Monday, 29 November 2010

Where's a Terry Smith kettle when you need one?

It had been an unusually quiet week with the Blues last week, as we experienced the rarity of no midweek match, and given the bad weather, maybe we could have done with one as we're now in a cold snap that is dominating the game, with temperatures plummeting towards minus 20!

It also co-incided with a week off work too, so lots of attention given to the incoming e-mails to the club as well as making minor amends to the official website.

Then on Wednesday, the chance to listen to Alan Irwin's coverage of the Blues with his visit to the Exacta last Saturday for the Skem game - and how good was that programme?? He sat with Chris Pilsbury through the game whilst getting interviews with me before, during, and after the game, but I must admit I didn't think all of the footage would be used!

Typically, I'd misread the Twitter feed from Leigh Genesis last week, there's me thinking that Clitheroe had been beaten 2-1 when actually they'd lost to Clitheroe, and cue plenty of "nine points ahead" inaccuracies, ah well, that'll teach me!

Also on Wednesday night, time to do a few player interviews for the half season dvd and Trafford dvd that NATV are releasing very shortly, and the odd sight of me walking through Total Fitness - no I normally break into a cold sweat when just walking past a gym, so all the guilty feelings about not doing enough about my fitness were certainly rammed home when seeing everyone else utilising all the products that feature in TF.

Then the lads came in, all decked out in their CFC gear, with everyone looking on, seems that the lads will make an impact in there.

Anyway, carried out a few interviews with the lads, before heading off home to return to my position as couch potato, and catch up with the Apprentice and then the latest goings on in the Jungle!

So, thoughts then turned towards the weekend, and whether Saturday's game would be on or off. Friday saw the first pitch inspection take place to show that ther pitch could be playable at kick off time despite it being frozen first thing in the morning. The pitch at that point was okay, but at the same time, the snow was beginning to flurry.

The ice cool temperatures overnight would then throw fresh doubt onto proceedings, and a 9am pitch inspection was to take place, so waiting on the other end of the phone to find out what the outcome was whilst standing in the garden with my shorts on having just got up to let the dog out - yes I know, not a nice image.

Then the phone call telling me that a further inspection would take place at 2pm, as the League wanted us to do everything possible to get the game on, so the call for volunteers went out, whilst updating the radio, twitter, facebook, and of course the official site, whilst answering a few queries on DevaChat.

Then as soon as that was done, the phone went again, and the match was now off - so quickly into reverse, and updating everything again, so that all were aware of the game being called off. Despite the thought of having a freezing cold Exacta to attend, I still was looking forward to a game on the day, so to have it whipped away was a great shame, but I think at 2pm the decision would have been the same.

So, a quiet weekend in the end, with plenty of TV to watch, and casting an eye towards this week's game at Newcastle - would we have the same problem? Yes, probably.

Temperatures had dropped considerably since Saturday with little chance of it getting above freezing, and news that a pitch inspection at newcastle was to take place this afternoon threw the game into doubt, especially when I jumped in the car following the week off work it was minus 8, and plenty of de-icing to be done before heading back to work.

Today as well has seen another cancellation, this time the Newcastle Town game again for the second time, with the weather winning the battle.

Thankfully though, the Woodley Sports game gets the go ahead for next Wednesday, and the strong possibility of (Sir) Stuart Rimmer attending the game as the Legend of the Week, and you never know maybe just maybe he might be joined by another...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

What a great weekend!

Well I'm typing up this blog whilst listening to the latest Seals Podcast, and also having my mobile phone updating me on the Chorley & Clitheroe scores, so I'm 'in the zone' as they'd say right now whilst I enjoy the second evening of my week off work - oh yeah, forgot to mention Soccer Special on Sky 401 is on in the background as well so total football tonight!

So, taking a step back to last Saturday, and I, probably like most woke up with anticipation knowing that our biggest game of the season would be taking place in just a few hours, and the words of Skelmersdale's Frank Hughes were ringing around my head, and that really spurred me on - not that I could do anything about it on the day, but it helped my motivation for getting up on a saturday morning!

Having watched Soccer AM in the morning, it was then suit on, tie on, and get down to the Exacta to start the latest match day routine - just as an insight by the way, the day before, it's time to produce the schedules for the PA crew on the day (that's Cleggy & Tom), the list of expected photos from our photographers (that's Rick & Ian), the full match day schedule (which goes out to the whole board so they know just what's going on in and around the game), and the Announcements for Blues Live, as well as keeping tabs on the orders for Blues Live commentary.

Anyway, I digress, down to the ground, and through the usual routine of dishing out the announcements, but then meeting up with City talk's Alan Irwin, who is featuring the Blues in his programme, and so did an initial pre match interview with Alan, at about 1pm, so feeling quite relaxed at this point.

That interview took place immediately after we did a sound check on a gentleman who is going to be singing at our Christmas Celebration day on Saturday 11th December, so anyone who was outside the ground at this point must have wondered what the hell was going on, but we'll see young Scott perform in a couple of weeks time as Saturday was just a tester.

