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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2002
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
JUNE 2002
28 June 2002
FRIENDLY OFF

[Bilbao]Chester's high-profile pre-season home match with Athletic Bilbao scheduled for Thursday 8 August has been cancelled. The Spanish club will not now be using the Deva's facilities for training. This will come as a major disappointment to City fans looking forward to the first visit to the Deva from an overseas side.

“We’ve been forced to cancel the Athletic Bilbao friendly because of a worry of cutting up the pitch, but I’d rather receive revenue from Liverpool from their reserve matches. We’re obviously disappointed about losing the Bilbao game because we were looking forward to it.“ said chairman Steve Vaughan.


TWO TICKETS TO BE WON
Win a pair of tickets including pre-match meals for the forthcoming home friendly against Liverpool X1 – kindly donated by chairman Steve Vaughan.

This summer sees the 10th anniversary of the opening of Deva Stadium and the club have line-up a number of attractive pre-season friendlies. We have two tickets for the Liverpool X1 game on Tuesday 13 August to give away, all you have to do is select your greatest Chester City goal scored at the Deva Stadium and send your entry in.

The closing date is 24:00hrs on 21 July and the winner's name (who will receive both tickets) will be drawn at random from all entries received. There's plenty of time to get your entry in, and, if you need to jog your memory you can always check the fixtures from the last ten seasons from the history pages on this site.

Enter the competition here.
NEW ROLE FOR JENKS
City defender Iain Jenkins who was placed on the transfer list in the summer, has maintained his links with the club joining the Youth Development Team as a coach.

RESERVES
The reserve side kick-off their Avon Insurance League campaign next season with an away fixture at neighbours Wrexham on Wednesday 21 August. The return derby fixture will be on 8 January 2003.

27 June 2002
BILL WINGROVE
Former club chief executive Bill Wingrove has taken up a post as Commercial Director at Wrexham. “My time at Chester gave me the taste for the game and while there were plenty of dark days at the Deva Stadium, the passion and commitment of the people involved in football can not be found in any other business.” said Wingrove.

26 June 2002
LIVERPOOL FRIENDLY
[Liverpool FC]The club have arranged a home pre-season friendly against a Liverpool X1. The game will take place on Tuesday, 13 August (kick-off 19:45hrs) with all the Liverpool first team players who were not involved in the FA Community Shield Match against Arsenal 48 hours earlier at the Millennium Stadium, expected to play for a game that is sure to attract a large crowd. The game will be all-ticket and details will be available in a couple of weeks.

Club secretary Mike Beech commented: “This is another great honour for Chester City Football Club and Liverpool have promised to send a strong squad to play against us. We are forging strong links with Liverpool Football Club and, following the news that they are to play their reserve team fixtures next season at the Deva Stadium, we consider this latest news to be another great coup for us.”


LANCASTER REINSTATED
[Martyn Lancaster]Defender Martyn Lancaster who was dismissed by the club following an incident before the Dagenham match in April has been given a second chance and has reported back for training with the other players. Talks to reinstate Lancaster reached Board level.

Lancaster said “I have apologised to the club about what went on at the end of last season and I'm sorry it all happened. I love Chester City. I've been here six years and it's my club and I'm Chester City through and through. I'm grateful I've been given this chance and all I want to do now is concentrate on playing football and focusing on getting the club back into the Football League.”

Manager Mark Wright added: “Martyn has been apologetic to the club about what he did. He showed a lot of improvement last season and we feel he can improve again next season. He has apologised for letting the club down with his behaviour and he knows he's on his last warning”.


LDV VANS TROPHY
Chester have been selected to participate in next season's Trophy providing the club can get the capacity of Deva Stadium increased to 6,000 (the Football League minimum). Eleven other teams from the Conference will also be entering the competition along with clubs from the Nationwide second and third divisions. Chester have until 31 August to comply with the ruling. The FA Inspection Committee will visit the Deva Stadium on August 7 and subject to the ground receiving a grading the club should be accepted. The full list of Conference clubs expected to be admitted to the LDV Vans Trophy competition this season are: Halifax Town, Dagenham and Redbridge, Yeovil Town, Doncaster Rovers, Morecambe, Stevenage Borough, Scarborough, Chester City, Southport, Leigh RMI, Hereford United, and Woking.

SEASON TICKETS
A reminder to those who haven't taken advantage so far that you have until Friday afternoon to claim your stand or terrace season tickets for next season at the reduced rate. Over 420 fans have so far taken up the offer.

20 June 2002
CITY SIGN STRIKER BRODIE
Chester have completed the signing on a two-year contract of 29-year-old striker Steve Brodie from Swansea City. The player has previously played for Sunderland, Doncaster Rovers (loan) and Scarborough before moving to the Vetch Field.

Sunderland-born Brodie began his career with his home town club in 1991 making 1+11 appearances before moving on loan to Doncaster Rovers at the start of the 1995/6 season when he scored once in five games. He moved to Scarborough on loan in 1996 where he scored three goals in ten games before signing on a permanent basis. Between 1997-2001 he played 187+6 matches scoring an impressive 52 goals. Brodie moved to Swansea City in November 2001 and played 22+4 games for the Swans scoring two goals.


