Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Today has been like waiting for an exam result through the post. Except that the postman never called.
We - Chester fans - were told there would be a statement today about the club's future, which readers of this blog will know is hanging by a tarnished thread right now. Readers will not be stunned to know that, up to this late hour, there has been no statement. But then the person who promised the statement is our owner, Stephen Vaughan, so maybe the failure to deliver even a simple communication to the fans is not a shock.
So while we wait to see if we can kick off the season at Grays on Saturday, and whether we will incur a further points deduction to add to the minus 10 we already have (the smart money is on another 15), and indeed whether the club will even exist on Saturday, we can ask a pertinent question.
How did we end up in this state?
Clearly the misguided policies of the current owner are almost completely to blame. But one can also ask what the Football Association, the guardians of the national sport, have been doing while the storm clouds gathered. Answer - nothing until it was too late.
The FA must learn a lesson from the Deva debacle. Small clubs mean a lot to their communities but can easily fall into the wrong hands. In Chester's case, no AGM was held for 17 years from 1991 to 2008. The meeting that was eventually held last year broke up in confusion when the owner reacted angrily to questions from the floor. In the meantime debts were climbing to £7 million.
The FA should insist that all clubs hold an AGM annually - that, after all, is what the 'A' is meant to represent - and should reserve the right to send an observer to monitor AGMs of clubs where a crisis might be looming. As the Chester case proves, leaving some owners to their own devices is like leaving MPs to monitor their own expenses.

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