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Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010

Chester City expelled from Football Conference

Chester City

Chester City have been expelled from the Football Conference with immediate effect following Friday's meeting of Blue Square Premier clubs at Nene Park.

The Conference received over 75% of the votes required to take action after Chester had admitted to breaching five Conference rules.

The club are now unable to fulfil this season's remaining fixtures, beginning with Saturday's clash against Oxford.

City, who did not attend the meeting, face a winding-up order on 10 March.

That was over an unpaid tax bill of £26,125, for which City were handed a six-week adjournment on 27 January.

And the rearranged date with HM Revenue & Customs, due to be held at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, will simply be the latest chapter in Chester's year-long tale of woe.

City's relegation from the Football League last April always looked on the cards from the moment that they chose not to strengthen an already thin squad during the January window.

That was down to the club's increasing financial woes, brought on by a disastrous fall in gates, which resulted in the club going into administration when the season ended in May.

City Fans United will continue to fight for the future of football in Chester

City Fans United statement

After being docked 10 points, there were then doubts as to whether City would begin the campaign at all when they were initially refused a trading licence by the Football Association.

Having been handed the extra burden of a 25-point penalty, they were granted entry into the Conference only thanks to a unanimous vote from their fellow Blue Square Premier clubs.

But, due to the continued presence of the Vaughan family as the club's owners, the Football League chose to deny Chester the discretionary payment due to both them and Luton Town following relegation from the Football League.

City were also overlooked for a one-off £30,000 hardship payment provided to all other Conference clubs by the Premier League.

After funds ran even drier, at a time when their former chairman Stephen Vaughan had become the first person to fail the FA's 'fit and proper person' test, that all helped contribute to Chester's players going unpaid from October onwards.

City's five loan players, who had briefly sparked hopes of a revival with a three-game winning run under manager Jim Harvey, all found new clubs.


Their more marketable assets - midfielders Anthony Barry and Gareth Owen, defenders Kevin Roberts and Rhys Meynell and top scorer Nick Chadwick - went elsewhere too. And the shock Boxing Day appointment of a director of football, former Sunday League manager Morell Maison, triggered the end for the much-admired Harvey.

But, following two previous threats of strike action over their unpaid wages, the beginning of the end came when the players refused to board the team bus for a night game at Forest Green on 9 February.

That game was called off, as was the following Sunday's derby at Wrexham because of an unpaid police bill.

In a desperate attempt to sell the club, new chairman Stephen Vaughan Jnr, eldest son of their former chairman, put it up for sale for £1.

But, although one Danish consortium still remain hopeful of closing a deal with the Vaughan family, other potential buyers have been put off by the club's debts, which are understood to run to over £200,000.

Stephen Vaughan
Ex-chairman Stephen Vaughan handed the reins at the Deva to his son

And the end of their second spell as a Conference club came just after noon on Friday, with City a whopping 33 points adrift of safety with just 18 games to go.

Although the future looks decidedly bleak for the club, Chester's main supporters body, City Fans United, remain optimistic that professional football will one day return to the city.

In a prepared statement, they said: "City Fans United are dismayed and saddened that this situation has been allowed to occur.

"However, we have previously stated our belief that years of financial mismanagement meant that this decision was inevitable.

"We are angry that Chester City FC was allowed to fall into such a sorry state.

"And we call upon the football authorities to review their rules on the ownership and financial control of football clubs, before the supporters of another football club are forced to endure the pain felt by fans of Chester City FC.

"CFU have previously outlined our vision for the future but, like all supporters of Chester City FC, we must take some time to grieve.

"We believe that 125 years of footballing history will live on through every supporter of Chester City FC.

Today's events are unparalleled in the history of our national sport and it is with much regret these circumstances have evolved

Football Conference statement

"Rest assured that City Fans United will continue to fight for the future of football in Chester."

A further statement issued by the Football Conference member clubs late on Friday afternoon read: "Today's events are unparalleled in the history of our national sport and it is with much regret these circumstances have evolved.

"The Football Conference are saddened that any club should meet such a fate. We sympathise with those who hold the club dear to their hearts.

"Whilst the decision of member clubs was taken in respect of the club failing to fulfil fixtures, behind these failures is a lesson to every club at whatever level they participate.

"Clubs have to live within their means. Financial prudence can be the only way forward.

"Chester City FC, although having the right to make a presentation to the member clubs against the recommendation, did not attend the meeting."

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see also
Chester results axed from league
08 Mar 10 |  Non League
Council want football in Chester
19 Feb 10 |  Chester
Chester face Conference expulsion
18 Feb 10 |  Chester
Chester hit by Conference charge
12 Feb 10 |  Chester
Chester City squad refuse to play
09 Feb 10 |  Non League
Chester still face league meeting
01 Feb 10 |  Chester
Chester handed 42-day adjournment
27 Jan 10 |  Chester
Chester City up for sale for 1
26 Jan 10 |  Chester
Chester to face winding-up order
18 Jan 10 |  Chester
Chester players threaten strike
15 Dec 09 |  Chester
Chester live to fight another day
03 Dec 09 |  Chester
Chester hit rock bottom
09 Oct 09 |  Chester

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