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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 1999
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
MARCH 1999
31 March 1999
JONES LEAVES ON LOAN
Jon Jones has joined the League of Wales champions Barry Town on a three month loan spell. And the 20-year-old Wrexham-born striker scored in their 6-2 over Carmarthen Town last night. "I rang Gary Barnett (Barry's manager) to see if he would like to take Jon on loan," said Ratcliffe. "He's there for three months and I want him to bang in a few goals and get his confidence back." Meanwhile former youth team skipper and first year pro Scott Thompson has joined non-league Witton Albion. "I'm releasing Scott at the end of the season and playing for Witton will do him good." Currently at Witton is ex-City favourite Eddie Bishop.
26 March 1999
RATCLIFFE HAPPY AT DEALS
Manager Kevin Ratcliffe has declared himself satisfied with yesterday's transfer dealings which saw one player leave and three join the Blues. All three signings Conroy, Smeets and Fisher are in contention for a place in City's starting line-up tomorrow as the Blues take on Plymouth Argyle (3pm).

“I'm obviously disappointed to lose Alex because I feel he was worth more than £75,000. But I knew I had to sell and at least it was just one player and not three. I went home last night a happy man and I'm looking forward to picking a nice team and a nice bench for tomorrow's game.” said the City manager.

With just one goal in four games, the Blues will be looking to improve on where they left off at Shrewsbury last week where they did everything but score on a frustrating afternoon.

Children will be allowed in for a cut-price £1.00 tomorrow in the Football League's 'Quid for a Kid' incentive. Fans taking up the offer should use turnstile 6 in the West Stand.
25 March 1999
ALEX SMITH SOLD – CONROY SIGNS
[Jorg Smeets]Winger Alex Smith has joined Port Vale today for a fee of £75,000. City will receive a further £10,000 if Vale avoid relegation. The Valiants have also agreed to play a pre-season friendly match at the Deva. More players may follow this afternoon. It's an impossible situation for manager Kevin Ratcliffe who has been forced to sell with the proposed consortium take over dragging on and on. If a deal to buy the club is close you wonder why City are having to sell at this stage with just weeks to go until the end of the season.

Meanwhile Mick Conroy has signed on loan today from Blackpool untill the end of the season along with Jorg Smeets (left) from Wigan Athletic. Smeets, a midfielder who normally plays behind the front two strikers, signed for Wigan from Dutch club Heracles for £100,000 in October 1997. He also has the smallest feet in the League, boot size 4½ – not a lot of people know that. He becomes City's first foreign import since Canadian striker Geoff Aunger in 1994. Neil Fisher has also returned on a non-contract basis for the remaining games of the season.

"In administration, you cannot sign anyone to a long contract anyway so for me to offer anyone a contract longer than to the end of the season would be breaking the rules". said Ratcliffe.
24 March 1999
OFFERS FOR MURPHY
Kevin Ratcliffe has revealed that he's turned down £40,000 and a £50,000 bids for striker John Murphy, whilst also revealing that a club in a higher division is also interested. "I don't have a valuation for Murph but I said no to both bids. I didn't barter either so it's up to them to come back to me. I don't know if they will but on transfer deadline day some of these deals go right up to the wire."

22 March 1999
CRUCIAL WEEK FOR CITY
Administrator David Acland has warned than unless the club is sold this week them players must be sold. The mystery north west based consortium attended Saturdays fixture at Shrewsbury and Acland is still positive about closing a deal this week. This Thursday is transfer deadline day and manager Kevin Ratcliffe commented: "I've had a few tentative inquiries but no bids as of yet, I know there were a few scouts there on Saturday but they go to every game. We sold Matt McKay 12 months ago but we'd been working on that deal for a month it was something we had up our sleeve. It's just a case of wait and see for me at the moment, I've always been hopeful and always been positive about the sale of the club but I also know that we might have to sell players."
HARRY SPEAKS
Former manager Harry McNally is the guest speaker at the next ISA general meeting to be held on Monday 29 March at the Royal Mail Club, 19:30 start.

19 March 1999
SMITH SET FOR RETURN
Alex Smith looks set to return to the first team at Shrewsbury tomorrow after coming through Wednesday's reserve match against Carlisle United (1-1) unscathed. However Chris Priest didn't play in that game and looks uncertain to be included in the City squad. Ex Chester player Spencer Whelan isn't likely to play against his former team-mates after tearing his hamstring in the first half of Saturday's goal-less draw at Brentford.
DISAPPOINTMENT FOR DOUGHTY
It's now confirmed that Matt Doughty won't be eligible to play in the Wales under 18 squad.
17 March 1999
INJURED DUO IN RESERVES
Both Alex Smith and Chris Priest are expected to play for City reserves this afternoon against Carlisle at the Deva (2pm). Both have missed the last few games through injury and fans will be hoping for their first-team return at Shrewsbury on Saturday. City, as everyone knows, have never won at Gay Meadow and will be without last seasons scorer there Matt Woods who is suspended.

