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.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Love CFU...?

Good Evening

Tonight, City Fans United launches "Love CFU...", in which the group are hoping to sign up as many members as possible during February, and as it's the month of Romance, we are giving all new members the chance to win a "Meal for 2" at exclusive Chester Racecourse restaurant, 1539. Each new member* who signs up from Wednesday 10th February through to Sunday 28th February will be entered into the draw for the prize, as well as this each existing member that refers a new member using the online membership form will be included in the draw, just remember to include your membership number on the form. If you're already signed up, then why not give your partner the perfect Valentine's present, and get them signed up too - they'll love you for it, especially if you win the Prize!

If the winner is not based around the North West, there will be an alternative prize sent to the winner to the same value.

Please sign up to CFU, for only £5 you can be part of the dynamic group that is building up a war chest to keep football alive in Chester, you can be part of this, simply by signing up via the following link:

CFU will not give up the fight to have a football club representing the fine City of Chester, and even if you are not from the area, you can make a difference by joining the Supporters Group that has just passed the 550 mark in the space of three months, and is well on it's way to it's next milestone target of 700 - please help us to achieve that aim.

CFU have a range of initiatives planned for this year, including the launch of the Seals Lottery - where four lucky winners will receive substantial cash prizes, whilst at the same time contributing towards the CFU funds.

We are also planning 'The Big 125th Birthday Bash' which will be taking place this Summer, and follows hot on the footsteps of the successful Chester Legends night, which featured the biggest re-union of Chester players in recent history, and we are expecting the 125th party to be even bigger!

Please join the CFU today, and become part of history!

*Annual Membership costs £5.00, and all members must be fully paid up to be eligible for the "Love CFU..." competition.

Entries for competition close at Midnight on Sunday 28th February 2010.

The Prize Draw will be made at the next Members Meeting in March 2010.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

City boys beaten by Ebbsfleet

Well after a relatively quiet week at Chester City, the position still remains the same, the players did not receive any money last week, and have been promised money tomorrow (Monday 8th), whether they get that remains to be seen.

Kevin Roberts & also John Danby have submitted termination notices, that means that they are likely to leave the club in 14 days - this will leave Chester with just 7 senior players remaining, with the rest of the squad being filled up with youth players.

Yesterday, City lost 2-1 at home to Ebbsfleet, despite taking a 1-0 lead after half an hour through youngster Jack Rea, who had impressed in recent games.

This defeat means that the Blues remain on minus 3 points and are one game closer to relegation, which will most certainly happen in March.

Morell Maison is still refusing to give up, that's just a manager's usual statement to make though, if he said anything else, he'd be accused of not being positive - that said, Maison is clearly using Chester as a way of getting back into football management. Let's not forget, he was brought in to bring in new investment to the club, three weeks ago, we were promised new owners, the following week, Stephen Vaughan - who should not even be involved with the club - put the club up for sale, for £1.00, yet he had previously told us that Maison had exercised a right to buy the club, and yet is now told to stay away from negotiations!

The club is rotten to the core, and March 10th will certainly tell us where the club is heading - it's just a question of what will come first, relegation or closure.

Chester are next in action on Tuesday night away to Forest Green.

Monday, 1 February 2010

What a week!

Since the thrashing at Mansfield last weekend, the past week has been another tough one to endure for Chester City fans, and like the other weeks recently, one they'll want to forget.

The first thing to happen last week, as for Stephen Vaughan Senior to announce that the club was available for £1.00, but that any prospective new owner would have to pay the outstanding creditors, believed to be around £138,000.

This sale offer was announced just two days prior to the Court case at the High Court, where the club was facing a winding up order, if anyone was being wound up, it was the Chester fans, knowing that their club was available for a pound, but likely to see many more debts than the £138,000 stated by Vaughan.

The case then took place on Wednesday, and the Judge decided that Chester would be given a further 42 days to find a buyer for the ailing club, a move which didn't really help matters, more prolong them.

The City Fans United members then met the following night, and heard that any prospective buyer would need to prove they had £500,000 available in CASH!!!

The CFU members also agreed that a request should be made to the solicitors dealing with the sale of the club to request a purchase pack, and so far the CFU have not received a response.

Then the latest twist to the story, on Friday, the players announced that unless they were paid overdue wages, they would not play their fixture against Grays the following day, and they were rewarded with a paltry one week's pay, with still ten weeks money owed to them, which they are due to receive over another two instalments, although that remains a possibility rather than a probability at this point in time, especially as the players were alledgedly paid in Scottish notes - unbelievable.

So, game on then, the players giving the thumbs up to the press on the way out of the Deva Stadium at around 4.30pm on Friday afternoon after training for the first time since the Mansfield defeat.

Game on, so we thought, but then divine intervention, as Mother Nature then got involved, and a frozen pitch meant that the game would not go ahead, a potential victory for the players then, who had threatened originally not to play, then agreed the day before with money in their pockets for the first time since November, but then not having to actually play the day after anyway!

Isn't it funny how these things turn out??

So, we are at the start of another week, I wonder what this one will bring?