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

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