CITY DROP TWO PLACES
As a result of tonight’s two Leaue Two results:
Leyton Orient 0 Barnet 0, and Rochdale 1 Bury 1, the
dropped a further two places to a precarious 21st in League Two.
LONG ROAD AHEAD FOR CITY
Blues suffered their 12th defeat in 13 matches at
Grimsby Town on
Saturday, as a Gary Jones header just before the break was enough to see off
new signings Mark Albrighton and Paul Ellender. The Mariners also missed a late
half penalty with Curtis Woodhouse blazing over.
After the defeat new City manager Mark Wright said: “There’s a long
for this club and a lot of work to do, but I am confident I have the players
to be able to succeed. There are a lot of positives to take from today’s
game. I though we showed confidence and desire in parts which I was pleased with.
player is playing for his place each week and the longer I can keep that hunger
throughout the team, the more beneficial it will be for the club. We have a lot
of quality in this squad and it's now up to me to get the full potential from
this side. I am confident we have what it takes to start pulling results together.”
The Blues are next in action on Saturday when another of the division’s
Torquay United visit Deva Stadium.
Picture © Evening Leader
26 February 2006
MINI DERBY POSTPONED
The Youth Team’s match away at Wrexham on Saturday
was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. No new
date has yet been set.
City’s away match at Wrexham
on Sunday 26 March will be all-ticket. The game has
a 12:00 kick-off time.
24 February 2006
LOAN DEFENDERS SIGN ON
Doncaster Rovers defender Mark
Albrighton has joined City on a one month loan. The
ex-Telford United player has started 18 games for Rovers
this season. Meanwhile Boston United central defender
Paul Ellender has also moved to Deva Stadium until the
end of the season. Both are expected to be cleared to
play in tomorrow’s match at Grimsby Town. City
are also hopeful that Goalkeeper Paul Harrison will
also sign after training with the squad this week.
TOUGH TRIP FOR CITY
travel to fourth placed Grimsby Town tomorrow for their first
game under Mark Wright’s
second Deva spell. David Artell and Luke Dimech are both fit
for the trip and new loan signings Mark Albrighton and Paul
Ellender are expected to compete for places in the starting
One City player who will miss out is midfielder
Ben Davies who serves a one match suspension. The home side
will miss a trio of players, Gary Croft, Jean-Paul Kalala and
Michael Reddy, who also serve one match bans.
The two sides
met in September with the Mariners, one place below third
placed City at the time, winning an entertaining
Deva Stadium 2-1.
O’HANLON JOINS COACHING STAFF
Former Bury assistant manager Kelham
O’Hanlon has joined City on a part-time coaching capacity.
He will be
at the Deva for three days a week.
Manager Mark Wright saw the reserve
side draw 2-2 with Tranmere Rovers at Deva Stadium tonight.
The Blues had taken a 2-0 lead through goals from Abdel
El Kholti and an own goal from Paul Martin but were
pegged back after the break. Ex-Liverpool reserve goalkeeper
Paul Harrison played and may put pen to paper after
impressing in the match in which he saved a penalty.
Chester City: Harrison, J.Vaughan,
Curle (Wade 77), Cadwallader (Roberts 69), Marsh-Evans,
S.Vaughan, Rutherford, Dove, Richardson (Holroyd 62),
Asamoah, El-Kholti. Subs not used: Brookfield, Scales.
fixtures | Reserve
table | Reserve
the players for training yesterday and declared: “It
was an interesting session and thankfully most of
the players responded well.”
Four of the current squad: Ben Davies, Michael Branch,
Stewart Drummond and Sean Hessey were all signed by
Wright in his previous spell at Chester, only Davies
however played first-team football under him.
21 February 2006
CITY APPOINT MARK WRIGHT
City have announced that Mark Wright has returned as
their new manager until the end of the season. Given
the circumstances of Wright’s departure in August
2004, on the eve of the clubs first season back in the
Football League, this appointment will be seen as controversial.
Wright was first appointed manager at Deva Stadium in
January 2002 when City were struggling towards the wrong
end of the Nationwide Conference. Results soon improved
and City finished the season mid table.
The following season City reached the play-off stages
before losing on penalties to Doncaster Rovers. In 2003/04
the club went one better and lifted the Nationwide Conference
title, Chester’s first-ever championship.