So, that & Alan's interview done, it was then time to meet some students who were half way through a University course doing a broadcasting degree, and time to fly in and find out where Mr Pilsbury was, anyway, he was spotted, and then dragged out to do the interview, fair play he was still doing it 20 minutes later - he's like a pringle, once he pops he can't stop!

Getting closer to kick off now, and things getting extremely busy in the ticket office, club shop, and of course the bar, all amazingly busy, and a sign of the times...hold on news coming through...

Chorley 1 down - get in!

Right, have decided this is going to be a live blog ha ha!

Time to publish this part 1!

Right back to it - oh hold on....Clitheroe take the lead - bugger, although had predicted this one that way, so not too distressed over this one!

Where was I? Oh yes, close to kick off now, and time to welcome in the Directors & Legends Loungers through to the main stand, and plenty of hello's going on there, so all seemed okay that point.

The game kicks off then, and...oh no we almost go one down with only a minute on the clock, but thankfully the sliding shot goes wide.

From that point it was great stuff, not long until Wildey popped up with a banger of a header from a great corner, lovely sight seeing that net ripple, and before we could get our breath back, Wildey was on the chase again, and upended by the defender...penalty!

Not just a penalty, but a red card too, hotly disputed by the visiting Directors, no surprise there, but from where we all sitting there didn't appear to be any argument, he was the last man and had to go. Not that they agreed of course.

Oh, Chorley may have a chance here as Ossett's keeper has gone off and now an outfield player is in goal, hmmm, can see what's going to happen here...

Part 2 published.

Back to it, although the every other minute a twitter comes in from Chorley which is a bit of a pain, this time telling us another Ossett player is out cold - great =(

Wtahcing on then from the door to the Directors area - I find it extremely hard to settle during games, so that's my place at the mo! - and Wildey picks himself up from the challenge, and steps up - penalty saved, the unusual sight of us witnessing Michael Wilde miss from the spot, what am I talking about this was only his second penalty of the season!

Anyway, that was pretty much that until half time, but Wildey really could have had a hat trick in that half.

So, to the Second Half and all of a sudden it was pretty frosty on the back row of the visiting Directors area, with one person in particular being rather vocal, and her (yes, her) mood went even worse when we got a second penalty, and this time Tom Field made no mistake and the Blues went three up, and thanks to the awful slating this lady (?) was giving Chester FC from that back row, I think it's fair to say that running down 5 steps, punching the air in their direction, was maybe a little payback for the comments that I was hearing. They didn't make much after that.

Maybe a tad unprofessional of me, but it really grates when I hear people dissing just what has been achieved here, only to be accused of "buying success" - in fact I find that quite offensive to be truthful.

The best was yet to come of course, as Jimmy McCarthy scored a great goal after a solo run to give us a 4-0 lead, and that was so so sweet, in fact I'm sure I came out with something like "try and moan about that one" whilst celebrating!

That was pretty much it, but then Alan Irwin came over and did a live interview at the final whistle where it was extremely satisfying to talk about a 4-0 hammering of the second placed team in the League - although Clitheroe would now be that team thanks to a second half goal, which I misread for a Leigh goal, but oh well they've played more games than us, so we can deal with that challenge, plus they have some tricky games coming up.

Now, still no update from Chorley, so either they've all decided they can't cope with the injuries, or they are about to enter added on time, unless they have started the game of "next penalty wins"...

Blog refreshed!

So, back to it then, and a great way to end the game on Saturday, with the wrap up interview (that's going out on Wednesday evening on City Talk 105.9 - I think it is!), and unfortunately had to rush off once the traffic had calmed down, but there was plenty of wine on the go to celebrate that one, added to the fact that we had maintained our six point advantage.

Balls. Chorley have equalized. Come on Ossett hold them to a draw.

Now they are saying 7 mins of injury time.

Okay, carry on.

As I said time off for good behaviour this week, but still loads of CFC stuff to do, and of course board meeting on a freezing Monday night, lots to discuss.

Clitheroe 2 up - oh well.

Discuss that stuff we did, although pleased to say the meeting lasted only 2 and a half hours this week!

Anyway, plenty going on as I said, and sad to hear the news about Paul Raynor's death. I only just remember the name as I started watching Chester in 1982 so he was probably coming to the end of his career at Chester at that point, but I do recall going up to him for an autograph on a charity day held around that time.

News just filtering through that Chorley have scored in the 96th minute and that should be that I'm afraid.

Rather annoying that twitter feed actually, they tell you about every single incident it seems, it's a bit like me on my twitter going into the kitchen to make a cup of tea, and tweeting

"Kettle switched on" - tweet
"Milk added to cup" - tweet
"Kettle boiled" - tweet
"Sugar added to cup" - tweet
"Boiling hot water added...arrrrggghhh - missed cup due to Tweeting" - tweet

Oh well, the results were as expected, but isn't it annoying how it happened?

Well I'm going to leave it at that tonight as this blog has drifted off more than Shaun Ryder in the Jungle!

