Thursday, 25 March 2010

Chester FC gets the nod from fans

Chester FC was announced as the new name for the reformation of Chester City FC last night, after 70% voted in favour of going back to the old name used prior to 1983.

City Fans United announced the news at midnight last night, and fans who voted for the name, as well as those who didn't but enjoyed going to Sealand Road to watch the Blues will be delighted at the decision arrived at by the Blues faithful.

The final voting was as follows:

Chester FC - 70%
City of Chester FC - 16%
FC Chester - 9%
Chester Rovers FC - 5%

It was a resounding majority win then for Chester FC then, and that is the latest step taken towards bringing the club back to the supporters, with the next vital step being to secure the lease on the Deva Stadium - hopefully the Council will see fit to assign the lease over to the new club, and we can properly get ready for seeing a Chester side run out at the Deva in August.

I'm personally delighted at the fact that Chester FC has been voted the number one name, as it really does keep the history of the old club going, 125 years of history did not die the other week, it was merely broken, and now the CFU are gluing those cracks together again, to make sure that life continues for Chester City fans.

There will be plenty of exciting times to come soon, with debates over the club badge, the kit, Manager, and Players of course - but we need the ground first before we can plan for any of that.

One thing to come out of yesterday was the fact that any approach made by anyone wishing to apply to reform the club in the same way CFU have done, will actually be re-directed on to the CFU as the FA will only deal with the one application, so it means the likes of the Vaughan family - if they wanted to reform the club - would have to contact City Fans United in a bid to try and work with them on the future of Chester FC.

Four words...NEVER...GOING...TO...HAPPEN!

"We're Chester!"

Monday, 22 March 2010

It's Chester FC for me!

Well, whilst Man Utd, Arsenal, and Chelsea battle it out for top spot in the Premier League, a different kind of battle is going on in the dramatic world of Chester fans.

The chance to rename the club, and make it the fans club!

The decision to allow the public of Chester, and in general, the community of Chester fans around the world, was a unanimous decision by the CFU board, as we want everyone to feel that this is their club - that's the way it has to be from now on, as the wheel slowly begins to turn towards supporters owning their own football clubs following years of mis-management.

So, what about the names then?

Well, there are four on offer, Chester FC, City of Chester FC, Chester Rovers FC, and FC Chester.

My own personal favourite has to be Chester FC. It's the name of the club I started to follow, just prior to it changing to Chester City FC, and it's the name associated with our most successful era back in the 1970's, before all the troubles began, so what better reason to return to that name.

Chester FC would also mean that our 125 year history is also well and truly intact, and would ensure that any associated with the old Chester FC would be involved with the new one, players that used to don the Seals shirts would still be recognised as former players of the reformed club - it all adds up for me.

So, what about the other names then?

City of Chester FC just doesn't sit right with me, it feels like one of those University type team names, or something off the kids programme "We Are The Champions", or even "It's a Knockout" and I just cannot get excited about it, add that to the fact that as many people have stated, we'd become an abbreviation of COC FC, that definitely doesn't work for me, we've been labelled Jester and Deviants by the Wrexham lot over the past few decades, the last thing we need is to give them more ammunition, for them to call us proper COC's!

Chester Rovers?

This one is definitely for the historians, as Chester Rovers was the very first name used by the club back in 1885, but for me, is too close to Tranmere Rovers now, and that does not sit right with me - I don't think I could get my adrenalin going singing "Rovers" - no not for me.

The final option is FC Chester, and that one isn't too bad, but it's probably more of an attempt to be a bit more continental, maybe we should have had this when Terry Smith was at the club with all of the foreigners he brought in!

The votes close at 11pm on Tuesday night, and the results are revealed just over 24 hours later on the official CFU site where it will feel like one of those new book or album launches at HMV where the shops open at Midnight - only this will be a momentus occasion as far as Chester fans are concerned, so get the pro-plus ready for the day after!

Either way, its set to be a historic moment in the lastest chapter in the reformed club's history, as CFU continue to make progress to the new era of football in Chester, let's just hope that we are talking about on the pitch matters comewhat August!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A sad week, but the future is bright

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, no more shit to take, 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, 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 cou;ldn'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 right 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 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 waas 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 £2000 if his guests 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 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, abd 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, becoming a stranger to our own house, with everything that's going on, and 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!!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Vaughan targets Welsh Premier as eviction looms

It's been a quiet week as far as the Vaughan family are concerned, and so it was not a surprise when yesterday it was revealed that they were actually attempting to get access in to the Welsh Premier League, after being effectively kicked out of English football.

