Following a thorough review, we can confirm that no commitments remain outstanding, and that matters have now been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. We again thank Mr Murphy for all his considerable financial assistance over the last two years, and wish him well with his 1885 Sporting Village project.
Category: CFU Board News
The board of City Fans United is pleased to update our members on the portfolio assignments following the recent AGM and elections.
Andrew Morris has been elected as Chair and will continue in the role with the board electing Jim Green as Vice Chair. Chris Robson will provide valuable support to board members having been appointed to continue as CFU Secretary.
Nick Phillipson, who previously served as a Non-Executive Director, has been co-opted to the board, and Chris Robertson has been co-opted until spring 2021 to facilitate a handover having decided to step down from his position as an External Director and Treasurer.
With the exception of Andrew Morris as Chair, each board member has been assigned at least one portfolio, with support from board members, staff, volunteers and working groups as appropriate.
Commercial – Paul Bodman
Community – Jim Green
Facilities – Nick Phillipson
Fan Engagement & Membership – Jeff Banks
Finance – Chris Robertson
Football – Jim Green
Fundraising – Adam Langan
Governance – Nick Phillipson
Marketing & Digital – Alex Owen
Retail – Kieron Shiel
Systems – Alex Owen & Kieron Shiel
Volunteering & People – Kieron Shiel
Youth – Mike Vickers
Andrew Morris, Chair of CFU, said: “Without doubt the coming 12 months are going to be up there with the most challenging in the Clubs’ history as we move out of the current lockdown and deal with the long-term impact of Covid on the Club and our local community. That said I am pleased that we are now in a position as a Board, post AGM, to respond to these challenges in the most robust way possible and continue to work in a transparent manner for the benefit of the CFU Members”
Portfolio holders will now identify key objectives and priorities for their respective areas of responsibility, which will be communicated to members at the next CFU members meeting in January.
The board wishes to take this opportunity to thank David Williams, Mike Day and Mark Jones for their valuable contributions to CFU and outstanding service over a number of years having stepped down at the AGM.
City Fans United members who believe they can contribute to the future success of Chester FC are being encouraged to put themselves forward as candidates for the board.
City Fans United is the supporters’ group which owns Chester FC and any member can stand for election provided they are aged 18 or over and have been a fully paid up member since 8th July 2020.
Directors normally serve for a period of three years before standing down or being re-elected, and if elected you will have the opportunity to play a key role in the ongoing development of Chester FC and City Fans United.
This year’s AGM is being held on Thursday 22nd October 2020 and there are seven vacancies on the board to return it to its normal number of 10 due to resignations since last year and expiry of tenure.
The deadline for nominations has been extended to Monday 14th September 2020. The board agreed to the extension after learning some communications to members were undelivered so as to ensure everyone who is eligible is given adequate time to consider and submit an application if they are interested.
Andrew Morris, Chairman of City Fans United and Chester FC, said: “Serving on the board of our football club is a real privilege and a hugely rewarding experience.
“It does require a significant amount of time and energy so it is vital prospective candidates understand the role and responsibilities of a director, however we would encourage any member who feels they have the ideas, enthusiasm and drive to help our club succeed to put themselves forward.
“Our club is having to navigate through unparalleled challenges but there is a great deal to be positive about and many reasons to be optimistic about the future, and it is critical we have a skilled, diverse and committed board to take us forward.”
More information about the role of a director can be found here (https://cityfansunited.com/docs/Duties-of-a-Director-2020.pdf) and any members who would like to speak with a current board member to understand more about the role can email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange this.
If you wish to put yourself forward for election, you will need to complete the nomination form found here (https://cityfansunited.com/docs/Nomination-form-2020.pdf) and obtain two nominations from other members of City Fans United. These can take the form of a signature on your application form or can be provided separately by email if you are unable to obtain a signature.
You have the opportunity to write a manifesto of not less than 400 words and up to a maximum of 800 words, setting out the skills and expertise you can bring to the board. This can be submitted using the template found here (https://cityfansunited.com/docs/Manifesto-template-2020.pdf) and you should also include a passport size photograph of yourself.
