November 2008 Archives
Do you have several million pounds you've been storing under your mattress for a special occasion? Have you found yourself with a little extra to spend following the Government's decision to cut VAT to 15%? Want to make your Christmas a little more magical?
Why not spend your hard-earned cash on something that will make you the talk of the town? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, now is *your* chance to own Chester City, officially ranked as one of the nation's top 100 football clubs!
Now on the market, and situated near a popular commercial district and major transport networks, this charming, detached stadium offers pleasant views of the River Dee and...some fields, as well as being in both England and Wales, a unique feature which you can show off to other football club-owners.
With several careful owners (and some less so, quite frankly), this club has everything you need to be a success - a well-maintained pitch, some floodlights, a bar, a couple of burger stalls, a car park which becomes even more easy to find a space at with each passing season, a shop which is sometimes open and a die-hard core fanbase of 1,200 maniacs who'd support the club through thin and thinner.
There's also a squad of City players who, for the most part, will give it their all for the full 90 minutes, although some get a little discouraged when the team is five goals down...again...
* For further details on this wonderful opportunity to own a football club at a price that's much more affordable than the overly-fancy, so-called 'Premiership' clubs, contact a Mr S Vaughan at the Deva Stadium, Bumpers Lane, Chester. Hurry now, offer might end soon!
"I'm happy here as assistant manager. I'm learning every day, gaining experience. I have no qualms about staying here but it's down to the chief executive, the chairman and of course the new manager. I'm happy here."
Wayne Allison, November 14, 2008, speaking to the Chester Chronicle.
"I wanted to bring people up to date with my situations, as I have now left Chester City. I felt it would be a difficult situation to remain at the club after the change of circumstances, although I must stress that Mark Wright had wanted me to stay on in a coaching capacity and didn't want me to leave."
Wayne Allison, November 16, writing on his blog at mysportsthoughts.com.
Seems to sum up another typical week at the Deva Stadium, really. News of the Chief's depature has come as a mild surprise, and it's sad he didn't stay long enough at the club to carve a name for himself as a potential manager.
But, with the incoming Mark Wright and Steve Bleasdale management team, it appeared to be a case of 'two's company, three's a crowd' and Allison seemed to be the unlucky third wheel.
It's also a shame we never got the chance to see the Chief lace up his football boots and appear for Chester City as a player either. But the best of luck to him for his future - his short tenure at the club didn't get to see much in the way of success on the pitch, but he was popular with the fans.
The continual revolving door seems not to be just limited to managers and assistants, either, with old names potentially making a comeback in the starting XI.
Of course, with numbers limited in the Chester City squad (ever-decreasing attendances resulting in an ever-tighter wage cap mean the squad cannot be too numerous), this could mean outcasts Paul Butler and Tony Dinning could be given another chance to feature.
Not wishing to be unkind, but both will have to produce better performances than the last times they were in a City shirt if they intend to prove themselves worthy of being regular starters.
The acid test for Wright now will be to see if he can ensure City grab a few points before January and, once the transfer window reopens that month, to see who should stay and who should go.
Wright blamed having to sell many key players in the January 2006 transfer window as the main reason for the club's subsequent slump down the table. This is his chance to avenge that, but with the wage cap rule in place, he'll have to do it with one arm tied behind his back...
THE first I'd heard that Mark Wright would be returning to Chester City as manager for the third time, I honestly thought it was a wind-up.
That was until I saw the official website proudly stating the 'Conferance' winning team of Wright and Steve Bleasdale would be back in the driving seat, albeit on a 'non contract basis'.
Whether that means the duo will only be there in a caretaker role, or may lead to a more permanent job at the club, I'm totally unsure. To be honest, I'm totally unsure this was the best possible combination for Chester City no matter how long they'll be there.
Needless to say, message boards have been hives of activity following the bombshell announcement. Some are angry, the majority in disbelief.
True enough, the club was successful under Wright and Bleasdale, winning the Conference and propelling the club back into the football league. Since then, though, Mark Wright left on the eve of the season-opener of the following campaign, before coming back 18 months later to get the club out of a relegation battle. The joy of a five-win streak and escape from relegation was soon tempered by a long series of excruciatingly dull football and negative playing, so much so that Wright left once more.
So can Mark Wright really get the results Chester City need right now, and bring with him the hundreds of disillusioned fans who prefer to do something else with their Saturday afternoons? The first test will begin after Wayne Allison leads the squad out in the home fixture against Morecambe.
Still, might see a few more clean sheets from Chester City now...