The Welsh League is pretty much a parting shot of Vaughan's in his latest desperate attempt to keep hold of the club name, which will surely disappear from the radar completely on Wednesday at the High Court, as the HMRC look to wind the club up, something which now seems all the more likely following the Conference's decision to remove the club from its competition.

An eviction notice will surely follow from Cheshire West & Chester Council, as they seek to remove the lease from the Vaughan family, and hopefully prepare it for the CFU, who have made significant strides into the set up of a continuation of the current club, ruined by Stephen Vaughan.

ll eyes will be on the Council, as its their taxpayers who they have to think about, and having not received the best part of a year's rent from the club, the onus will be on them to assign the lease to an organisation committed to paying their way.

Vaughan's latest attempt to get Chester City FC 2004 Ltd into a League should ensure he gets life membership into Ripley's Believe It Or Not! A sad act of desperation from a man who knows the end game is taking place.

As far as City Fans United are concerned there has been massive progress recently, with the membership now over 1000 (combined figures of CFU & Junior Blues), and the work going on behind the scenes from a "bunch of idiots" is as professional as you can get, and who are working their nuts off to try and make sure that the City of Chester has a football team to support in English football come August, and this week could be the defining week as far as that ambition is concerned.

So, another busy week is expected, having had the calm before the storm over the weekend, with the waters only stirred up by the latest Welsh football attempt by Vaughan.

Tune in for the next exciting episode of Devastation Street (sorry Tom, couldn't resist!) later this week!

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Chester City Football Club - Rest in Peace

It's finally over then.

After several weeks, months, no years, of misery and anger towards the owners of the club, the bell finally tolled for Chester City Football Club.

The complete gross mis-management of the club from the Vaughan family has culminated in the club being kicked out of the League, and even in their most desperate hour, the club didn't even send anyone to represent them in a last ditch bid to save the club. That is unforgiveable and just sums up the Vaughan family full stop.

The signs of City's collapse have been there for years, with unscrupulous owners such as Eric Barnes back in the last 80's who sold the club to a property developer without us having anywhere to play, then once Ray Crofts had done a great job in bringing the club back to the City of Chester, Morrisons handed over to mark Guterman, who then steered Chester into administration for the first time, before doing the same to Wrexham just a few years later.

Then it was the turn of madman Terry Smith to put his American take on things, and guide the club out of the Football League for the first time since 1931, and when the successful campaign to get rid of him took place, in walked Stephen Vaughan, who at the time to his credit, got rid of anyone who was a problem to the club, sadly, he was to be that problem for the next 9 years.

Following the promotion to the Football League in 2004, all kinds of mischievous goings on took place, and a countless list of events went against the club and its owners. Fights against people from the media, playing both his under talented sons in the first team, who clearly were not League standard. Bringing back Mark Wright not once but twice, which antagonised most of the fan base to a point where they stopped going.

The one minute silence for a "major benefactor" of the club who had passed away, which turned out to be a friend of Vaughan, Colin Smith - a drugs baron fron Liverpool, who was shot dead by a columbian mob who had travelled over the Atlantic to kill him - Chester fans actually stood for a minute's silence for this man???? Unbelievable.

The bad news did not stop there, Vaughan refused to clear a transfer embargo last season, which if paid, could have resulted in Chester keeping their League status intact, instead he chose not to pay it, players left, and Chester disappeared out of the league for the last time. There would be no return.

Many other issues reigned over the club, Vaughan at one stage wanted to move the club to Widnes, a move turned down by the FA, he also told us of grand ideas for a £16m stand re-development, that was as believable as me playing for England at this years World Cup!

Last summer was the final straw for the club, Vaughan took Chester into administration after the 2008/09 season finished, but chose the administrators, and manipulated the situation to his own benefit, when he forced the administrators - Refresh Recovery - into preferring a bid from Vaughan's son, also caled Stephen, as Vaughan Senior would waive the £4m debentures he held against the club, but only for his son's bid.

This meant that anyone else would have to pay £4.3m for the club - a non league club - whereas Vaughan Junior would only have to pay £290,000 - and his father actually contributed £254,000 towards this - well that was the idea, although this was probably a made up figure, and never actually paid either.

So the club then came out of administration with a CVA in place, but then the HMRC challenged the figures and were successful with their challenge, and the club was docked a further 15 points on top of the 10 they had already received for going into admininstration.