Signing off.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Non stop action as the promotion push continues!

I think everyone was surprised the other night when we heard the team for the match against Sutton Coldfield in the President's Cup, but Neil stuck to his pre match view that he would be fielding a strong team for the game, as the lads had only trained the once and that would not be enough before Saturday's game against Skelmersdale, and that of course will be the priority - that said, it didn't stop me wincing every time a player was challenged!

The fact that we did have a strong line up suggested that we wouldn't need extra time for this game, and in fact the game was wrapped up by half time as a brilliant goal from Antoni Sarcevic put us one up with many likening the goal to that of Junior "you wake me up before" Agogo, with that mazy run against Cheltenham at the Deva a few years ago - well more than a few now!

Great news yesterday that Antoni is going to stay with us for a further month, was pleased when I got the call from Neil late yesterday afternoon giving us the news that we wanted to hear, and as I was on the way home from work, I was straight on to the internet as soon as I walked through the door to share the news. That also meant a quick Tweet and sharing it on Facebook.

Wednesday was also low key on the pre match entertainment factor, but also great to see Iain Howard collect the Seals Podcast Player of the Month Award for October - he certainly deserved it. Also of note, was Iain saying he was single, and I'm sure I caught him eyeing up the lineswoman on Wednesday night, who shall we say probably attracted less criticism than your average linesman would!

I sat down with Richie "I'm a Director, get me outta here" Wightman and also Richie Sands & Nigel Clarke for the first half, where we witnessed a great first half full of Chester chances, and apologies to all me for me jumping up in front of them when we scored - just couldn't contain myself!

One of the funniest moments was when the announcement came over that someone had parked in a disabled parking space without a blue badge, and we were all laughing about it until it was realised that it was Richie Sands' car - or "Sonic" as he always used to be known, for his speed on crutches - used to play football with that lad at school and still got the scars to prove it!

After a lovely sausage roll from the kiosk it was off to the Harry Mac for the second half to go and stand behind the goal, I do try and do that as much as possible as it used to be my favourite area behind the goal. Anyway, some good banter in behind the goal, and a promise to play a certain tune on Saturday, which could end up turning into an anthem on the Harry Mac - watch this space!

So, a good, if not freezing night watching the Blues, but a good win, and through to the Quarter Finals draw, which takes place towards the end of next week. Got home to catch the highlights of the England game, well what highlights there were anyway, not much kop, but young lads, so let's just get behind them.

Yesterday was a fairly quiet day which was just as well as really busy at work, but a few e-mails coming through, we get a lot of students doing journalism or sports broadcasting courses requesting interviews, and that's certainly the case this weekend, with a few more to do, as well as an interview with Alan Irwin from City Talk, so expecting it to be busy tomorrow pre match.

Busy tonight also, as the first Dee 106.3 weekend preview programme starts at 6pm, and myself and Chris Pilsbury will be in the studios all things being well as we look to the start of the weekly feature on the Blues, and great to see that Dee are really linking up with the club now - but they won't live the 'Chester manager Gary Simpson' bit down!

That's it for now, just boxed off some e-mails for CFC, and after doing some CFU letters early morning, it's off to work, Friday - dress down Friday - love it.

That's it for this week, have a great weekend, and come on you blues!!!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A day for news stories!

Yesterday was certainly a busy day as far as the news stories was concerned on the official site, as there seemed to be more and more content coming available each hour!

The first news came in during the morning when it was confirmed that Jimmy McCarthy had signed for Chester, and interesting to read a few old news stories about Jimmy on the BBC website, one of which stated that he had been plucked from the pub league before heading to Crewe from Kidsgrove - let's hope that Neil has signed 'probably the best striker in the world' then!

Then, time for the post match analysis from Neil Young following the game at Ossett on saturday, and as always Neil was happy to talk about the game, picking out the various points for discussion from the game, and also looking ahead to the Sutton Coldfield game tonight, so time to load that up to the site.

Next up, an afternoon release as more good news came out of the club, with a new initiative that offers the chance to get youngsters from the local community into the club to have the chance to gain themselves national sporting qualifications - great to see this kind of news coming out of our football club, and also great to see Danny Jones involved again too.

So, left work at 4pm, and once home time to prepare for last night's City Fans United meeting, which was set to include the exciting SGM part(!), but before the meeting more news to deliver as the details of the new footy show on Dee 106.3 which will take place every Friday night at 6pm for an hour - myself and Chris Pilsbury will be joining Chester fan Shane Pinnington in the studio for the first edition this week, mind you if Chris rambles on for long, they'll have the adverts on before you know it!

Once the meeting had ended last night, we found out that Chorley had been beaten at Warrington which knocks one of their games in hand on us out of the way, the W's are certainly having an impact on Chorley's season, with the dropped points at Wakefield on Saturday, followed by last night's defeat to the Wire, and next away game for them is Witton, who do seem to have lost form themselves since we beat them in that crazy crazy end to a match at Wincham Park.

The Blues then can stretch their lead at the top to 9 points if we beat Skem on Saturday, and that would be a huge blow to our title rivals, but obviously we'll be keeping an eye on Curzon Ashton who have about 17 games in hand on us it seems - when do they ever play their games???

Looking forward to tonight's Cup match against Sutton Coldfield, who are making the journey up from the midlands tonight, with it being a Cup game, always a chance to relax and who knows, I may just end up on the Harry Mac again tonight at some point to watch the game from a different angle.

C'mon you Blues!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Awards, Scottish Pipers, Skem, and Perry Groves!

Well last time I blogged on Friday, I was all set to join Jim & Mark to receive the 'Team of the Year' 2010 award in the Your Champions awards evening being staged at the Crowne Plaza - and that's exactly what we did!

Arrival at 6.45pm in what seemed a very glitzy affair, with a Scottish piper standing outside doing his stuff - why the piper? Well Scottish Power were sponsoring the event - it took a while to click!

Inside to get all badged up - and despite being labelled as City Fans Ltd (had we changed our name last minute?) it was off to the bar to go and get the first drink of the evening - a bottle of Corona for £3.80, ouch. It was looking like an expensive evening ahead.

Fear not, as once ushered inside to the main hall, six bottles of wine were on the table, 3 red, 3 white. Now this was supposed to be enough for the 9 people seated at each table, however we were fortunate as there were only 7 people on our table, so almost 1 bottle per person - again, ouch.

Anyway, a lovely 3 course meal accompanied by the wine, and once the main course (beef in a red wine covering - yep, more wine!) was done it was time to get on to the awards. City Fans United had of course been selected as the Team of the Year, but each winner was placed into a Regional 'Final' where there were six teams nominated for the regional award, and Mark, Jim and myself all agreed that we didn't want to win the regional, as there were so many deserving charity or sad stories attached to their nominations, and whilst the achievements of City Fans United shouldn't be overlooked, we really weren't in the same boat as Clare House, or a team of 2 people who had raised a huge amount of money following the death of a close one.

This was a night of celebration of course, and we received our momento, which was a glass piece encased in a huge black box, and walking round town afterwards, it felt like I was an encyclopedia salesman!

A couple of pints in The Cottage, and then back home, for another bottle of wine, which I have to say took me past that line, and I certainly paid for it on Saturday morning!

I couldn't get to the Ossett game on Saturday, but had the Twitter account set up to send me details of the game, and I'd also done the same for the Chorley & AFC Fylde games - I wish I hadn't now as I didn't really need to know that Chorley had won a throw or corner every ten minutes, I guess the only surprise was that they hadn't won a penalty!

Anyway, it was great to see the goals flying in from Ossett via text, and the icing on the cake came when Michael Wilde netted his 16th of a very productive season so far - that man is a ledge!

Have to say, the table looked extremely nice after the final scores were in, and well done Wakefield for coming back at Chorley to ensure that we went 6 points clear at the top. Then the news came in from Skelmersdale where the last I'd heard was that they were one up, when in fact they'd rattled in 8 goals in the second half, what happened Cammell Laird?

It sets up Saturday's clash against Skem very nicely, and it should be a cracker - warmed up of course by the comments from their chairman Frank Hughes, who claimed that "a defunct club should not be rewarded for failure" - it does seem bizarre that the select few should choose to avoid the real story behind Chester FC - i.e. bloody hard work from all involved.

It seems that a few are upset that we could potentially take a promotion place that could have been theirs, well we aren't taking anything for granted, and will fight for that Champions title this season, and at the end of the day, I'm sure they won't be complaining when the tills are ringing when Chester come to visit.

So, extra spice for that game on Saturday, and we're hoping to see a big crowd for this one, can we match the Chorley attendance? It's entirely possible. We've heard that Skem have a couple of coaches booked for this one, so maybe with those driving they can bring a few by car too, and we can enjoy another great atmosphere as the Exacta Factor takes hold again.

The drive in the media to focus on this game is certainly going to be stepped up this week, as we are due to hear Neil Young on Radio Merseyside tomorrow night on Alan Jackson's show, whilst I'll be on the phone to Radio City & City Talk to get them to boost the coverage for this one.

Chester's own Dee 106.3 have been picked on by some, but they are stepping it up now too, and this Friday night sees the debut of a new show, which will be a regular slot for all Chester fans to tune into as every Friday between 6-7pm they'll be previewing the Saturday game, with guests and interviews, and also taking fans questions too. I'm lucky enough to be amongst the guests for the first airing of the programme on Friday.

Some updates for the website yesterday as a few stories were breaking, the half season prices which have been announced, and a great opportunity for those without Season tickets to get their family members to buy them one as a Christmas present!

Aside from the usual, I'll also be working with NATV to bring a special DVD out for Christmas, which will be an extended highlights package of the Trafford game, with lots of additional goodies on the DVD too, which should be out around the first week of December, so something to look forward to there!

Finally, one thing that made me laugh as we were walking around town on Friday night, I received a text from Perry Groves, who had noted the League table, and told us that they would sort the Open Top Bus if we win promotion, and Pat Nevin would be the guide!

I got a text from Colin Murray on Saturday afternoon too after the Ossett win telling me that Perry is certainly big on the Chester stats, confirmed by one of the texts received on Friday night which informed me of the facts such as our average crowd, leading scorer, and how many points clear we were!

Colin will hopefully be coming up to the Exacta again soon, but it needs to be a midweek game, and there is also the possibility of him doing his Friday night show live from the Blues Bar too - something we hope will come off in early 2011 - watch this space.

Okay, that's it for today, expecting another busy day today, so on with it....

Friday, 12 November 2010

A great day for Chester FC & CFU

Yesterday was a good day for Chester fans, as City Fans United, the group responsible for bringing Chester FC back to life were recognised as the Team of the Year in the Your Champions 2010 Awards run jointly by Scottish Power and the Trinity Mirror Cheshire group.

For everyone concerned with City Fans United, this is a well deserved accolade, as 2700 people have each done their own bit to help Chester FC become what it is today - a club that can be proud of itself, and one that is going places.

The news filtered through yesterday morning, and was greeted with joy, and tonight along with fellow CFU and Chester FC board members Mark Howell & Jim Green, I'll be collecting the award on behalf of the membership - we'll have to go for an FA Cup lifting style with the award being passed down the line before being raised aloft ha ha!

It is a great way to celebrate the achievements by all as we move into the second year of City Fans United's existence, and what a first year it has been, with the collapse of the old club, several challenges to face in bringing Chester FC to life, the celebrations surrounding the award of the lease (what were those Danes thinking???), and of course the run outs at Colwyn Bay, Warrington, and the home games against Aberystwyth and Trafford - great occasions.

Also yesterday, in blustery conditions, Chester FC helped switch on the Christmas lights in Chester, and great to see the players attending the event, which again is all part of the "getting out there" in the community - just glad they didn't go up the Chronicle Wheel, as they might not have got down considering that wind last night, in fact I thought it was quite amusing on the Chron (what a great paper they have been for CFU & CFC by the way) website they had a story saying "the ride would not face problems with high winds" and then hours later the wheel was out of bounds due to the "high winds" - make your mind up!

As I said, the Chron have been super supportive of our efforts, which is more than can be said for the Chester Leader which continues to spout rubbish from the mouth of one former owner without any criticism of what he did to the football club, and the image of Chester.

"Shower of Fools" - where was the questioning on that comment? Answer: Nowhere to be seen. That was a great opportunity to fight back verballly against the murderer of Chester City FC. In fact the whole interview was once again full of contradictions, yet nothing challenged by the Leader.

It's time for them to grow some and really go to town on just what damage that family inflicted on the club it has reported on for years. All we're asking for is some support from the paper, that is of course part of the North Wales Newspaper group - so there's the challenge Chester Leader, get behind us and our great plans for the future rather than just reporting the obvious.

On to today then, and another busy one, and an interesting one for me, as I'm doing a presentation at a business meeting being held at Chester FC today, and was beavering away on powerpoint yesterday to prepare for it. That all takes place this afternoon, and great to see local businesses making use of the Exacta Stadium for meetings, it all bodes well for the future.

Now I'm no public speaker, and despite doing countless interviews during the last year, I still get nervous doing them, but once I start talking football, and in particluar Chester FC, it's hard to stop me!

Following the presentation, it's back to work, but then just a few hours later, time to pick up that Your Champions award, so looking forward to today's calendar of events!

That'll do for now then, and hopefully three more points for the Blues tomorrow at Ossett - to those reading this, have a great weekend!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Beaten but not down and out

Yesterday was a strange old day, it began with the news that our former owner was being linked to a consortium that wanted to buy our rivals down the road, Wrexham, and ended with a Cheshire Senior Cup defeat to Congleton at the Exacta.

So, let's cover that match first. I was on boardroom duty along with our Vice-Chairman last night, and great to meet a nice bunch of directors, who all seemed very genuine, and gave glowing comments about the stadium, and having had it explained to them that the fans had made it look so good, they were exteremly complimentary about Chester fans, and how we had all pulled together to make the club what it is today.

After what the Vodkat League official had to say about Chester, I made sure that the Congleton directors were aware that we were here to make friends and not enemies, which is something we are keen to portray, as we are not being arrogant at our situation at all - the fact is though, we want to get up the Leagues.

As for the match itself, well, it was one of those wasn't it? A game with five goals, some of them true corkers - especially Tom Field's (he loves those long range strikes doesn't he?) and the second goal for Congleton which was thumped home!

Towards the end of the first half, a quick trip around the ground to see the ball boys (thanks Pete), to see how they were getting on, before heading back to the boardroom for more football talk with the visiting directors, who were catching a bit of the action at Man City.

Then before the second half started I grabbed Chris Pilsbury and asked if he wanted to join me on the Harry Mac as it had been a while, and I just fancied seeing the game from behind the goal like I used to all those years ago at Sealand Road, and the early days at the Deva, before I got involved in commentating/hospital radio.