However, on the eve of Chester’s historic return
to the Football League on 6 August 2004 Wright sensationally
quit the club stating: “It was my decision. The
position was untenable. I did not want it to happen,
but it has. It’s not the right time and I apologise
for that. It’s a very sad day. I know the side
is a good side.” His decision to go public forced
the Chester board of directors at the time to issue
the following statement.
After an absence out of the game Wright returned to
management last summer at League Two rivals Peterborough
United. However after guiding the team into the top
ten, he was suspended by Posh in mid January pending
an internal investigation and was dismissed at the
end of the month for what Peterborough announced as “gross
misconduct”. Wright is taking legal action over
Wright’s first game back in charge will be this
Saturday when City travel to fourth placed Grimsby Town.
As City manager Wright’s Conference record was P101
W57 D27 L17. Including all cups it was P121 W65 D31
L25 (that includes the Cheshire Senior Cup).
Chairman Steve Vaughan told the Daily Post: “I
am not making this appointment to win any popularity
contests; I am making it in the best interests of Chester
City Football Club. The decision to relieve Keith Curle
of his duties was also made in the best interests of
the club. I hope our supporters accept both decisions.”
Wright also told the paper: “It’s a challenge
but I am looking forward to it. My heart was always
with Chester and I am proud of what we achieved when
we won the Conference title. The memory of the joy on
everybody’s face at the club when we won the championship
will stay with me for ever. Ironically I am returning
to the club when it’s in a similar position to
the one it was when I originally joined last time.”
SUSPENSION FOR DAVIES
Midfielder Ben Davies picked up
his fifth yellow card at the weekend and will be suspended
to Grimsby Town on Saturday.
NO APPOINTMENT FOR 48 HOURS
The football club have announced
to reports on local radio, Chester City wishes to confirm that
no appointments have been made either on a permanent or temporary
basis to fill the vacant manager’s position.’ Applications
have been received for the post and these are currently under
consideration and an announcement is not expected until Tuesday
at the earliest.
The statement comes after
it had been reported on Dee 106.3 radio
at 14:00hrs that Ray Mathias was to return to Deva
until the end
the season with Ron Yeates as his assistant.
Mathias has been at the Deva before, he was appointed in a
similar role in August 2004 following the shock
departure of Mark Wright and before the appointment of Ian
Rush, he was then made Director of Football, a post he left
three months later.
KEITH CURLE LEAVES CHESTER
nine months in charge of the team, manager
Keith Curle has left Chester
City following today’s
home defeat by Leyton Orient. The defeat today is Chester’s
11 in the last 12 League Two outings that
has seen the side slip from a play-off position
just four points above a relegation spot.
statement is expected to be made by
Curle was appointed manager on 29 April 2005 from David
Bell who had acted in a caretaker role following the
departure of Ian Rush. Bell remained on as an assistant
manager along with John Gannon until they were both
dismissed following the five goal defeat at Carlisle
Curle was introduced to the City
crowd prior to the last home game of the
season against Northampton Town
and actually took charge on 2 May.
A week later 20
players were shown the door with only nine
of the 29 man squad remaining after the dramatic shake-up.
Over the summer Curle started rebuilding a squad,
record signing Gregg Blundell
Rovers as well as several players who had played for him
before at Mansfield Town. Pre-season City drew
a home 1-1 with Stoke
City and won seven other matches against non-league opposition,
they were also thumped 6-0 at Blackpool.
City started the season
in fine fashion with a 1-0 victory at Peterborough
United managed by ex-City
boss Mark Wright. Home wins over Mansfield
Town, Bristol Rovers and Carlisle United kept
in touch with the early season pace setters at
Two. Away from the Deva maximum points were picked
up at Torquay United and Barnet while the Blues,
scoring for fun, shared six goals at Wycombe
Curle’s achievements hadn’t gone
unnoticed and he was tipped to become assistant to Neil Warnock
job at Southampton. Warnock, a close friend of Curle’s,
ruled himself out of the running though after initial talks
with the Hampshire
November saw City embark on a six
game unbeaten run including the double over Posh
and home FA Cup wins against
Invicta and League One side Nottingham Forest.