Then the FA refused to give the club a licence which meant they couldn't start the season until the 3rd scheduled game, meaning lost revenue for other clubs, when the FA finally gave the licence to City, Vaughan was defiant claiming all kinds of victory against the authorities.

Vaughan had already stepped down as Chairman some time ago, but then in November he was banned from being a director of any company, and all of a sudden, Vaughan Junior was now the full 100% owner of the club, but Vaughan Senior clearly was pulling the strings as we never heard one word from his son during his entire ownership of the club.

In 2010, the club went from disaster to disaster, Jim Harvey brought in as the 3rd manager since the end of last season, got the sack despite being hugely popular with supporters, and Morell Maison was brought in by Vaughan, to bring in new investment to the club, but considering Maison's last involvement in football was to take Halesowen FC into administration, his appointment was hardly welcomed.

It wasn't long before Maison was feeling the heat, being left out of negotiations with investors, then seeing his playing squad decimated thanks to a lack of wages reaching the players, who only received one week's wage since October - and that was paid in Scottish notes!

The HMRC issued a winding up order against the club and in late January, the club bought 42 days stay of execution after advising new buyers were on the horizon, this as we know involved a bunch of Danish people who thought they could buy a football club, but with no firm business plan were never going to succeed.

The Football Conference then recommended an expulsion of the club from its League, after Chester were unable to fulfil fixtures at Forest Green - where both the players & coach company failed to receive the money they were due, and then the localderby against Wrexham was called off after the police were not paid ahead of the game, and the Satfey Advisory Group issued a Prohibition Order which meant the closure of the Deva Stadium.

City were suspended from the League, meaning their game against Kidderminster was off, the League then gave the club a 7 day stay of execution, but this meant the away game at Histon was off too.

The members clubs then voted Chester City out of the League on Friday 26th February, which means there is no way back for the Vaughan family - they can of course try and attempt to prevent the winding up order at the High Court on March 10th when the unpaid VAT case reconvenes, but as no income is likely for the remainder of the season, there is surely no way the club cannot be wound up.

So, that's it then for CCFC, but what about the future?

Well, City Fans United will aim to bring the city of Chester a football club its community can back, and one to be proud of - that's the immediate challenge, but the local council have already been positive with regards to the plans to bring football back to the Deva, and the updates will be constant, and will certainly be on here each week.

To join the adventure, please sign up to City Fans United today by joining online via - it only costs £5.00!!!

Chester City FC - Rest In Peace

Thursday, 25 February 2010

D Day Looms (again) for Chester

Tomorrow is the latest of D-Days for Chester City Football Club.

Having not blogged on here for a couple of weeks, it's time to update on what has become a stressful soap opera, that is more dramatic and more twists and turns than any other soap on British television.

The 7 day stay of execution was extended last Thursday by the Football Conference, but on Friday morning the Conference board recommended that Chester City be expelled from the Blue Square Premier League, based on the 5 breaches of rules that the club pleaded guilty to.

That recommendation was made to the remaining Conference clubs, as well as the clubs that make up both the North & South sections one step below the BSP.

Those clubs are set to vote tomorrow, with the likely outcome being that they will vote against expulsion, as many of the clubs have points to lose, and fear missing out on promotion, or even staying up in the Conference.

Those clubs are failing to see the bigger picture here, which has resulted in a once proud club, being dragged to its knees, and on the brink of oblivion.

In the middle of all this, has been a crazy bid for the club made by a group of Danish people, who actually believe that Stephen Vaughan will be clearing £217,000 worth of debt by tomorrow ahead of the all important meeting.

The Danes, represented by egomaniac Palle Rasmussen, originally declared his interest in the club a couple of weeks ago, but had only started an internet campaign to buy the club - this involved raising revenue from Danish people, who had to spend £11 to join the group, before any view of the books could take place.

Palle met up with members of the CFU committee last Saturday, and those members were left dumbfounded at the lack of knowledge of the debts outstanding that the Danes failed to comprehend, simply believing their own words that £750,000 could actually be raised quite easily.

Rasmussen had advised CFU that he would not proceed with his bid if the CFU did not back it, but then he met up with Stephen Vaughan at the Deva Stadium, however, why his son Stephen Vaughan Junior was not present was an absolute mystery, and the fact that there was no director of the football club actually present at the meeting summed up the entire charade that was being played out here.

