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NEWS FROM DEVA STADIUM 1997
May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
OCTOBER 1997
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 CLASH
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 Communication.

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 number 4.
22 October 1997
RATCLIFFE BLASTS PLAYERS

Kevin 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 performance.

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, Shelton, Dobson.
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, Tait, Sutherland.

20 October 1997
SUSPENSIONS PILE UP

Both 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 next round.

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 players.

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
Kevin Ratcliffe has praised City striker Gary Bennett (left) after he took his goals total for the season to nine in eleven games.
“£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,” said Bennett.

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 rest.
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, Baker, Halliday.

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 match suspension.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 1997-2008 Steve Mansley | User Stats | Technical | Webmaster
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