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Results tagged “Milton Graham” from Chester Chronicle - Deva Fever

Rise of the Phoenix

By Banksy on Mar 14, 10 01:17 AM in

I decided I'd wait a few days to update this blog, as it was always going to be difficult waving goodbye to the club I'd followed since I was 7 years old, but at 11.12am on Wednesday, that finally happened - the fact that Chester City failed to send anyone to defend the winding up summed the club's owners up, Stephen Vaughan had finally wrecked the club in the space of 30 seconds - that's all it took for the Judge to put the hammer down on Chester City's existence.

I've lots of emotions flying around towards the Scouser, who has systematically reduced the football club I love to its knees, but I refuse to give in, this is where the future starts - no more Vaughan family, this is our chance as supporters to make sure the club in essence lives on.

Having done more and more interviews with the local & national media this week than ever before, I am more than determined to make sure that the people of Chester have a team to watch in August - there is no alternative in my eyes - even though several local clubs have offered this, that & the other to Chester fans to get a footy fix - I just cannot do it, for me it has to be watching Chester at the Deva.

That's why I have backed the idea of what City Fans United are doing so much, this is the way forward, and so far the signs are very very encouraging - the Council have met us a few times now, and the feelings are that they want the same as us, a football club the city can be proud of - it can't be that difficult surely - just those in charge of the club decided to do nothing to engage the local community in the last 20 years.

Seeing the former players wanting to do more for the CFU's plans has been extremely heartening, and only the other night, I received a call from Chester's legendary goalkeeper in the 70's & 80's, Grenville Millington, telling me that it was great that we were spreading the word across the likes of Radio 5, and offered to do anything he could to assist us in our aim of breathing new life into Chester Football Club.

That said it all for me, the ex-players want it as much as we do, they were the ones I stood on the Sealand Road end supporting, and now they were the ones giving me encouragement to keep doing what we're doing.

It wasn't just Grenville. The likes of midfield maestro of the 80's Milton Graham, legend & City's highest ever goalscorer Stuart Rimmer, Paul Carden - the last Chester player to lift a trophy high, Elfed Morris, who sent me a text that choked me so much I couldn't speak for hours, Eddie Bishop, stating his disbelief that the Club was heading the way of liquidation, Iain Jenkins, who spoke so highly of a club he came to love - I could go on, but I would probably end up in tears!

They confirmed to me that we the supporters own the history of the club, and we will take that forward with us, the great name of Chester Football Club needs a band aid fixed to it right now, and get the Community going again - let's not forget the run in 74/75 (gutted mind that I was only 1 year old when that started so missed quite possibly the best season in Chester's history!), where the likes of Terry Owen & John "Jesse" James beat the League Champions Leeds United 3-0 at Sealand Road in front of nearly 20,000, now I accept the game has changed since then, but emotions certainly haven't.

I want to see those days again, and I won't rest again until I do - they may be a long way off, but I won't stop trying to get there - and I'm sure other Chester fans won't either.

In fact, right now seems to be an apt time to state that I have never worked together with such a group of professionals as I am doing now with the CFU committee. Everyone on that committee has been up their knees in it in their own workplace - but has still managed to throw everything at what we are trying to achieve for our football club.

The committee and myself I'm sure I can state, are after no recognition, we just want the same as everyone else - to be able to start watching football at the Deva again on a hot sunny afternoon at the Deva - okay we'll settle for miserable weather just as long as the match takes place.

I've followed Chester for 30 years now, and many more have followed for more, some for less, but we all have the same thing in common - desire to see our club do well.

I've had so many messages of support from Chester fans in the last couple of weeks, it would be remiss of me not to mention my thanks to all of those - there have also been a tiny minority of people who have sent e-mails criticising our support of the liquidation of the club - what I would say to those people, is what do you think would have happened come May?

We would have been unable to fulfil fixtures, the club would have been an even bigger embarrassment and the Conference would certainly have booted us out at that stage, and if we were lucky, the Unibond would have accepted us, but with players not being paid for 4 months, the club would have folded then, and the difference being there would have been no time to ensure that football continued at the Deva in August - what the March 10th decision means is that we are now given time to reform the club, and get into the football pyramid - of course the Council hold the keys to the Deva, but they also hold the key to whether or not it wants football to continue in Chester - I am confident that they do.

I would ask those who were critical of the CFU to give the reformed club a chance - remember we wanted the same as you - a club to support - but this was taken away by one family, one some of those people actually believed would do the best for the club - not a chance.

Then we come to the selection of the name for the reformed club, for me it's clear, we are Chester, and to retain the history of the club, my own personal choice is Chester Football Club, it would keep the identity going, and also make sure the former players would still be attached to the reformed club, and it would just be like going back to the good old days before the bad times came about, clapping and singing "We're Chester" on the terraces again.

There is a lot of work to be done still, and I know the committee are doing all we can to give the fans what they most desire, and we will not rest until we have secured that aim.

On a personal note, I've loved doing all the interviews, I even managed 12 on my lunch hour at work the other day, and paid for it with the driest of throats, but it made that pint in midweek all the more delicious. It's great to see that the CFU have managed to tap in to the national media now, having spoken to BBC, ITV, Sky, Radio 5, Talk Sport, and a host of internet sites, and the national papers - we really have got our message across.

