Wednesday, 22 July 2009


It is impossible to tell where tragedy divides from farce if you are a Chester City supporter. The latest development is that all our (I still say 'our' despite the club's efforts to alienate everyone who cares about them) pre-season friendlies have been cancelled because the club is being investigated by the FA's Compliance Unit. The FA are not satisfied with the way Chester emerged from administration last month, when the owner Stephen Vaughan did a deal which left the club's creditors out of pocket to the tune of 85% of money owed. The outcome is that Chester are not currently affiliated to the FA which means we can't play any organised football.
I'm delighted that the FA are looking into the situation. They have left small clubs to their own, often unsatisfactory, devices for too long. Clubs like Chester, sad to say, have conducted themselves poorly in almost every respect, with appalling performances on the pitch allied to equally dismal direction from the boardroom. The current issue of When Saturday Comes carries an interesting feature on Darlington who seem to have run out of friends much the same as we have.
In the wake of our relegation in May Mr Vaughan promised a searching review of the way the club is run. I doubt if a single supporter had any confidence that this review, if it ever happened, would produce any serious improvement, and here we are, building up to the new season with even more public humiliation. Marine, Telford, Liverpool and other clubs we were due to play must think Chester is a complete shambles.
And it gets no better. Today we've seen two players who were with us last season, Jay Harris and David Mannix, suspended by the FA after being found guilty of betting malpractice. It doesn't exactly make the heart sing.
The only positive signs - and believe me, I look hard every day to find any - have been the appointment of a sound football man in Mick Wadsworth as manager and the appointment of Eric Whalley to the board. Eric is well known as the man who inspired the revival of Accrington Stanley. I'm not quite sure what either of them will make of the challenge of working at the Deva Stadium but I can only hope that they have the courage and determination to make good decisions for the benefit of the club, team, fans and wider community, none of whom has much reason to anticipate the new season with pleasure.

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