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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2001
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
JUNE 2001
29 June 2001
PEP TALK FOR THE PLAYERS!
More names bandied about in the Chester Chronicle this morning by Gareth Evans. Apparently he's going to ask Pat Crearand, Dennis Law and Ian Rush to come along to the club and talk to the players. Meanwhile John Barnes has turned down the invitation to join City in a consultancy role: the former Liverpool player said: “I've just signed a 12-month agreement with ITV and that is what my immediate future holds.”

RATCLIFFE WAITING FOR THE RIGHT TIME
[Kevin Ratcliffe]Former City manager Kevin Ratcliffe is almost ready to issue his winding up order on the club in an attempt to recover the £200,000+ he's owed by Chester.

Ratcliffe, just back from holiday, has been in discussions with supporters organisations at Chester over recent weeks to explain his motives behind the order. “My solicitors are about to prepare the papers and when we have satisfied ourselves that the time is right we will issue the winding up order. We have known all along that we had good grounds for proceeding and, while it is not an action I relish, it is the only option left open to me to recover the money.”

Chester lost an appeal over the compensation on 18 May after which Terry Smith vowed to take the decision to a Court of Appeal. “No court has ever decided that Chester City Football Cub owes Mr Ratcliffe anything and the club does not think the Football League panel decision was made with any authority because the club was not a member of the League when they made the decision,” he said then.
28 June 2001
SUPPORTERS MEETING
Due to the current crisis within our football club the Chester City Supporters Trust have arranged for a Public Meeting on Thursday 28th June at the Chester Town Hall starting at 19.30hrs. All City fans are urged to attend this event.

<start>
There will be an open meeting that anyone can attend, possibly followed by a closed meeting for Trust members-although you can join on the night. Remember, that although the Trust was formed by and is run by a Board comprised of delegates from all five supporters groups, that even if you are a member of one of the groups you still need to be a member also of the Trust to have your say and help directly the effort to acquire a shareholding/ownership in/of CCFC.

The members meeting will be to discuss internal issues and also issues that require some confidentiality, ie we must assume a Smith delegate will attend and so certain matters (such as the strategy to adopt, if any, in the face of the recent 'run the show' proposal or tactics following on from meetings I have had with the FA, City Council, discussions with PFA, Ratcliffe's lawyers etc) cannot be discussed except amongst members whose details are on record. However, these matters will all be addressed at the open meeting it is just the obvious point that we cannot discuss strategy and certain confidentialities except with members.

The agenda is changing daily so nothing formal to put up as yet. The issues are fairly obvious and will include a report from me as to what the Trust Board has been up to behind the scenes, the feasibility study into an alternative club (such as what Enfield Town are doing). Phil Davies has said he will be there. I have personally invited certain well known former employees, but there are legal issues I am discussing that may make their attendance difficult. All will be explained. A lawyer will be there to advise on safe and legal methods of effective picketing.

The general themes on Thursday must be UNITY and LOOKING TO THE FUTURE. It is about how we as fans can work together to ourselves create the future of a de-Smithed club.

Graham Ross. Chair, Chester City Supporters Trust.
<end>

EMBARGO LIFTED
Chester have now paid the £3,000 they owed to Ilkeston Town following the transfer of Tony Hemmings and the FA have, as a result, lifted the transfer embargo placed on the club. Meanwhile Terry Smith has signed up two ex-Manchester United trainees, brothers Stephen and Michael Rose on free transfers.

Stephen Rose [b.23/11/80] Defender/full back. Manchester United › Bournemouth › Bristol Rovers.
Michael Rose [b.28/7/82] Defender. Manchester United.


BEESLEY HEARING
Paul Beesley's appeal hearing again his recent sacking(s) takes place at Telford on Thursday 5 July.
27 June 2001
DEVA PICKET
A group of City supporters started picketing the Deva Stadium this morning at 09.00, and intend to do so until Terry Smith leaves the club. Independent Supporters’ Association chairman George Rogers who organised the picket said: “This is the first day of the protest and we hope to get a lot more people down here. It is a way for us to do something rather than just sitting at home feeling depressed. We want as many fans as possible to come down and give their support, even if it is only for a couple of hours. Our aim is to highlight the problems and make it uncomfortable for the people who run the club. By doing this we can continue highlighting the problems at the club, but we need people down here, we need to keep the momentum going.” If anyone taking part can send in some pictures please do.

ONLINE ARTICLE
Chester fan and BBC's motor racing correspondent Jonathan Legard has written an article for the BBC website on owner Terry Smith's latest act of daring at Deva Stadium. You can link to the article 'Chester's Latest Chortle' from here.
JOE ROYLE
Former Manchester City boss Joe Royle has politely turned down City's request to take up a consultation role. “It wouldn't make any difference who the offer came from because the time is not right for me”, he commented. Gareth Evans is now targeting John Barnes for the role; “If I can't get Royle, I'm going after John Barnes. We need someone to take us through the first few months because this club has been at a low ebb.” said Evans earlier in the week. John Aldridge's name has also now been linked with an approach.

BEESLEY NOT FOR BOSTON
Chester have told Boston United they want £100,000+ for striker Mark Beesley after the Lincolnshire club said they wanted to pair him up with Stan Collymore next season. United say they won't be paying! Both Notts County and Norwich City are also reported to be interested in 20-year-old Beesley.

25 June 2001
HILL TAKES OVER AND EVANS PREDICTS TOP FIVE PLACE
[Gordon Hill]As expected Gordon Hill (left) will be in charge of team affairs next season, though he doesn't seem to have been named as team manager.

Speaking in yesterday's edition of the Non League Paper Gareth Evans stated: “Gordon is in charge of team affairs from now on and we're going to give him his head. With or without Joe's (Royle) help I am confident we have a team that is more than capable of getting a top five place.

Hill was in charge of City's youth team last season, they finished bottom of their league. Evans also gave an indication of his role at the club: “I'm not here to build bridges, I am here to make this club work – and it will. The potential is enormous. We're going to try to take the hate away, we want to make this a fun place again. I am used to big artistes and big egos, but you have to have loyalty, which is why I have cleared the decks. I have always managed people and I am here to protect Terry Smith – from himself as well as other people.”

BULGARIAN KEEPER FOR CITY?
The following message was received at this site this today. Looks like Terry Smith is casting his net far and wide to boost the squad for next season!. “My name is Georgi Gradev and I am a 25 years old goalkeeper from Bulgaria. I just received an invitation from Mr. Terry Smith to come and to try-out with Chester City F.C”. The keeper captained and played 27 times last season for FC Hebar/Pazardzhik. You can visit Georgi's website here.

22 June 2001
CITY WANT ROYLE
Chester football club have announced that they want to hire former Manchester City manager Joe Royle for 3-4 months in a consultancy role to “re-invent the club” – whatever that means!. Royle hasn't actually been contacted over this yet and it will be interesting to see his reaction to the offer. “We can't afford to pay him £10,000-a-week for 52 weeks but he may consider an arrangement like this,” said Evans. “If I can't get Royle, I'm going after John Barnes. We need someone to take us through the first few months because this club has been at a low ebb.”

Meanwhile former City manager Alan Oakes, whose name was linked with a possible new coaching role at the Deva, has flatly refused this offer and is annoyed that his name was mentioned in the first place. “I told Terry Smith I won't be coming to Chester” was his response.


NEW GROUNDSTAFF
The club have announced that Wirral based company Green Hand Landscapes will be preparing the Deva Stadium pitch next season.

ADVERTISEMENT
This weeks copy of the Chester Standard contains an advert by the club for Telesales Consultants/Managers, male or female 20-60yrs of age. Salary is £25k +ote. Those interested are asked to phone the club (01244 371376) or email the club on <chesterfc@thedeva.fsbusiness.co.uk>
JONATHAN PARKER
Former Commercial Manager Jonathan Parker, sacked by the club at the end of the season, has taken up a similar position at Brymbo Broughton.
21 June 2001
CLUB SILENT OVER SACKING
The club will not confirm or deny that they've sacked Graham Barrow in two press statements issued today, they seem more pre-occupied with trying to hold pop concerts at the Deva than telling their fans just what's going on. Graham Barrow has been advised by his solicitor to keep quiet on the matter.

