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28 September 2001

It's been revealed this lunchtime that the club has been sold to Liverpool businessman Steve Vaughan and his company Vaughan Promotions Ltd. The deal was settled last night after just four days secret talks.

Vaughan is a boxing promoter in Liverpool and has been chairman of Unibond side Barrow in the past and. His dealings at Barrow are well documented and to get an insight of his time there visit the Barrow fanzine website Give 'Em Beans. then <new readers / beginners guide / season 1999 story>, the Barrow FC website, or check out The Road To Oblivion FC article.

Vaughan has bought Smith's 98% shareholding in the company and has stated that he wanted to �stabilise the club and then take us back into the Football League�. A confidentiality clause prevents the cost of the deal being revealed but the Non-League paper believes that a sum of around £400,000 was involved.

Issue 67 of the Non-League Paper (1/7/01) ran a two page article on Vaughan, here's an extract: Vaughan resigned as chairman of Barrow in November 1998. A three-day trial at Leeds High Court Chancery Section next January will decide the fate of the club which then traded as Barrow FC, 1901, a company now in liquidation. Vaughan is the largest creditor, with an agreed debt of £269,000 and a further £20,000 in dispute. Vaughan thinks he will become the owner of Barrow's Holker Street ground after the hearing. “I'm saying to anyone in Cumbria that it's my intention to come back and purchase that place. I'll lease it back to the club and they can play football at Holker Street.” Vaughan is currently on the board of Unibond Premier League side Droylsden, where friend Dave Pace is chairman and recently offered £10,000 for City 'keeper Wayne Brown.

Vaughan's business partner Lee Maloney said: �We�re going to make a new start and we need people to come back through the turnstiles. It�s no secret that we can�t possibly go forward without the backing of the City supporters. We don�t want to get bogged down in politics of the past. We�re the new owners with new ideas, and we�re making a fresh start and we�re going to wipe the slate clean. I can assure Chester City FC fans that we have made a complete purchase of all Terry Smith�s shareholdings. This deal represents Terry Smith�s departure from Chester City FC in all forms. Terry will be paying wages at the club until the end of September, but Vaughan Promotions Ltd will take complete control from October 1. The whole club will come under review during the initial period of our takeover, but that�s not to say anyone�s position at the club is effected.�

27 September 2001

Former Chester manager Graham Barrow has signed on as a coach at Bury until the end of the season. Barrow will cover for Billy Ayre who is unable to resume his coaching duties as he battles with cancer, he will also assist manager Andy Preece. Barrow said: “I spoke to the chairman Terry Robinson and I'm going to go in and see what happens.”

The Evening Leader states that Chester City Supporters Trust chairman Graham Ross has today taken action against a player exodus from the Deva Stadium. Ross reacted angrily to the news that Chester had agreed a £5,000 transfer fee with Stevenage Borough for City midfielder Chris Blackburn. Ross said: �Chris Blackburn is valued at far more than £5,000, and Chester City know it. I�m going to contact Stevenage with advice I�ve received from a barrister about clubs who pay a fee for an under-valued player, and I�ll also remind Stevenage about Chester City�s current position. There�s a definite link between the Chris Blackburn story and the information I�ve received which has been posted to Chester City Council�s legal department. The Chester City Supporters Trust is currently seeking a private meeting with Chester City Council and it�s legal advisers in order that council members are fully informed, and in order that the decisions they take are the best ones for supporters and for the city of Chester.�

Meanwhile the Football Association will reveal details of their investigations at Chester City FC within the next month. An FA spokesman said today: �Our investigations are continuing, and we should be in a position to provide news within the next three or four weeks.�

26 September 2001

[Chris Blackburn]According to the Evening Leader the club have agreed a measly £5,000 fee from Stevenage Borough for promising 19-year-old midfielder Chris Blackburn. Blackburn, who played 48 matches, scoring six goals for Chester in his first full season under Graham Barrow had been watched by Coventry and Southampton last season but City appear desperate to sell. Stevenage will be getting a bargain, fans would have expected Blackburn to sell for more than ten times the amount offered.