It was great to go on Colin Murray's sports show on Friday night, and get our first two signings of the season - should we be successful in our efforts to reform the club - Colin pledged to pay £2000 if his guests ex-Gunner Perry Groves, and ex-Evertonian Pat Nevin were named as unused substitutes for next season - that was a deal done in seconds, and I'm sure both will attend the Deva next season!

A couple of things I have to mention - the fans of other clubs from across the country have been superb, and have sent messages of support to all Chester fans, they want us back on the footballing map as soon as possible, and can't believe we have been treated so badly.

Finally, a word for Mrs Banks, who despite not liking football, has put up with me going on about it, and me becoming a stranger to our own house - I keep on expecting her to call the police as she won't recognise me soon with everything that's going on, but she has been telling me that she will be there at the first home game of the new season - well someone needs to make the sandwiches don't they?

Only joking - everyone's support is very much appreciated!!

That's it for now, catch you soon!

Banksy

What would Harry say?

By Banksy on Dec 12, 09 11:23 PM in

Well it's been a very very busy month since I last posted, and this is pretty much the first time I've been able to stop everything, think about things, and post a blog entry!

Currently nearing the end of December 12th, a poignant date for two reasons, the first being it's a month since I last blogged, but secondly, and more importantly, five years ago today, the Legend that was Harry McNally, sadly passed away.

Harry was simply that "a legend", and will be fondly remembered by many, with so many tales told about the former Chester boss, the one who guided us back to the City of Chester after our exile in Macclesfield.

What would Harry say about our current status? Quite a lot I would imagine, I'd also guess he'd be furious at where we find ourselves, and the turmoil that the club has gone through in the last couple of years.

Harry fought to keep us in the old Division 3 as we played our two seasons in exile at Macc, and whilst admittedly failing once we kicked off football at the Deva, he will always be remembered as a battler.

McNally was without doubt a "miss" at the recent Legends Night event, which we at CFU managed to put together, and I'm so pleased we did, as it turned out to be one of the best nights I can recall, as far as fans bashes go.

Getting in touch with so many ex-players was great, but seeing them come through the door on the night was something else - the first one through being Milton, Milton Graham!

Milton was one of the best players I ever saw in a Chester shirt, and was part of the Graham, Croft, Bennett, Rimmer, attacking side of the 80's, and to see him in the flesh returning to the city 20 years later was a great feeling, and I know he loved it too, and even shared a curry with Chester fans after the Legends Night had reached its conclusion.

Other personal highlights for me were seeing Iain Jenkins travelling down from Scotland to be with us on the night, Jenks would run through a brick wall for Chester, he loves the club, and maybe sometime in the future, he'll be back here.

Seeing the likes of Gary Talbot & Elfed Morris in the same room also filled me with pride, as I tried to piece some of the best players that this club had ever seen, together at the event, and Elfed, now at Colwyn Bay didn't let me down!

One of the most moving moments on the night itself, was Ernie Allen, a Blues fan of over 64 years, who got up to talk about his donation to the Auction, a piece of the Sealand Road end at the old ground (God, I miss that place), and everyone was transfixed on Ernie, and would have loved him to talk all night I think!

I was so pleased everyone had a great time on the night, there was a lot of work involved in the set up and it would be remiss of me not to personally thank Dave Cartwright for his help, and also to Chas Sumner & Grenville Millington for their help in the build up & on the night.

I'd also like to thank the Chester Chronicle who did a superb feature on the event itself, and photographer Rick Matthews, who captured all the Legends on camera, and I know Rick really enjoyed the event too!

Finally on the subject of the Legends Night, I'd like to thank the CFU Working Group, who many of you may not have realised, were working their backsides off on the night from start to finish, helping to make the night go to plan, and also to raise valuable funds for the group.

Now, with all that behind us, things on the pitch haven't progressed very much at all, in fact, we've slipped back to 24 points from safety, and now exited the FA Trophy - were we really bothered about that anyway?

400 Chester fans who attended on Friday night quite clearly states that they were not that bothered, and the owners should take note of the alarming fall in attendances recently, at a club that used to regularly attract over 2500 Chester fans, many of whom have turned their backs on the club due to the present & previous owners with the surname Vaughan, who have completely mis-managed what was once a proud League club.

Eralier I talked about the battling spirit of Harry McNally, well that battling spirit was evident from the young lads who managed to grab a draw (and could have won had it not been for a terrible decision not to award a last minute penalty for the Blues) against Luton. Many people, including myself, thought we'd get turned over by the newly relegated side, but the kids of Chester proved what a poor decision it was to close the Centre of Excellence midway through 2009, as seven of them took to the field and held Luton to a draw.

Jack Rea & Jo Freeman, as well as Shaun Kelly were pretty impressive in that game, and that bodes well for their future, whether that future lies with Chester City depends I guess on whether or not they actually get paid for the efforts, it wouldn't surprise me if the PFA were actually involved in more talks with the lads in the very nesar future - if they are not already.

Turning to CFU matters, and things have progressed slightly, with the new Committee being ratified at the Home Guard Club on Thursday, and a good meeting was held, with opinions being shared about the current state of the club. Expect to hear more soon as the new committee are set to meet prior to Christmas.

It's with Christmas I finish off with, as we are nearing that time of the year again, and when asked what I'd like for Christmas, my response is quite clear:

A change in ownership of the club I love please.

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