Travelling to Chester on the National Express from London to watch the Blues play Millwall was a new 'exile' experience for me.
In the build up to FA Cup First Round day, even being stuck at Birmingham coach station for half an hour on a Friday evening seemed worth it.
The hope of creating a cup shock in beating Millwall's highly rated young side was always there, especially given City's two home victories over London clubs already this season.
Sadly, reality bit during the game itself. Despite unquestionable effort from the side, City never looked to be a threat and the collapse after the opening goal was alarming.
Davies' ineptitude as a manager was there for all to see, apparently deliberating over a substitution for over ten minutes, and finally making it when it was far too late.
Four victories in thirty-one games as Chester manager tells its own story. Such a record was also entirely predictable from a man woefully inequipped to manage a football league side.
These stats look good when compared with my own personal record of watching Chester this calendar year - 13 games attended, 0 wins seen.
It may be good for 'The Chief' Wayne Allison that I won't be in the crowd for Morecambe on Saturday.
SO FAREWELL then, Simon Davies. Manager number 12 since club owner Stephen Vaughan took hold of the reins (if you include the six caretaker roles), and what has been the reaction among fans? Apathy, glumness, and a general 'ho-hum' atmosphere.
It sums up the general mood of the club that hardly anyone is shocked. Absolutely no ill will is meant against Simon Davies, but he never convincingly looked like he'd made the step up from coaching the youth team (where he had shined).
But we've been here before, haven't we? So many times a new manager has attempted to breathe fresh life into the club, they'd get the results for about a month, before a run of bad games would shift them out before the end of the season.
All right, in Simon's case, he unfortunately never had that good run of form to lift spirits among the squad and the fans (a clutch of 0-0 draws, although preserving Chester's league status last season, is hardly awe-inspiring), but such records have become depressing for all concerned.
I wish Simon Davies all the best for his future, and sad that he's yet another manager leaving with a poor-looking record on his CV. Still, it didn't stop ex-gaffer Bobby Williamson going on to become manager of the Ugandan national team, of all places!
Potential managers to head City now include Wayne Allison (most likely the first choice, unless he turns the role down), Steve Bleasdale (former Mark Wright assistant) or Brian Little (who'd have to do better than at the last club he was at....where was it?....somewhere in Wales?....ah yes, those fellas in red).
Whoever the new incumbent is, I wish them the best of luck. They'll certainly need plenty.
I CANNOT believe it is 11 years since I last visited Exeter.
Back in the 1996/97 season, we witnessed one of the most memorable matches in our history, beating Exeter 5-1 after going a goal down before half time.
My wax jacket was never the same again after the torrential rain throughout the match, but when you win 5-1 away, who really cares?
So it was with these fond memories I agreed to meet up with other Exiles, travelling Chester City supporters and family for a B&B weekend in the Devon town in the hope that history may repeat itself.
The writing was on the wall, of course, after Exeter received a very uncharacteristic 6-1 drubbing by Chesterfield at home on the previous Tuesday, the same night Chester also caused some raised eyebrows by the 3-0 "thrashing" (quote Setanta Sports News) of high flying Brentford. Something had to give and as past experience tells us that is usually Chester - and it was!
On cue, the rains came again as we huddled together in what seemed like no more than a 10ft wide visitors' terrace behind the goal, hoping that any shot would be on target for fear of being knocked unconscious, if not. Things didn't look good when the teams changed ends after the toss which meant that the Blues were shooting towards us in the first half. You know it is going to be a long match when this happens, and it was. In truth, Chester matched Exeter reasonably well for most of the game except for the all important lapses of concentration which led to Exeter's two goals. They didn't really deserve the three points but I suppose Chester didn't really deserve to win either.
More of concern was that John Danby was obviously carrying an injury and in pain for the whole of the match. While it may not make economic sense to be paying an experienced goal keeper when you don't have a reserve team to play him in, surely it is playing Russian Roulette every match without one?
I know it is hard running a club like Chester on a shoestring and in a football rich area such as the north west but I do wonder if we have things right at Chester? Should we be concentrating and trying to attract investment into building a decent team to get the success that will bring the crowds back (I am seriously worried at the steep decline in our support and the loss of our future generation of fans)?
Still it is easy to judge from a distance and maybe, just maybe, this could be our year in the FA Cup. Exeter City seemed to have done well out of their Cup exploits against Manchester United, judging by their very fine stand at the home end.
So bring on the Lions - perhaps this will be OUR YEAR!