Blackburn's agent Mick Walsh said earlier in the week: “At least three Conference clubs and a third division side have all shown interest in Chris, I'm expecting one of the clubs to table an offer. Chris was very disappointed about being recalled from a loan spell at Rochdale because of Scott Ruscoe's suspension for Chester's match against Boston. But Chris is a professional and he's been doing what has been asked of him, which is exactly what I'd expect.”

It's since been reported that the proposed move has fallen through as personal terms could not be agreed.

24 September 2001
The following advertisement was placed in the Situations Vacant section of yesterday's edition of the Sport First newspaper. In the programme notes for the Kingstonian match on 26 April, it was stated that the club 'will conduct a nationwide scouting and player trial system at various locations throughout the Country, and the best available players will be signed by Chester City', so here it is!


The World Football Scouting Bureau Is Calling All Football Players

The World Football Scouting Bureau is holding Player Evaluation Camps throughout Great Britain in the search for football players to play professionally in England, Wales, Scotland, America and Europe.

All players who have aspirations of professional football careers, whether they have been released by their professional clubs, or they have not yet made it to a professional club in their career, or they would like to progress their current professional playing careers, are invited to attend.

All players will be measured and evaluated on athletic ability, playing ability, intelligence tests and tactical knowledge. Players who reach Qualifying Levels will be circulated to interested football clubs throughout the World.

Player Evaluation Camps will be held in the Midlands and in the Northwest on the weekend of September 29th-30th.

To register for a Player Camp, then telephone World Football on 01928 725787

Terry Smith commented: “The advert has nothing to do with Chester City Football Club. I don't actually know why the club was mentioned in the advert – but Chester may be used as a testing site. Different clubs will be utilised for testing venues, but it has nothing to do with Chester City FC. I am just here answering the phone, but I don't have anything to say about it – there's not a story, and there's no connection between the scouting bureau and Chester City FC. I've sold my shares in Chester, as I stated a few weeks ago. My position hasn't changed since then.”
There is an open meeting for all Chester City supporters tonight. It will will be held at the Royal Mail Club, Station Road, Chester and starts at 19:30hrs. All supporters are urged to attend this crisis meeting called to discuss the latest goings on at the Deva Stadium.

Sam Hill's booking on Saturday was his fifth in eleven games and he will now receive a one match ban and therefore miss the home game with Margate on 6 October. Midfielder David Kerr also misses the match for the same reasons.

[mark Beesley]Division Three outfit Southend United are interested in signing City's top scorer Mark Beesley. United sent a scout to watch Beesley at Saturday's game with Dagenham and are expected to table an offer for the striker. Southend boss David Webb said: “I sent someone up to watch Beesley and he was impressed by the number of good positions the player found, and I have been impressed by his strike-rate. The scout told me that Beesley reminded him of former Southend player David Crown. I've spoken to Gordon Hill about the possibility of Beesley being transferred to Roots Hall, so now we'll just have to wait and see what happens.”

Gordon Hill commented: “I've spoken to Dave Webb who is a good friend of mine – he rang me to ask what players had been transfer listed. I obviously value Mark quite highly in the market place because he's the only one in my team looking to score goals at the moment, and he's done very well. I've been told to reduce my budget by fifty per cent, and that's why my senior players have all been transfer-listed. I'll allow Wayne Brown to speak to Droylsden (who've offered £10,000), but I've also been on the phone to Oxford United, Blackpool and Shrewsbury Town to talk to clubs about different players we've circulated them about.”

21 September 2001
For those in the catchment area, tonight at 19:30hrs there is a Fans Forum radio programme on Greater Manchester Radio which is being broadcast from Altrincham FC. The panel includes former City manager Graham Barrow as well as former player, and now Stalybridge manager Paul Futcher. GMR is on FM95.1 and 104.6.

