| 31 October 1997
WELCOME BACK GRAHAM
Former City favourite Graham
Barrow brings his Rochdale side to the Deva tomorrow
as Chester look to continue their fine home form. In
the Dale side will be former City players Mark Leonard
and Robbie Painter. Striker Graham Lancashire is ruled
out with a hamstring problem. City will be without the
suspended trio of Ronnie Sinclair, Gary Shelton and Spencer
Whelan. Keeper Wayne Brown deputises for Sinclair, Iain
Jenkins is expected to move into the centre of defence.
That would leave the way clear for the debut at right
back of Ryan Dobson, who has been on the bench for the
last three games.
29 October 1997
WINSFORD LOOKING FORWARD TO CUP
Chester will be expecting
one of their highest crowds of the season in a couple
of weeks as around 1,500 supporters are expected
to follow Winsford to the Deva Stadium for the first
round FA Cup tie. The game also marks the return of two
former players, Mark Came and Paul Wheeler, though Came
may miss the match through suspension. So far United
have conquered Leek, Arnold and Penrith to reach the
first round proper.
PRIEST FINALLY BOOKED
Following a case of mistaken
identity, Gary Bennett’s booking at Rotherham has
been scrubbed with Chris Priest finally getting the yellow
card, taking his total this season to three.
28 October 1997
RICHARDSON OFFERED NEW DEAL
Midfielder Nick Richardson
has been offered a new deal until the end of the season.
The Chester City midfielder has been on a week-to-week
contract since summer. “We’ve offered him
something but Nick hasn’t signed yet, ”said
Ratcliffe. Richardson, 30, has been a regular in the Blues
side this season after making a successful comeback from
a career threatening knee injury suffered at Hartlepool
13 months ago.
27 October 1997
CHESTER BID TO LURE PREMIERSHIP FANS
Chester City have launched a new admission
scheme believed to be the first of its type in Britain in a bid
to lure more supporters to the Deva Stadium. During the months
of November and December, fans who have season tickets with clubs
in the Premiership, First and Second Divisions will be allowed
free admission to watch Chester City matches at the Deva Stadium
(FA Cup excluded). The scheme is backed by City’s PR company Mere
Commenting on the scheme City chairman Mark
Guterman added: “There must always be room in any serious
football fans heart for a second team. I’m sure there are scores
of Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United fans who live and
work in Chester who will welcome this opportunity to see what
their local team has to offer.” Supporters club chairman
Barry Hipkiss commented: “Anything that gets people involved
with the club is a benefit, but Chester season ticket holders
paid for every single match months ago.”
What the club are aiming to do is attract
big club fans when their teams are playing away from home. The
scheme starts this Saturday with the home game against Rochdale.
TURNER HINTS AT OMINOUS NEWS
Before Saturday’s game with Macclesfield
Town, reporter Neil Turner announced on BBC Radio Merseyside that
he’d heard that Chester City were having problems off the pitch
and an announcement would be made by the club in the next ten to
fourteen days! The statement was made just the once with no other
comment either before or after the game. This all sounds rather
worrying, is it something to do with finance? Paying off Ian Knight?
We shall have to wait and see but I’d expect something sooner now
that news has leaked out. Watch this space.
DRAW SUITS CITY
Chester have drawn non-league neighbours
Winsford United at the Deva in the first round of the
FA Cup. The game will take place on Saturday November
15th. United currently lie mid table of the Unibond Premier
League and beat Penrith (remember them!!!!) in the final
qualifying round. City took a strong side to Winsford
in mid August for a friendly match, we lost 3-0.
PRICE JOINS VICS
Former Everton midfielder Chris Price who has been
on trial with City has signed non-contract terms with Northwich Victoria.
Manager Kevin Ratcliffe was keen to sign the player but has been told there
is no cash to spend on new players, or to bring players on loan for the
rest of the season. Chairman Mark Guterman has admitted the club has a
cash flow problem.
24 October 1997
RATCLIFFE HINTS AT CHANGES
Kevin Ratcliffe is preparing to
make changes for tomorrow’s Cheshire derby with
Macclesfield Town at the Deva. He is likely to make striker
Rod McDonald partner Gary Bennett up front as City go
for another three home points. The club are expecting
a large crowd for the first-ever visit from Macc, who
are currently enjoying a great start to their first league
season. Despite the run of away defeats City are unbeaten
at home with five victories and a draw to their name and
a 3,500 4,000+ crowd would help swell the coffers
and possibly pave the way for a new signing.
