March 10th, 2010, was a horrible day for Chester City fans – make no mistake about that. The end of the Club they had supported for years, decades, many heading towards a century, but in one fell swoop the Club they had followed collectively since 1885 was shut down, thanks to one unpaid tax bill hearing at the High Court.
The problems of course had surfaced long before that unpaid tax bill, with a whole plethora of problems at the football club we had put so many years of effort and support into.
It was a black day in the history of the Club.
It was however, also the dawn of a brand new and brighter era for the fans. Knowing that the support was out there from not just our own fans, but fans from other clubs up and down the country gave hope and inspiration to those who dared to dream of a better future for football in Chester.
Who would have thought that the days of being embarrassed to wear the blue and white striped shirts around the City would turn completely on its head and become a ‘cool’ trend amongst kids and adults alike to be seen in their tops around the historic City of ours.
Who would have thought that the fans who met in ‘Bingo halls’ as some said, would go on to deliver a Club that actually embraced the Community, and gaining supporters – some who had never been down to the Deva Stadium before – and many who returned for the new era, convinced that this was a new dawn for the Club.
Who would have believed that we would see such a great standard of football at the level we were faced with playing, and enjoyable trips to grounds around the North West of England, and some beyond that perimeter.
Who would have thought that we’d be appearing on national radio as proof that a club can prosper despite being effectively knifed through the heart by its previous owners in its previous form?
Who would have believed that a Club could be pulled together in just 12 weeks and that the Club would win silverware in its first season as a reformed club.
The fact is that the fans did believe that this was possible, and this is only the start of the journey to get to the Promised Land… the Football League.
Those fans, the 2000 odd owners of Chester Football Club, the 500 Junior Blues, the 3500 that turned up for the Nantwich game in 2012, the 4000 Twitter followers, the 5000 weekly visitors to the Club’s Facebook page, and the 20,000 monthly unique visitors to the Club’s website, believe that Chester FC is part of their lives, and how right they are.
Chester FC is now in our hearts and in our soul (apologies Everton fans!), but then again, it always was, and that is why it was worth fighting for in the first place. The Club was on its knees, desperate, looking for a lifeline, but cruelly denied it by one family in particular.
The Family that is the Chester Family stood up and were counted, and now that family is spreading the word throughout the Community, that their Club is alive and kicking, and on the way back – and how.
We have a Manager that is totally dedicated to winning trophies and driving the Club forward, the board is totally dedicated to that too, and are doing things the right way, to ensure that nothing, I repeat nothing, puts the club’s future at risk.
It has been a challenging two years alright, but look at how far we have come – from that first friendly at Colwyn Bay, where 1500 fans travelled to herald a new era, to the away match at Garforth last season where 2300 fans made the journey to Yorkshire to go through what can be described as a ‘unique’ experience to win a League at it’s first attempt.
This season has seen no let up in the ambitions to get back to the first milestone, which is Conference football, and with five or six more wins, may actually leave the Evo-Stik League for the Conference League – where the old girl Chester City died.
Two years ago, we felt numb, gutted that it had come to losing our club, and yes we were a bunch of romantics who believed that we could do something about it, and thankfully we weren’t the only ones with the backing received at the Guild Hall in February & May 2010, and also at that very first home match against Trafford in September 2010. Then we knew that this was a dream that could come true.
The best thing in the two years for me, has been the smiles of the faces inside the ground, yes there are always debates about whether that player or this player should be in the starting eleven, or why we didn’t score 3 goals rather than 2, but isn’t it great to be talking about that rather than worrying where the next winding up order was coming from, or how much the next unpaid tax bill would be for?
Football in Chester has changed forever, and if we keep doing what we’re doing, then it can only bode well for the Club’s future – especially with all the kids that are coming down to the ground now.
If you haven’t got your little one signed up to the Junior Blues yet, then do it today, it’s a fantastic way to get our younger fans hooked on to Chester FC the way you were. If you haven’t joined or renewed your CFU membership yet, then do it today, this is YOUR club, and who else can claim to be owners of their football club for just a fiver??
The nightmare of March 10th, 2010 happened, but so did the rising of the Phoenix on the same day, and the fire is still breathing now amongst every Chester fan, and long may it continue. We need to keep that fire alive, and everyone can play their part in doing so, so please keep it going, and help us prove to everyone that Chester FC are well and truly on their way back.