Conference leaders Dagenham & Redbridge visit the Deva Stadium tomorrow as City attempt to pick up their first win of the month at the seventh attempt, Dean Spink and Chris Malkin return to the squad. "Everything's going for the leaders at the moment, but I'll have my side firing on all cylinders." said Gordon Hill.


[Ronnie Hewitt]Former Chester player Ronnie Hewitt has died at the age of 73.

Hewitt made 31 appearances for Chester between 1961-63 scoring 6 goals.

ISA secretary Les Smith has written two articles on the current crisis at Chester City in response to a request from a Rushden & Diamonds fanzine 'Rushin & Rantin'. Descent into Chaos and Terry Smith FC 2001-?.

20 September 2001
Tonight there is a radio Merseyside soccer phone-in during the Alan Jackson programme between 19:00-21:00hrs. With the club expected to be put into administration (again) in the next few days, this is a great opportunity for City fans to air their views on the shambles at the Deva Stadium. Radio Merseyside can be found at 95.8FM and the phone number to ring for the programme is 0151 709 9333.

Chester play host tonight to Congleton Town in the first round of the FA Umbro Cheshire Senior Cup.

Once again Gordon 'tactical genious' Hill's City were brushed aside by part-time opposition as they lost 3-0 to a depleted Leigh RMI, who leapfrogged Chester in the process. It's patently clear that only a handful of the side are up to Conference standard football, the rest clearly aren't. It's six games now without a win for City, and, with two tough fixtures against Dagenham and Stevenage next up the slide into the Conference relegation zone looks inevitable.

Prior to the match one player had told radio Merseyside's Neil Turner that some of the players had been asked to take a 50% pay-cut, and that seven players have been told that they've been placed on the transfer list. Andy Porter was offered to Hereford United but refused to move as he didn't want to travel too far from his Holmes Chapel home.

The players on the transfer list, all senior ones, are Mark Beesley, Chris Blackburn, Wayne Brown, David Kerr, Martyn Lancaster, Andy Porter and Carl Ruffer.

[Andy Porter]Andy Porter said: �I was placed on the transfer list in the summer without being told, and I was again transfer-listed about a month ago, before being told again yesterday. The club is in one big mess at the moment and something has to happen sooner rather than later. The lads were told they were transfer-listed as a cost-cutting exercise before last night�s match after agents representing other clubs had been asking about them. It wasn�t the best preparation for last night�s match – we should have been told after the game, but everything was out in the open well before we kicked off. Porter, who lives at Holmes Chapel, revealed Hereford United had shown an interest in him a few weeks ago. He added: I can go on a free transfer. Hereford were interested in me a few weeks ago, but I�ll wait until the right club comes in for me because I don�t fancy a lot of travelling. I enjoy helping my dad in his farming and hedge-cutting business on Sundays, afternoons and during my days off because I like being outside. Everyone was shocked by yesterday�s announcement, but we still don�t know whether the club has been sold after being told it has. Something has got to happen very soon otherwise we�ll see the club shut down.�

Gordon Hill commented: "The sales are purely for financial reasons. The powers that be have said this needs to be done, or we'd have no club, and obviously it depletes the squad rapidly. The players going are shocked and taken aback, but we've got to consolidate. I'll be putting a side out that gives 100%. Look at Hull, they closed the gates on the training ground to Brian Little last season, but now they've gone out and spent £800,000. Football can change quickly."

18 September 2001
City's 2-1 home defeat by Boston United on Saturday drops them to 16th spot in the Conference with nine points from nine games. New signing David McNiven made a promising debut for the Blues but they were once again found wanting in midfield where the experienced Mike Marsh was allowed to run the game for the visitors. Chester have now failed to win in any of their five matches in September but have a chance to make amends tomorrow night when they make the short trip for a Conference match at Leigh RMI, who produced the result of the day on Saturday, winning 1-0 at leaders Dagenham & Redbridge. City's Youth Team also lost on Saturday, 2-0 at Lincoln City.

