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Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Stephen Vaughan helps to bail out crisis club Chester

Stephen Vaughan
Stephen Vaughan has surrendered the Deva Stadium reins to his son

Chester City have been given the green light to carry on in the Blue Square Premier after being bailed out by their former owner Stephen Vaughan.

City had been threatened with expulsion from the league if debts to Wrexham and Vauxhall Motors had remained unpaid.

But Vaughan has loaned the necessary capital to his son, Stephen Vaughan Jr, to allow City to carry on.

"We've raised the capital to pay the creditors. Stephen's loaned it to his son," said managing director Bob Gray.

"That has kept the club afloat," Gray told BBC Sport. "And now we should be all right."

City had been due to attend an emergency board meeting at the Football Conference's headquarters in Birmingham on Thursday if debts to their two neighbours, as well as the Professional Footballers' Association, had remained unsettled.

But Chester met the deadline, Gray confirming: "We didn't have to attend as all the necessary paperwork was submitted. And we've covered the shortfall."

Although Chester's short-term future has been saved, the club's long-term existence remains in doubt.

Only 867 fans turned up for Saturday's home game with Eastbourne Borough, which was abandoned due to a supporter protest.

The club has lodged a payment of £36,600 with the Football Conference. Upon clearance of such payment and release of that funding, the threat of expulsion from membership will be withdrawn

Thursday's statement from the Football Conference

That is more than 1,000 down on last season's average gate, which was already 20% down on the 2007/08 campaign.

While attendances have plummeted Chester are also likely to be relegated, with the club currently 24 points adrift of safety following a 25-point pre-season deduction.

The only hope is that the Vaughan family receive a viable offer from one of several potential buyers.

But Gray insists that, after Vaughan Snr's previous investment in the club, and despite now being banned from serving as a company director, he will not let Chester go on the cheap.

"He has seen people," said Gray. "In fact he saw somebody today. But he will not let the club go at any price. They're coming up with stupid figures.

"They don't realise the strength of the man. He's as thick-skinned as a rhino."

A statement released by the Football Conference earlier on Thursday confirmed Chester could carry on playing.

"As part of a commitment made by Chester City FC towards settling these matters, Chester City FC agreed to make up any potential shortfall between the funding due and football creditors," said the statement.

"The club has, therefore, lodged a payment of £36,600 with the Football Conference. Upon clearance of such payment and release of that funding, the threat of expulsion from membership will be withdrawn."



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