Please note there will be no campaigning other than circulation of the manifestos: this includes self-promotion of any form including use of social media. Full details of the election policy are included on the CFU website and you must abide by the rules for the conduct of elections set out in the policy. In the event there are more applications than places available, an election will be held and members will use this information to elect candidates of their choice to the board.If elected you will be required to complete a criminal record check and the FA Owners’ & Directors Test’; the requirements relating to this may be viewed at www.thefa.com. This test is broadly similar to our requirements of board members:
- You must not be a disqualified director
- You must not be subject to a bankruptcy order or have an Individual Voluntary Arrangement in place with creditors.
- You must not have any unspent criminal convictions.
Nominations with your manifesto should be returned to City Fans United secretary Christine Robson at Deva Stadium, Bumpers Lane, Chester CH1 4LT and marked ‘Private and in Confidence’ or emailed to email@example.com, to arrive no later than 4pm on Monday 14th September 2020.
The board of City Fans United have strengthened their ranks with a new addition.
We would like to welcome Adam Langan, who has been co-opted to the board until the AGM later this year.
On joining the board, Adam said, “I am honoured and delighted to be joining the board in such a pivotal time for our club, I am excited to offer my skills to benefit the club I’ve supported for 20+years. I’m extremely excited to solidify the links between the council and the club and am extremely passionate about improving the stadiums facilities and the clubs infrastructure as these are the long term assets that if improved will enable us to compete at a higher level.”
CFU Chairman Andrew Morris, officially welcomed Adam to the board, “On behalf of the CFU board I am delighted to welcome Adam following his co-option to the board this week. Adam brings with him a range of skills and experience developed through his time working in local politics as well as experience and skills in community engagement which will be vital as the Club moves forward.”
In 2020 there have been some movements on the board, with Nick Phillipson joining as an Non-Executive Director, effectively assuming the role of Richard Lynes who stood down in December, and of course David Harrington-Wright stepped down as Chairman earlier this year.
The Board of City Fans United can confirm we received notification from Stuart Murphy, on behalf of Exacta Plc, on Sunday 10th May advising his intention to end his association with the Club forthwith.
Therefore the Board wishes to advise members we consider Stuart’s approach to takeover the ownership of Chester FC to be withdrawn.
We can confirm that to date we have not received settlement of the outstanding financial commitments for the 2019/20 season, however we remain in discussion with Stuart regarding this matter.
Chester FC would like to place on record its appreciation to Stuart for his financial support and donations received since his association with the Club commenced in 2018 and we wish him well for the future.
The Board will provide further updates to members over the coming days and weeks, and is committed to fully engaging with the membership in developing a revised strategy to ensure we can overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, continue to function sustainably and remain competitive when football returns as a 100% supporter-owned football club.
Chester FC would like to update supporters and City Fans United members on the progress that has been made as the club aims to navigate through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These are extreme and unprecedented times for us all and first and foremost the thoughts of everyone at the club are with those who have lost family and friends. We wish to place on record our appreciation for the incredible NHS staff and frontline key workers who are going above and beyond to help others.
The impact of the crisis on the club has been significant with the loss of five scheduled home fixtures and the cancellation of a number of fundraising events resulting in significant reductions in income.
The board of City Fans United has been in constant dialogue during this period and engaged with key stakeholders including the Community Trust, the council and MBNA as we attempt to steer the football club through these uncharted waters and ensure the health and wellbeing of our players, staff, supporters and local community.
We continue to work tirelessly to safeguard the football club and maintain its financial stability, both in the short term and long term, to enable us to emerge in the strongest possible position for when football resumes.
This is a rapidly developing situation and as a board we are committed to presenting supporters with accurate information and thank you for your patience and understanding.
Please find below an update on the steps we have taken already and the present situation:
What we have done
· While it is not possible to put an exact figure on the cost of the pandemic to the club, the cancellation of five home matches and several fundraising events mean a potential £100,000 worth of revenue has been lost. We have lost income from non-matchday related income such as Liverpool Women FC venue hire, as well as end of season pitch hire and our Awards Evening.
We have taken steps to collect a number of outstanding invoices and are grateful to those businesses and individuals who have made prompt payments. The club does have some debtors and will continue to pursue these.
· We have placed the majority of club staff on furlough leave and accessed the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The board decided to continue to pay all staff, including those furloughed, 100% of their salaries up until 2nd May. The first payment from HMRC was received this week and we wish to thank our players and non-playing staff for their understanding and cooperation. We have held discussions with staff with regards to what happens after the 2nd May and have also considered rotating furloughs for those staff that we still need to remain working.
