August 2008 Archives
LAST season saw the emergence of a number of young players from the much praised Chester City FC youth programme.
This alone was the bright spark of the entire campaign and was the one thing that gave me hope that the club was moving into an era of stability on the field with a squad of players that included a significant number of home-grown talent.
However, the last first few games have left a number of questions in my mind, not least the question of what has happened to those young players that broke into the team last season?
The most puzzling thing that I still can't get my head round, is why Kevin Roberts, a midfield star in the making that attracted the attention of clubs at a higher level, has only made one appearance so far this season - and that at centre half! Given Chester's obvious inability to create goal-scoring opportunities to date this season and the fact the team is shipping goals at a rate of knots at the back, the omission of Roberts is even stranger to work out.
As runner-up in the Chester City Supporters' Trust player of the season (narrowly pipped by Paul Linwood), Roberts was tipped by many as having a big future in the game, albeit that in the long run this will sadly take him away from Chester City. For me it is madness to ignore a lad whose talent is not in question and could be the quick fix that is needed to stabilise our season before we go into a tailspin.
Of the youngsters who broke into the first team last year, Roberts has been the one that has truly impressed and I was looking forward to seeing him build on the reputation he forged in that midfield role last season.
The games against Dagenham and Leeds were extremely poor performances as in both cases the defence was exposed, while the midfield, Mozika being the exception, looked totally dazed as the opposition over ran them time and time again. Clearly there are issues to be resolved and with the transfer window and salary cap to contend with it is going to a difficult job for Simon Davies to turn it around.
The manager says he will search high and low to find a solution but is this a case of not seeing the wood for the trees? The answer maybe right in front of his face - Kevin Roberts.
THIS month will see the 10th anniversary of the formation of the ISA.
In our darkest hours following Chester City - especially after last season's traumas and the less than convincing start this season - it is hard to imagine a more troublesome time. However, history shows that there was such a time when the fans finally said enough is enough and fought back against an owner who had taken our proud club to the depths of despair and out of the Football League.
Actions taken by the ISA then brought about the end of the Terry Smith era who had no stomach for a fight and thankfully sold out once the fans started picketing the ground.
Solidarity was the key then and it remains so now as the club goes through a further period of turbulence with disagreements and raised voices in the dressing room.
The squad must pull together and support one another - let the motto be "all for one and one for all" - otherwise we are likely to sink like a stone and no amount of points deducted from other teams will save us. Fans can play their part by being there and giving the lads your support - more cheering and less sneering. Solidarity on and off the pitch is vital if we are to improve.
The ISA has marked their 10th anniversary with a special newsletter which includes contributions from former ISA chairman Mark Howell, who says: "Players, managers, owners and board members ALWAYS leave but the one thing that remains constant is you, us, the fans."
We were formed out of adversity and are prepared for further changes because change is inevitable. While we are not in a position to dictate our views we will try and maintain dialogue with the current owner and continue to represent the loyal City fans who have kept us going these last 10 years.
Deva Fever welcomes a new blogger to the fold - Madowl Blue. And here's his first blog...
Reasons to believe!
THERE are times when being a Chester City fan is a trying ordeal, not least when you've watched your side begin the new season on such a low.
With 11 goals conceded in the first two matches, including a shocking 6-0 defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge and a 5-2 Carling Cup defeat against a Leeds side that had the game wrapped up comfortably with 35 minutes on the clock, the new campaign could hardly have begun worse for the Blues.
Rumours of a half-time heated scuffle in the Chester dressing room at the Leeds game will not have done anything to improve the currently gloomy climate surrounding the Deva Stadium.
But there are still glimmers of hope. Faint glimmers, admittedly, but a couple of facts that may suggest all is not lost just yet.
Firstly, the second half of the Carling Cup game did see a much-improved City display, and technically they did 'win' that half 1-0, albeit against a Leeds side that had taken their foot off the gas. Nonetheless, spells of fluid passing in the midfield was an encouraging sign, and is a marked change from some of the route one tactics employed by previous managers.
Secondly, it isn't like these kind of results haven't happened before - City were thrashed 5-1 by Wolves in the first round of the Carling Cup in 2005, but few fans grumbled. Yes, Wolves were and are a Championship side when the Blues visited their ground, but so too would Leeds be now, had they not been deducted 15 points at the beginning of last season.
It's also worth remembering that City conceded six against Dagenham last season, yet in the return fixture that season Chester won 4-0. Form can easily turn around in this division.
Finally, there may be a useful boost to City's coffers, in addition to the Sky TV money from the Leeds match broadcast. Former Chester City striker and current Ipswich Town hotshot Jon Walters may be on his way to Stoke this month, for a fee rumoured to be in the region of ÃÂ£3m.
Should the move go ahead, Chester could find the sell-on clause they had negotiated when Walters moved on could pay off big time, with a cash injection of several hundred thousand pounds - more than enough to pay for a strengthened defence!
So with 45 league games to go in this season, an awful lot can still change. Things can only get better...
MY name is Stan, and I am a Chester City supporter.
I use as often as I can although I am thankful that I live 200 miles from the supply. I would like to think that I am a recovering Chester City supporter but like all addicts I know in my heart of hearts I am deluding myself. I just have to take it a day at a time.
Yes, it has damaged my work and personal life and friends and family have been affected too. There are a few highs, but far, far more lows. Often when people try to get me to talk about it I can be resentful and aggressive.
It sounds shocking, but I was introduced to the addiction by my father - and talking to fellow sufferers this is quite common. It started slowly - initially just by limited exposure to The Chester Chronicle that was delivered each week - sent by a 'so-called friend', under plain wrapper, down to us in London. In those days this was the only way of getting tempting sense of the hard stuff - match reports, team news and speculation about the latest imminent new wonder signing.
There is a wonderful organisation that I would recommend to any fellow addicts out there - the Chester City Exiles meet regularly for self help and mutual support. It makes it much easier to know that you are not the only one.