Results tagged “Sealand Road” from Chester Chronicle - Deva Fever
Okay, so this is it then, the last post I put on here was four days after Chester City FC were officially wound up in the High Court in London.
This post though is prior to Cheshire West & Chester Council making arguably the biggest decision in the history of Chester Football Club.
In 125 years, the club has seen many ups and downs, with so many twists and turns along the way, it could outstrip any ride at Alton Towers quite easily, but this week, the Council have the chance to really make a name for itself and back an initiative carried forward by Chester people, for Chester people - and many beyond the good City too.
The Council are of course deciding on two options to relaunch a football club at the Deva Stadium, one from the heart of Chester, the other from overseas (and some would say, an internet group twinned up with a former director linked to the downfall of the previous club).
So, which way will the Council go?
Naturally, every right minded Chester fan will be hoping the Council give City Fans United the go ahead to use the Deva Stadium next season, and give Chester FC - as voted by the fans - the best possible start it could have for life in what we hope will be the Evo-Stik League - I know that just doesn't sound right to me either, but to keep up tradition with the puns, I'm sure we'll all be glued to any any media outlet the day the fixtures come out if we are successful in satisfying both the Council & FA.
The FA of course will have the next say, as CFU will need to prove that the business plan is robust, and also that we are fit & proper - don't snigger, we know that past owners have somehow passed that one, but that is the reason we can't take this lightly, as they will have tightened up immensely since those previous mistakes were made.
We do of course believe that we have a sound business plan in place, and hopefully it will receive the first big tick against it this week, with the FA's soon to follow.
Much has been said about my involvement with CFU, and let me just say here & now, that I or any of the other CFU committee members have any desire to have any stand names named after us - we would be laughed out of the room by each other never mind the membership if we asked for that status.
That's not what we're about, in fact to quote Belinda Carlisle's song from the 80's, "We want the same thing" - that's to witness a Chester side running out at the Deva come August 21st - that's if we're lucky enough to be given a home game as our first one!
It's not just been the committee who have brought this scenario of owning a football club together, it's been the collective effort of everyone, all members, and even those yet to commit, and hopefully many more will commit when the ground is secured.
Now is the time that we really have to step it up though, and raise as much money as possible for Chester FC - that means a variety of things, buying Loan Notes, joining the Seals Lottery, getting a Standing Order set up, buying some of the merchandise on offer on the CFU website, and maybe buying a ticket to this year's big event which I'm organising - the official 125th Anniversary Party for Chester FC, taking place on June 12th - it's going to be a cracker!
So, there we go then, 20 years on from the day the dust settled at Sealand Road when we lost our old ground thanks to another unscrupulous former owner, we stand on the verge of securing our ground for the future of Chester FC - now that could just be an election winning decision to be made!
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 ÃÂ£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!
How many twists and turns can one football club's supporters take?
Chester fans have been well and truly put through the mill in the last two decades, and any hopes that the 'tens would be any better than the Noughties & the Nineties have already been thrown into doubt following the latest crisis that has seen the entire playing squad fail to be paid for two months - and who can blame them walking into other clubs after such a dismal offering from the current owner(s) of Chester City, who have decided that they do not want to pay anyone without a surname called "Vaughan", and are happy to see young professional players struggle with their finances, and be in a position where their mortgages won't get paid, and possibly result in houses being repossessed thanks to non payment.
Remember though, the Vaughan Family have Chester City's best interests at heart.
Jim Harvey, who has done such a great job in shocking circumstances, in keeping the squad together up to this point, must be wondering what on earth he must have done to deserve this from the Vaughan family, who were seeking him out prior to the end of Mick Wadsworth's short stint as Blues manager, who remember said he had not experienced anything like this at any other football club. All the false promises made to Harvey, getting new players in - well we did see Mark Beesley return on loan of course - and who else? Errrm?
