Chester City drinking at last chance saloon
Posted by John Beech on October 21, 2009
It was less than a fortnight ago that I was blogging on the Stephen Vaughan approach to management, and some of the odd theories he proposed on how to run a club (1).
The Conference is now running out of patience with the way Chester City is being run. This afternoon they published this blunt statement:
“In accordance with Membership Rule 11 – for the non-payment of football creditors – Chester City FC have been placed under an immediate player embargo, in as much that:
“1. Chester City FC has not complied with the terms of the compromise agreement set by the Football Conference to allow the club to participate in the competition at the commencement of the current season; and further to that fact, the club has been given 7 days, operative up to 5.30pm 26th October 2009, in which to meet the said payment terms of that agreement, otherwise they face the threat of expulsion from the Football Conference.
“2. Chester City FC has failed to pay monies owing to Wrexham FC for away ticket sales relating to their fixture played on 27th September 2009 and further to that fact, the club has failed to meet a 7-day payment deadline imposed by the Football Conference.
“3. Chester City has failed to pay Vauxhall Motors FC monies owed in relation to the loan of Paul Taylor, which should have been met no later than 14th October 2009.
“The Football Conference will not be making any further statement on this matter at this time. ”
So, pay up by Sunday evening, or be expelled from the Conference. Quite where they could go if expelled mid-season is unclear.
Not paying football creditors is of course considered to be the ultimate sin by the governing bodies – it led to Halesowen Town being banned by the FA in July (2) under Morell Maison (who, incidentally, has been arrested on suspicion of fraud in an investigation “in relation to various allegations concerning matters in relation to Halesowen Football Club” ).
This all needs to be seen in the context of Chester City coming out of Administration on 26 May via a CVA which saw creditors being paid 15p in the pound (4). It has to be asked – was allowing this a wise decision on the part of the Administrator, Martin Shaw of Refresh Recovery? Refresh Recovery are relative newcomers to the football Administration scene, but also provide the Administrator of Northwich Victoria.
It must also raise questions regarding the Fit and Proper Person tests, the FA variant being the one applicable to Conference clubs. The position of Ian Watmore, Chief Executive of the FA, at least as he expressed at the Supporters Direct Conference (5), will ensure that the vital issue of the harmonisation of the variants of the Test is addressed. However, the fact that the pass rate is similar to that of, say, O Grade Breathing, does not seem to be a matter of concern to him.
As for Stephen Vaughan at Chester City, surely it is time for him to bow out before the club hits an ultimate low. However, unless a miracle happens by the end of this week, he may have no option but to put the club back into Administration, a bigger blow to the long-suffering club than to him! It’s time the FA addressed this paradox – we saw the iniquity of punishing the club rather than the perpetrator at Luton.
On the present evidence, I have to say it doesn’t look likely that any changes are imminent.