14 September 2001
The football club have been thrown out of this seasons LDV Vans Trophy because the current Deva Stadium capacity of 4,000 isn't up to the Football League requirement of a minimum 6,000. City qualified for the competition after they won last season's Nationwide Variety Club Trophy. Chester's place in the competition will go to Leigh RMI.

Midfielder Scott Ruscoe is out of tomorrow's home clash with high-flying Boston United through suspension following his red card at Barnet. Striker Chris Malkin is also out through injury. Meanwhile David Linighan and David McNiven (York City) have both signed short-term contracts with City and Chris Blackburn has been recalled from a loan spell at Rochdale. The club can expect a larger than average away following tomorrow from Lincolnshire which may take City over their average home gate so far of just 703.

13 September 2001
Chester City Council have taken action against the club in a court case after claims that the unauthorised sale of televisions and cars took place at Deva Stadium. A spokesman for the City Council said: “It is unfortunate that the City Council has had to take action against the football club but in the circumstances where a tenant is prepared to ignore the terms of their agreement we have no choice in the matter. We are aware that the club want to undertake other events at the stadium but without the agreement of the developer Morrison, who guarantee the current rent, this has not proved possible at the current time.” The hearing has been adjourned and no date has been fixed yet.
Chester are looking to take 23-year-old Cambridge United striker Leon Kelly on loan in an effort to boost their goalscoring potential, which currently appears to be restricted to just Mark Beesley. Kelly recently signed for Cambridge and the club are looking to give the 5' 11" striker a run out.

Good luck to former assistant manager Paul Beesley who has signed for League of Ireland club Kilkenny.

11 September 2001
According to radio Merseyside last night, Terry Smith stated that he had sold his shares in the football club to an "international sports and leisure company" but there were two conditions involving the new deal. The first is that at least 1,200 turn up for tonight's match with Stalybridge and the same for Saturday's home game with Boston United! The second condition involves the City council reducing the rent on the ground. Does Terry Smith think we were all born yesterday! At this rate we're going to get a 'club sold' statement two days before every home game in an effort to con the fans back, it just won't work, the fans have be told too many lies over recent months. Why won't the new buyers, if indeed they exist, name themselves then we'll all have some belief that things are really happening. Any new buyer will be only too aware of the problems at Chester, why aren't they speaking to fans groups? what have they got to lose?

Thanks to all those at the ISA who organised and to those who attended Friday night's Race Night. Just over £600 was raised which, along with a Football League donation, will take care of at least half of the Chester City Ladies FC travel expenses this season. If all goes to plan the girls will be having another race night toward the end of the season – watch this space.

10 September 2001
How Chester managed to come away from the Amita Stadium with a point on Saturday will still mystify most of those present. Mark Beesley's 92nd minute equaliser was hardly deserved as City turned in one of their poorest performances for a very long time. For long periods of the match City were second best to their part-time opponents who were playing in the Ryman Premier League last season and, but for an astonishing miss on half-time by Vansittart, would have wrapped things up at the break. City will be looking far major improvement for tomorrow night's visit of Paul Futcher's Stalybridge Celtic side to the Deva, a side which should include former player Matt Woods.

7 September 2001
Quite a few strong stories are doing the rounds this morning reporting that the club has been sold to an international company and, wait for it, the Smith's will sever all links with Chester City FC very shortly. We've heard all this before of course, over and over again, but the latest story is now being widely reported. Meanwhile Wayne Brown and Chris Blackburn have been placed on the transfer list and the club have signed trialist goalkeeper Michael Berocchi. "We have put him through his paces and he looks the part. I would have no hesitation in playing him tomorrow if Brown was sold," said Gordon Hill. It's since been reported that Berocchi has returned to France with an injured foot. Defender Dave Linighan has also joined Chester City on trial, he's previously played for Hartlepool United, Derby County, Shrewsbury Town, Ipswich Town, Blackpool and Southport.

There will be an official supporters' coach to Farnborough leaving Delamere Street at 08:30hrs tomorrow. Although there are only 28 fans booked the shortfall in the cost of coach hire will be met by the organisers. Late bookings can be made with Barrie Hipkiss on 01244 379011 (calls between 18:00-20:00hrs please). The cost of the trip is £15.

