Category: Board

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.”

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”

Boardroom changes

City Fans United can today announce that four new Directors have been co-opted onto the CFU Board.

The Board are delighted to announce that Jeff Banks, Mark Howell, Calvin Hughes and Simon Olorenshaw have been co-opted – all subject to FA Clearance.

Richard Lynes will also take on the role of non-executive Director.

Also following last night’s board meeting at the Swansway Chester Stadium, David O’Toole has resigned from his position as Director with immediate effect.

CFU statement

Following Thursday’s CFU meeting at the Swansway Chester Stadium, three directors have decided to resign from the CFU Board with immediate effect.

They are Jonny Hughes, Neil Bellis and Anne Salmon.

The scheduled board meeting for Monday will go ahead as planned with the remaining CFU directors. Updates from that meeting will follow in due course.

Below follows statements from Jonny, Neil and Anne.

Jonny Hughes, Chair of City Fans United

Firstly, let me express my gratitude and respect to all the concerned CFU members who gathered at the Swansway Chester Stadium last Thursday night at our Formal CFU Meeting.

It was never going to be easy to give such news to you all and I have to admit that for quite a while I felt under tremendous pressure and some of my replies probably reflected that.

I understand, however, that for all the pressure I felt, you were all hearing this news for the first time and were understandably hurt, angry and upset: For that I am truly sorry and I apologise for my part as a member of your board that didn’t let you know sooner and I also accept that I let you down.

Since then I have been reflecting heavily on how we can all move forward together as one team to ensure there will always be a Chester FC. For that to happen I strongly believe we all need to come together, like we did at the Guild Hall, galvanised by purpose and passion and with nothing but fire in our hearts as we continue to realise our dreams of a sustainable fan owned football club playing at the highest level possible in the city of Chester.

For that to happen, I also believe there needs to be changes. So, with the best interests of the club at heart, I have taken the decision to resign my position of Chair of City Fans United and as a member of your board of directors with immediate effect.

That in no way means I am giving up the fight for our club however … no chance. I intend to continue to be the fully-committed and active fan and volunteer I always have been and to continue to offer my skill-sets, verve and energy in support of the club so I can do my part to help put things right.

I have been humbled by the messages of support that I have received in the last 24 hours, but for all of that I recognise that as a board we got some important things wrong: Again, I am truly sorry. I love this club. I love the people. I love our volunteers: There is and only ever will be one Chester FC, so my support for the team on the pitch and the team off it will always be unwavering.

Together we will get through this and prosper under the banner of Fan Ownership and City Fans United. Together, we are Chester FC.

Thank you for the privilege and see you on the Harry Mac (greatest terrace in the land), Jonny Hughes


Neil Bellis, Vice-Chair of City Fans United

After a period of reflection over the past few days, I have decided to resign from the board of City Fans United.

It is clear that the board needs to regain the confidence of the fan base in order to move forward as a club. As a member of the board which has failed so badly over the past year, I feel it is necessary that I stand down. I also wish to take this opportunity to apologise to the fans for that failure.

I am still committed to the future of Chester FC as a fan-owned club, and will continue to offer any support to the club that I can.

Thank you, Neil Bellis

Anne Salmon, Director of City Fans United

I have done a lot of thinking since the meeting on Thursday and I believe that as one of the longer-standing board members, I should apologise for my part in our joint failure to act quickly or decisively enough to prevent the situation we find ourselves in today and therefore resign from the CFU Board with immediate effect.

I will continue to be committed to the survival of Chester FC, supporting fundraising initiatives as a CFU member and a fan and I sincerely hope that those who have been calling for more immediate and decisive action will now step up and volunteer – especially with regards to Health and Safety.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who believed in me and voted me onto the Board in 2015, it was an honour and a privilege and I am sorry if you feel I have let you down. I also wish all those remaining on the CFU Board and in the working groups, every success over the next few weeks.

Thank you, Anne Salmon.

CFU statement – The fight is on!

The CFU Board wish to provide the following statement to all members, volunteers, supporters, stakeholders and friends of Chester FC.

The Board of City Fans United is aware of the concerns currently being expressed across the CFU Membership and the wider fan-base regarding the direction of the Club both on and off the field of play. We want to assure everybody that we are listening and that we intend to act to address these concerns and that your club needs your passion, support and help in assisting us to do this.