Chester maintained a play-off
spot with a gutsy 1-0 victory at Leyton Orient
December, that was 12 matches ago and six successive
home defeats have followed in a run that has seen
little success. A 2-1 win
ironically at Curle’s former club Mansfield
Town, and a two
goal fightback in the third round of the FA Cup
at Cheltenham Town is all the Blues fans have had
to cheer. With a home televised fourth round draw
against Newcastle dangling in front of them City
lost the Deva replay and
around £250,000 in lost potential revenue.
With the transfer window
set to close in January, and experienced heads
needed on the pitch,
Curle brought in three
young defenders to debut at Carlisle. After the five
goal thrashing all three were sent packing, joining
Curle’s assistant manager’s David Bell
and John Gannon, as well as the club physio Clive
Last weeks home defeat
by bottom of the table side Stockport County
saw City slip to
just six points from
a relegation spot, yesterday’s defeat by the
them two points nearer and proved to be the last
straw bring an end to his Deva reign. What went wrong?
injuries (Blundell in particular), players underperforming
and tactical decisions have all unfortunately contributed
to the club’s spiral down the league.
His meeting with the Exiles prior
to the victory at Barnet in October proved what
a likebale man he was. Over an hour spent fielding
questions on all sorts of Chester/football related
was frankly delivered and warmly received, City
fans will wish him well for the future.
Chairman Steve Vaughan
said of Curle’s sacking: “This
was the hardest decision I have to make since
at Chester. I
took stock of the situation after we went a goal down,
and quite frankly I didn’t think the
responded at all. Unfortunately that problem
has been happening with momentous regularity recently.
can’t be accused of not giving
Keith a chance, the side has only recorded one
in 14 cup and league games, our attendance was
down to just 2,200 on Saturday and it's obvious
the support is slipping away whilst we are having
this poor run. I would like to thank Keith for his
efforts whilst he was with us, and obviously we
in his future career.”
Picture © Evening
YOUTH TEAM HELD BY SHREWS
The youth team draw 1-1 at home
with Shrewsbury Town this morning. Conditions on the
training pitch at Airbus were boggy but it was the
Blues who adapted quicker to the conditions and took
half lead through Chris Holroyd following good work
from Paul Rutherford. Despite having much of the play
after the break, City were made to pay for missed chances
as the Shrews leveled three minutes from time.
report | Youth
fixtures | Youth
17 February 2006
LOWE DOUBT FOR CITY
Lowe is in a race against time to be fit for tomorrow
home clash against Leyton Orient at Deva Stadium.
Lowe, City’s top scorer this season, has a
calf injury that would have ruled him out of the
match at Boston united. Fellow striker Gregg Blundell
is also reported to be suffering with a hip injury.
Midfielder Tom Curtis returns to the squad after
the last two matches through suspension and defender
Luke Dimech is also expected to be available after
recovering from tonsillitis.
The O’s come to Chester with an impressive
away record that reads W8 D6 L2 F27 A22 and currently
fifth place in League Two, they haven’t won
for seven matches though. Goalkeeper Glyn Garner
was called up to the Welsh international squad
during the week.
The sides last met in early December when
the Blues turned
to come away from the capital with a 1-0 victory,
thanks to a Stewart Drummond goal on the stroke
half-time, despite being under tremendous pressure
for the majority of the game. Since
then though City have lost 10 of their following
11 league matches and will be looking to reproduce
the same battling qualities displayed at Brisbane
Road if they are to get anything from tomorrow’s
Orient 0 Chester City 1 [last
Picture © Evening
16 February 2006
CLUB ANNOUNCE THEIR ‘VISION FOR THE FUTURE’
board of directors have announced ambitious proposals
for the future of Deva Stadium entitled ‘Our Vision
for the Future’. The statement is reproduced below.
The club are using the example
of the partnership between Widnes Vikings rugby club
and Halton Borough Council as the way forward and
are proposing a similar scheme at Chester.
The ground is currently owned by
the football club on land owned by Chester City Council
who we pay rent to and rates to Flintshire County
Council. With the Deva Stadium currently having restrictions
in place regarding non-football use, and with it bringing
restrictions of income, the club propose to give the
ground to the City council for free providing they
develop the site “with the stadium as the focal
point to house other sporting facilities, corporate
hospitality/office suites, function rooms, crèche,
cafe/bistro and further bar facilities.”
