Chester City FC: Council move for Deva Stadium eviction – but they pledge to keep football in Chester

Deva Stadium

CHESTER City supporters were given fresh hope last night when Cheshire West and Chester Council moved to regain control of the Deva Stadium – and pledged their commitment to keep football at the ground.

The authority’s announcement came hours after the Deva Stadium’s current tenants, Chester City FC 2004 Ltd, were wound up in the High Court in London over an unpaid £26,125 tax bill.

Council leader Mike Jones said: “In one respect today’s High Court decision is a sad day for football in Chester. In another, it could herald the start of an exciting new beginning.

“We are in the process of taking action to secure the imminent return of the stadium to our control.”

Chester City FC 2004 Ltd, the Vaughan-family owned company behind the Blues, was wound up after failing to settle its debts with HM Revenue & Customs. The decision came two days after the Football Conference confirmed Chester had not appealed against their expulsion from the competition.

Blues fans are now hoping a ‘phoenix club’ can rise from the ashes in a lower league.

Cllr Jones said: “We are prepared to examine all options put to us to secure the future of football in Chester providing they are accompanied by a sustainable business case. We are looking to develop football at the Deva Stadium hopefully with a significant community aspect involved. Ideally, we would like to see the Deva as the hub of a ‘football in the community’ project which reached our young people at every age range.”

Official supporters club, City Fans United (CFU), has continued its negotiations with the council this week in a bid to start up a ‘phoenix club’ that will play at the Deva Stadium.

CFU press officer Jeff Banks said: “We have met the council with a strong business plan and submitted notice of intent to the FA to reform the club straight after the verdict came in yesterday.”

A FA spokesperson said it would welcome applications if the club wishes to reform.

Turn to pages 78 and 80.