[The Great Harry McNally]One of his greatest admirers, and the man who first brought Barrow to Chester Harry McNally (left), spoke in the Evening Leader of his disgust at the way the club is being run and the treatment handed out to the former manager:

“The current regime are destroying the club. The man’s impossible to work with and he’s making Chester City the laughing stock.

Graham Barrow has been so loyal to the club and the fans to stay this long. I feel so sorry Graham and so sad for the fans. It’s always been a difficult club to manage; we got through the Macclesfield years but no matter how tough it was, we always had goodwill from other clubs.

You can’t survive without good contacts and goodwill in football and Chester have none of that now. The club is dying and I feel there is no way back and I’ll tell you this. If Christleton play Chester City in a pre-season friendly, Christleton will win.”

Another former manager Kevin Ratcliffe also had his say: “Speaking from my experience of Americans, this is the way they deal with people and the fact the club hasn’t even confirmed his sacking, is deplorable. One thing I will say that if Graham and Joe are after compensation, then they better join the queue and they better be ready to go through every court in the land.”

Ratcliffe has been away on holiday and his action to wind-up the club, for failing to pay £200,000 compensation awarded to him is currently with his solicitors.

Once again club secretary and press officer Michael Fair said he couldn’t confirm Barrow’s sacking.
20 June 2001
GRAHAM BARROW SACKED

[The Boss]It's reported this afternoon that Graham Barrow has been sacked as City's manager. It's is believed that he's been dismissed verbally over the phone at his home by managing director Gareth Evans. Club press officer Michael Fair denies this sacking has taken place.

I think we've all been bracing ourselves for this disgraceful news for some time now, but it still comes as a shock This action will be the final straw for City's supporters who, along with Graham Barrow and the entire playing squad, have had to put up with everything from Terry Smith over the last few months.

Last season was Graham Barrow's second spell at the Deva and he led Chester to the third round of the FA Cup, the semi-final of the FA Trophy, eighth place in the Conference and rounded the season off by winning the Nationwide Variety Club Trophy – the club's first trophy for 24 years. All this against the backdrop of the uncertainty and upheaval over the future ownership of the club.

Since the end of the season though, Barrow has seen three key players sacked then reinstated, while close friend and club physio Joe Hinnigan was also sacked when Barrow was away on holiday. Last week assistant manager Paul Beesley was sacked for a second time in a month, an action which Smith has been summoned to explain to the PFA.

What's going to happen next? Many fans have said they will be boycotting home matches next season while Smith is in charge and today's news may force many others to consider this action as well. It's believed that many players whose contracts run out at the end of next week were only staying on for Graham Barrow, how many will stay now? and who on earth, if the transfer embargo is lifted, is going to want to sign for City?

Expect director of football Gordon Hill to be named Barrow's replacement (and perhaps Smith's management partner) when he returns from holiday.

Barrow has received support from fellow managers, among them Boston's Steve Evans who said: “My heart goes out to Graham. He built an excellent side last year. He has been treated very disrespectfully and his chairman has given him no backing. The structure at Chester is probably embarrassing for Graham as a professional. It is essential you have 150 per cent backing from your chairman.”


18 June 2001
EARLY START BACK FOR SQUAD
Around 10-12 of City's players joined manager Graham Barrow this morning for their first day back in training. The group also included three trialists. Meanwhile the Evening Leader reports that the club are once again in talks with the City Council regarding alternative uses for the stadium, everything from pop concerts to car boot sales will no doubt have been mentioned. Club secretary and new Press Officer Michael Fair said: “This is a rallying call and we need everyone to put their prejudices behind them and get behind their club. There is a football club in the heart of this prestigious city and the club is doing its best to make sure that it continues.”