As new owners of the facility the
council would be responsible for the upkeep and repair
of the facility. The club would then hire the facility
back from the city council on match days for an agreed
fee. Gate receipts and any income generated by corporate
hospitality on match days would remain with the football
Staying with the Widnes link,
the City players and the Vikings squad will be
forces for training one day next week. Chairman Steve
Vaughan, who joined the Vikings board towards
end of last year, told the Daily Post: “Both
Keith Curle and Steve McCormack (the Vikings coach)
have contacted each other, and next week we will
spice up training a bit and hopefully make it a
interesting. The squads will join together early
next week in a one-off exercise, and we will put
players through 45 minutes of football training,
and then a further 45 minutes of rugby league training.
It’s been designed to make training a bit different
for both clubs. Hopefully the players will respond
well and find it different as well as rewarding for
Picture © Evening
vision for the Future
Many of you will have
read Chairman Stephen Vaughan's interview
with Chester Chronicle Sports Editor, David
As a follow up to that interview the board of
Chester City Football Club would like to give
you a glimpse of how we see our vision of the
future of Chester City Football Club.
In the interview with David Triggs, Stephen
Vaughan touched on the subjects of Widnes, Chester
City Council and the long term plans for the
future of the Saunders Honda Stadium.
Although all separate issues in their own right,
they do form one common bond and that bond is
that given the right backing and funding then
a Community can benefit from a under used asset.
Stephen has seen how the Widnes Vikings in partnership
with Halton Borough Council have built a facility
that benefits the people and businesses of that
Borough and the local Rugby League Club.
Our vision is to take that model and replicate
it at Chester.
At the heart of our vision sits the Saunders
Honda Stadium which is owned by the football
club; however it sits on land owned by Chester
City Council who we pay rent to and rates to
Flintshire County Council.
At present the football stadium has restrictive
covenants on it that only allows for the stadium
to be used to host football matches. Therefore
Chester City FC can only generate a guaranteed
income from the stadium on 23 days of the year
which obviously equates to our 23 home league
This means that what should be an asset to the
Football Club in some respect becomes a burden.
The overheads attached to running the stadium
hugely impact on the profitability of the Football
Chester City FC is aware that the Northgate
Arena is due to be demolished in the near future
and we feel that a lot of these facilities could
be accommodated within the "Deva Sports
Therefore we will propose to Chester City Council
that we will give them the Saunders Honda Stadium
free of charge if in return they redevelop the
site (Deva Sports Village) with the stadium
as the focal point to house other Sporting facilities,
Corporate Hospitality/Office Suites, Function
Rooms, Crèche, Cafe/Bistro and further
bar facilities. We also see the site as being
adaptable as a Music Venue and able to host
Trade Fairs due to its location.
As new owners of the “Deva Sports Village"
Chester City Council would be responsible for
the up keep of the stadium.
Chester City FC would then hire the facility
back from the City Council on match days for
an agreed fee. Chester City FC would retain
the gate receipts and any income generated by
Corporate Hospitality on match days.
As the club would no longer own the stadium
ownership of it would pass to the citizens of
Chester and by default the City would get a
Sports and Entertainment facility that can be
used as a genuine Community asset for the people
of Chester and surrounding areas 7days a week
almost 365 days of the year.
The Board of Chester City Football Club
15 February 2006
Tonight’s League Two match
at Boston United has been postponed due to a waterlogged
Match referee Eddie Ilderton took the decision at 14.40hrs
as at least one third of the York Street playing surface
was deemed unplayable due to waterlogging.
CLITY SLIP FURTHER
The Blues will have Tom Curtis
available for selection following his suspension as
they travel to Boston United tonight looking to pull
clear of the drop zone. remains to seen if defender
Luke Dimech who missed Saturday’s defeat by Stockport
County with tonsillitis is fit to play.
Results elsewhere last night have seen City drop to
18th place, just four points now from the second relegation
place. The two sides last
met just over a month ago with the Pilgrims winning
1-0 at Deva Stadium.
Manager Keith Curle believes his
side are capable of victory at York Street tonight:
“We lost narrowly to Boston in the reverse fixture
last month and if we can return to the ruthlessness
that we showed in the beginning of the season then
there is no reason why we can’t take all three
points from this match. The players are showing great
positivity in training, we just have to transfer that
confidence and positive attitude to the match day
situation and we will be okay.”