At present the CJRS is due to run until 30th June. We are in continuing dialogue with HMRC regarding the scheme, however given the uncertainty around when football will resume there may well be more difficult conversations to take place as time goes on.
· The club has a number of ongoing running costs and annual outgoings to consider over the coming weeks and months including insurances, utilities and VAT. Where possible, we have taken steps to defer or postpone these payments, including the negotiation of payment holidays which means the club don’t have to pick up the cost later in the year. The club has applied for a Coronavirus Business Support Grant (£25,000) and club has received business rates relief for this tax year (£11,700). We wish to place on record its thanks to both Cheshire West & Chester Council and Flintshire County Council, who have been extremely supportive.
· We have been in frequent contact with the National League regarding the impact of the pandemic on the game. In April we supported a resolution asking member clubs to end the season and cancel remaining matches. The league has since asked member clubs whether the play-offs should be cancelled or postponed – the outcome of this vote has not yet been confirmed.
· We are due to receive circa £13,000 which is the advanced annual solidarity payment from the Premier League for the 2020/21 season. While this is not new money, we are grateful for the Premier League in bringing this payment forward three months.
· The virtual matchday initiatives have raised £4000 which will cover of the costs of improving the pitch over the summer. We wish to place on record our thanks to everyone who supported the virtual matchdays for making this possible.
· We have contacted sponsors and supporters who had booked hospitality packages for cancelled matches and we are extremely thankful to those who have generously advised the club to retain these funds. We have also received unsolicited donations from a number of supporters which are over and above forgoing pre-paid sponsorship and hospitality packages. This is an incredible gesture which is greatly appreciated and demonstrates what a true community club this is.
· We are currently contacting season ticket holders regarding the cancellation of the 2019/20 season and to discuss the options available. We are hugely grateful to those supporters inclusive of board members who have already informed the club to retain the full cost of their season ticket.
· The board has been holding at least two virtual meetings a week during the Covid-19 pandemic. These meetings have involved a number of key stakeholders and will continue for the foreseeable future.
· The Community Trust has been supporting the most vulnerable in our community with telephone befriending, practical assistance with shopping and prescriptions, delivering treat boxes to care home staff and producing Chester FC themed education resources for children who are home learning.
Like you, we are keen to see football return to the 1885 Arena as soon as possible. However, the board is united in its view that football can only return at a time when it is safe to do so for players, officials and supporters. We will continue to engage with the National League, footballing authorities and fellow member clubs on this matter and share any further updates with you at the earliest possible opportunity.
This is normally the time of the year when supporters are able to renew their season tickets for the new campaign, however given the uncertainty around when football will return, which league we will be in and how many teams will be in the division, we do not believe we are in a position to start season ticket sales. This is one of the club’s main income sources and enables the club to work with the management to agree a playing budget for the new season. As the situation becomes clearer over the coming weeks and months, this position may change and we will communicate this to supporters at the earliest opportunity. The Fan Engagement Working Group (FEWG) has produced a season ticket pricing plan for the board to approve, however this will need to be revisited once more details are available regarding the future playing season.
As a supporter-owned club, fundraising is hugely important and as a board we genuinely appreciate every single penny and thank everyone who has donated past and present. These donations make a significant contribution to the sustainability and development of our club. We recognise the impact this crisis is having on people’s lives and know some of our supporters will be struggling. As a community club, we want you to know that we will do what we can to help you. The next few months will be extremely challenging and we have to continue to fundraise to ensure the future of Chester FC. We would welcome fundraising suggestions and ideas. We know we ask again and again, however this is your club and the more we can raise, the stronger we are.
CFU memberships expire on 31st May so now is the ideal opportunity to renew your membership for the next 12 months or sign up as new member. You can renew online at www.cityfansunited.com/join-city-fans-united and the cost remains just £12 per year to be an owner of our club. In these challenging times, your commitment and contribution is needed more than ever and of course the more members we have, the stronger we are collectively. Please consider setting up a Direct Debit for CFU membership via email to firstname.lastname@example.org as this makes future renewals much simpler and provides further revenue for your club as well giving you access to great benefits as a CFU member.
