| 28 September
TIME RUNNING OUT FOR CHAIRMAN
City chairman Mark Guterman paid
a visit to the Deva Stadium last Friday (his first in
six weeks) and admitted he’d ‘had enough’
after four years in charge at the club. He is still waiting
for offers to come in for the club after putting it up
for sale in the Financial Times back on July 31st. With
a winding up order brought by the club’s own solicitors
due to be heard on October 19th one option he has is to
put the club into administration. Only David Pickering’s
much publicised consortium have publicly stated their
interest in the club, but Guterman appears reluctant now
to talk to them. If the club is put into administration,
approval from the Football League would be necessary.
Whatever happens, it’s sure to happen soon, it would
appear unlikely that the chairman will take the club all
the way to yet another court appearance, but then again!
RATCLIFFE HITS OUT
City manager Kevin Ratcliffe
was disappointed following Saturday’s entertaining
2-2 draw with Cardiff City.We threw away two
points, he said, We took the lead and
were then totally unprofessional. Our forwards stopped
picking up their midfield players, people took throw-ins
when they should have been doing another job elsewhere
and we kept trying to force difficult passes when,
at 2-1 ahead, we had to keep it simple. Cardiff City
are a very good side, the best and most organised
team weve played. But we had the chance to
beat them and blew it.
Striker Luke Beckett will
play his first comeback match this Wednesday afternoon
(2pm) for the reserves against Darlington. Said Ratcliffe: "Luke
set a standard as soon as he arrived and people were
talking about him. It has been disappointing not
to have him in the team for all but the opening two
matches." Fans will be eager to see Luke return
after his fantastic start with the Blues was cut
short with his foot injury after scoring two goals
at Port Vale.
24 September 1998
Spencer Whelan didn’t play
in last night’s friendly after suffering a reaction
to a recent knee operation. City won 3-1 with goals
from Darren Wright, Philip Clench and Chris Blackburn.
Meanwhile manager Kevin Ratcliffe faces selection
problems for Saturday, the problem is who to leave
out!. Chris Priest is available after a one-match
suspension and fellow midfielder Nick Richardson
is expected to be fit again after recovering from
a groin strain. Both missed the match with Sunderland
on Tuesday where Shaun Reid and Andy Shelton proved
more than capable replacements.
23 September 1998
INJURED DUO ON THE MEND
Spencer Whelan was expected to play in a friendly
arranged against Warrington Town last night. The centre back hasn’t played
a first-team game this season but could be in line for a recall soon providing
no problems arose from that match. That now leaves only strikers Gary Bennett
and Luke Beckett in the treatment room. Beckett is expected to play for
the reserves against Darlington next Wednesday but Bennett, who has had
a cartilage op, isn’t likely to play for another four weeks.
22 September 1998
CITY IN CUP ACTION
City are in action tonight at the Deva in the second
leg of their second round Worthington Cup tie. The match against Sunderland
is ALL TICKET. Midfielder Nick Richardson has a fitness test on his groin
injury but is rated doubtful for the clash following an injury picked up
in training on Friday. Midfielder Chris Priest is suspended, so Rod Thomas
could well be on from the start following his man-of-the-match performance
at Carlisle on Saturday.
Meanwhile it’s reported in the press that chairman Mark Guterman has reported
Sunderland to the Football League for DROPPING their prices for the first
leg game can you believe it!
Around 60 people took part in the ISA pub crawl
around Chester on Sunday afternoon raising between £200-£300.
Congratulations (and a double disprin) to all those who took part. I hope
to have a report on the ISA page in the next day or so when the hangovers
21 September 1998
Anyone tuning in to 606 on Saturday will have heard
a complaint regarding the officious stewarding at Sunderland last Tuesday
night. This complaint wasn’t from a City fan but from a home supporter
based in the family enclosure to our left. There’s no doubt that the stewarding
was over zealous to say the least and seemed to be conducted by two blazered
men at the front. One particular incident (that the caller referred to)
happened two rows in front of us and saw one City fan being literally thrown
over the fence and dragged off by several policemen for no apparent
reason. An attempt to display the large ISA banner, for which permission
had been sought and granted by the football club, was met with similar
disdain by stewards and police alike. There’s no doubt that the general
mood of the night quickly turned to anger following the action of these
stewards, which seemed so unnecessary and could have provoked trouble.
If you were there and have any comments please send them in and we will
do our best to get an answer from Sunderland.
18 September 1998
BECKETT GETS GOOD NEWS
Injured striker Luke Beckett saw a specialist yesterday and has been given
the all clear to resume training. Beckett, broke a bone in his foot during
the match at Port Vale after a blistering start to his City career scoring
8 pre-season goals and a brace at Vale Park.
PRIEST OUT FOR CUP GAME
Chris Priest is suspended for next
Tuesday’s cup clash with Sunderland, he’s
already picked up five bookings.
ALSFORD AT UNDERHILL
Former City defender Julian Alsford is currently
on trial at Barnet and will play against Exeter at the weekend. He’s already
turned out for Bournemouth reserves this season.