Meanwhile City have failed in
their attempt to bring experienced defender Dean Gordon
to the Deva. Gordon’s contract with Blackpool
expired while he was training with City last week after
the transfer window had closed.
13 February 2006
WREXHAM GAME SWITCHED AGAIN
Chester’s home game with
Wrexham has been switched again. It will now take
place on Wednesday 12 April with a 19:30 kick-off.
Tickets from the original date, 28 December, will be
12 February 2006
DERBY DEFEAT FOR ANXIOUS CITY
Blues were beaten at home 2-1 by bottom of the table
side Stockport County on Saturday and now sit just six
points from a relegation spot.
County hit the bar and saw a goal disallowed in the
first half but after the break City pressed with more
purpose. It was against the run of play when former
Woodley Sports player Liam Dickinson gave the visitors
the lead on 76 minutes sliding the ball past Gillet
from a narrow angle.
The lead lasted only four minutes though as substitute
Ryan Lowe soon brought City level with the Blues’
first home league goal from open play in 554 minutes!
The Blues looked to have taken the lead minutes later
as well as the ball appeared to hit the underside of
the crossbar and move the netting from a Justin Walker
shot but referee Chris Foy waved play on. With the Cheshire
derby heading for a draw Dickinson scored the winner
after turning Sean Hessey and shooting past Gillet with
two minutes remaining.
City had to make a late change as defender Luke Dimech
was taken ill before the match and sent home by the
the game manager Keit Curle said: “We were guilty
of naive defending. The first one came from our own
throw-in, the second from a short corner we try when
we should be putting the ball in their box. For most
of the game we played with good energy, commitment,
and passed it well but we were a bit rushed in the final
third. You have to earn everything you get in the game
and if you don’t take your chances you don’t
win. Winning was second nature for us early in the season
but we have to turn in round quickly, the only place
you can do that is on the field.”
This latest Blues defeat, the tenth in eleven games,
keeps Chester in 17th position but with other results
going against them leaves them six points from a relegation
space, and ten points from a play-off position!
City are next in action on Wednesday night when they
travel to Boston United. Kick-off at York Street is
HOME WIN FOR YOUNGSTERS
A hat-trick from Chris Holroyd
and a fourth goal by Freddie Potter gave the youth team
an impressive 4-0 home League victory over Macclesfield
Town at Airbus UK on Saturday morning.
10 February 2006
TAIT SIGNS ON
Striker Paul Tait has completed
his signing to Chester for the remainder of the season.
The former Rochdale player has been training for City
for the last week and scored twice for the reserves
on Monday night. He’s expected to go straight
into the squad for the home game with Stockport County
tomorrow. Meanwhile former Middlesbrough and Crystal
Palace defender Dean Gordon, 33, is training with the
Blues after leaving Blackpool.
David Artell is available for the important game against
the Hatters having missed last week’s mauling
with a one match suspension. Tom Curtis will be sidelined
again as he serves the last game of his two match suspension.
8 February 2006
WELCOME BACK JOE
Former Chester player
and physio Joe Hinnigan has been appointed physiotherapist
at Deva Stadium. Hinnigan was a popular figure around
the club for many years as both a player and physio
and was a member of the Conference championship winning
staff in 2002. He joins Chester from a similar role
at Bury and is also expected to help out with a coaching
Joe’s delighted to be back at Chester and told
the Evening Leader: “I’m coming back to
Chester as a physio and I’m comfortable with that.
I heard that Clive Goodyear, John Gannon and David Bell
had been sacked while I was still working for Bury earlier
this week, so I put in a quick phone call to Stephen
Vaughan and told him to keep me in mind if he was looking
for a physio. I was keen to come back to Chester because
I feel I have had an affinity with the club since the
1980s. I have always got on well with Stephen Vaughan
and we go back a long way. When I left Chester it was
on amicable terms.
Just days after
they were signed Chester have released four
of their on-loan players Evan Horwood, Mark
Roberts, Chris Robertson and Wayne Corden back
to their clubs.
The Blues have also placed Marcus Richardson
on the transfer list. Richardson (left) has
made 26+9 appearances for City scoring six goals
since his signing from Yeovil Town in June.
Picture © Evening
7 February 2006
TAIT DOUBLE SECURES FIRST RESERVES WIN
Two goals from trialist
Paul Tait and another from Gregg Blundell gave a strong
Chester side a 3-2 victory at Shrewsbury Town in last
night’s Pontins Holiday League reserve fixture.