The 1885 Arena remains closed at this time and with most club staff on furlough leave, the board is continuing to respond to enquiries. Please email email@example.com if you have an enquiry and this will be forwarded to the relevant board member. We would be grateful for your patience given the current circumstances.
The Board is committed to maintaining the community ethos and values of Chester FC and taking the appropriate steps to safeguard the football club. The longer the current situation continues, the more challenging this will become, however we are confident that together we can emerge from these unprecedented times and look forward to a positive future.
We believe that as a fan-owned community club, we have a unique strength which is being demonstrated in the way everyone from the players and management, club staff, volunteers, academy, Community Trust, sponsors and most of all you as supporters has pulled together.
We commit to keeping you updated as we move forward and in the first instance ask you to consider renewing your CFU membership or signing up as a new member to support your club.
Until we can return to the pitch, please stay safe, do what you can to care for the most vulnerable and look after your family and friends.
Our City, Our Community, Our Club
The Board of City Fans United
City Fans United can confirm that Chairman David Harrington-Wright has decided to stand down from his current role as Chairman as well as membership on the Board of City Fans United.
Formally elected to the Board in October 2017, before taking over the role as Chairman in April the following Year, David oversaw a significant period of stability and revival for the Club which had been challenged through a financial crisis as well as subsequent flooding and the Covid-19 pandemic during his tenure.
In December 2019 David took the decision to temporarily step back from his role as Chairman to support and care for his wife Fiona who sadly passed away in January 2020. He has now decided to permanently stand down from his role which will allow him to focus on his own businesses and personal well-being during this difficult time.
David has agreed to kindly support the board through this period of transition for which the City Fans United board are grateful for.
Upon leaving his role and the Board David stated;
“ I have been truly honoured to be the Chairman and a board member of my beloved Chester FC, and it’s fair to say the almost three years on the board have been a roller coaster!
I would like to think I leave the club in a better position than when I joined – but it’s not been solely down to me. The hard work of all my fellow board members and many many volunteers is something I am immensely proud of, and I thank each and everyone of them.
A great thanks from me to all our sponsors as well who have stood by us in difficult times, and also to Stuart Murphy without whom we may not have seen as much quality football in the past year as we have!
Finally a great thanks to all the fans – the support I have received from the majority especially over the past year with the issues I had away from the club has been humbling.
I wish Chester the best going forward whenever Football recommences, as first and foremost I have always been a blue!’’
At the City Fans United Board Meeting held on 30th March 2020 it was confirmed that current Vice-Chairman Andrew Morris would step up into the role of Chairman initially until the next AGM scheduled for 22nd October 2020.
Andrew Morris stated ‘It is an honour to take up this role on behalf of the Board and the wider CFU membership and I look forward to continuing to work with David during his handover period and alongside my fellow Board Members to continue the good work and momentum this Club has built even during this difficult period
Under David Harrington-Wright’s stewardship this Club has progressed significantly on and off the field and I speak on behalf of all my fellow Board members when I say he will be missed’.
City Fans United would like to advise of a couple of additions to the board of directors.
Firstly, we welcome Kieron Shiel who was co-opted on the board at Tuesday night’s meeting of board members, and will be initially looking at the Volunteers portfolio.
Kieron has been co-opted following our open request for those interested in joining the CFU board, and fills the one available place at present until the AGM later this year, when he will be able to apply for election to the board.
Kieron will assume the role of Volunteer coordination, recruitment and development. He has a wide range of skills and experience including project and programme management, large scale people management and information technology.
The board have also welcomed a new external director, as Chris Robertson joins and will assume the Treasurer role, also until this year’s AGM.
Chris brings to the board senior management experience and has most recently worked for over 10 years as a management consultant with a wide range of charities, social enterprises and the UN.
As is standard with such appointments, both are subject to approval from the FA and criminal record checks.
We would like to thank everyone that got in touch, and also to Richard Lynes for his extensive time and effort in speaking to all of those who got in touch following our request. Our working groups will also be contacting some of those people with a view to strengthening each group.
We are also making progress with the position of CFU Secretary, following Marion Needham’s announcement at the 2018 AGM that she would be stepping down from the Secretary role during the course of 2019. We hope to make a further announcement on this in due course.
The next CFU meeting will take place on Thursday 21st March, starting at 7.30pm and will take place in the Blues Bar at Chester FC. This will be an informal meeting which will be streamed live on the CFU You Tube channel.