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MAY 1998

30 May 1998
Striker John Murphy has signed a new one year deal with the Blues. "John has come on leaps and bounds and I want to start off with him up front next season. It's great he has signed," confirmed Ratcliffe. Luke Beckett is likely to partner John Murphy up front. Beckett was a recent buy from Barnsley and Murphy has emerged as manager Kevin Ratcliffe's other choice to lead the line. Ratcliffe said: "Murphy will start off up front next season and it is up to the others to challenge Luke. I have plenty of options."

Meanwhile, Player of the season Nick Richardson still hasn't signed his new deal. Richardson is a free agent under the Bosman ruling and has been strongly linked with a move to hometown club Halifax. Ratcliffe confirmed: "I am waiting to hear from Nick. Hopefully he will sign but he has until next week to make up his mind."
29 May 1998
The club have announced that following last season's successful Open Day at the Deva Stadium, the event is to be repeated on Saturday July 25th to coincide with the visit from Everton for a pre-season friendly. Maximising the visit of Everton is a good idea and should hopefully attract a good crowd to the stadium. More details as soon as they're available.

27 May 1998
City's kit for next season will be manufactured by the Burnley based company 'Super League', owned by ex-Clarets player Frank Casper. They currently have on their books the following clubs: Bury, Wrexham, Lincoln, Chesterfield, Macclesfield, Brentford, Torquay and Brighton.

According to Super league the home kit will be blue & white striped with a thick blue stripe down the middle and a smaller one either side (same as Brighton's last year). The away kit will be Claret and White. The shirt sponsor is still Saunders Honda

The home pre-season friendly with Everton will take place on Saturday July 25th
21 May 1998
Chester have arranged another pre-season friendly this time away at Bath City on Wednesday July 22nd. The Blues are also trying to arrange two more friendly fixtures in the area.

Meanwhile City's new striker Luke Beckett has been speaking about his move to the Deva. "I had no hesitation in signing for Chester," said the Sheffield-born striker, who signed for City a week ago from Barnsley. "Danny Wilson had offered me a contract to stay on at Barnsley but I wanted first team football. Danny then told me that Kevin Ratcliffe had been on the phone and I went down to Chester for talks. Kevin said the move would be a stepping stone for me and I just can't wait to start playing week in week out. I got 14 goals with the reserves last season and I missed a lot of games so I was near enough scoring a goal a game," added Beckett, who has signed a two year deal with the Blues. "With Barnsley having so many strikers, the lads who weren't getting in the first team were playing in the reserves ahead of me. I just felt it was time for me to start playing regular first team football and although I knew of Chester's interest in me about 18 months ago, there had been no follow-ups."

19 May 1998
City are expecting to hear on Friday if their attempt to bring an experienced centre half to the club has been successful. The mystery third division defender is 25 and wants to move to the area. Meanwhile Jon Jones has been speaking about his season at City. "I thought I'd have played more games last season," said Jones, who ended up top scorer for the reserves but only started three games for the first team. "I scored at Doncaster and thought I played well but then Benno came back into the side. I got injured at the end of the season and it's made me more determined to get back into the side next season. It's probably the biggest season I'll have." With youngster Darren Wright and new signing Luke Beckett fighting for places next season, Gary Bennett and Jon Murphy are going to face some competition for their places in the City front line.

Meanwhile commiserations to four former City players who appeared for Southport in their 1-0 FA Trophy defeat to Cheltenham Town at Wembley on Sunday. Player-manager Paul Futcher, goalkeeper Billy Stewart, winger Dave Thompson along with former keeper John Bagnall were present for the Sandgrounders. Despite the result, all no doubt will remember the occasion played in front of 27,000 fans, for many years. Gordon Banks presented Billy Stewart with a semi-professional cap after a recent international call-up against Holland before the final.

Former City striker Carl Dale (32) is amongst eleven Cardiff City players released this week.
18 May 1998
Chester have signed two players for next season. They are 21-year-old centre forward Luke Beckett from Barnsley and goalkeeper Neil Cutler from Crewe Alex. City have been watching Beckett for about 18 months now and have signed him on a two-year deal. He didn't make any first team appearances for the Oakwell club but was a prolific scorer in the reserve team there. Neil Cutler, 22-years-old, was on loan at Chester in 1995-6 playing one game, and again the next season playing five games. Although at Crewe last season, he played on loan for two months at Stalybridge Celtic and also had a month loan spell at Leek Town.

13 May 1998
Chester have arranged home friendly games against Everton and Tranmere Rovers for this summer. The Tranmere game is on Friday July 17th, no date has yet been arranged for the Everton game which formed part of the deal that took Matt McKay to Goodison Park. City are also trying to arrange a game with Aston Villa but that will be dependent on whether they qualify for Europe.