City's Youth Team are at home to Port Vale tomorrow in the first round of the Youth Alliance Cup. The first round is played as a mini league and the other teams involved in Chester's group are Walsall and Shrewsbury Town.

6 September 2001

{Wayne Brown]Goalkeeper Wayne Brown has spoken out at his frustration at not being able to get away from Chester. City's Semi-pro international goalkeeper said "I'm not too bothered about seeing my contract out at Chester, but I've been unhappy about approaches for me being knocked back at the club. I know Oxford manager Mark Wright made a bid for me and that would have been a great move. I had negotiated wages with them but Chester kicked the move out. I know a lot of clubs who would be happy to have me, but they won't make a move for me because they don't like dealing with the people at Chester. Blackpool are the latest club who have shown interest, and they invited me to train with them. They would have taken me on a free transfer, but Chester won't let me go because they want cash. It is frustrating to be in my position and I've had three of four arguments with Gordon Hill in the changing rooms, but that is normal at any football club. If Chester get a new owner I may want to stay but I'm not interested in signing a new contract as things stand, and I'm not interested in a move to Telford United if they agree to let their keeper Ryan Price come to Chester."

5 September 2001
City's crowd of 605 last night was the club's lowest League crowd in peacetime football since the 1920s. The previous lowest League total was 631 who watched the home game with Reading forty miles away at Moss Rose in March 1991.

City squandered a two goal lead given to them by Dean Spink and Scott Ruscoe last night, and the 2-2 draw with Telford drops the Blues down to 17th position in the Conference. Chester named trialist Michael Berocchi on the bench as a substitute goalkeeper. Berocchie, 21, is at Chester after playing for French side Lyons in pre-season, and he lined up for Rushden & Diamonds last season.

4 September 2001
The Blues take on Telford United at the Deva Stadium tonight (19:45hrs) hoping to improve on Saturday's performance at Barnet. There's not much wrong on the pitch at City either if you believe Chris Malkin. Speaking in the Shropshire Star he said: “We're struggling to deflect people's attention away from the problems of the club and on to the pitch as we're trying to establish a good team spirit. We lost 3-1 at Barnet at the weekend, but that wasn't a true reflection of the game and we'll be determined to bounce back against Telford. We've still got quality players and have got to be a top eight or top six side this year. There are signs we're starting to get things right on the pitch and, once everything has settled down, we'll be looking to silence a few critics.” Most who travelled to Barnet will have a different opinion on the side that looked anything but a top six or eight outfit.

3 September 2001
Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Barnet leaves Chester in 16th spot in the Conference with six points earned out of a possible 15. Disciplinary matters are bad too with no fewer that 13 yellow and 2 red cards in just five matches. Defender Michael Rose will miss tomorrow's home match with Telford United through suspension and Scott Ruscoe is expected to miss the home clash with top-of-the-table Boston United on the 15th following his red card at Underhill on Saturday.

City's Youth Team won a friendly 2-1 at Telford United on Friday. The goals came from trialist's Levi Kennedy and Otis Thomas.

The Chester City Ladies are having a Grand Race Night at the Catholic Club in Brook Street, Chester, on Friday 7th September (2 days before the long trip up to Chester-Le-Street). The main reason of the event is to raise enough money to provide transport for all of this seasons away fixtures (estimated cost will be nearly £3,000). The event is being organised by the tireless Mickey Clifford (ISA) who has worked tirelessly to get all the races sponsored, the horses sold and jockeys found. Please help the Ladies team in their cause in what promises to be a fun night out. The start time is to be confirmed. Ladies FC fixtures.

A supporters coach is being planned for Chester�s first-ever match at Farnborough on Saturday, 8 September, which will leave at 08.30hrs and cost £15. Anyone wanting to book a seat on one of the buses being arranged should contact Barrie Hipkiss on (01244) 379011 between 18:00 and 20.00hrs. The coach will only run if there is sufficient demand.
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