We also understand that when the prolonged period of results on the pitch are not going as we either hoped or planned, this has led to a decline of the ‘feel-good’ factor we enjoyed in the early days after our reformation. We have also seen our attendances drop considerably.

We know we need to recapture this and concentrate our efforts and ethos back onto community and fan engagement. Improved communication from us as a Board will be key to this.

On Monday night, we organised an informal consultation meeting with ex-board members, previous key volunteers, Community Trust colleagues and our CEO to assess and address the current issues surrounding the club and to work with us to produce and deliver a strategy to help improve the club’s fortunes.

As an outcome of this honest, frank but positive meeting, we will be setting-up a number of working groups and asking for fan involvement in these to take our plans forward. You, the volunteers and fans of this club are its greatest asset and our club needs your support now more than ever.

The main message is, however: The fight is on to avoid relegation and address the impact of reduced gates on our finances and budget projections. We have 18 league games left, 10 of which are at home and we all need to be behind the team as we grind our way out of relegation: The club needs its 12th man.

As we launch new initiatives, we ask you support them with vigour and as the lads battle on the pitch, we urge you all to get to each and every home game and to bring a friend or two (or ten) to boost our support and cheer them to victory.

This club is precious. This club is ours. Together WE are Chester FC and WE can do this!!

Our City, Our Community, Our Club (Always)

Jonny Hughes
Neil Bellis
Laurence Kirby
Anne Salmon
Mike Day
David Harrington-Wright
David O’Toole
David Williams
Mark Jones
Andrew Morris

CFU board portfolio allocations

The board of City Fans United (CFU) is pleased to announce a change in how they will work to help drive the club forward as well as improve transparency, accountability and foster closer and more focused working relations with members, fans and stakeholders.

Instead of each director having a portfolio, members of the board will instead be responsible for individual items (e.g. Squad Builder, CFU Membership, Health and Safety) and with each item falling under one of three broader headings.

The three headings are: Membership and Engagement, Governance and Income Generation.

The Portfolio document (PDF) can be downloaded here…

The board have split the items based on the skill-sets and talents of board members but agreed that as income generation is of paramount importance, all directors should ultimately be responsible for at least one project under that heading.

The hope with this restructuring of board member responsibilities is also that both members and fans will have a clear line of communication should they wish to suggest an idea for a certain item or volunteer for one.

CFU chair Jonny Hughes said: “As you can see from the attached document, we have looked at the way we work and agreed a path that will see improved transparency and accountability for our members as well as promoting a more focused and targeted workflow throughout the business.

“The next step for the board on this is to provide a detailed action plan for each item, taking in current and past data, to project realistic targets for growth and to outline a plan for our members on how these targets will be achieved and, most importantly, who will help us achieve them. Items will be monitored and progress reported on regularly.

“One thing which I think is important to say is that this is a working document. Items will be added and taken away as the needs of the football club change over time but that doesn’t mean that if you think there is something missing you can’t tell us. Part of ensuring that the club is successful as a fan owned club is the continued engagement of members, fans and stakeholders.

“In fact, how well we all work as a team is what will ultimately define how successful we are. Whether you are a board member or not, the responsibility of this football club rests with all of us. “In line with this, we will be asking for members and fans to engage with us more than they ever have before and will be releasing details soon of the many ways people can help. If you would like to pre-empt this and get in touch in touch with us directly, then please do.

“The team is you.”

Wrexham fixture – Board Statement

The CFU Board would like to take the opportunity to thank fans for their exemplary behaviour at the Cross-Border Derby game on Saturday against Wrexham.

We hope it is another step towards the removal of the bubble restrictions we currently have.

The Board have also been made aware of some concerns among supporters who attended the Wrexham game with regards to the ban on the sale of alcohol.

At last year’s fixture there was damage caused to Wrexham’s stadium by some Chester fans which cost our club a significant amount of money. At a subsequent CFU meeting members felt that the sale of alcohol at the ground was a contributory factor.

This was discussed and agreed with Safety Advisory Group as it was felt that the non-sale of alcohol would represent a reciprocal arrangement between the clubs.

Once again, we would like to thank supporters for their terrific following and behaviour at the weekend.