So, the second half passed with the visitors grabbing the win, and to be fair they did play some good football, and it was they who got to make their way through to the next round, despite a very close header by Stu Jones at the end, never mind Jonesy, next time in the League will do - although I hope we're not 3-2 down in that match wherever you score next!

Earlier in the day then, the news about our former owner, which was, understandably, greeted with distain left right and centre, from Wrexham obviously who don't want to see their club ripped apart at the seams by the family that killed Chester City FC. Blues fans also venting their anger at what had happened at not just the Deva, but at Barrow & Widnes too.

That family should be nowhere near a football club, and to hear that other "footballing people" were involved in this consortium just makes me laugh. Those same "football people" have wrecked clubs, and now think they can 'help' another one - message to the Wrexham Supporters Trust: Keep this family away from your football club.

The Leader should really get behind their local football clubs instead of just reporting stories that come into their inbox - do some digging, and challenge why things are why they are - our 'friends' down the road are experiencing bad times off the pitch, and with finances the way they are right now down there, it's set to be another rocky and testing journey for their supporters - good luck to them. It's fair to say that they offered us help when we needed it, and we would certainly offer the same back.

We want to get that Chester - Wrexham rivalry back on. Nobody wants to lose the game that's such a big part of our history, so no-one should want them to go under whatever the circumstances.

I notice from our former owner's comments that he labelled us all a "shower of fools" - yet us fools are the ones looking forward to the new year, and the only reason I'm thinking about a trip to Court is so I can enjoy the Christmas Big Wheel and an Ice Rink!

In those comments, it also stated "they pressed the self destruct button" - hardly. He thought it was over for us, he was wrong.

In fact, I'll leave the last word to Chris Rea...

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Improvements to Official site ongoing

Last night then the board meeting, which was a good three and a half hours, and many subjects raised and discussed, but as per usual some good debates, and some great ideas put forward to take on, watch this space - tell you what though, it wasn't half cold in The Blues Bar!

Well having had chance to take stock and look at the official site in greater depth this morning, a few amends were made to it prior to the old working day starting, and a chance to make it appear a little easier on the eye as far as the headings were concerned!

So, now we have CFC Stats, CFC Fan Zone, and Seals Lottery - hopefully most will know the fixtures, results, tables, players etc are all contained with that section now. Still, have e-mailed Pitchero to request a further change to a few different area of the website, so we'll see how we get on with that hey?

During the day today, we heard that the Newcastle Town game will now take place on Tuesday 30th November, so let's hope there are no crazy crashes on the motorway that night - for anyone who wonders why the coach went on the M56 in the first place, well it's because some players have to be picked up en-route, as they can't get down to the Exacta in time for the coach departure time. It's common place at this level but what isn't is the luxury of the coach, which was pretty decent to be fair.

Also, some more news that the Chester players along with Neil Young will be helping to switch the Chester Christmas lights on, let's hope that the weather is kind to them all - I think it was last year when it chucked it down, or was that the year before?

So, a couple of updates on the official site to do then, and after work a quick trip down to the ground, where filming was taking place for ITV, linked to Chester fan Ash Dolan, but I'll let him tell everyone about his moment, as he had the whole ground to himself with the TV cameras!

Looking ahead to tomorrow night, and the visit of Congleton, once again a Cup match, this time the Cheshire Senior Cup, and tomorrow night we have 18 businesses being guests of thebestofchester who have pulled together prospective fans & sponsors - more great potential for our growing club.

Interesting to find out from Neil today that Danny Meadowcroft is back for tomorrow night's game, one person who will be delighted is Rich Wightman, who sponsors him - hopefully he'll put in a great performance for Chester FC's very own sick note!

One match to watch out for tonight, Skelmersdale v Salford - come on City!!

That's it for tonight, time to shut the laptop down!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Website upgrade today - and with it came more work!

Well after months of it being promised, the official website today has a new look, and as expected many small problems built up in to a large list of things to sort out on it.

When I first checked it out at 6am this morning, it was live, which was a good start, but some things have left us whilst others have come in - which didn't help the old workload today!

In fact more had to be updated than I thought but hey ho, let's just get it done and see if we can get it into a good place - a few comments & suggestions received, which is always welcome, as it's the fans who are going to read and view the site content, so it always makes sense to invite constructive criticism - nothing in life is perfect, so there is always room for improvement.

The usual fortnightly board meeting tonight, where we'll talk about all things Chester, as we now head into the crucial month of November, and what a great start we made the other day.

On the list tonight will be the Congleton game, and how good is it that kids under the age of 18 can come into this game for a £1 - you'd find that down the back of the sofa if you looked!

That's it for now, lots to do!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Chester 3 Mossley 0

What a great day that was hey?

Chester running out comfy 3-0 winners, and finding out that Chorley were drawing, then losing their game made it a sweet afternoon at 4.50pm, then hearing that other rivals Skelmersdale & Witton had been held to draws was just the icing on the cake - if only Curzon Ashton hadn't flipping won, but I'm still sitting typing this with a smile on my face as Chester have just gone four points clear at the top of the table.

You can't ask any more that than that can you?

It was another busy day at the Exacta today though, arrived at just before 1pm with the Blues Bar having been opened at 12.30pm for the screening of the Bolton v Tottenham game, which surprisingly ended 4-2 to Bolton, and quickly it was straight into action as the press needed their programmes, followed by Blues Live being shown in - and great to see that like the rest of us, they continue to pay their way, along with the board of directors at the club.

Once Blues Live set up, then off to see the sponsors, some of which were good friends of mine, and pleased to say they seemed like they were enjoying themselves. Already a quick visit had been made to the club shop where thankfully Mrs B had come up trumps with some money for the poppy appeal, so the action was then surrounding my suit as she tried to pin it in the right place!

With 1.30pm approaching it was time to go and hunt the referee down, and ask for permission to get the one minute silence - planned for the remembrance tribute - approved, as we need to confirm this with the match referee first, and gladly this was approved without any concerns. Then a quick blast down to the away dressing room to ensure that they knew the plans for pre match, along with of course Neil Young and the boys.

Then off to get the Mascots programmes signed by the Chester squad for today, and with us having not one, not two, not three, but four mascots for the day, there were set to be some serious RSI claims going in from the home dressing room!

So, 2pm arrived, and one hour to go prior to kick off, and the first of the 1st Battalion Royal Welsh regiment arrived, and time to usher them out on to the pitch so that they could do a few rehearsals of their Guard of Honour that they would perform prior to kick off. One soldier still to come though, and so had to keep an eye out for him arriving - but quickly had to go and see the Control room to check on the situation with the ball boys, who were due to arrive at 2.30pm to marshall the South & West Stand (by the away enclosure).

A quick walk round along with the Mascot party saw us head up the tunnel where Neil Young was waiting, so we could have photos with the mascots, and then up to the Control Room to show the lads what goes on up there with the million cameras that they have!

Normally I'd go and see Cleggy in the PA room at this stage to advise of our arrival with the mascots, but quickly pulled away to meet the ball boys who had arrived by reception, so quickly flew down there to meet them, and take them through to their positions - good to see that they were complete in their footy vests - we had the team from Hawarden Rangers with us, and they'd won earlier in the day 9-0 so they must have been buzzing!

So, once the ball boys were sorted, it was off to the West Stand to check in with some of the fans in there to check on the speaker volumes and to see if they were working okay, which they seemed to be, with Cleggy coming through crystal clear, although too clear for some, but it's a difficult job trying to get the volume to everyone's satisfaction - in fact I'd go on to say that this was nigh impossible.

A quick walk round the Harry Mac then back to the tunnel area just in time for the Army Guard of Honour, and a great round of applause from the Chester fans, acknowledging the troops, one of which had been shot in the mouth whilst in Afghanistan.

Then we paired the mascots up with the players in the tunnel as the referee brought both sets of players out to Fat Boy Slim's "Right Here, Right Now" tune.

A superbly observed one minute's silence was then followed by the match itself, and it didn't take Chester long to get their noses in front, as just before the half hour mark the goal came - after several missed chances already, and it was captain George Horan who put the Blues one up with a goal which seemed to come off the centre half's shoulder, but nobody was complaining!

A few more missed chances and Chester really should have put this game out of sight as I watched from the door up by the Sponsors & Directors area with head in hands happening several times!

Then half time, and time to take a breath, and speak to some more of the fans, including a good mate of mine who was sitting just in front of the press bench, and as usual discussed the first half performance.

Second half then, and normal position resumed, back up by the door, holding it open - I get quite on edge during matches, so find it hard to settle - so end up watching from a plethora of places!

12 minutes into the second half and that elusive second goal is found, as Wildey superbly (what seemed) backheeled the goal into the corner to send all the fans wild (no pun intended honest!), and from that moment on you just knew that we were going to win this game.

Then a great chance for Wildey to score his second, but he lobbed the ball over the keeper following a howler of a goal kick, but Chester's number 10 watched to see his effort bounce off the cross bar and behind for another goal kick.

Then, the unthinkable, Chester were awarded a penalty. Yes, in this our 17th game of the season, we finally had one, and up stepped Wildey to hammer home for a 3-0 lead, and send the Blues fans into raptures, and that was it the end of the scoring, but thoughts were then diverted elsewhere.

Chorley. Yes, the team with more penalties than any other team in the country, had been 1-0 up at the break, but suddenly their Twitter update reported that Harrogate had equalized and news spread amongst the fans very quickly, but better was to follow, as Harrogate then took the lead, and held out to hand Chorley their first League defeat of the season, and better news was to follow as both Skelmersdale & Witton had been held to draws.

So, celebrations at the final whistle, but work not over as whilst ushering man of the match George Horan to the Blues Bar, I recived news that one of our older & most dedicated fans Betty Challoner, had slipped outside the bar and cracked her head, so off to seek the Doctor, thankfully fellow Blues fan & Director Mark H, had already started the ball rolling and the Doctor was on the way very quickly.