If that wasn't bad enough, in comes Morell Maison, who disrupts the team half an hour before the Boxing Day fixture after being announced as Director of Football, which anyone of us with an ounce of sense knows that this is always the killer blow for any Manager's hopes of staying in the hot seat. How many managers can you remember who avoided being replaced by Director's of Football? Then came the revelation that he was looking to bring in two players from Mansfield, without consulting team manager Harvey on the players, and this after claiming he would not be involved in team affairs.
Remember though, the Vaughan Family have Chester City's best interests at heart.
The club also recently had their capacity of the Deva Stadium reduced yet again, after failing to ensure that crush barriers were tested, meaning that the Harry McNally Terrace would no longer be open to home fans, what a tragic insult to the late, and great, Harry McNally. A stand named after the legend himself, yet the current ownership refuse to maintain the home end, imagine the scene at Sealand Road (RIP) if all of a sudden they said they were going to close the home end to home fans, there would have been riots.
The CCTV is not up to standard at the ground, no wonder, if it was, it would probably record the soul being ripped out of the club in the last few years, certainly since the Vaughan family went on a campaign to drag the club down to it's lowest ebb.
Remember though, the Vaughan Family have Chester City's best interests at heart.
This season, we've had attendances plummeting quicker than the temperature gauges around the area of Chester, and many have now most definitely had enough, with the arrival of a person who's last involvement in football was to send a club into Administration. The happiest people at the arrival of Morell Maison will surely be the Halesowen Town fans, who must be relieved that he has ended up at another club other than their own again, after racking up debts at a previous debt free club. Is that what the surely relatively short future of Chester City FC has in store for it?
Maybe, but let's remember, the Vaughan Family have Chester City's best interests at heart.
It's been a real busy time recently as far as my involvement with CFU goes, and I've been pleased that we finally seem to have burst through onto the media scene, with appearances on BBC1, The BBC's Non League Show, and BBC Radio Merseyside, which can only bode well for the group, added to the fact that we have a strong relationship developing with the local press. It's been pleasing to see the membership head towards 500, and this needs to continue upwards, but what is also great is hearing that the CFU Junior Blues are approaching 100 members, a fantastic figure, and one that the JB's Commitee deserve a hell of a lot of credit for.
Remember, City Fans United do have Chester City's best interests at heart, and are showing it, unlike the Vaughan Family.
Until next time.
How refreshing it is to be starting this week's Blog with a win to talk about!
Before the season, a double over Gateshead would have been pretty much expected, however arrogant that sounds, anything less would have been seen as a failure on the part of Chester City.
However, since the belated start of our season, expectations of wins have gone out of the window, with us more hoping we'll take 3 points rather than expecting to.
The doubts did creep in on Thursday prior to Saturday's game, when Daryl Clare signed for Geordie boys, but thankfully he allegedly signed an agreement to not score against City for his new club - nice touch that DC!
So, Jimmy Harvey managed to get off the mark with a win, which coincided with his return to the dugout. I did have to laugh when Shane from Dee 106 told me last week that Harvey was indeed banned from the touchline, great hey, a new manager, who can't really manage on the day!
Now that we've managed to make it Lucky Seven on the away trips, let's hope that we can clinch back to back league (or non league) wins for the first time since 1947, and we can see off AFC Wimbledon on October 31st - maybe the witches will arrive early and turn the Deva into a cauldron of noise in the afternoon!
It's the FA Cup to look forward to next weekend, and despite us not being in the First round just yet, it still brings back memories of the Cup matches we've had down the years - I don't care what anyone says, the magic of the FA Cup is still there - maybe not with the big teams, but for us it is.
Remember those days where we reached the 4th Round, and after beating Wrexham in the snow in their own back yard, we played Sheffield Wednesday at Sealand Road - i remember the place went made when John Kelly stuck one away in the 7th minute - dreams of Wembley started to increase, but then Lee Chapman got the Owls back on level terms - although I'm still convinced it was a foul!
What about the time when we saw Bradford & Hull off, and the prize was a ruddy trip to Plymouth, that was a day and a half, all the way down on the coach, being stuck on the away end, with it chucking it down, losing to a 84th minute goal, then being kept in the ground for 20 minutes after the final whistle, to then being taken on a trek through the Argyle stand just to get back to our own coach.