This was Chester’s first win of the season at
the twelfth time of asking and lifts them one place
up from the foot of the table, now occupied by Wrexham.
The Blues have now made a bid for Tait, manager Keith
Curle told TeamTalk: “We have made an offer for
Paul and we are waiting to hear back from his representatives.
We know there are other interested parties.”
6 February 2006
Sad to report
that former Chester player Stuart Mason has
died aged 57. Mason moved to Sealand Road from
Wrexham in 1973 and went on to make 151+7 appearances
for the Seals (as we were then), scoring 10
goals. He was a popular and major player during
the famous 1974/75 season when Chester recorded
their first-ever promotion from Division Four
and reached the semi-finals of the Football
Mason himself scored the goal at Crewe Alexandra
in the must-win final game of the season that
ultimately brought that famous promotion. His
one goal in the League Cup was reserved for
the semi-final at Villa Park, a 25-yarder in
front of a crowd of nearly 48,000.
THREE AXED IN BACKROOM SHAKE
of Keith Curle’s backroom staff have paid
the ultimate price of City’s recent dismal
performances culminating in a five goal thrashing
at Carlisle on Saturday.
Following talks between chairman Steve Vaughan
and manager Curle, assistant manager’s
John Gannon and David Bell (left) as well as
physio Clive Goodyear have had their contracts
terminated by the club with immediate effect.
The club have already identified
replacements and there are expected to be announced
in the next day or so.
5 February 2006
CITY THRASHED AT LEADERS
Blues crashed to a 5-0 defeat at Carlisle United on
Saturday. Manager Keith Curle chose to start the game
with two of his latest loan signings. With David Artell
suspended and Luke Dimech relegated to the bench, Mark
Roberts and Evan Horwood stepped in. Roberts was replaced
at half-time by another young debutant Chris Robertson.
City found themselves two
down at the break after Adam Murray and Michael Bridges
had scored for the Cumbrians. The Blues had a great
chance to get right back into the game eary in the
second period when they were awarded a penalty
but Michael Branch's spot kick straight down the middle
was saved by the feet of Kieren Westwood in the home
Minutes later City conceded again
this time after a penalty was awarded to the home
side after Robertson was adjudged to have fouled in
the box. Chris Lumsdon scored past Stéphane
Gillet with ease. Further goals from Karl Hawley and
substitute Ged Murray completed the rout.
Following this latest League
Two defeat, the ninth in ten games, manager Keith Curle
said: “It was men against boys. Carlisle started
well but if we’d scored our penalty then things
might have been different. The players are playing
for their careers but you wouldn’t have thought
that at Carlisle. They know they’ve played against
a better team. We can’t let teams have the
time and space we let them have.”
Results elsewhere mean that City drop to 17th position,
nine point from a play-off position, and nine from
a relegation spot.
The youth team lost their
latest North & Midlands West Youth Alliance match
away at Blackpool on Saturday morning 1-0.
3 February 2006
TRIO BOOST SQUAD
All three of this weeks
loan signings are expected to be in the City squad tomorrow
that faces a tought trip to second placed Carlisle United.
Evan Horwood and Chris Robertson both took part in the
reserves match at Blackpool in the week while Crewe
defender Mark Roberts will join them for the trip to
Brunton Park tomorrow. Two players who won’t be
turning out are David Artell and Tom Curtis who are
both suspended. City fans are advised that there will
be no seated accommodation at Brunton Park tomorrow,
only the terrace behind the goal will be open to visiting
2 February 2006
TAIT ON LOAN
Striker Paul Tait is currently
having a trial at Chester, he was released by Rochdale
recently. Tait bagan his career on 1993 as a trainee
at Everton and went on to play for Wigan Athletic, Runcorn,
Northwich Victoria, Crewe Alexandra, Hull City, and
Bristol Rovers before moving to Spotland in June 2004.
1 February 2006
The reserves lost their
rearranged Pontins Holiday League Division One West
match at Blackpool this afternoon 2-0.Manager
Keith Curle told the Daily Post: “Both Evan Horwood
and Chris Robertson played for part of the game and
both did well. They, and Mark Roberts, will be in the
squad who face Carlisle United.”
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