F.A. CUP DRAW
The draw for the first round proper of the F.A.Cup
will take place live on SKY TV at 17:15 tomorrow (Sat). Chester are ball
22 October 1997
RATCLIFFE BLASTS PLAYERS
Ratcliffe had the players in for extra training today
following yet another fiasco on their travels. For the
fourth game running City have been thrashed away from
home. Following defeats at Mansfield (1-4), Rotherham
(2-4), Torquay (1-3), it was the turn of Scarborough to
put four past the City defence to record their first-ever
league victory over the Blues. “They’ve let themselves
down,” fumed Ratcliffe. “It was the worst performance
of the season and I’d drop them all if I had the resources.
They were silent on the bus on the way home and
so they should be. I’m making no excuses for last night’s
We’ve not competed and I could have taken any one of 11
off. We didn’t deserve to win. We got exactly what we
deserved from the game. I can’t even bring one in although
after last night I’d like to bring in 11.
Chester now have to pick themselves up for the difficult
game with Macclesfield on Saturday. They’ve had a terrific
start to their first league season and are sure to test
City’s shaky defence to the limit.
21 October 1997
BLUES LOOKING TO IMPROVE
Chester travel to Scarborough tonight looking to
improve on their dreadful away record which has already seen five defeats.
City have let in 15 goals on their travels, the worst record in the division,
however things aren’t much better at the McCain Stadium. Scarborough manager
Mick Wadsworth wanted to resign after Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat by league
leaders Peterborough, claiming he was getting no response from the players so
you can expect them to wound up alright tonight! City will be looking for
a point to consolidate their position near the top of the table.
Chester City (from): Sinclair, Richardson, Jenkins, Fisher, Whelan, Alsford,
G.Bennett, Priest, McDonald, Flitcroft, Thomas, Murphy, Rimmer, Jones,
Boro hope to have midfielder Mike McElhatton back but definitely out in
centre back Jason Rockett who always has a good game against City.
Scarborough (from): Martin, Kay, Heckingbottom, G.Bennett, Atkin, Brodie,
Snodin, T.Bennett, Robinson, Mitchell, Williams, McElhatton, Campbell,
20 October 1997
SUSPENSIONS PILE UP
Gary Shelton and Ronnie Sinclair (left) are expected to receive
a one match ban following their dismissals at Torquay
on Saturday, the ban will take effect on November 1st
with visit to the Deva of Rochdale. Shelton was dismissed
for a second bookable offence and Sinclair for handling
the ball outside the area. There were also bookings or
Nick Richardson and Spencer Whelan. Whelan’s booking brought
his season’s total to five and he will now receive a 3-match
ban also starting against Rochdale.
The referee at the centre of Saturday’s events was non
other than Robert Styles, the Waterlooville referee who
controversially handled City’s play-off match at Swansea
at the end of last season. Kevin Ratcliffe was furious
at the final whistle “I can’t say too much because
I’ll get punished,” said Ratcliffe. “There were
only 16 fouls in the game yet we’ve seen seven bookings
and two sendings off and it wasn’t even a dirty game.
He’s sent Gary Shelton off and he didn’t even touch the
lad and then, tongue-in-cheek, he’s said to one of our
lads ’Don’t worry I won’t send your keeper off!’’’
not long after he did!
City will be desperately looking for cover with long term
injuries to Shaun Reid and Ross Davidson. Ratcliffe is
keen to sign former Everton pro Chris Price, who is currently
on trial at the club. But cash and lack of it
is again the major stumbling block.
15 October 1997
YOUTH TEAM CONTINUE CUP RUN
Chester City’s Youth Team are through to the third
round of the FA Youth Cup following last night’s 2-1 victory at Scunthorpe.
They achieved their success, with goals from carl Rendell and David Lloyd,
despite being reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of Andy Shelton.
City must now travel to either Notts County or Preston North End in the
RATCLIFFE HAS OP
Kevin Ratcliffe has had a quick cartilage operation
following an accident at the training ground last week
RESERVES IN ACTION
Cheater City’s Reserves
may go top on the third division of the Pontins League
if they beat Walsall at the Deva tonight. And City will
have a new face in the side. Former Everton pro Chris
Price, who has spent some time playing in Norway, plays
tonight. “We’re going to have a look at him,”
added Ratcliffe. “He used to be at Everton and then
went abroad. He’s a midfielder and we’ll see
what’s he like.”
14 October 1997
CITY SETTLE OUT OF COURT
Ian Knight and Chester City
Football Club have settled out of court following the
start of legal proceedings yesterday. Both sides declined
to reveal the deal, but Knight was said to be “delighted”
with the settlement.
DAVIDSON HAS HERNIA OPERATION
Full back Ross Davidson has had his
hernia operation today and is expected to be out of first
team football for six weeks.
13 October 1997
CITY IN THE HIGH COURT
Gary Bennett appeared in Sheffield
High Court today as former Sheffield Wednesday player
Ian Knight sought £1.5m damages against the striker
for the tackle which ended his career ten years ago. His
right leg was shattered in seven places following the
challenge at Hillsborough in the FA Cup 4th round replay.
