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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 2001
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
MARCH 2001
30 March 2001
BLUE ARMY ON THE MOVE
Around 800 City fans are expected to make the long trip to Canvey Island tomorrow. Four official supporters coaches will be setting off early from Chester to join the many fans who will be making their own way in trains and cars from all parts of the country. Chester expect to be at full strength with both midfielder Andy Porter and influential defender Carl Ruffer recovered from injury. Canvey haven't lost at home since the opening day of the season and will be expecting a crowd of about 2,500, they have already seen off Stevenage Borough and Telford United in the Trophy and Port Vale in the FA Cup.

28 March 2001
DAY OFF FOR THE SQUAD
City's players were given a day off from training today as they rested following last night's 3-0 defeat at Telford United. It was City's heaviest defeat of the season and was played out on another quagmire of a pitch following Friday night's game in similar circumstances at Nuneaton. Both Carl Ruffer and Andy Porter are nursing injuries and are battling against time to be fit for Saturday's important first-leg in the FA Umbro Trophy semi final at Canvey Island. “Nuneaton was bad but last night’s pitch was in some parts unplayable and I can’t call the lads in after playing on pitches like that,” said Barrow.

City will be staying over on Friday night in preparation for the Trophy match. Canvey haven't played a home fixture on their Park Lane pitch since the quarter-final tie with Telford United which was also played on a gluepot of a surface. Whether the pitch is fit for Saturday will no doubt be decided later in the week, let's hope the weather improves before then.

The match is not all ticket and prices are £12 for adults, £8 for OAPs and £6 for under 16s.
27 March 2001
CITY AT TELFORD
City are in Conference action tonight when they travel the short distance to Telford United. United's ground has changed through all recognition this season with the construction of three new stands but Sunday's Non League Paper brought news that the entire Bucks Head squad is up for sale with an estimated loss of £1m being projected for this season, the clubs first as a full time squad. The sides last met at the Deva just over a month ago when Matt Woods' single goal was enough to separate the sides. Defender Carl Ruffer misses the game with a hamstring injury while Mark Beesley has an injured heel and may also miss out.

ISA MEMBERS MEETING
The next ISA members meeting is scheduled for April 23rd. Speaker to be announced. The next issue of the Independents newsletter is also currently in preparation. If anyone would like to submit an article, book review, I wish I'd been there match report etc, please email to Les Smith or send to PO Box 308, Chester, CH1 5ZF. Is there anyone out there?
DO WE HAVE A NEW OWNER?
There were strong mutterings doing the rounds at Nuneaton on Friday night that the club has been sold to the Liverpool businessman who was believed to have been close to a deal a few weeks ago, though no news has yet been confirmed.

23 March 2001
WIN FOR SEMI-PRO SIDE
All three City players played their part in England's 3-0 win in Holland last night. Wayne Brown, Carl Ruffer and Paul Beesley all came off the bench in the second half, Beesley in fact set up the third goal for fellow debutant Junior McDougald. Earlier Nick Roddis (Woking) and Boston striker Ken Charlery also netted for England who have now gone eight games unbeaten.

22 March 2001
THREE PLAYERS OUT?
Radio Merseyside reports that the three City players on England semi-pro duty tonight: Wayne Brown, Carl Ruffer and Paul Beesley won't be back in time for City's Conference match at Nuneaton Borough tomorrow night, other reports suggest they will though so we'll have to wait and see. Midfielder Andy Porter is doubtful for the trip to the Midlands.

20 March 2001
CANVEY ISLAND v CHESTER CITY
Chester's FA Umbro Trophy semi-final at Canvey Island on Saturday 31 March will NOT be all ticket, this news comes from the official Canvey Island website.

LADIES WIN AGAIN
An own goal 12 minutes from time was enough to ensure Chester Ladies completed a League double over the current league leaders Liverpool Feds on Sunday, although not before they had to endure some incessant Liverpool pressure which saw the home side squander many clear cut chances. This Sunday they entertain Bury at the Deva. The girls remain in a very strong second position and are only 3 points behind Liverpool with 4 games in hand.

19 March 2001
ENGLAND DUTY FOR CITY TRIO
Congratulations to City's assistant manager Paul Beesley who, along with Carl Ruffer, has been called up for the England semi-professional squad who play in Holland this Thursday. Both players join 'keeper Wayne Brown who earned his first England cap last month. “It’s a nice honour for me because I’ve never played at any international level before,” said Beesley. “I did look into the chance of playing for Northern Ireland at one stage but there were no family links.” The players meet up at Heathrow tonight before flying out to Holland tomorrow. Graham Barrow has hinted that he will take the opportunity to use other players at Nuneaton on Friday, though all three will be at Nuneaton.

18 March 2001
CITY SLIP
Chester's shock home defeat to bottom of the table Hednesford Town on Saturday has seen them slip down to seventh in the Conference with 47 points from 30 matches. The Blues' next match is at Nuneaton Borough on Friday night kick-off 19.45hrs.

16 March 2001
TEAM NEWS
Chester play host to bottom of the table Hednesford Town at the Deva tomorrow, kick-off is at 15.00hrs. Defender Craig Gaunt is rated as doubtful with a back injury and Scott Ruscoe has missed training this week due to a virus. Paul Beesley is set to return following his two match suspension. The two teams drew earlier in the season at Keys Park 0-0. Town's form has taken a dramatic turn for the worse though and they haven’t won a league game since a 4-3 success at Boston way back on 21 October. Meanwhile 'keeper Wayne Brown joins the England semi-professional squad next week for their match in Holland, on Thursday (24 hours before the Nuneaton match) Wayne will be hoping to gain his second cap for his country. Chester-based England manager John Owens has also called up the uncapped City defender Carl Ruffer into his shadow squad.