NO RETURN FOR EVE
According to the agent for Angus Eve there's “absolutely no chance he'll be playing for Chester next season.” Last August Terry Smith promised that Eve had been given a new 12 month contract with Chester and loaned back to Trinidad & Tobago for a year in a unique deal, but Mike Berry, Eve's agent, said as far as they were concerned Eve's contract runs out at the end of the month and on 1st July he becomes a free agent. Several first and second division clubs are said to be interested in the midfielder.

PFA MEETING
The PFA have requested a meeting with Terry Smith to explain the sacking of assistant manager Paul Beesley. Beesley, along with Wayne Brown and Carl Ruffer was sacked for gross misconduct on 17 May. All three were then re-instated on the day their cases went to tribunal a week later. Last week though Beesley received another sacking letter.

20/1 CHESTER FOR PROMOTION
The odds have been announced for the 2001/02 Nationwide Conference season. Doncaster Rovers and Stevenage Borough are joint favourites for the championship with Chester City a mid-table 20/1.

5/1 Doncaster Rovers, Stevenage Borough
6/1 Yeovil Town
7/1 Boston United
8/1 Barnet, Scarborough
10/1 Dagenham & Redbridge, Hereford United,
12/1 Farnborough Town
20/1 Chester City, Leigh RMI, Morecambe, Woking
25/1 Margate, Southport
33/1 Dover Athletic, Telford United
40/1 Forest Green Rovers, Nuneaton Borough
66/1 Hayes, Northwich Victoria, Stalybridge Celtic


15 June 2001
RUSH JOINS TNS
Former Chester player Ian Rush has become a non-executive director of Welsh club side Total Network Solutions (TNS). “I see this as a great opportunity to be involved with a club who are constantly moving forward. TNS are not afraid of change and to try new techniques. This is one of the factors that attracted me to the club.” said Rush.

14 June 2001
CONFERENCE PLAY-OFF
At today's Nationwide Conference EGM at Nene Park, member clubs have voted for a play-off for the championship, and ultimately, promotion spot next season. The top team in the Conference will automatically progress into the play-off final with the second, third, fourth and fifth placed teams meeting in semi-finals and a final to determine the remaining place. The Conference season will end early on April 27 to accommodate the extra games. General manager Terry Smith voted on the proposal for Chester City. Conference chief executive John Moules said: “Having suffered the disappointment of the Football League AGM what we came here to do was to look at something positive and I think we've done that, not just for the Conference but for football in general at this level. We had a number of options and I believe we have taken a revolutionary step. It will not only make good television viewing but it places the Conference at the forefront of new ideas.”

PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY
City have arranged another pre-season friendly for Saturday 4 August. It will be at home to Manchester City whose manager Kevin Keegan has promised to bring a strong side to the Deva. Meanwhile the club have also announced that secretary Michael Fair will combine his office duties with that of a new role as Press Officer. All interviews for the press must now be sanctioned by Fair.

13 June 2001
FISHER AND WOODS RELEASED
Chester City have announced they are not offering new contracts to both Neil Fisher and Matt Woods. Fisher is reported to be a target for both Southport and Morecambe, while Woods was one of City's longest serving players having joined the Blues in 1996 and may move to Leigh RMI.

Several City players including Chris Blackburn, Wayne Brown, Carl Ruffer and Matt Doughty, have been attracting interest from other clubs but, as yet, no offers have been made. Meanwhile, despite being reinstated following a previous sacking assistant-manager Paul Beesley seems destined to leave the Deva (it's since been reported that he's received a second sacking letter from the club), while Carlisle manager Ian Atkins is showing interest in midfielder Paul Carden who has not signed a new three year contract. The players are due to report back for training in the first week of July.


12 June 2001
EXILES MEETING
Tuesday, 12 June at 19.00hrs at the Windmill, Mill Street, London W1
(nearest tube station – Oxford Circus – 5 minutes)

The Exiles committee would like to invite all Exiles (members or not) to an open meeting to discuss the future of Chester City Football Club. Guest speaker will be Graham Ross who is Chairman of the Chester City Supporters Trust – an Industrial Provident Society set up in November with a view to acquire either full ownership in the club or a minority shareholding working with private investors.