IT’S PAY DAY AGAIN
Today is pay day for the players, or so the chairman
has promised. The players and staff were due to be paid on Tuesday but
nothing was forthcoming. Manager Kevin Ratcliffe stated at the time: "We’ve
now been told not by the chairman but by someone else that
we won’t get paid until Friday. We need honesty and someone to tell us
what the hell is going on at this club. We need answers quickly. We need
to know where we stand and we don’t want pay days being changed. There
are a lot of clever people at this football club and we are a little bit
sick and tired of being treated the way we are being treated and it just
can’t go on."The £40,000 wage bill was expected to be paid direct
into the staff accounts this morning after Chester netted £80,000
from Tuesday night’s Sunderland match and are expected to get £20,000
from the all-ticket return next Tuesday.
16 September 1998
HEADS NEVER DROPPED
Considering City were forced to
make three changes to the side, they never let their heads
drop in last night’s 3-0 defeat at Sunderland and
perhaps deserved a goal for their efforts. The fans certainly
did. A constant noise was made for virtually the entire
90 minutes with the drummers, well done Adam Southwick
and Lee Dodd, in fine form. City did have a few chances
to score, notably early on with Reid and Flitcroft going
The best opportunity came in the second half when Alex
Smith beat the offside trap to race through on goal but
was stopped by a last ditch tackle. City fans chanted
‘Guterman Out’ throughout the 90 minutes and
gave their own team terrific support. The ISA had a special
20x5ft banner made proclaiming "Dear F.A. Don’t
let smaller clubs die Chester City ISA."
Nice to see two ex-players in amongst the crowd as well,
Iain Jenkins and Dave Rogers, who face each other in the
Dundee derby on Saturday.
OP FOR BENNETT
Striker Gary Bennett, who missed last night’s match,
is expected to be out for up to a month after having keyhole surgery on
a knee cartilage injury.
So City don’t like playing on Tuesday’s then! Last
night was the third successive 0-3 Tuesday night defeat following on from
the games against Cambridge and Peterborough this month.
14 September 1998
ANOTHER PAY-DAY FIASCO
Despite promises in the Chronicle
last Friday by Mark Guterman, it appears that the latest
round of pay cheques due tomorrow will not be issued until
Friday. Meanwhile it was rumoured on Saturday that all
gate money taken at the Deva is currently going straight
to the PFA. And in an astonishing attack today manager
Kevin Ratcliffe blasted chairman Guterman and told him
to stop treating staff at the club as ’second-rate
citizens.’ "It’s got to such a point
that I feel I have to say something," said Ratcliffe,
who last month had to tell the players they’d have
to wait 10 days for their pay cheques. “It’s
not my job to do that kind of thing. My job is managing
a football club but that’s getting increasingly
difficult when the chairman treats you like second-rate
citizens. He keeps giving us assurances but they never
happen. He must think we’re from another planet.
I’d have quit if it wasn’t for the players
who have been different class during all of this. They’ve
all got bills to pay, mouths to feed. On top of that they’ve
got to think about playing football. I can’t praise
them highly enough but it’s not fair to treat them
like this. You won’t believe some of the things
that go on here but when you’ve got no-one in charge
these things are going to happen. We’ve now been
told; not by the chairman but by someone else; that we
won’t get paid until Friday. What kind of preparation
is that for game like the one we’ve got at Sunderland
tomorrow night. Something’s got to happen quickly
at this club for the sake of the players, the staff and
the fans. They deserve better than this.”
Around 1200 supporters are expected
to make the trip from Chester for tomorrow night’s
Worthington League Cup match. It promises to be a great
atmosphere inside the Stadium of Light. To add a bit of
spice chairman Guterman is also expected to make his first
appearance of the season. The Chester ISA. Members of
the city’s Independent Supporters Association will
be holding aloft a 20ft banner at the Stadium of Light
pleading with the FA not to let small clubs die. They
are also urging all fans to take along as many banners
and plackards as possible, demonstrating your opinions
of the chairman to a game that will attract a lot of media
ISA spokesman Michael Fair said: “This has gone
on too long and the strain on the players and their families
is quite unacceptable how manager Kevin Ratcliffe
has been able to maintain morale and produce a team that
puts in magnificent performances on the pitch astonishes
me. The FA must take some responsibility for these matters
they have repeatedly stood by and watched similar
problems with autocratic Chairmen go on at a succession
of clubs Doncaster, Brighton, Bournemouth and Southend
and now the mush publicised activities at Manchester United,
Everton, Tottenham and Southampton.” He said the
only way forward for clubs like Chester was for the FA
to step in and bring equality to the game by financially
protecting the smaller clubs and making club chairmen
more accountable to the FA. “It is not just about
our club Chester is just at the top of a pyramid
of a lot of clubs who are in a similar position.”