A number of games against local non-league sides are also on the cards. "I'm quite happy playing against local sides as long as the pitches are good. We had a a good tour of Newport, Aberystwyth and Newtown last summer and they have given us good games. We want to get away again this summer but the difficulty we have is arranging games. I'm calling a few people this week and hopefully I'll be able to sort things out." added Ratcliffe

12 May 1998
Kevin Ratcliffe admitted that releasing Stuart Rimmer along with several other players was: "A sad day for me and the hardest decisions I've had to make in my career. I liked the lads who are going and that made it even more difficult, but these are the things you have to do as a manager." Club record scorer Rimmer has also spoken about the decision to let him go: "I was half expecting it because of what's been going on financially at the club – but I'm still disappointed. But I've got to look ahead now. Ideally, I'll get a contract with another club for another year. I think I've got at least another season left in me. But there'll be a lot of people in the same boat as me. I'll wait and see if anyone is interested and take it from there. I think Kev did want to keep me but the chairman has given him a budget to work to and he's had to let me go. I can understand his position and he did say that he might come back to me if the situation changes over the summer. It's been the best time of my career at Chester and the most successful in terms of goalscoring. It will be sad for me to go.

Rimmer's career at Chester spanned 11 seasons during which he found the net 135 times in 361 appearances.

Meanwhile, Player of the Season Nick Richardson is contemplating the offer made to him by Ratcliffe. "Kev made me an offer which I'm considering. It wasn't really what I was looking for from Chester and I don't think there's any room for negotiation. It's a take it or leave it situation. As far as I'm concerned there's nothing in the Halifax thing."
Videos of all City's home matches and some away games are on sale from makers Brian and Derek Hart.
They are available at £8 each or any two on one tape for £12.
The end of season compilation, priced at £10, will also soon be available.
If you want to buy the tapes then contact Brian or Derek on 0151-355 1311 or 0151-339 5168.

8 May 1998
Chester's retained list has been released this morning and here are the details:
Out go: Stuart Rimmer, Neil Fisher, Ryan Dobson, Martin Giles, Ron Sinclair, Rod McDonald and Craig Warrington.

New contracts have been issued to:
Nick Richardson, Matt Woods, John Murphy, Andy Shelton, Darren Wright and Scott Thompson. Full back Martin Giles broke through to the first team this season and has looked promising with every appearance. He can't exactly have been on a high wage and it seems a surprise not to offer him terms.

Stuart Rimmer has finished his second spell with the club. He is Chester's record goalscorer and was promised a testimonial game last year which fell through. He was again promised one at the end of this season (possible against Everton), I hope the club do the decent thing and honour this agreement. Midfielder Neil Fisher has played the best part of the season out of position at full back! This now leaves City with no left back!

5 May 1998
Kevin Ratcliffe has attempted to sign the experienced midfielder Nigel Gleghorn on a part-time contract. But the former Ipswich, Manchester City and Stoke City player has opted for an assistant manager's job with a non-league club (believed to be Altrincham). Gleghorn (35) has been playing on loan with Burnley, Brentford and Northampton. "He's 35 years of age and a quality player who wouldn't need to train all the time because of the years he's had in the game. I want my lads full time but Nigel's case is that he's finished his career and has been a good pro for many years." added Ratcliffe. Speculation abounds regarding the retained list – Now issued on Friday 8th.

Nick Richardson has been linked with a move to his home town, and first, club Halifax Town. Ratcliffe added: "Nick hasn't given me any indication of what he's going to do, but then again I haven't given him an indication of what I'm going to do." However it seems highly unlikely that the manager would not want to keep player of the season Richardson who's form has been outstanding since his recovery from injury.

4 May 1998

Season Ticket Prices
Purchase Date Up to 12th May From 15th June
Adults £145.00 £159.00
Under 16s / Senior Citizens £70.00 £75.00
Family, 1 Adult + 1 Child £205.00 £224.00
Main Stand (East)
Adults £194.00 £212.00
Under 16s / Senior Citizens £90.00 £100.00
Family, 1 Adult + 1 Child £274.00 £302.00

Matchday Turnstile Prices

Adults £7.50  
Under 16s / Senior Citizens £4.00  

East and West Stand
Adults £10.00  
Under 16s / Senior Citizens £5.00  

West Stand special games only – see press for details
West Stand

Adults £9.00  
Accompanied Child £3.00  
Junior Blues
East Stand £3.00  
West Stand £2.00  
Executive Lounge
Purchase Date Up to 12th May From 15th June
Adult £395.00 £410.00
Senior Citizens £250.00 £260.00
Executive Lounge Matchday Price
Adult £13.00  
Senior Citizens £9.00  
Supporters Club Lounge
Annual Membership £26.00  

Congratulations to Nick Richardson who was named Chester City Player of the Year on Saturday, he also collected the Away Supporters Player of the Year award. Second in the home award was Rod Thomas with Chris Priest coming third. The Evening Leader Young Player of the Year award went to youth team goalkeeper Matthew Conkie. Meanwhile manager Kevin Ratcliffe will issue the retained list this Thursday.

Seven players are out of contract this summer (they are: Stuart Rimmer, Nick Richardson, John Murphy, Matt Woods, Ryan Dobson, Martin Giles and Neil Fisher), and the manager has already hinted that he wants to bring in six new faces before next season. Already released are goalkeeper Ronnie Sinclair and Rod McDonald.

1 May 1998
Chester are anticipating a decent crowd for tomorrow's end of season home clash with Scarborough. Boro have bought 1,000 tickets in advance (at a discount rate for cash up-front) for the game. They will get third spot and automatic promotion to the second division if they win and Torquay lose at Leyton Orient tomorrow. Prior to the game there will be the customary presentation on the pitch of the Player of the Season award.







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