Chester City FC: Fans left in the dark by Blues FA licence crisis

WITH just 16 days to go before the start of the new season, Chester City supporters are still nowhere nearer knowing whether their beloved Blues will make the big kick-off.

City may not be able to take their place in the Blue Square Premier until the new company behind the club has been granted membership by the FA.

Soho Square officials last night told The Chronicle that Chester have still not fulfilled the necessary requirements needed to become an affiliated club. Deva Stadium bosses, on the other hand, are adamant they are doing all that is being asked of them.

The Conference, meanwhile, anxiously await an end to the impasse that has plunged the Blues into fresh crisis seven weeks after they came out of administration.

Chester City Supporters’ Trust chair Tom Jones said: “This appears to be serious. It might well be that the right paperwork is not yet in the right place, but what makes it difficult to understand is why that can’t be put right.

“This is the first time I’ve known a club’s pre-season friendlies being cancelled and it seems a drastic measure. I am shocked that’s how serious this must be.”

Chester entered administration in May but moved out of it a month later when former chairman Stephen Vaughan, under the guise of a new company called Chester City Football Club 2004 Limited, bought back the club.

That company are yet to be accepted by the FA and until that changes, the Blues are not able to play any matches.

That is why Saturday’s trip to AFC Telford United, like the friendlies with a Liverpool XI and Marine before it, has been cancelled.

Chairman of the Official Chester City Supporters’ Club, Barrie Hipkiss, said: “I thought this would have all been sorted by the time of the Liverpool game on Tuesday, but now I’m fearing this could drag on.

“We could end up going into the season with no preparation, which doesn’t help the manager or the players.

“I’ve been inundated with people stopping me, asking me what’s going on. Fans are concerned and it’s not helping the club. The season-ticket sales are around 250 and that number will not go up until people know what’s going on.”

Sue Choularton, press officer of the Chester City Exiles, said: “We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs supporting Chester and this feels seriously worrying, so much so that supporters are beginning to fear whether we will be playing football again.”

Fellow Exile and BBC Formula One commentator, Jonathan Legard, added: “Nothing is surprising about this latest crisis. The club has been lurching from one to the next for the last five years. Revolving door for managers, constant money problems and false dawns.

“The only way forward is under new ownership.”