Football Management

Commentary on the management of over 160 English football clubs by Dr John Beech, winner of the FSF Writer of the Year Award 2009/10 Twitter: @JohnBeech Curator of! Football Finance

The suspension of Chester City

Posted by John Beech on February 11, 2010

As Stephen Vaughan seems unwilling to do the decent thing and fall on his sword, the Conference have given him a shove in the right direction by suspending the club, ostensibly for failing to fulfill fixtures (1).  The suspension is for seven days, but as the police will no longer man matches at the Deva because of an unpaid bill, the players will no longer play because they haven’t been paid for three months, and the club, in the Conference remember, has debts of £700,000 (see Ian King’s excellent TwoHundredPerCent scoop for details), it’s going to take a EuroLottery rollover win to see the club back on the pitch in its current format.

Trading solvently?  My arse, as Jim Royle would put it.  (See previous posting)

May Chester City 2004 Ltd. be confined to the dustbin of history, and let’s hope to see AFC Chester arise very shortly.


4 Responses to “The suspension of Chester City”

  1. Peter said

    I’ve only just found your website yesterday and it is an excellent and informative read. As a Luton fan, I sympathise a lot with Chester’s plight, but I agree that surely the time has come for the BSP to throw them out – after all, they can’t fulfil home and away fixtures, and with teams like Wrexham already having a considerable number of fixtures thanks to the winter freeze, it’s unfair on teams like them to have another match to play in addition to the rearranged matches from December and January. The fans of Chester City reluctantly seem to agree that the right thing to do is to wind up the club and start again as well without Mr Vaughan’s involvement.

    One question I have is regarding the Stevenage chairman’s comments. He has basically said something along the lines that if Chester get thrown out of the league mid-season then he’ll consider legal action against the BSP. This is because they have picked up six points over Chester this season from two games, whilst Oxford and York have picked up three from one game, and my team Luton only managed two points from two games. So this would mean that Stevenage would be put at a serious disadvantage in the title race. My question is whether Stevenage will have a strong case or not to do this? It sounds more like words of desperation instead, and is it likely to affect the Blue Square Premier’s decision on Chester?

  2. John Beech said

    Many thanks for this comment Peter, and a fascinating question.
    Certainly the precedent in these circumstances is to expunge the record of the club. This can certainly have some odd consequences – Altrincham, for example, escaped relegation in three consecutive seasons becomes of other club’s problems, although I don’t recall that points from played games was an issue.
    A similar situation will arise in the Premier League if Portsmouth fold, which is why West Ham are particularly keen for Pompey to survive – they’ve played Portsmouth twice already this season, taking four out of the possible six points; losing them would drop them firmly into the relegation zone.
    As for whether Stevenage would have a strong case (they would be the biggest losers of points), I would have to say I don’t know. I suspect this is moving into virgin territory for the lawyers. My gut feeling is that they wouldn’t – expunging has always been the rule, and it’s hard to see any fairer alternative that is practicable. Yet another interesting developing issue to monitor though!

    • Peter said

      Thanks for the reply, my feeling is that you’d be right and they wouldn’t have much of a case. Presumably all of the clubs in the BSP have signed something saying that they adhere to the rules of the competition, one of which would be about expunging the records of clubs that cannot finish the season. Even if they do have a case, I still can’t see the alternative – as you said the police won’t allow them to play at the Deva Stadium, the players won’t play for them, and it sounds like they can’t, or may not in the future, be able to travel to away matches anyway. I’m not sure how much it will actually affect matters at the top anyway. It will be sad to see Chester go, but most of their own fans seem to be in agreement that it is the right thing to happen, and there are very few options other than creating a phoenix club.

  3. TonyM said

    Having watched a team for nearly half the season only to have our results (and existence) ‘expunged’ I can vouch for the fact that it isnt a pleasent experience and one that I wouldnt wish on anyone but…The time has surely come (some would say well passed) for the Conference to act and put Chester out of its self inflicted misery.

    What worries me more is what will come in its place, much as I am sure FC Utd and AFC Telford have helped the fledgling Trust at Chester they could well find plenty of willing bidders competing for the lease of the ground as Unibond Prem might look quite attractive as a place to start for a club with the potential fan base within Chester and no inherited debts

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