Having got back on it, most people were portraying the image of a human sponge, and I remember quite a few of us just sat there with boxers on, having whipped the soaking wet jeans off - and then a nice 6 hour journey home - they were the days hey??
Let's hope City can get the win we all badly want up at Barrow, it will certainly be an interesting day for our owner that's for sure.
It's a huge week this week too for City Fans United, as firstly, the Chester City ISA meet tomorrow night to vote on whether to become part of the CFU along with the Supporters Trust, who have already voted in favour of that, then Thursday night, sees the formal launch of the CFU at Divas Show Bar on Station Road (8pm ko), when hopefully they'll be a great turnout for what we hope will be a great Supporters Group, and one that will have a say in the future running of Chester City FC.
In recent weeks, I've been working on contacting ex-Blues to appear on the Legends Night in December, and I'll reveal some of the names hoping to come along on December 3rd, and there are some belters in there!
That's it for now, so City boys, go and get that win in Barrow, so we can be part of the First Round Draw, when who knows, we could end up drawing Wrexham if they are lucky enough to get past FC Halifax - come on the Shaymen!
So, another week in the life of a Chester fan passes by, a no score draw against nine men, a newspaper report claiming that we have six weeks to live, another Manager installed at the Deva, and the worst thing of all....I've got that killer bug, known as Man Flu.
So, I'm drugged up to the eye balls with Lemsips & Beechams typing this blog, so please forgive me if this blog goes off at a tangent somewhere, and I start singing songs by The Doors!
So, Jimmy Harvey is the latest man to sit on the much used ejection seat inside the Managers office at the Deva Stadium, it's just got to be like that one in Austin Powers that Doctor Evil uses - it's been tipped up that much recently, the hinges are starting to get a little bit stressed, a bit like your average Chester fan, although I think we're a bit further down the stress line don't you?
Back on subject, I hope that Jimmy Harvey does well in the hot seat, it's clearly a poisoned chalice, but I hope he can make good of it, though recent history at the club suggests otherwise.
So the Blues then failed to see off the nine men of Hayes & Yeading last saturday, and that evoked memories of the late Derek Mann's nine men of 1995, where City famously pulled a draw from the jaws of a potential drubbing, on a drama filled night at the Racecourse in that place up the A483.
What a night that was, Gary Bennett, who I used to idolise both at Sealand Road & Moss Rose (and of course later at the Deva), in the side for the Goats, and having a penalty saved by Dave Felgate (**** tash as he used to get called by the opposing supporters when taking a goal kick), then "Eddie Eddie Eddie" Bishop put us one up from the spot to send us joyous Blues mad in the away end.
It was of course all to change later in the half as City then managed to end up 2-1 down just 15 minutes later, and thanks to some appaling refereeing at the Racecourse - hmmm, now there's an unusual thing as far as derby games go - we ended up having not one, but two players sent off before the break, and the language was pretty choice from the stands after that one minute of lunacy from the ref.
So, we expected a barrage in the second half, but the Chester lads kept on fighting to the end, to stop it being a humiliating night for us Blues fans, but then they surpassed everyones expectations, and most especially Andy Milner, who levelled things up late on after a great solo run!
Even then, the Wrexham thought they'd won it with Bennett scoring in the last minute, but an obvious foul on Felgate was spotted (amazingly) by the linesman (ahh that would explain it) and City held on to gain an unlikely draw - a moral victory for the Blues.
All that proved that you should never give up on Chester City, and as low as we are at the moment, we, the fans, can save Chester City Football Club.
It's going to be a hard slog, but we can do it, I want my old club back, the one where I used to get so revved up for on matchdays, singing songs til I was blue in the face, and getting behind the lads from start to finish.
Many fans have fallen out of love with the club (and in particular it's owners), but one day we will get Chester City that we all knew & loved, back.
Now where's them Lemsip's again!