Thursday, March 11, 2010

One of the saddest stories this week was the demise of Chester City Football Club.

On the same day that Portsmouth had to axe 85 positions to try and stay afloat, Chester finally ran out of options and were wound up in the High Court yesterday.

It's always sad to see any Club go out of business and when it's one that has a proud 126 year history, it's just heartbreaking.

The end wasn't exactly a shock. Owing over 26 grand to HM Revenue & Customs, Chester had been booted out of the Blue Square Premier at the end of February. After failing to fulfill a fixture at Forest Green Rovers when the players refused to board the team bus and serving an original seven days suspension as a result, 75% of the Conference sides decided on the explusion for breaching five league rules and the Club's seemingly inability to fulfill their remaining fixtures.

The Club had been sitting on minus three points following a 25 point penalty for going into administration last summer after getting relegated from League Two on the last day of the season. They played their last ever game at home on February 6th against fan run club Ebbsfleet United (a Club with their own cash problems). They went down 2-1, in front of only 425 fans. It was a sad way to bow out.

The low attendances had come about as a result of a boycott from fans group City Fans United (see HERE), who were unhappy at the way the Club were being run by the current owners. It's one of those gutwrenching decisions. Do you boycott and risk killing the Club you love through lack of income coming in or back an owner you can't knowingly support. At least with the former, if the Club dies, the brilliance of the English pyramid system can allow you to rise pheonix like once again and restart your Club the way it should be run and that's what's going to happen with Chester.

CFU now plan to rebuild the Club and try and get a new team playing in the Unibond League, the 8th tier of the English game and three below where they currently were.

Good luck to them. I hope they get their Club back, bigger, better and stronger than ever. They'd dropped down to the non league before and bounced back in the 2003/04 season. Hopefully they can follow the successes of AFC Wimbledon and get that step closer to their place in the Football League once again.

The fans have suffered for a long time. They deserve something to go right for them and it's looking good already. They look to have secured their current council owned Deva Stadium for the new team.

It's the first step of a long road back. AFTN wishes you all the luck in getting there.

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