Author: Neil Bellis

Rescheduled CFU meeting reminder

A reminder that the rescheduled CFU members meeting will be held Thursday night (8th March 2018) at 7.30pm in the Blues Bar, Chester Swansway Stadium.
The meeting was postponed last week due to the bad weather.
Chair’s introduction
Finance update
Working groups
Date of next meeting Thursday 12th April 2018 – this will be informal, venue to be confirmed.
Wrexham Tickets
Tickets for the Wrexham away fixture will also be available for sale from the ticket office between 6.45 and 7.20pm on Thursday evening.

Former players line up to support fundraising drive

Chester’s Former Players Association is to reunite the club’s best-ever team at a one-off event to raise money for Chester FC’s fund-raising campaign.
This year is the 40th anniversary of Chester’s highest-ever league finish – fifth in the old Division Three (now League One). So while fans often recall the promotion and League Cup semi-final of 74-75 under Ken Roberts, and promotion successes under Harry McNally, Graham Barrow, Mark Wright and Neil Young, the team that recorded Chester’s best-ever finish in the League pyramid was that squad of 1977-78, managed by Alan Oakes.
At a unique event jointly organised by the Former Players Association and the Chester FC Community Trust, the players will reunite for an evening of celebration, nostalgia, and entertainment at the Blues Bar in the Swansway Deva Stadium on Friday April 6th, at 7.30. Tickets priced £15 are on sale now from Chester FC, the price including a hot meal. Proceeds will be split between Chester FC’s fighting fund and the FPA fund.
FPA chairman Alan Tarbuck said: “This has been a difficult season for the football club and the former players of whatever era are as concerned as anyone about the financial situation. We want to add to the amazing efforts already seen from the fans and do what we can to add to the fighting fund. This will be a memorable night and a chance to meet the players who can genuinely claim to be the best team Chester have ever had.”
Players who have committed to attend so far are: Brian Lloyd, Grenville Millington, Bob Delgado, Jim Walker, Nigel Edwards, Ian Edwards, Mike Kearney, Brynley Jones, and Ken Roberts who was the club’s general manager at the time.
Trevor Storton, Stuart Mason and Paul Crossley have all sadly passed away in the intervening years.
For further information on the Chester Formers Players Association, please click here to visit their website

From the boardroom…Sunday Supplement

As part of our desire and commitment to improve our communications to CFU members and fans, our new Chair, Simon Olorenshaw has put a piece together to provide a bit of light Sunday reading…
“Following the turmoil of the past 5 weeks I am pleased to say that we now have a settled Board, with all four co-optees having been successfully approved by the FA. I am also very proud, and privileged, to confirm that, at the Board Meeting on Monday evening, I received the backing of the rest of the Board and was elected to the role of Chair of the CFU. As many of you will know this is a position that I occupied in 2015/16 when I had to step down due to work commitments, and this re-appointment gives me the fortunate opportunity to complete the work started at that time.
As recent times have shown it is vital that, as a fans owned football club, there is a structure in place that allows for the continual evolution of Board members. Our Constitution dictates that at least a third of the Board stand for re-election every year so a change of people is inevitable. But that should not mean that a change in direction, or the way that the club is run should follow. As a Board it is our responsibility to ensure that there is a clearly defined strategy, with underpinning objectives and action plans, that provides the blue print for those who are charged with leading the club. This will ensure continuity and enable us to rebuild our proud club in a controlled and sustainable manner. As you would probably imagine there is a lot for the Board to focus on at the moment, both short term and long term, and it us my role to ensure that we get the balance right, whilst also developing a robust governance structure.
Once we have stabilised the club we have a duty to look back at the past season to review how we ended up with the situation that we found ourselves in on that fateful night on January 25th. Not to apportion blame, but to make sure that we learn from those lessons and ensure that we never repeat those same mistakes again. To that end we have introduced a new role onto the Board, that of a Non-Executive Director. Rich Lynes, who heads up our Governance Team, has kindly agreed to accept this position, and his role, which has no voting rights, is all about ensuring that the Board are operating within the guidelines set down by our Constitution, our Strategy, as it develops, and good business practice.
On the playing side I can assure you all that we have not given up on this season. Our financial position has been much publicised, and we have had to make some very tough decision to secure the future of our club, but we are also extremely grateful to the various sponsors who have enabled us to strengthen the squad. Whilst it is still mathematically achievable we will be doing everything in our gift to achieve survival in this League, and recent performances have shown that the players still have that belief.
Over the coming weeks I look forward to hearing your views on how we are doing as a Board so look out for me at CFU meetings, in the Blues Bar and around the ground before games. I want to ensure that, moving forward we build on the momentum and good-will that we have seen over the past five weeks, as we get back to the spirit that built this club in the first place, Our City Our Community Our Club.”