With the future of the Club looking very bleak under the current ownership, this is your opportunity to come and find out how you can buy into the running of YOUR FOOTBALL CLUB – Chester City FC.

For easy directions to the pub I suggest you go to www.streetmap.co.uk and check the box marked London Street. Type in the address <Mill Street, W1> and a red arrow will point to the location.

9 June 2001
LEAGUE REJECT SECOND PROMOTION SPOT
At this morning's annual general meeting at Carden Park, the 72 Football League club chairmen have overwhelmingly rejected the plan to promote a second club from the Nationwide Conference to the third division next season. It is believed the majority were behind the idea in principle but the amount of money offered to third division clubs in compensation was too little. The vote against the change was a huge 69-3 with only Wycombe Wanderers, Colchester United and Rushden & Diamonds voting for the proposal.

Football League chief executive David Burns said: "I share the concerns of the clubs that these proposals did not fully address the financial effects of losing league status. We have asked the Conference and the Football Association to present a financial proposal that will reassure our clubs and allow them to take a step they are genuinely keen to take. The board of the Football League remains committed to working with the Conference and other interested parties as part of a wider review of promotion and finance within the Football League. We are confident that this will ultimately lead to a successful resolution of this issue."

Conference chief executive John Moules reacted with dismay to the news: "We're at a loss to understand what we have to do to get a 'yes' to this change, we've regularly been told by the League they support the change from one to two clubs and that the only sticking point was financial. With the FA's help we have provided funds to ensure the teams joining the Conference would not be disadvantaged."

CAN WE KEEP THE TROPHY?
At the Nationwide Conference AGM last week, the Chairmen decided not to run the Variety Club Trophy competition next season. This has been due to the backlog of fixtures for the clubs caused by the continual bad weather last winter and to the apparent apathy to the competition from clubs and their supporters. The final was played in front of only 495 fans at Kingstonian last season. Just what happens to the magnificent Bob Lord Trophy remains to be seen, but it may be played for in another non-league guise.
8 June 2001
BARROW FOR GLOVERS?
There are strong rumours in the west country that Graham Barrow may be named the new manager at Yeovil Town this weekend. According to the local Western Gazette newspaper, Barrow appears joint favourite with Jimmy Quinn for the post.

Postscript: Sunday's edition of the Non League Paper stated that Yeovil's first choice for manager had now turned down the job because he didn't want to relocate his family to the west country.

CITY OF CHESTER ELECTION RESULT
1. C Russell: Labour – 21,760 votes – 48.5%
2. D Jones: Conservative – 14,866 votes – 33.1%
3. T Dawson: Liberal Democrat – 6,589 votes – 14.7%
4. A Weddell: UK Independence Party – 899 votes – 2%
5. G Rogers: Independent – 763 votes – 1.7%
Turnout: 63.76%

Well done to all fans who expressed their concern at the running of the club and voted for George Rogers in yesterday's general election. After the result was announced at the Town Hall George said: "I am pleased with the result and the support from the other parties in the town hall tonight has been superb. We were the only party to campaign on the only true local issue and many people here tonight say they support our cause. One thing if for sure this result is just the tip of the iceberg. We will now be holding meetings with fans' groups to discuss where to go from now and urge fans not to buy season tickets and to boycott next season's games."


BARROW'S BACK
Graham Barrow returns from holiday in Portugal this weekend and will no doubt be enraged when he finds out that club physio Joe Hinnigan has been sacked while he was away, and Gordon Hill appointed director of football. Hill has stated that he believes he and Barrow can form a working partnership “This is going to be a collective thing with Graham and myself working together", they'll have to wait some time to sort things out though as Barrow's return coincides with Hill's departure for a two week holiday himself. Meanwhile it has been reported that ex-City player Ross Davidson has rejected a chance to return to the Deva after being released by Shrewsbury Town.

