31 May 2000
Barrow has today returned to the Deva Stadium as manager,
he’s been given a two year contract. Barrow first
approached Terry Smith regarding the job back in January
prior to Ian Atkins appointment. Barrow will need no
introduction to most City fans. He played 244 league
games for Chester between 1986/87 and 1993/94. No doubt
his finest hour was guiding City into the second division
as runners-up in 1993/94 (12 months after relegation).
He left the Deva "over a matter
of principal" following promotion and took over
from Kenny Swain as manager at Wigan Athletic in September
1994, lifting the Latics from bottom of the table to
a respectable 13th in his first season. Since then
Barrow took over at Rochdale in May 1996 before being
sacked and joined Notts County as assistant manager.
Speaking on radio Merseyside, Barrow
cited the "poor form of several senior players" for
Chester’s demise last season. "Five or six new
players will probably have to be brought in".
There has been no announcement at all yet from the
chairman regarding the appointment.
Ian Atkins has severed his connection
with the club. Speculation has linked him with jobs at
both Carlisle and Notts County we all wish him
Some season ticket holders
have been sent a reminder to renew their seats for the
forthcoming season others have not! The deadline
on these letters for renewal (and the continued reservation
of seats) was today. According to the letter City
will be competing next season in the Football League
Division 3 and our patron is the Duke of Westminster!
Time to reprint the letterhead....
BECKETT AND HINNIGAN ON THE MOVE?
City striker Luke Beckett is reportedly
the target for newly promoted Rotherham United. Beckett, who is out
of contract would still command a fee as he's under 24 years of age.
How much of that fee goes to his previous club Barnsley is uncertain.
Meanwhile the club’s physio Joe Hinnigan also seems set to quit the
Deva. He’s been approached by Walsall to fill in the physio duties
at the Bescot Stadium.
30 May 2000
HARRY McNALLY AT THE ISA MEETING
The next meeting of the ISA will take
place TONIGHT at the Royal Mail Club, Station Road, Chester, kick-off
19.30. There will be two guest speakers, Harry McNally and ex-Northampton
Town director Brian Lomax. Not to be missed.
26 May 2000
SIX PLAYERS RELEASED
John Keister, Gary Hobson, Goran Milosavijevic,
Jonathan Cross and Jonathan Jones have been released by the football club,
while Shaun Reid, who is on the coaching staff, has been released from
his playing contract. Meanwhile the club have offered new contracts to
Luke Beckett, Wayne Brown, Darren Moss and Paul Berry.
25 May 2000
CLUB DIRECTOR RESIGNS
David Evans, one of the three directors appointed
by the ISA to the board at Chester City has today tendered his resignation. In
statement issued this afternoon he stated "due to a combination of
personal and professional commitments – not least no longer living in the
Chester area – I now find it impossible to continue." Mr Evans went
on to disassociate himself for the remarks made by Terry Smith criticising
the ISA in the local press earlier this week. Resignation
Following the meeting in London
last night of members of the Chester City Exiles, the committee
issued the following press
23 May 2000
The Chester Exiles committee have
arranged an end of season meeting / social get-together in
London tomorrow (Wed) night.
Venue: The Windmill, 6-8 Mill Street, London
W1 (in the back bar)
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus.
The meeting isn’t confined just to members
but is open to all City fans in the area. Please contact
the Exiles secretary if
you would like to come along.
Items on the agenda will include:
Relegation – where do the Exiles go from here?
Relationship with the ISA
Relationship with Terry Smith and much more.
22 May 2000
Chester have scheduled a second pre-season friendly
against Bristol City at the Deva Stadium on Tuesday 1 August. Sheffield
Wednesday will visit the Deva Stadium on Saturday 15 July for another pre-season
NEW COMMERCIAL MANAGER
Rod Buxton has taken over from Dan
Brookes as the clubs Commercial Manager.
17 May 2000
ATKINS OFFERED CONTRACT
Chester City have confirmed that they
have offered (faxed!) Ian Atkins a one year contract with an
option for a second season. The club are awaiting a response
from Atkins. Since the end of the season Atkins has only been
at the club for a couple of days and is currently away at a
coaching conference for three days.
Atkins stated: "I have been offered
a deal but I need to discuss the offer that has been put
to me. There are a lot of things there. There are two issues.
My own personal stuff which is important because of my family.
Then there’s the question of what we’ve got to play with
if the club is to have a crack at getting out of the Conference.
I need to discuss it all further with Terry Smith but the
main crux is that I would love to have a crack at it. I want
to find out what I’m going to have to play with to get the
club up. I thought the players for me were magnificent and
as for the fans, I’ve never known anything like it before
even on a larger scale. The way they whipped themselves round
and the whole city got behind the club was terrific."