CFU board allocated portfolios

Following a meeting of the board of City Fans United directors this week, and the subsequent postponement of the members meeting originally scheduled for Thursday 1st March, details of the various portfolios for board members have been released.
With the exception of Chair, Simon Olorenshaw, each board member has had a portfolio assigned to them.
So, with immediate effect, the portfolios and owners, are:
Laurence Kirby – Finance
Mark Howell – Youth
Mike Day – Youth/Systems
Andrew Morris – People
David Harrington-Wright – Commercial
David Williams – Fundraising
Mark Jones – Governance
Calvin Hughes – First Team
Jeff Banks – Fan Engagement & Community
Richard Lynes holds no portfolio as non-executive director on the board, whilst Marion Needham continues in the role of CFU Secretary.
Simon will oversee all board members and their portfolios, whilst also acting as the figurehead for the CFU.
There will be an update on each of the working groups at next Thursday’s CFU members meeting, which starts at 7.30pm.
Members can renew their membership for the 2018/19 period on the night, and you can also join on the night as a new member or via the online link here
We look forward to seeing you on Thursday night!

CFU members meeting – POSTPONED

Tonight’s scheduled City Fans United members meeting at the Swansway Chester Stadium has been called off due to the adverse weather forecast and dangerous conditions in the car park.
The meeting has now been moved to next Thursday (8th March) – still in the Blues Bar at 7.30pm.

New Chair Appointed

Following a meeting on Monday 26th February, the board of City Fans United (CFU) are pleased to announce that Simon Olorenshaw has agreed to take the role of Chair of City Fans United.
Simon, who was co-opted to the board 4 weeks ago, will lead the board in developing a strategy that will place the club in a strong position for the future, whilst also providing the drive to address the current challenges both on and off the pitch.


Upon his appointment, Simon said, “I am privileged to be re-appointed. Despite the current situation we find ourselves in, I am confident that there is a future for our football club. We have a duty to our supporters, our youth and our community to win this battle and move forward. There is going to have to be a lot of hard work put in over the coming months, but with everyone’s support we will achieve our goal of being a sustainable fans owned club.”

The board have also announced that a revised target of £150,000 has been set to help with the cashflow situation at the club. The previous target of £50,000 which was set to solve the club’s immediate cashflow problem was passed two weeks ago, and tonight the current amount raised stands at £81,201 – and this does not yet include two fundraising events that took place last week which have raised a combined figure of over £9000, and once this has been banked will see the current total raised to over £90,000 which is an incredible achievement in such a short space of time and will go towards seeing the club survive beyond the end of the season.

The next event on the calendar is the City Fans United members meeting, which takes place this Thursday (1st March) in the Blues Bar at the Swansway Chester Stadium. The meeting gets underway at 7.30pm and the newly appointed Chair is keen to see as many members at the meeting as possible, “The support at the recent open fans meeting was fantastic, and we ask everyone to come down on Thursday night to not just hear about our plans for the immediate future, but also to come down and hear the latest on the financial situation which I know everyone is keen to hear given the recent fundraising efforts, and also to hear from the various working groups that have been meeting every fortnight at the club since January.”

Board portfolios are also being finalised at present, and will be covered at the meeting on Thursday night too, along with a preview of next season’s home kit choices.
We look forward to seeing you there!

Our City. Our Community. Our Club.

Inside the Boardroom

They say a month in politics is a long time, well a month at Chester Football Club is a lifetime!
It is just four weeks ago that the financial plight of our football club became public knowledge but the reaction of the fans, the city and the footballing community as a whole has been absolutely fantastic.

