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Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Chester City players threaten strike over unpaid wages

Chester City

Players at Blue Square Premier crisis club Chester City have threatened to go on strike over unpaid salaries.

The players' monthly wages, due at the end of November, have still not been paid, and the Professional Footballers Association have now got involved.

"This is not something we'd recommend the players to do, but I can certainly understand their predicament, " said PFA senior executive Simon Barker.

"It's just before Christmas. They've got children and have presents to buy."

The players are reported to have received an assurance from a club director promising that the wages will be paid on or before Friday.

But, if they have still not been paid by then, the City squad are understood to have threatened not to play in Saturday's league game at Rushden & Diamonds.

Former Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers midfielder Barker told BBC Sport: "It's not hard to see why the players are frustrated.

We've dealt with about 70 clubs in similar situations over the years. And we've not lost one yet

PFA senior executive Simon Barker

"Any employee in any other industry would be upset if their wages were not paid on time and footballers are no different.

"We appreciate Chester have cashflow problems right now, but this is certainly not the first time we've been contacted over wages not being paid."

The PFA are among a number of creditors still owed money by the club, with specific regard to loans made to Chester players last season. And, like all the football authorities, they are well aware of City's current dire situation.

Only meeting the delayed deadline for a shortfall cheque of £36,000 allowing creditors to be paid, including neighbours Wrexham and Vauxhall Motors, prevented Chester being thrown out of the Football Conference last week.

And former chairman Stephen Vaughan, whose son Stephen Vaughan Jnr is now the club's main shareholder, has been deemed as not a 'fit and proper person' to run a football club by the Football Association.

Added to that, the club are still awaiting to hear their fate over the supporter protest, aimed at the Vaughan family, which caused the abandonment of the game with Eastbourne Borough on 28 November.

But, while the short-term outlook is ugly at the Deva Stadium, the club's long-term prospects appear little brighter.

Only 518 fans (110 of them in the visitors' section) turned up for Friday 1-0 FA Trophy home defeat by Fleetwood Town.

The club, 24 points adrift thanks to their 25-point punishment for going into liquidation, are already facing a second successive relegation in May.

And other clubs are already homing in on Chester's more marketable assets with Tranmere Rovers, Shrewsbury Town, Wrexham and York City all having representatives at Friday's game.

But, amidst fears about the club's very existence, Barker insists that where there is life, there is hope.

"We've dealt with about 70 clubs in similar situations over the years," he added. "And we've not lost one yet.

"I'm not saying that one won't go eventually, but we'll be giving as much assistance as we can."



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