CITY SEEK COMPENSATION
The club have registered a claim
against Shrewsbury Town for an illegal approach and breach
on contract when they took City coach David Fogg back in
January. At the time Fogg was under a written contract
at the Deva until the end of the 1999/2000 season. A Chester
spokesman said: "We believe that there was a very
serious violation by Sherwsbury in their taking of David
Fogg from us. We believe that our loss of him, and Shrewsbury’s
gain of him had to have a direct influence upon the Table,
because an Assistant Manager is a very important position
in a club". City are demanding that Shrewsbury be
deducted League points thus re-instating Chester to the
At the open supporters meeting, those present
voted unanimously to disassociate themselves with the club
statement. Barry Hipkiss, chairman of the official supporters
club said: "I am sad, because we could lose our good
relationship with Shrewsbury over this. It is making the
club a laughing stock."
Meanwhile David Fogg has stated: "I
did everything by the book. I gave a month’s notice to leave
from the meeting
Chester City ISA will be holding
a special meeting tonight at the Royal Mail Club, Station
Road starting at 19.30, this is an open meeting not for
just ISA members but anybody who has the good of Chester
City at heart. We want as many people as possible to attend,
and as many people as possible to speak.
NEXT SEASON’S TICKET PRICES
Season Ticket Prices
Terrace: Adult £152, Senior
Citizens & Unwaged £121, Under 16’s £90.
East & West Stands: Adult £190, Senior Citizens & Unwaged £140, Under
Executive Lounge: Adults £350, Senior Citizens £250.
Car Park Charges
Terrace: Adults £8, Senior Citizens & Unwaged £6.50, Under 16’s £5.
East & West Stands: Adults £10, Senior Citizens & Unwaged £8, Under
Executive Lounge Matchday: Adults £20, Senior Citizens £15.
Season: £25. Matchday £2.
16 May 2000
ON THE BOX
On Thursday night in the Granada region there is a Chester City documentary
Chester will kick-off their first
season in the Nationwide Conference League on 19 August. City
will start their FA Cup campaign in the 4th qualifying round
and will also partake in the FA Trophy and Nationwide MacMillan
12 May 2000
Terry Smith, as owner and chairman,
has led Chester City out of the Football League rather than
to the promotion to which he aspired. This has been brought
about by a catalogue of well documented problems and broken
promises including the resignations of Kevin Ratcliffe and
Dave Fogg, the failure to sign "top foreign players" or provide "very
large financial resources", and Mr Smith’s self appointment
as team manager. His complete inexperience of professional
football was responsible for the situation from which Ian Atkins’
welcome appointment began.
The Club has also suffered financially
through legal disputes, which Mr Smith has handled himself,
false economy on player signings and now through the impact
of relegation itself. We feel totally vindicated by our caution
over the supporters’ share issue, which lost the club a further £140,000.
The ISA Committee deplores the post-match
comments made about Mr Atkins’ managerial performance. We
applaud him and the players for their efforts in almost recovering
the situation and believe that concerted attempts should
be made to retain their services.
The Board of Directors, as custodians of
the Club should now consider their positions carefully in
the light of recent events. The honorable action would be
to resign. We echo the opinion of loyal supporters in having
no confidence that Mr Smith can lead us out of the Conference
in the right direction.
Les Smith, Martin Williams, Kevin Whitehouse,
George Rogers, Alan Case, Sarah Evans, Phil Green, Mike Clifford,
11 May 2000
According to today’s Guardian and
Daily Post, Gordon Hill has been offered the job as City manager
by Terry Smith. Hill, a long-standing friend of Smith’s, was
appointed a coach (behind Ian Atkins’ back) by Smith in the
last few weeks and has reportedly agreed a contract. He once
managed Northwich Victoria and has been coaching in the states
(where else) for the last few years. Terry Smith has stated
this afternoon on radio Merseyside that he has no plans to
appoint Hill as manager.
9 May 2000
EMERGENCY ISA MEETING
Chester City ISA will be holding
a Special Meeting on Wednesday 17th May at the Royal Mail Club
Station Road starting at 7.30 pm, this is an Open meeting not
for just ISA members but anybody who has the good of Chester
City at heart. We want as many people as possible to attend,
and as many people as possible to speak. These are very dark
days for Chester City, and we as supporters must make our feelings
known. One thing we must do is close ranks and go forward together,
the supporters of Chester City can and will make a difference.
All through this season my colleagues and
myself on the ISA committee have wrestled with our consciences,
we have been party to a lot of what has gone on at Chester
City, but have been asked by the Ian Atkins to name but one
to keep our council until the end of season, we agreed because
we were desperate to help in anyway we could to keep Chester
in the League, and we took some stick for this policy in
The ISA will be making a statement in the
next day or two, and I don’t want to pre-empt that but suffice
to say we have spent a considerable amount of money this
year helping Chester in areas that supporters should NEVER
be required to do. I don’t want to end on a negative thought,
because I know that Chester supporters will back us and I
know that when the club eventually changes hand, and it will
make no mistake, we as supporters will make sure we have
a stake in the club and for the first time Chester City will
be in the hands of people who will nurture and care for the
club that we all love.
