Today is March 10th 2011.
12 months ago to the very date, Chester City Football Club ceased to exist after the club was liquidated in the High Court in London due to an unpaid tax bill of £26,000.
The future of football in the City of Chester was at great risk, the club which had entertained thousands for 125 years was now on its knees, and the Deva Stadium gates were closed.
Chester City FC was flatlined.
The fans of Chester City FC though would never give in, and knowing that the club was heading for oblivion, fans rallied and City Fans United members put together a plan that would potentially see the club reform itself as Chester Football Club, and try to breathe new life into the City – a City that did deserve a football club as those who had attended games at all previous home grounds would confirm.
On March 10th 2010, the first major step to continuing football in our fine and historical City was taken as City Fans United bid to reform the club, and a fit and proper business plan was created and pieced together to what we believed was the best plan for the future of the club.
We all know what happened next as Cheshire West and Chester Council shared our belief that City Fans United’s vision for the future was the one to put their trust in, and the lease to the Deva Stadium was granted to the supporters group.
Then began the process of creating our football club, and thanks to help from a huge list of fans and businesses, Chester FC rose from the ashes in a speedily fashion, and despite challenges coming our way, we remained focussed on our goal – which was to bring the City of Chester, a football club, that was driven by the Community and one that would participate in League Football come August 2010.
We all dreamed that we would be top of the league this season, but we really just wanted to watch a Chester team in action again, no matter where we would end up, knowing that football was still alive in Chester.
12 months on from that fateful day in 2010, City Fans United are pleased to say that Chester FC is a thriving club right now, with record season ticket sales, record shirt sales, the huge increase in number of young supporters coming into the ground, the Community links being forged in all different areas, a Youth team set up for Chester FC, we have the seventh highest average crowd for a club outside the Football League, the list is endless.
Over 2700 members of City Fans United and City Fans United Junior Blues have all played a historical part in bringing together a football club that everyone can be proud of.
The greatest way to move forward is for that membership to grow further, by bringing more into the Chester FC family, and continuing our ambition to climb the Leagues as soon as possible, and that ambition will need to be matched by every member and supporter for us to truly make steps to where we want to go.
Look at the examples of fan-owned clubs, AFC Wimbledon, AFC Telford United, FC United of Manchester – all are enjoying promotion challenging seasons right now, and added to that list are of course Chester FC.
So, whilst we look forward to the future, please take a minute to reflect on what has been achieved since Wednesday 10th March 2010, and pat yourself on the back, before recharging and focussing on the task in hand – the journey north to the ‘promised land’.
Our City, Our Community, Our Club.