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Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Chester boss Jim Harvey calls for summer football

Jim Harvey
Jim Harvey has been linked with the vacancy at Kidderminster Harriers

Chester City manager Jim Harvey is advocating a switch to summer football as a way to help beat the big freeze for hard-up non-league clubs.

Blue Square Premier bottom club City have not played since Boxing Day after the postponement of successive matches - with the likelihood of more to come.

But Harvey said: "Playing football in the current conditions that we're experiencing is nonsense.

"Summer football is the obvious way to go. The pluses it brings are immense."

The obvious flaw in Harvey's idea is the issue of promotion and relegation to the Football League, which would still be operating between August and May.

But, in the light of the success of rugby league in becoming a summer sport, Harvey still feels that the overall package of watching matches in the summer months is one that needs embracing.

"The whole experience would be a much more pleasant affair," said the 51-year-old Irishman. "Pitches are immaculate and supporters can watch games in shirt sleeves.

"Pitches at our level aren't up to standard at this time of the year and players and supporters alike are freezing, which isn't conducive to what we are trying to achieve.

It would be difficult to implement. It would be a complete mess

Chester boss Jim Harvey on the prospect of a winter break

"Another major benefit for clubs at our level would mean bigger crowds and greater revenue, which has to be attractive.

"I don't think a three or four week mid-season break at this time of the year is the answer.

"It would be difficult to implement, and players' fitness would be interrupted because of a lack of competitive matches.

"Also, who knows when a mid-winter cold snap is likely to happen - next year it could well be in February, so if we had a break in January then postponements a month later, it would be a complete mess."

Because of their early exit from the FA Trophy, Chester were already without a scheduled game this Saturday.

But they still face massive problems ahead of their next scheduled game at Crawley on Saturday week (16 January).

Chester's players, who threatened strike action over non-payment of wages before Christmas, are reported to have still not been paid.


And, of the worryingly thin squad they have got left since relegation from the Football League, rapidly followed by administration, the players that are left have been told that they can leave the Deva Stadium if they can find new clubs.

Top scorer Nick Chadwick, defender Shaun Kelly, as well as midfielders Anthony Barry and teenager James Owen, are top of the assets now being lined up by other clubs.

And veteran striker Gregg Blundell has completed his move to Blue Square Premier League rivals Barrow.

After moving initially on loan last month in a bid to get regular first team football, he has now signed on an 18-month contract.

Meanwhile, Chester's home game against Kidderminster Harriers, postponed from New Year's Day, has now been rearranged for Wednesday 17 February (1945 GMT).

That raises the possibility that Harvey, a contender for the managerial vacancy at Aggborough, could potentially be in charge of Harriers when the game is replayed.

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see also
Boardroom resignations at Chester
31 Dec 09 |  Chester
Chester P-P Kidderminster
01 Jan 10 |  Non League
Harvey unfazed by Maison arrival
29 Dec 09 |  Chester
Chester's Harvey eyes Kidder job
28 Dec 09 |  Kidderminster
Chester P-P Barrow
28 Dec 09 |  Non League
No offer yet for troubled Chester
16 Dec 09 |  Chester
Chester players threaten strike
15 Dec 09 |  Chester

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