16 March 1999
CALL UP FOR YOUNGSTERS
Congratulations to two of City's youngsters who have been called up to the Welsh youth squad. Midfielder Darren Moss and defender Matt Doughty have been selected for the Welsh under-18 squad who are playing in an international youth tournament in Italy in April.

12 March 1999
TOUGH GAME FOR CITY
Following the disappointing defeat at the Deva on Tuesday, City look to bounce back against Scunthorpe United tomorrow. Chester welcome back full back Ross Davidson but Chris Priest and Alex Smith again miss out though injury, and a thigh strain looks likely to keep Shaun Reid sidelined. Ratcliffe may decide to keep the same three centre back formation from Tuesday against a lively Scunthorpe attack led by 15 goal man Jamie Forrester. Children will again be allowed in for a cut-price £2 in the West Stand only tomorrow.
9 March 1999
CITY FANS DIG DEEP
Nearly £6,000 was raised at last night's very successful ISA Auction of Promises. The top price on the night – £430 was paid for Grenville Millington's 1974-75 goalkeepers shirt from our famous League Cup run, followed by a champagne flight on the Duke of Westminster's private jet (£350).

4 March 1999
TOUGH TASK FOR CITY
Chester take on league leaders Cardiff City at Ninian Park tomorrow night for what's going to be one of their toughest games of the season. The Bluebirds have already put six past us without reply in the FA Cup back in November though their form has dipped a little of late. Defender Andy Crosby looks like being available following his injury last Saturday and defender Matt Woods is expected to play despite chipping a bone in his foot. Chris Priest and Alex Smith are definitely ruled out with groin injuries and Shaun Reid is still suspended. For those who can't get to the game, Radio 5 Live (909/693MW) is running live second half commentary.

3 March 1999
ACLAND PLEA TO FANS
Administrator David Acland has appealed to City fans to turn out in force for next Tuesday's home match with Scarborough. Acland, who is currently negotiating a deal with a north west consortium to buy the club, has warned that he may be forced to sell players before any deal has been struck. "We could be in a position next week when we're back to square one and still looking for a buyer. The work of the ISA has helped the club as much as the sale of Spencer Whelan and the money from Sky," added Acland. "But the crowds have levelled out at home recently and the more fans that turn up for Tuesday's game, the greater the chance I've got of selling the club." Acland admitted that there is still a lot of paper work to be done and any deal won't take place for at least a week. "If things don't go through then I'll have to look at the contingency plan and that may mean selling players," said Acland.

2 March 1999
BUYERS UP THE OFFER
It was reported by Simon Harris on Radio5 Live this morning that the consortium of north west businessmen who are currently in negotiation for the football club upped their offer yesterday afternoon and have put in a "substantial" bid for the club. Administrator David Acland has also stated that they have an "impressive" amount of money to invest in the club. The takeover is currently being monitored by the Football League but it looks like things are now moving quickly. News was first broken by BBC Radio Merseyside.

David Acland spoke at last night's packed-out ISA meeting in Chester. He mentioned that a revised offer had been sent by fax yesterday afternoon (the offer mentioned on the radio) and that the amounts were agreeable in what the creditors would receive, and what they would put in to running the club should they be successful. He said that for the first time he would be prepared to go on record as saying that he was hopeful that a deal would be reached, probably before the weekend. Acland also said that he had beaten his cash flow forecast given to the judge in November by £90,000, and that had allowed the club to continue trading as long as it had. He stated that this was down to 3 parties, Spencer Whelan (the sale of), Sky TV (live match money) and the ISA. He said that this was probably in equal part, and he said that Sky TV paid the club £35k to screen the Brighton game. He said that should give people an idea of how much financial difference the ISA had made to the club.
1 March 1999
KERR JOINS SHREWSBURY

[John Kerr]John Kerr (left), Chester City's Football In The Community officer and School of Excellence chief has left City for Shrewsbury Town where he is to run a similar scheme.

Kerr, who has been with the club for nine years has worked wonders with David Fogg in developing the youth set up at the Deva – the benefits of which we are now seeing with Martyn Lancaster and Andy Shelton regularly lining up for the Blues.

Kerr's departure means a step up for midfielder Shaun Reid who has been appointed player coach and will work alongside David Fogg at the thriving School of Excellence. There is also a change for Fogg who becomes the School of Excellence Director as well as youth team coach.

Reid will take charge of the School of Excellence once he has got his UEFA coaching badges. He's currently on a UEFA coaching course.

“It's something I've been looking to go into but I wasn't expecting it to happen right now.” added Reid. “It came right out of the blue when Kev called me in for a chat during our stay in Torquay. I was delighted. I'm working with Dave Fogg who is a Premier League standard youth coach while Kevin Ratcliffe is one of the best managers in the lower divisions. I've got the right people around me and we got off to a winning start we beat Hartlepool 3-2 on Saturday morning!. I rang (brother) Peter up after Kev offered me the job and he said take it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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