Hi Neil – before we talk about Chester FC, tell us a bit about the Blue and White Fanzine?
We have been going since 2011, shortly after the club reformed. We have been nominated for fanzine of the year twice (2012 and 2017) so are obviously doing something right! It is still £2 and whilst the focus is Chester we have a fair bit of stuff from elsewhere in football so any Gulls fans who want something to do on the way back down come and pick up a copy. We are usually outside the club shop. We also have a brand new edition out on Good Friday! £2.
The club is in a battle to stay afloat, for those of us who don’t know; what has happened to get CFC into this trouble?
In basic terms the club has committed to spend too much money to awful players. We had a budget increase in the summer off the back of Sam Hughes’ sale to Leicester City but poor gates and poor commercial efforts from our now departed CEO has left a large gap in the budget. We still aren’t in any debt but we would have run out of cash without the fans efforts to raise about £100k.
Fans group City Fans United are owners of the club, how are they doing and what activities have been planned to raise funds for the club?
Well until January it hadn’t been going well for about 18 months (hence financial problems). After then things have picked up a bit and there is lots going on for fundraising. Most of it is the basic stuff – race nights, quizzes, donations, legends nights etc. To be honest the CFU made some poor decisions which has led to this point but nothing irreversible.
What’s the latest on the financial situation and are you optimistic of survival?
Finances are steadying. We’ll get through the season. The issue going forward is the players on two year contracts. The more we can get out the better we will do next time out. We are going down. No doubt about it.
What’s your recent form been like on the pitch?
Which players should we be looking out for this Friday?
Errrr. We have a few good youngsters in Tom Crawford, Matty Waters and James Jones but they are quite raw and playing in a god-awful team so I’m not expecting much. Dominic Vose is supposed to be a good player on his day but it hasn’t quite happened for him yet. Gary Roberts is quite good at picking out a pass but most of our players to pass to are dreadful which doesn’t help.
Marcus Bignot was linked to the TUFC job, how do you rate his time as manager so far and what sort of tactics does he employ?
To be honest it is hard to judge. We’ve struggled to put out 11 at times (injuries) and have quite a few players just playing for expenses. Some of the signings he has made have looked decent but some haven’t. He has experience of winning the league below so might be the person to get us moving forward next year but with so little to go off the fanbase is pretty split on him.
Ex-Gulls Myles Anderson and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner are playing for you, how have they done this season?
Myles looks ok but not brilliant. Lathaniel is one of the worst player’s we’ve ever had. I will drive him back to Torquay if you want?
What’s the Deva Stadium like, and which nearby pubs are best for the travelling ‘Yellow Army’ to visit?
Functional is probably the best description. It is at the end of an industrial estate so not really too much nearby. Most away fans either come in our bar (which is quite decent but can get a bit cramped) or drink in town and taxi it over before the match.
And finally, what’s your prediction for the game and are you surprised by our struggles towards the bottom of the National League in recent years?
Think this might be our last win of the season. 2-0 Chester. And no. I’ve been reading about your ground situation/owners and stuff. It, sadly, hasn’t surprised me one bit. Hopefully we will see you back in the NL in a couple of years!
Thanks for talking to TT Neil, I hope you guys survive this tough period and come back stronger….oh and I’ll get back to you about Lathaniel!
The latest issue of Blue and White will be on sale this Friday, below is the link for more info: