paul Carden.
4 July 2001
FOUR FOUR TWO
latest (August) issue of FourFourTwo magazine contains an excellent
article, written by Steve Hill, on Chester City and Terry Smith's
running of the club. There's plenty of background information
and quotes from Terry Smith as well as unnamed players: we
were training for five hours a day, and didn't even break sweat,
playing against invisible people, Phil Davies, Alistair
Syme and Cleggy, etc.
The six page article, entitled No surrender
to the USA, also features many pictures from the pre-Rushden
fans march with the coffin to Deva Stadium.
Chris Malkin is set to combine a playing role
with that of club physio next season. Malkin worked part-time with Gordon
Hill's youth side last season at the Deva and also turned out for Telford
United. Chris Malkin will be assisted in his physio role by Steve Mills.
Mills, a qualified referee, will be match day physio while Malkin is playing
for the team. Also joining Hill's management team are fitness specialist
Chas Osula – and, you guessed it, Terry Smith. “I’ve known Terry for ten
years and believe he has a lot to offer,” said Hill.
3 July 2001CONFERENCE FIXTURES
Next season's Conference fixtures have now been
released. City kick-off the campaign on 18 August with a home match against
Woking, followed on the Tuesday with their first away trip to Southport.
Over the Christmas/New Year period there are two local games with Northwich
Victoria and another festive visit from Hayes. The season is completed
on 27 April at Dagenham & Redbridge.