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Barrie in bid to force out Smith

ONE of Chester City's best known fans has called for shareholders to put pressure on club owner Terry Smith in a bid to get him out.

ONE of Chester City's best known fans has called for shareholders to put pressure on club owner Terry Smith in a bid to get him out.

Barrie Hipkiss, chairman of the Official Supporters' Club, believes it's time they called an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the club's crisis.

Hipkiss, a shareholder himself, was told he was banned from the Deva Stadium at the end of last season, although Smith has since denied it was on his orders.

He worked unpaid at the club on matchdays, but after being told he was no longer welcome he paid to watch remaining games.

He has since joined the fans' boycott of pre-season friendlies, but is still organising coach travel to away matches in the Conference. 'Although Terry Smith is the majority shareholder we still have a say about what goes on, so it is time we tried to do something about the situation,' he said.

'I intend to contact some of the shareholders to see if we can organise something.

'I believe Terry's father is due in the city and I would be prepared to talk to him and tell him about everything that has gone on.

'I'm not sure how much Terry tells him. I would like to ask him why so many members of staff have been forced out of the club, including the manager and the physiotherapist.'

But although he is desperate to see the end of the Smith regime, Hipkiss has condemned any behaviour by fans which caused distress to Smith's family.

'I don't want any part of that and although I want to see the end of this regime any demonstrations or protests should take place at the Deva Stadium, not at or near his home,' he said.

Smith has complained that supporters have made threats against him and has pledged to ban the protesters if they wanted to end the boycott.

Only 254 spectators were at the Port Vale match on Saturday, many of them from the Potteries, and the boycott will be tested again this weekend as City cram in two more friendlies, following last night's visit of a Chester XI to mid-Wales to play TNS.

Chester hastily arranged a visit from Third Division Lincoln City tonight ahead of tomorrow's match against a Manchester City XI. Those willing to ignore the boycott are being asked to pay £8 (£4 concessions) tonight, but the price goes up to £10 (£5 concessions) tomorrow to see a Manchester City side expected to be made up of reserve and youth team players.

Said director of football Gordon Hill: 'I know this additional fixture will mean two games in 24 hours for some of the players, but it is important the squad play together in a competitive match to gain an understanding of each other.'

Following last weekend's match the ground capacity has been increased to 4,000 by the safety authority. It is expected to return to the maximum 5,800 capacity for the Conference opener against Woking on August 18.

Chester will travel to Guiseley on Wednesday, August 29, in the first qualifying round of the AXA FA Youth Cup (7.30).

The winners will be away to Dunstan Federation Brewery or Marine.

There will be no replays in the competition this year. Matches will be decided with extra-time, followed if necessary by penalties.

The youth team warmed up with a 3-2 victory at Telford United last week, coming from behind with goals by Tom Coulson, Marc Howells and Chris Hopwood.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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