8 May 2000
RATCLIFFE WINS CASE
Former Chester City manager Kevin
Ratcliffe has won his tribunal case against the Club at the
Football League following an eight hour meeting today. City
have been told to pay £200,000 to Ratcliffe, just where
we’re supposed to find that kind of money remains to be seen.
All this stems from a contract drawn up between former chairman
Mark Guterman and Ratcliffe entitling Ratcliffe to a severance
payment should he leave the Deva when a new owner came in.
I would have thought that any such agreement should have been
produced to administrator David Acland when he was running
the club, perhaps it was, who knows!. Dan Brookes has said
that Chester will appeal against the ruling.
City defender Matt Doughty (18)
was jailed for four months on Friday. Doughty was imprisoned
with five other men following a fight outside Mr Smiths night-club
in Warrington last March.
He would no doubt have played against Peterborough
on Saturday and had been attracting interest from several
big clubs during the season. The club has got no one available
[Simon Harris BBC Television and
NO NEWS IS NOT GOOD NEWS
For some reason known only
to themselves the Liverpool Football Echo have decided
to scrap Neil Turner’s excellent ‘Chester
Scene’ column from the paper next season, presumably
because we’ve been relegated. Why City fans should
be deprived of reading about their team is beyond me,
we’re going to need all the support we can get next
JUDGEMENT DAY #2
Today sees the Football League tribubal
case between Kevin Ratcliffe and Chester City FC. Ratcliffe
is claiming £200,000 in unpaid wages from an agreement
he claims to have had with the former chairman Mark Guterman
regarding a severance payment. Terry Smith will be a guest
on Radio Merseyside’s football programme tomorrow night (Tuesday)
7 May 2000
CITY LOSE LEAGUE STATUS
Yesterday’s 0-1 defeat
to Peterborough brought to an end City’s proud 69-year
record as members of the Football League, it’s the
Conference for us next season. City finished joint bottom
with Carlisle United but had a worst goal difference.
Just how many of yesterday’s team will start next
August remains to be seen, not many I would have thought.
After the game The Observer reports that Terry
Smith described Ian Atkins’ 23 points from 21 games
as “unsatisfactory.” Quite amazing that, check
the stats below and draw your own conclusions.
City were dead and buried at the New Year
when Atkins took over managing the team from Terry Smith.
A complete clearout of players with 12 new ones coming in
gave us real hope, and we finished the season as one of the
top form teams in the division, that sort of record has to
FOR THE RECORD
League game stats for our managers
||0 from 9
||16 from 75
||23 from 63
END OF SEASON AWARDS
Player of the Season: Luke Beckett. Runner up: Wayne Brown, Third:
Away Supporters Player of the Season: Wayne Brown
Evening Leader Supporter of the Year: Nigel Clarke
ISA Special Award: Ian Atkins
5 May 2000
Just 24 hours to go until the most
important game in Chester City’s history. A win against Peterborough
United at the Deva will guarantee third division football next
season. A draw will leave City relying on Brighton & HA
to beat Carlisle United or Shrewsbury Town to fail to win at
Ian Atkins has a full squad available to
pick from with the exception of Jamie Robinson and Angus
Eve for the match which has attracted a full house at the
Whatever the outcome tomorrow, we can all
be proud of the way the team has battled against the odds
since Ian Atkins was appointed Director of Football in the
new year. The players have responded magnificently in recent
weeks and one or two astute signings have made all the difference.
The City fans can also congratulate themselves for getting
right behind the team in recent weeks. The decision by the
ISA to offer subsidised travel in recent weeks has proved
inspirational also, 800 at Halifax, 500 at Leyton Orient
and over 1000 at Cheltenham last week. There’s no doubt that
the noise has lifted the players when they most needed it.
So one more final effort tomorrow and, hopefully, we’ll have
cause for celebration at 5pm.
The May issue of the
Match Of The Day magazine which contains the ‘Mission
Impossible’ spoof concerning the Chester parrot
mascot at Halifax is now on sale.
2 May 2000
Tickets for Saturday’s crunch match
with Peterborough United at the Deva Stadium are selling well.
A capacity crowd is expected. City must win the game to make
certain of retaining their League status. A draw will be good
enough if Carlisle lose at Brighton, and Shrewsbury fail to
win at Exeter. Meanwhile tonight on Radio Merseyside at 19:05,
Neil Turner will be interviewing City boss Ian Atkins. The
show has a phone-in section so if you’ve got a question for
Ian why not ring in.