Centre-back Knight was permanently deformed by the injury.
Although he played again, the former England Under-21
never regained his form and is now coach of Grimsby Town
Reserves. His £1.5m claim is the biggest ever for
alleged recklessness on the pitch, and one can only speculate
on the consequences if he is successful the floodgates
are likely to open on similar claims brought by other
Bennett, who wasn’t booked over the incident, insisted at the time that
it was a clumsy tackle and has put up with the controversy for nearly a
decade. The enquiry is expected to last a week.
BOSS SINGS BENNO’S PRAISES
Ratcliffe has praised City striker Gary Bennett (left)
after he took his goals total for the season to nine in
“£50,000 for Benno is money well spent,”
said Ratcliffe, who was uncertain whether to play his
star striker because of the pending court case.
Former Sheffield Wednesday defender Ian Knight is suing
Bennett for a tackle that he claimed ruined his career
ten years ago. “I asked Benno if he was alright
to play and he never had a doubt,” added
Ratcliffe. The 35-year-old striker has now scored in every
home league game eight goals in six games. He is
the second top scorer in Division Three and his latest
two goal salvo came despite suffering from a stomach upset.
“It was touch and go whether I’d play,”
City’s 2-0 win moved them up into fourth place in
the table. “It’s nice to be in contention,”
added Ratcliffe, who admits that his team have yet to
hit top form. “Our home form is excellent
16 points from 18 and if only we’d picked up a couple
more points away we’d be even higher. But it’s
early doors yet and we’ve just got to keep going.”
City now face two grueling away trips to the seaside at
Torquay and Scarborough, as they bid to pick up some points
away from the Deva that will keep them in contention with
the leading pack.
MILNER DEAL ON HOLD
Striker Andy Milner’s move
to Hereford United has broken down. Milner has completed
his loan spell at Edgar Street, scoring one goal in six
appearances. City are asking £10,000 for the player
but Hereford haven’t got the cash available at present.
City are waiting news as they have another club interested
in taking the player. Hereford may however be interested
in another month’s loan from the striker who clearly doesn’t
feature in Kevin Ratcliffe’s plans for the future.
9 October 1997
RONNIE INJURY WORRY
Goalkeeper Ronnie Sinclair, 32, has
been troubled with a niggling knee injury that almost ruled
him out of games at Rotherham and last week’s home clash
with Hartlepool. He’s had a scan which shows nothing wrong,
and should be fit for the weekend following a couple of days
Iain Jenkins, Ross Davidson, Matt Woods and long term absentee Shaun Reid
are all ruled out of Saturday’s home game with Brighton.
Midfielders Nick Richardson and Neil Fisher will play
as emergency full backs that’ll be interesting!
4 October 1997
CITY LOOKING TO TIGHTEN UP
The Blues entertain Hartelpool
United at the Deva Stadium tomorrow looking to continue
the home form that has seen them win three and draw one
of their home league games. This is in stark contrast
to recent away performances that have seen City concede
four goals at both Mansfield and Rotherham.
Nick Richardson will play alongside in-form Chris Priest
in midfield, and Ross Davidson will soldier on at right
back, despite needing a hernia operation. Expect other
changes with the possibility of either John Murphy or
Stuart Rimmer in the starting line up. Ominously for City,
Hartlepool come to The Deva on a six-match unbeaten run.
Chester City (from): Sinclair, Davidson, Jenkins, Richardson,
Whelan, Alsford, Bennett, Priest, Murphy, Flitcroft, Thomas,
McDonald, Rimmer, Jones, Fisher, Brown.
Hartlepool boss Mick Tait will start with: Harper, Knowles,
Lucas, Lee, McDonald, Bradley, Ingram,Cullen, Howard,
2 October 1997
OP FOR DAVIDSON
||City full back Ross Davidson
will soon have to undergo an operation for a hernia.
The defender, who came off injured at Rotherham,
has decided though to play this Saturday through
the pain. This latest injury blow is going to stretch
City’s resources to the limit, with midfielder Nick
Richardson playing at right back on Saturday and
again last night for the reserves. Two goals from
John Murphy and one from Stuart Rimmer gave the
reserves a 3-1 victory over Chesterfield in that
game at the Deva.
Both players are pushing for the right to play alongside
Gary Bennett in the City forward line Rod
McDonald, who is playing well but is yet to score
this season, is currently Bennett’s forward partner.
At least the performance of the attack seems encouraging,
it’s the defence that has to be tightened up Manager
Kevin Ratcliffe played alongside Julian Alsford
last night, after deciding against risking Spencer
Whelan who is already one booking away from a three
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