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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.
City Fans United has produced a draft strategic plan setting out a five-year vision for Chester FC and is now asking members and supporters for their views to help shape the final plan.
An initial consultation launches today giving fans and stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback and tell us what matters to you.
The consultation, which runs until Monday 1st June, includes an online survey and a series of interactive virtual workshops.
Developed in collaboration with Chester FC Community Trust, the draft plan aims to provide a blueprint for the future and establish the Club as a successful, sustainable force for the long-term.
It is based upon six strategic pillars which will enable the Club to achieve its ambitions: Football Excellence; Membership & Fan Engagement; Better Facilities; People & Culture; Finance & Governance; and Community.
Andrew Morris, City Fans United Chairman, said: “The final strategic plan will reflect our shared vision and ambitions for the Club so the contribution of members and supporters is of vital importance.
“These are unprecedented times for football and all clubs are having to respond to overcome new challenges, but we believe our ownership model is an asset and means we are better placed than many to do this.
“Given the uncertainty about when football will resume, what it will look like when it does and whether crowds will be permitted, the Board has adopted a flexible business plan model which is an ongoing process.
“The strategic plan is a high level summary that will guide the Club for the next five years and enable us to move to the next level and realise the potential of the supporter-owned model.
“The plan must represent the aspirations of the membership so we are asking every supporter to take part in the consultation and tell us what is important to them.”
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.
New CFU Members Voting Rights Are Suspended Until Further Notice
From Sunday 10th May any NEW members joining City Fans United will be unable to cast a vote in any upcoming decisions that require a member vote until further notice.
After this date all renewing, current or lapsed members will of course retain any rights they had when they originally joined.
We would also remind any members whose membership is about to lapse that should you not be a registered member at the time of any future vote on CFU matters then you will be unable to take part.
If you have any questions on this decision please email email@example.com
If you have any questions about your current membership status please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The City Fans United Board of Directors
Notification to City Fans United Members – Thursday 7th May 2020
The Board of City Fans United wishes to advise the members that it has received an approach from Stuart Murphy (Exacta Plc) to takeover the running and control of Chester Football Club.
This marks a sudden and radical change to the previously negotiated relationship between Stuart and the Club. If agreed, the approach would end supporter ownership.
As a democratic supporter-owned football club, any decision to change the ownership model can only be taken by the membership at an Extraordinary General Meeting attended by at least 50% of members and with at least 75% voting in favour. Before this can take place, the Board has a duty to assess such approaches and if there is a serious and credible offer, our members will decide the outcome as set out in our constitution.
As the custodians of Chester Football Club, acting on behalf of our CFU members and supporters, the Board has therefore asked Stuart to provide:
- A detailed three-year business plan which can be shared with members.
- Full settlement of outstanding financial commitments which remain outstanding for the 2019/20 season by Monday 11th May and an undertaking that future commitments for 2020/21 will be maintained as per agreements already in place.
This approach has been received during a time of unprecedented uncertainty for the game and the economy.
We believe the absolute priority for the Board and everyone involved in the Club should be to focus on ensuring that we can navigate through these immediate challenges together, alongside developing a longer-term sustainable strategy for the Club suited to the post-Covid-19 world.
We have asked Stuart to respect the wishes of the Board on this matter and work with us as we plan our forward strategy.
The Board understand how much owning your club means and how proud our members are as to what has been achieved over the past decade. As such we believe that due diligence and the highest levels of professionalism are essential in dealing with all aspects of this matter.
We can confirm to members that we have consulted and engaged with a range of Stakeholders including the Football Supporters’ Association and Chester FC Community Trust in our discussions as well as accessing legal advice.
The Board has again thanked Stuart for the support that he has given the Club but note that the timing of the takeover approach presents us with real challenges. Given the current lockdown restriction it is impossible to engage meaningfully with our membership in face-to-face discussion and deliberation about a potential change in ownership and the implications (positive and negative) that any change in the model would bring to the Club while social distancing measures remain in place.
The Board commits to update all members once the business plan and settlement of outstanding invoices has been received, and wishes to thank you for your continued support of the club during this difficult period.
On Behalf of the City Fans United Board of Directors
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 recognise that we are in unprecedented times with the Coronavirus situation, and we urge everyone to stay safe and follow the advice presented to everyone to help get us through this uncertain and worrying time, for all of our families and friends.
For Chester FC, we are currently in territory not witnessed before as a football club, but are looking to meet this challenge head on, whilst we await news from the National League and Football Association, to try and establish a way forward for all clubs at Steps 1 and 2 in the football pyramid.
We know that nothing is guaranteed in our circles, but one thing that has always shone through is the support from our members and Chester fans in the UK, and indeed around the world,
We have a financial challenge that sees the club needing to raise a significant amount of money to guide us through the next few months, whilst we await news from the National League as to if and how they will support us.
So, how can the members of City Fans United and Chester FC help?
Well, this weekend, we would like to ask that all current members renew their City Fans United membership (if not done so already) and also consider at the same time setting up a Direct Debit to help us with our fighting fund going forward. So, this would mean a minimum £12 payment for annual membership, and a Direct Debit set up for a minimum of £2 per month – you can select the amount you wish to donate – please see the link below to set this up:
If you cannot stretch to both, then please either renew or join City Fans United for the first time via the link below, with a £12 payment – or instead, set up a Direct Debit for monthly payments for a minimum of £2 per month – whatever you can spare is truly appreciated by City Fans United.
Why set up a Direct Debit?
Well, that’s easy. It makes so much easier for future renewals as your membership will automatically renew in future years.
10 years ago, many members encouraged family members to help save football in the City of Chester, and now we need that monumental effort again – so please ask your family and friends to get involved again by becoming a member of City Fans United, and being a part owner of Chester FC!
We would like to thank each and every one of you for playing your part this weekend, in trying to fundraise for Chester FC!
Our City, Our Community, Our Club.