Following that meeting, Rasmussen then descended into the CFU race night, which was an absolute success raising £800 for both the CFU & Junior Blues, but the Dane tried to gate crash the meeting with TV cameras, but was swiftly stopped in his tracks due to a lack of permission to film inside the Home Guard club, and the CFU members were certainly on guard for the remainder of the evening.

News then broke on Sunday morning that the Danes had agreed a deal to buy the football club - according to the club at least, whereas nothing official was coming out from Rasmussen or his associates.

The laughable part in all of this was that the Danish consortium are not actually a legal constituted organisation as yet and cannot legall buy another company, yet Rasmussen did not seem to realise this!

Just two nights earlier, a hueg meeting took place at the Guild hall in Chester, where 400 people crammed in to the venue to witness CFU's plans for the future, and heard real experiences from the likes of AFC Telford, FC United of Manchester, and AFC Wimbledon, the latter being represented by Kevin Rye, of Supporters Direct - a group that have provided much assistance to the CFU since its inception.

The meeting showed that the public are behind the idea of the phoenix club, and there was certainly a media frenzy that night too, as I conducted 12 interviews with the members of the press, which included live reports on Granada Tonight, BBC1 North west Tonight, and Sky Sports News.

Sky Sports were also in attendance to film the meeting for Jeff Stelling's Soccer Saturday show, which will be screened this weekend on Sky Sports 1 / Sky Sports News at 12 midday-3pm, so set your Sky Plus for more footage of CFU.

Anyway, back to the current, and I've had to respond to the Stephen Vaughan interview on Sky Sports News on Monday, where he branded CFU "a bunch of idiots" but then told them to get behind the club - not the best of ways to try to encourage supporters to return, in fact all it did was push people the opposite direction.

So, I got in touch with Sky Sports, to request that we be allowed a right of reply, and so it was, on Tuesday, that I tried to redress the balance - here's the link

Sky Sports Interview

It's been a busy last couple of days too, as I've done interviews for Dee 106.3, Radio Merseyside, and also the Chester Chronicle, and Chester Leader, with Soccer Saturday set to do further interviews tomorrow.

So, tomorrow, the clubs will decide Chester's fate, or maybe not, but one thing is for sure whatever the decision tomorrow, there will be no celebrating from anyone on the CFU committee, it will either be a decision that had to be made, or a farcical decision that will allow the Vaughan Circus to continue, whilst it remains unable to fulfil its fixtures.

Thats it for now then, a bit like war & peace, but so so much has happened!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Blues given 7 day stay of execution

Well Thursday was a long day for Chester City fans, and a day that saw the Football Conference give the club a 7 day period in which to respond to 5 different breaches of Conference rules.

Whether the club can come back from this is extremely doubtful, and next Thursday could be the day that finally sees the end of Chester City FC in its current guise.

Many would argue that the club is already dead, and that Thursday will finally lay to rest the Club that has been ripped apart at the seams through gross mis-management, and will allow the fans the chance to start again, and try to bring the community together to get behind a new club, that the fans can be proud of, something which they have not been able to do for some time now.

The owners of the club right now need to look at themselves, and see what they've done:

Ruined 125 years of history
Alienated fans
Alienated businesses
Alienated footballing authorities
Failed to pay it's own employees
Treated other football clubs with contempt

There are many, many other reasons why the owners should be 100% accountable for their wreckage of a once fine club, sadly, they don't even have the guts to come out and admit their faults.

They cannot even admit who is responsible, the laughable ownership of Stephen Vaughan Junior, yet not a word from the 25 year old, only words, calls, and texts from Stephen Vaughan Senior, who claims not to have any influence on the football club following his banning order - yet he is the one who continues to make the call on what the club is valued at, or indeed listed for sale at.

Vaughan Senior is the one who is clearly pulling the strings, and one day, he'll get his comeuppance for damaging the fne name of Chester City Football Club.

Vaughan himself, seems to think they can do a "Phoenix" too, well their first attempt at that began last Summer, and failed miserably, by running up insurmountable debt, which is why no buyer has been found for the ailing club.

Chester City FC is no more - it pains me to say it, being a lifelong fan, but the club is in tatters, it cannot even pay a coach bill to transport players to a fixture.

The time has arrived for fans to pull together and launch a new club, and once Thursday's decision has been made by the Football Conference, the time to really push ahead with those plans will have arrived.

The local Council are key to football continuing in Chester, and this blog calls on them to assign the lease over to City Fans United, who will pay the rent, who will get the community involved in the club, and make the area proud to have it's own football club again.