MORE FRIENDLIES
The club have set up a number of pre-season friendlies for the reserve and youth teams. You can see them using the link above. Meanwhile the match with Athletic Bilbao on Thursday 8 August (kick-off 19:30hrs) has been confirmed.

17 June 2002
DEVA ANNIVERSARY
This summer sees the 10th anniversary of the opening of Deva Stadium. To mark this landmark, the club will be dedicating one of its pre-season friendlies (probably Athletic Bilbao or Everton) to celebrate the occasion. The club have asked that fans vote for their three most memorable games (in any competition) played at Deva Stadium over the last ten years. The top three most popular choices will feature in an article in a special match programme to be issued at the anniversary match.

Please make your vote here.

We've had a terrific response to this; thanks to all who have taken part so far. The poll will kept open until the end of the month so those on holiday have a chance to vote. Three or four matches are featuring prominently for top spot with over 30 different games placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd so far.


CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE UPDATE
Parents of youngsters at Chester City’s centre of excellence are invited to a meeting at the Deva Stadium on Wednesday night at 19:00hrs. Club coach, Mike Newman said: “I’m keen to keep parents informed of any developments within the centre of excellence structure.”
13 June 2002
NEW FIXTURES
The Conference fixtures for next season have been released (earlier than anticipated!), here are Chester's. The Blues open their campaign on Saturday August 17 with a home fixture against newly-promoted Kettering Town followed on the Monday by a trip to Telford United. Once again there are reverse fixtures with local rivals Northwich Victoria over the Christmas/New Year period. The season ends with a tough trip to Yeovil Town on 26 April 2003.
12 June 2002
CITY SIGN SUGDEN
Chester have completed the signing of Ryan Sugden from Scarborough. The 22-year-old Bradford-born player joined The Seadogs on a short-term contract from Oldham towards the end of last season, scoring three goals. “He is a six-footer and quick,” said Wright. “Not many strikers troubled our central defenders last season, but he was one of them.” Expect a couple of more signings before the season starts with a central defender a priority (Guyett or Brabin?), however the transfer listed players Andy Porter, David Brown, Iain Jenkins and Brian McGorry may have to be off-loaded first.

11 June 2002
MARK GUTERMAN
Mark Guterman, the chairman who put Chester City into Administration has officially taken over as the new owner at Wrexham today. “The deal is done. I think you’re aware that I’ve been paying the wages for the past few months and now everything has been sorted out. I’ve been patient with this deal but that’s my best virtue. But I must say that Pryce Griffiths has behaved with integrity throughout the talks to buy the club.” Guterman took over the chair at the Deva in February 1995 before placing the club in Administration in October 1998.

“There were many things at Chester we did right,” Guterman told BBC Radio Wales. “But there were certain times I got carried away spending money on players. In the end, though, the only person who suffered was me.” – so much for the fans with a club left in administration then!


10 June 2002
PRESTIGIOUS FRIENDLY FOR CITY

[Bilbao]City have arranged a prestigious pre-season friendly against Spanish side Athletic Bilbao at the Deva Stadium on Thursday 8 August. Bilbao are staying in the Chester area and will be using the Deva to train, and the friendly match is part of this arrangement. The club also have fixtures at Blackpool, Leicester City, Huddersfield Town and Everton.

Chairman Steve Vaughan said: “Bilbao were looking for somewhere to train during their stay and we offered them the Deva Stadium in return for playing us in a pre-season match. Bilbao are staying in the Chester area during their visit and they wanted somewhere with security to prepare for their matches. They asked us how much the facilities would cost to use, but we told them we’d do a deal if they could play us at the Deva, and they’ve agreed. This news is a big plus for everyone at Chester and should send us into the new season in the right frame of mind.”


EXILES SOCIAL NIGHT
The next Exiles social will take place this Thursday 13 June at the Knights Templar, Chancery Lane, London from 19:00hrs onwards. Prospective members are especially welcome.

9 June 2002
CONFERENCE GET THEIR EXTRA PLACE

Football League club chairmen finally voted for a second promotion spot into the League from the Conference next season after passing through the proposal at their AGM on Saturday. Negotiations have taken place all year over the deal which was thrown out at last years meeting, but with new financial arrangements now in place, the clubs unanimously approved the change. Under the terms of the FA deal, all 24 Division Three clubs will receive £50,000 every August for the next five years. The two promoted teams from the Conference will receive a £35,000 payment, with relegated sides receiving parachute payments.

This is great news for the Chester and other clubs in the Conference and will keep interest going with many clubs right to the end of the season. The teams who finish 2nd – 5th will contest the second promotion spot via a play-off system.

7 June 2002
CITY PLAN GROUND CHANGES

The football club have applied to the licensing authorities to have their ground capacity extended from the current 5,814 to the Football League minimum requirement of 6,000. Increased stewarding over recent months should help City's cause. Other changes at the ground, to help bring the club in line with League standards, will see the dugouts being extended to seat 11 people and an extendable tunnel to protect the players as they enter/leave the pitch will also be in place for the start of next season. The current away dressing room has been extended by eight feet and will be used by City next season.
PLAYERS BACK SOON
The players will report back to training on 3 July while the new fixtures are out on 20 June with the new season kicking off on Saturday 17 August.
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