After a while checking on Betty, it was time to leave for the day, as I had a meal to head off to following the game, but left the Exacta Stadium with a Cheshire grin on my face knowing that today was a great day football wise, and we had extended our lead.

So, that was it for Saturday, time to celebrate with a few glasses of wine, whilst listening to the fireworks go bang outside!

Final score today. Chester 3 Mossley 0!

Friday, 5 November 2010

6 months later...

Due to many things going on in my life, I've not been able to update this blog at all, which is probably an almighty shame as the last 6 months were probably the most busiest, hectic, chaotic, challenginging, but enjoyable six months to experience, and I really should have kept this blog up but unfortunately just not enough hours in the day!

So, here's a quick resume of what's happened over the last six months...

As the previous blog post shows, Neil Young & Gary Jones were unveiled as the new Management team at Chester Football Club. They have since been joined by First Team Coach Gary Powell, Physio Alan Barber, and Kit Man Jimmy Soul.

Players then started arriving, and like the films, in order of appearance:

28th May - Danny Meadowcroft, Rob Hopley, Richie Whiteside, Dan Mahoney, Richie Foulkes
29th May - Greg Stones, Mark Connolly
31st May - Stuart Graves
2nd June - Anthony Sheehan
4th June - Adriano Rigoglioso, Michael White, Kyle Armstrong
8th June - Carl Ruffer
16th June - Roger Sharrock
19th June - Iain Howard, Aaron Burns
7th July - Michael Wilde
8th July - George Horan
21st July - Andy Burgess, Michael Aspin, Chris Williams
28th July - Mark Peers
17th August - Nick Rogan (loan)
23rd August - Tom Field
24th August - Bradley Barnes
8th September - Pat Nevin, Perry Groves - I'll do a seperate bit about these two!
11th September - Robbie Booth
30th September - Kyle Wilson
3rd October - Gareth Evans, Tom McCready
19th October - Alan Titchener (loan)
22nd October - Antoni Sarcevic (loan), Steven Beck
4th November - Chris Sanna

There you go, that about covers the playing staff, of which there have been some departures since their arrival dates.

In between all May & November however, have seen the following (take a deep breath...)

Friendlies against Colwyn Bay, Heswall, Aberstwyth, Tranmere, Wigan, Marine, Ashville, FC United of Manchester, and Nantwich. Cancelled Friendlies included Rhyl, Bangor City, and Airbus for reasons that I won't go into!

Now in chronological order....

We attended Chester University's Open Day, launched a new sponsorship & advertising brochure, the 125th Anniversary celebration at Chester Racecourse, attended Newton Athletic awards day, appealed against the League placing recommendation, won the appeal, attended the Evo-Stik AGM, revealed season ticket & match day prices for the new season, attended Newton Primary School's Garden Party, announced MBNA as the first sponsors of the club, announced Joma/Live4Soccer deal, attended the Lache Festival, BiG Deva appeared outside the Deva Stadium, season tickets went on sale, General Manager announced, shirts went on sale at club shop, online kit shop launched, Cock o Barton partnership announced, Red Arrows flypast takes place, saw first match tickets sold out, attended Golf Day, PA system surveyed, Chester draw first ever game at Warrington 1-1, Blues Live launched, first postponed match (prescot), CDHT sponsorship deal announced, Colin Murray £2000 deal announced, Chester win first home game 6-0, Exacta announced as new stadium sponsors, attended Blacon High School to do New Beginnings presentation, BiG Lupus revealed, partnership with thebestofchester announced, partnership with BiG Storage revealed, Chester stage tribute to Corporal Terry Webster, Cheter lose for the first (and only so far) time, Seals Podcast launched, CFC website ranked number one, club host Referee course, Barrie Hipkiss becomes Life President of the club, Grenville Millington & Gary Talbot become Life Vice Presidents, Sky TV installed in the Blues Bar, Chester hold Think Pink day to raise awareness for Breast Cancer, Chester go top of the League for the first time, Chester fail to make trip to Newcastle in Cup game.

There are bound to be countless more bits and bobs, but that's the last 6 months rounded up quickly, including many many appearances on TV, Radio, Internet channels, newspapers and magazines!

So, where are we as of today then, well we are on the eve of the Evo-Stik League match against Mossley at the Exacta Stadium as it's now known, and a chance for Chester to remain top of the pack - standing in their way are Mossley, who have signed 3 players due to 4 of their own being banned for our game.

Last night, several people took part in the 4th Seals Podcast in association with Lache FM, and this will be released later today but you can look for it on the Lache FM website.

Hopefully this blog will now be maintained on a regular basis, and will hopefully inform of what goes on behind the scenes at the club as we strive to take Chester FC up the leagues!

Feel free to comment on any of the blog posts, you don't have to register, but if you do, then make sure you become a "follower" to receive regular updates!

Finally, good luck tonight to FC United of Manchester, a fellow supporter owned football club who are in the FA Cup First Round, live on Sky TV against Rochdale!

That'll do for now, fingers are hurting!