It’s tough to know how to start this.
After the liquidation of Chester City in 2010, its fans came together to form Chester FC. In the opening three seasons, the club had won back-to-back-to-back titles.
Since then, Chester’s steady ship has hit it’s metaphorical bump, resulting in the realistic chance that we might need to start all over again.
The club’s governing body, City Fans United, hosted an annual meeting at the Deva Stadium last night. A packed out crowd were given the grim financial details that the board possessed, hammering home the point the club is simply not being run correctly at the present moment.
Laurence Kirby, Chester’s financial director, was tasked with revealing the too-realistic possibility that the club could be going bust for a second time in just eight short years. She first announced that the club’s transfer budget will be cut from £450,000 to £250,000, the lowest in the club’s history, a £200,000 cut proof enough of the perilous position that the Blues find themselves in.
After announcing that the second £65,000 instalment of Sam Hughes’ transfer from Leicester would need to be moved forward from June, Kirby went on to state that, “If we can’t raise £85-90k a month, we could be finished in a couple of months.”
Eight years on from reformation, Chester Football Club could be finished by March. It’s tough to find words to describe it. With the reserves having been eaten into, the club needs a ‘short-term’ cash injection of £50,000 to keep afloat for the time being.
What I learned from last night’s meeting is the remarkable extent to which the board simply don’t communicate with Chester supporters, albeit in the ground or on social media.
A quote from CFU chairman, Jonny Hughes, stated that he “didn’t have one email telling him to sack Jon McCarthy”. This, solid proof that the governing body of a fan-owned club don’t listen to the fans. You couldn’t write it. You don’t need emails to see that zero home wins in nine months is a disgrace. I saw absolutely nothing but ‘Jon McCarthy Out’ for six straight months, in both the Deva and on social media, until he was sacked.
Next Kirby declared the importance of the club’s gate income, stating that “we need them to go up if we are to survive.” As true as this is, this problem could have been eradicated months ago if the board began to take the suggestions of the fans on board. In a City with a population of 120,000, more people are in the pubs watching Liverpool on the weekend than in the Deva watching live football. This comes back to advertisement, with fans suggesting for months that publicity in the City centre is non-existent and needs to become ever-present as we attempt to fend off the black cloud of administration.
Having signed up for City Fans United last night, I got an insight into the lack of communication the body gives its members, with a fair few stating that they were never even reminded to renew their membership. Advertisement, communication and stability, three things the fans have called out for in the last year, ideas never taken on board leading to this mess. ‘Our City, Our Community, OUR Club’. Never forget that.
Kirby lastly went on to reveal that Chester needed £50,000 in the ‘short-term’, to keep the club afloat for the time being. Although truly embarrassed about how our financial situation has been allowed to decline as it has, the fans sprung to action and got the necessary links published for the football family to donate to the cause. A bucket collection alone at yesterday’s meeting raising £1,200.
The board are to blame for this, but we have to adapt to the situation and learn to overcome it. We’re in this situation now, let’s work together to get ourselves out of it. Once we are out of this predicament, it’s time to change paths and use this wake up call to get investment into the club. I would suggest a 50-50 or 51-49 split between City Fans United and said investor. Simply the best of both worlds.
If you’d wish to donate, there are links below to City Fans United and a GoFundMe page set up, both with the aim of raising this £50k fairly quickly and steadying the ship once more. Everyone at the club is thankful for your support. We’ve been through this before, we don’t deserve to again. Thank you.
CFU – https://t.co/GSZCXCgg9X
GoFundMe – https://t.co/UrvD5pfvNn