In less than three weeks we raised the incredible sum of £75,000 through raffles, auctions, donations, an upsurge in CFU members and of course, the fantastic All Stars football match last Thursday which also featured Sam and Ian Pemberton, who had bid £2,000 for the privilege to be involved. Special thanks goes out to Jeff Banks who was the lynchpin in organising this match with the invaluable support of Colin Murray and Michael Owen. There are still many items of memorabilia from this match that will be made available for fans to bid on over the coming weeks, so keep a look out.

We also had that memorable night when our Youth Academy side triumphed against Gateshead in the National League Under 19 Alliance Cup in front of 1,065 supporters who had raised over £12,000 that night. How special must it have felt for Cain Noble to celebrate his winning goal in front of a packed East Stand, a memory to treasure. But we cannot stop now, we must continue with our fundraising efforts to guarantee the certainty of our future.

Off the field there have been a number of changes to the CFU Board with four Directors stepping down. We would therefore like to thank Jonny Hughes, Anne Salmon, Neil Bellis and David O’Toole for their dedication whilst serving on the board.

Those Directors have been replaced by four co-optees, Jeff Banks, Calvin Hughes, Mark Howell, Simon Olorenshaw and the addition of a non-exec Director, Rich Lynes, who will extend his role as Head of the Governance Working Group into the Board environment to ensure that the required checks and balances are always in place when the Board are making our decisions. Once the FA have approved these appointments we can formalise all roles and focus on ensuring the survival of our precious football club and make sure that we have a team to support next season.

On the field, last Saturday showed that the feel-good factor created by the euphoria of the All Stars match had reached the first team. Probably our best home performance of the season brought us a valuable three points, given the results of most of the teams above us. On Tuesday, we really do believe we deserved more from the game having shown great passion in the match on the back of Saturday’s result. The last two games have shown that when we get behind the players on the pitch there is a willingness to perform and play for the shirt, we’ve got 7 home games left, lets make each one of them a cup-tie and create an atmosphere that lifts the lads.

As a Board we appreciate how difficult it must be in these uncertain times to prepare for a game when there is the possibility that players will move on at short notice, but we hope you would agree that the players Marcus is bringing in to the squad demonstrates that we all have the ambition to turn this season around, and that’s where you, the supporters, come into play again.

We’d also like to wish everyone making the trip down to Dagenham tomorrow a very safe journey. and also to the Chester Exiles attending the game we’d like to thank you all for your support, and hopefully we can return with all three points.

On and off the field we can, and we will survive.
Andrew, Calvin, David W, David H-W, Jeff, Laurence, Mark, Mark, Mike, Rich, Simon”

CFU Members Meeting – Thursday 1st March

The next meeting of City Fans United wil take place in the Blues Bar at the Swansway Chester Stadium on Thursday 1st March 2018 (7.30pm)

This is a change from the original planned ‘informal meeting’ based on the meeting at the beginning of Feb effectively being an informal meeting.

The new board will provide an update of what’s happened over the last few weeks and how things will move forward and also for new board members to be formally introduced.

The Streaming Service will available for any owners who can’t make it down to the meeting on the night. You must have renewed before the day of the meeting to eligible to watch the streaming service so don’t hesitate if you haven’t signed up already! Please email if you want to watch the stream but haven’t previously signed up.

Fundraising update – Wrexham AFC collection

Just four weeks ago, it was announced at the City Fans United meeting, that Chester FC needed to raise a figure of £50,000 to ensure the club could survive in the immediate term.

We have therefore been delighted at the response from Chester fans and the wider football family which has clearly come together to support the Blues in the bid for survival.
Last Thursday, we announced that we had surpassed the initial £50,000 target and now we could look to the medium term goal of ensuring survival beyond the end of the season.

Two weeks ago we were kindly contacted by officials at fellow fan owned club Wrexham AFC, who understood our position, and whilst we share a great rivalry with each other, offered us the opportunity of fundraising via donation buckets at their game against Aldershot. That kind offer of help was gratefully accepted.

This Saturday, a group of Chester fans will make the short trip up the A483 to fundraise for the Blues. Hopefully we have already covered the reasons behind why we must not stop fundraising having met the initial £50,000 target, and we would like to thank in advance any donations made – no matter how great or small – by Wrexham fans and indeed Aldershot fans at the game on Saturday, and also thank Wrexham AFC for making the offer.

We would like to thank those Blues fans giving up their time on Saturday to help raise funds for Chester FC.