10 September 1998
GUTERMAN PROVES SHARE OWNERSHIP
Lawyers acting for City chairman Mark Guterman have
confirmed once and for all that he is the legal owner of the club. There
has been much speculation in recent months as to whether Guterman owned
the 94% share after the previous owners Dovedene Ltd were dissolved. However
Guterman has now provided information to Manchester-based solicitors Halliwell
Landau clarifying the position. Spokesman Andrew Livesey confirmed that
the ownership had been with Dovedene. However the shares were transferred
into Mr Guterman’s own name on September 19 1997, two months before Dovedene
were struck off by Companies House for failing to provide annual returns.
Mr Livesey confirmed that the stock transfer form had not been registered
with the Inland Revenue until the end of August.
SPENNER ON THE WAY BACK
Spencer Whelan played his first game of the season
yesterday afternoon as the City reserves lost at home 2-0 to Wigan Athletic.
Ross Davidson will be available on Saturday following his 1 match ban and
manage Kevin Ratcliffe has hinted that changes may have to be made in the
defence which has now let in 12 league goals, only Barnet have conceded
more, nine of those of course in one match. Gary Bennett picked up a knock
at London Road and is doubtful for the visit of Torquay United to the Deva.
4 September 1998
BENNETT TO MISS OUT?
Striker Gary Bennett looks set
to miss the match at Exeter as he’s suffering from
flu and has missed training. If he does miss out then
it’s likely that either Jon Jones or darren Wright
who will fill his place alongside John Murphy up front.
Shaun Reid is in the squad as is City trainee Danny Carson
who scored in the 4-1 friendly win over Colwyn Bay this
week. The Grecians have injury doubts over defenders Billy
Clark and Graeme Power while winger Chris Fry is rated
‘doubtful.’ City’s last trip to St James’
Park resulted in a 0-5 thrashing and the sending off of
Murphy. On a sad note Kevin Ratcliffe has paid tribute
to 11-year-old footballer Nathan Fennah who died in a
swimming pool accident after signing for the Blues schoolboy
Blues boss Mr Ratcliffe joined the many tributes which
have been paid to the youngster who netted 68 goals in
the last two seasons for junior soccer team Hawarden Rangers.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the family
and everybody who knew him,” said Ratcliffe. “It
is a great shame because he had taken a step in the right
direction. At the end of the day this puts football in
its place and shows that it is not everything. My deepest
sympathy is with the family and anything we can to help
them we will. Nathan was a great sportsman and had signed
for Chester City under 12’s this season,”
said his father. The accident occurred at the Northgate
Arena on Wednesday afternoon.
3 September 1998
SHAUN READY FOR RECALL
Midfielder Shaun Reid is back in contention for
a first-team recall after coming through 90 minutes of a specially arranged
friendly with Colwyn Bay last night. The Blues won 4-1 with Jon Jones scoring
twice. Danny Carson and Darren Wright also netted. City are expected to
field the same side on Saturday as that which got thumped by Cambridge
in the week, though Reid may find himself on the bench.
2 September 1998
Coaches for the Worthington League Cup match at
Sunderland on September 15th will leave the Deva Stadium at 14.15 and seats
are priced at £10.00. Please call the club for more details. Meanwhile
match tickets for the away game are now on sale priced £10.00 adults
and £5.00 concessions. Tickets for the home game go on sale next
week at the Deva.
I have it on good authority (the FA) that these
naughty players who have been red-carded recently will miss the following
Rod Thomas Cambridge United (H), Exeter City (A), Peterborough United
Ross Davidson Peterborough United (A)
Wayne Brown Sunderland (A)
Andy Crosby Sunderland (A)
1 September 1998
SOUTHEND FANS’ SUPPORT
A magnificent effort by Southend
United (and Chester) fans on Saturday raised a sum of
£350.00 for the ISA Fighting Fund. Thanks to everyone
who donated money and to Tony Hall who arranged the collection.
Hall, chairman of the Southend ISA said: “I’d
heard about what had been going on at Chester on ‘606’
last week and I thought we could do something about it.
I spoke to our vice-chairman and he said we could have
a collection. We were in the same position a couple of
years ago and we’re just fans helping out another
club for the love of football. We raised £350 and
we hope that helps out. I suppose you call it a goodwill
gesture.” Steve Spencer of the Chester City ISA
said: “We didn’t really have much to do. Tony
had arranged it all and he’s going to send the money
to us. It’s a nice gesture on their behalf.”
EXISTING & PROSPECTIVE SHAREHOLDERS MEETING
This Friday, David Pickering is holding
a meeting for existing and prospective shareholders of Chester
City FC. The meeting will take place at 7.30pm in The County
Stand Lounge at Chester Racecourse.
Mr Pickering’s consortium has stated that:
There will be a charge of £5 to cover
administration costs and refreshments.
The agenda for the evening will be presented
on the night dependant on events between now and 7.30pm Friday
All City fans are urged to get along
and give their support.
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The Exiles have set up a blog to provide away match information and articles for Blues fans living away from Chester. You can read it here
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