ANOTHER DATE FOR THE DIARY
May 1 Scarborough (H) [Tuesday] 
SING YOUR HEARTS OUT FOR THE LADS!
The football club are holding a Karaoke night this evening in an effort to raise funds for the Centre of Excellence. Families are welcome to the event which starts at 19.30 and will finish at 23.00 in the Deva social club. Children will be allowed in free with adults paying £1.

15 March 2001
SPINK BACK IN TRAINING

City striker Dean Spink is now back in full training having missed the entire season with a knee injury. Spink was injured in the pre-season friendly with Bristol City. Meanwhile another flu bug is doing the rounds at the Deva with Scott Ruscoe and Wayne Brown currently suffering as a result.

14 March 2001
NEW DATES

City now have dates for all of their rescheduled matches.

April 3 Dover Athletic (A) [Tuesday]
April 18 Leigh RMI (A) [Wednesday]
April 24 Kettering Town (A) [Tuesday]
April 26 Kingstonian (H) [Thursday]
May 1 Scarborough (H) [Tuesday]

Added to this, the Blues also have to find a date for the Nationwide Variety Trophy northern final and also a possible national final in the same competition.

12 March 2001
FA UMBRO TROPHY DRAW

The draw for the semi finals of the FA Umbro Trophy has pared Chester City with Canvey Island from the Ryman Premier League. The semi's are two-legged and will take place on Saturday 31 March at Canvey Island and seven days later on 7 April at the Deva Stadium. Expect the first leg at Canvey's Park Lane ground to possibly be all-ticket.

Official Canvey Island site

The other tie will be between Forest Green Rovers and Hereford United.

CITY IN ACTION AGAIN TOMORROW
City face Southport again on Tuesday night in a Conference match at Haig Avenue. If anyone can do a match report please send it in.

11 March 2001
NEW OWNERS THIS WEEK?
It's widely being reported that a deal has been done between Terry Smith and a group of Liverpool based businessmen to take over ownership of the club. It is believed that Gerald Smith has been holding the negotiations over recent weeks and that the deal has already been agreed which will bring to an end Terry Smith's 19-month reign as Chairman at the Deva. Whether Smith would remain at the club in another capacity is uncertain. On Saturday, Smith once again used his two pages of programme notes (in very small print) to launch a personal attack on the local media and the ISA.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
The club have signed an agreement with a Lancashire based company to look after their official website. The new address is www.chestercity-mad.co.uk. The company that run the site (footymad.com) also host loads of other sites with exactly the same look and formula. Rob Ashcroft, who previously ran the official site, is in the process of putting together another Chester site which will be found at www.chesterfc.com.

NUNEATON MATCH
Note that contrary to what it says in the Chester match programme, City's game at Nuneaton Borough takes place on Friday 23 March, kick-off 19:45hrs and not Saturday 24th when England are playing.

9 March 2001
CONTRACT EXTENSION
It is reported in the local press that City manager Graham Barrow has had his contract extended by another 12 months which takes it up to 2003.

7 March 2001
BEESLEY SUSPENDED
Defender Paul Beesley joins Martyn Lancaster in the stands on Saturday after receiving a ban following his 10th booking of the season. Meanwhile, at a quickly arranged press conference this morning, manager Graham Barrow confirmed it was his idea that Terry Smith should join the coaching staff at the Deva and has enquired about extending his contract as manager. Barrow urged all supporters to get behind the team on Saturday in their quarter-final tie with Southport. Both sides are joint favourites to lift the Trophy at Villa Park.
5 March 2001
KEY PLAYERS COMING BACK
Manager Graham Barrow is hoping to have four of City's key players back from injury in time for Saturday's quarter-final clash with Southport in the FA Umbro Trophy. Strikers Steve Whitehall and Jimmy Haarhoff both came off the bench at Hayes and should be ready for a full start. Defender Carl Ruffer, who had 12 stitches in a leg wound and goalkeeper Wayne Brown are also in contention for a return. Added to that, there's a chance that Andy Porter may return to a place on the bench after recovering from a knee surgery. Graham Barrow has also called for supporters to turn up the volume on Saturday: “We’ve got to outplay Southport and we’ve got to out-chant them – and I know our fans are capable of doing that. The turnout at Hayes shows how much the club means to them. It was fantastic and it surprised me how many Chester fans were there.”
2 March 2001
TEAM NEWS
Phil Priestly is once again expected to deputise for the injured Wayne Brown in goal for City at Hayes tomorrow. Striker Steve Whitehall has almost fully recovered from his cracked rib injury and may start tomorrow. Whitehall's come off the bench in City's last two matches and made an immediate impact with his presence.

However manager Graham Barrow won't rush the striker back. “When a player gets to Steve’s age and when he’s a qualified physio himself, then he’ll know whether he’s ready or not,” said Barrow. “I’ll be having a chat with him because I would like him to get a game under his belt. Tomorrow is a big game and Steve can help us win, but we’re also looking to the cup-tie. That’s going to be the biggest game for this club for a while. We’ve got a home draw in a quarter-final and if we can dispose of Southport, then anyone else we have a fair chance against over two legs in the semi.”

Defender Carl Ruffer is also back in training; although he won't figure tomorrow he's hoping to be fit for the Trophy match.

SUPPORTERS TRUST ADDRESS
The Chester City Supporters Trust now have a PO Box address. Please send all correspondence to: Chester City Supporters Trust, PO Box 3170, Chester, CH4 8WP.
KETTERING GAME
City will not be playing Kettering Town next Tuesday night, the match is now likely to take place sometime in April. This means that Martyn Lancaster will now serve his one match suspension on Saturday and will miss the Trophy quarter-final with Southport.

SMITH JOINS COACHING STAFF
The club have announced that Terry Smith has officially become a member of Graham Barrow's coaching staff.
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