PAUL FUTCHER
Former Chester player Paul Futcher will be back in town next season as manager of newly-promoted Stalybridge Celtic. Futcher replaces Phil Wilson, who recently left Stalybridge Celtic to take over as manager of one of Futcher's previous clubs Southport.

7 June 2001
VOTE ROGERS, VOTE FOR A NEW START (F.A.N.S.)
Blues fans living within the City of Chester constituency have a unique opportunity at the polling booth today to show their feelings at the way the club is being run. ISA chairman George Rogers' general election campaign to highlight the problems at the club has made national headlines in the press, on television and over the internet. Now it's your chance to back the F.A.N.S. campaign by voting for George and do your bit to help try and safeguard the club’s future.

6 June 2001
CITY OFFER NEW CONTRACTS
[Chris Blackburn]Chester have offered a five year contract to promising midfielder Chris Blackburn (left).

The City youngster, who has just completed his apprenticeship, made 33 league and 14 cup appearances for the Blues in his first season and has been attracting interest from several top clubs with his accomplished performances.

Blackburn was due to go on trial at Southampton (with Matt Doughty) in February but had to withdraw at the last moment after breaking a bone in his foot during the home match with Yeovil Town.

It's this interest from the likes of Southampton, Nottingham Forest and Leicester City which may prevent the 18-year-old youngster from putting pen to paper at the Deva. Another player, Martyn Lancaster, is also believed to have been offered a new long-term deal but has yet to agree terms.

5 June 2001
HINNIGAN LEAVES CHESTER
Physio Joe Hinnigan has left the football club after being told to re-apply for his job. Speaking in the Evening Leader he said: “I am seeking legal advice and, of course, I’m sad to go. I really feel for the supporters because they’ve stuck with this club through thick and thin. They deserve success for the amount of support they have given the team is such testing times. I’d like to thank the fans for all the support they’ve given me over the years.” Hinnigan has given City eight years service in two spells at the club and turned down a chance to join Walsall before deciding to rejoin Chester in 1999. I'm sure all supporters will wish Joe the best of luck in finding a new club. Hinnigan was given the news of his sacking in a phone call from Gerald Smith in the United States who followed it up with a letter.

EXILES PRESS RELEASE
Once again we have heard of another loyal Chester City staff member and fan's favourite Joe Hinnigan being shown the door at the club without any apparent reason for dismissal or any explanation from Terry Smith. "We all know that it must only be a matter of time before we read that Graham Barrow has been dismissed," says Chester City Exiles Chairman Pauline Meakins and that will be the saddest day of all for Chester fans and definitely the last straw.

As exiled Chester supporters our phone bills and internet costs are currently going through the roof at the moment in trying to keep up with the unbelievable happenings at the Deva Stadium. We all feel so helpless at the moment seeing the club being slowly destroyed before our eyes."

Therefore, the Chester City Exiles have organized an 'Open Meeting' in London next Tuesday, 12 June at 7.00pm for all Chester City fans in the region to get together and discuss the current crisis at the football club. "We have also invited along Graham Ross, Chairman of the Chester City Supporters Trust because as supporters we want to be able to have a say about the future of our club which at the moment we are not being given the opportunity to do so. The meeting will take place at the Windmill pub (back bar) in Mill Street, near Regent Street/Seville Row, (nearest tube station is Oxford Circus – 5 minutes walk).

"This Open Meeting is not just restricted to paid up members of the Exiles but anyone who cares about the future of Chester City Football Club is very welcome to attend," says Pauline.

Pauline Meakins
Chairman, Chester City Exiles


WHAT'S GOING ON?
That seems to be the common message from City fans at the moment. The simple answer is nobody knows! With the players and management still banned from speaking to the media no news whatsoever is forthcoming from the Deva unless it's from the chairman's fax machine. No main sponsor has been named for next season to replace Gap recruitment, and, until a commercial manager is appointed there isn't likely to be one either. Pre-season friendlies have been announced but there's still no details of the squad for the coming season, the retain list hasn't even been issued yet. Three of City's young players Matt Doughty, Chris Blackburn and Lee Woodyatt have all finished their apprenticeship at the club and are awaiting offers for full time contracts, meanwhile several other City players' contracts ran out at the end of May. What will Graham Barrow's plans be for next season? who knows!, I'm sure he'd like to let us know but until the draconian ban is lifted we shall all have to draw our own conclusions. 
4 June 2001
HINNIGAN'S POSITION IN DOUBT?
There's increasing speculation that club physio Joe Hinnigan is about to get the push at Chester. Hinnigan, an ex-player at City and long-term friend of Graham Barrow, looks like being replaced by former Tranmere player Chris Malkin who played (an indeed scored) against Chester for Telford United last season. Malkin, who lives in Chester, had been doing part-time physio work with Gordon Hill's youth team last season.
3 June 2001
CONFERENCE AWARDS
[Wayne Brown]At last night's Nationwide Conference award ceremony City keeper Wayne Brown (left) was named in the 'Conference Team of the Year.'

The team in full was:

Wayne Brown (Chester City); Tarkan Mustafa (Rushden & Diamonds), Terry Skiverton (Yeovil Town), Scott Guyett (Southport), Paul Underwood (Rushden & Diamonds), Darren Way (Yeovil Town), Geoff Pitcher (Kingstonian), Nick Crittenden (Yeovil Town), Justin Jackson (Rushden & Diamonds), Duane Darby (Rusdhen & Diamonds), Steve Jones (Leigh RMI).

Not surprisingly Brian Talbot won the Manager of the Year award for guiding Rushden & Diamonds to the championship, while Diamonds' striker Duane Darby won both the leading scorers' award and the league player of the year vote.

To round things off, the Fair Play award went to Hereford United whilst Doncaster Rovers won the best match programme award.

BECKETT MONEY
Having been previously found guilty of financial irregularities over the deal, a Football Association tribunal have ordered Chesterfield to pay Chester another £25,000 for striker Luke Beckett, sold to the Saltergate club last summer. A slice of this extra money will go to Beckett's former club Barnsley. City will also get 20 per cent of any future transfer fee for Beckett who is currently on the transfer list at Chesterfield.

1 June 2001
PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES
City have announced the following pre-season friendly matches all at Deva Stadium.
July 25 Everton (H) 19:45hrs Probably all ticket
July 28 Port Vale (H) 15:00hrs
July 31 Tranmere Rovers (H) 19:30hrs

FEE PAID
Chester are believed to have now paid the annual £4,000 fee to the Nationwide Conference which was due before tomorrow's AGM in Chester.


WAYNE BROWN FOR U's?
Mark Wright, now manager at Oxford United, is showing interest in City's semi-pro international goalkeeper Wayne Brown. Brown still has 12 months left on his contract at the Deva, but it's believed that Wright is poised to make City an offer for the player. It will be interesting to see what price the club put on Brown's head, this, barely two weeks after sacking him.
HILL APPOINTMENT
City's Youth Development officer Gordon Hill has today been appointed Director of Football at the Deva Stadium. According to the club he will be working alongside Graham Barrow, who, no doubt, probably had little or no say in the appointment. "I don't believe my role at the club has changed" said Barrow, however it looks like Barrow will have to answer to Hill for the coming season.

A club statement said: “Hill will oversee the entire Chester City football programme in order to facilitate the links between all age groups, from our youngest Centre of Excellence players right through to the club’s first team.”

Meanwhile Hill said: “This is going to be a collective thing with Graham and myself working together, my job will be to look and assess. I was only appointed on Wednesday and I really need to sit down with Graham and plan how we’re going to get out of the Conference. As far as I know Graham and I will be working together and just because I am director of football it doesn't necessarily mean I will have the last word.”

Terry Smith has stepped down as chairman at the club and will take up another post at the Deva that of General Manager. The board of directors (Terry and Gerald Smith) are to meet soon to appoint a replacement.
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