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Brooks in talks to buy club as Smith vanishes

FORMER Chester City commercial manager Dan Brooks, a long-time friend of Terry Smith, admitted for the first time yesterday he is involved in a possible take-over of the club.

Dan Brooks

FORMER Chester City commercial manager Dan Brooks, a long-time friend of Terry Smith, admitted for the first time yesterday he is involved in a possible take-over of the club.

'No deal has been done,' he said. 'But we are working towards it. I don't want to raise expectations.'

The Canadian, former marketing manager of Blackpool Pleasure Beach ­ he still lives at the resort ­ quit the club to concentrate on promoting his girl band Perfect Ten.

In the meantime, Chester are in no immediate danger of losing their Nationwide Conference place, despite the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Smith who claimed he had sold the club.

As club officials wait to hear from the missing American the Conference directors met yesterday, but the Chester City ownership puzzle wasn't on the agenda.

Said Conference chairman Bill King: 'We have been assured that Chester are able to undertake their fixtures and as long as we receive a copy of the Deva Stadium safety certificate there won't be a problem as far as we are concerned.

'We are aware of the rumours that the club may be sold, but that is not an issue for us at the moment.'

Smith, who seems to have left, temporarily at least, his house on the outskirts of Chester, raised the hopes of fans who want him to go by announcing in a Press release on Monday that a new owner would be named on Wednesday.

But Wednesday came and went and the Smith family appears to remain in control.

Club secretary Mike Fair commented: 'We only know what the press tells us. We don't know what is going on and we are continuing as normal until we are told otherwise.

'It is a very difficult situation and we are operating as best we can. There have been countless statements in the past from people who claim to have bought the club and nothing has happened.'

Director of football Gordon Hill was also in the dark. 'I spoke to Terry's father last weekend and he said he would be in touch, but I have heard no more,' he said.

The crunch could come next Wednesday when the staff is due to be paid ­- just three days before the opening Conference match at home to Woking for which a crowd capacity of 4,000 has been set by the safety authorities.

Liverpool-based businessman Phil Davies has been associated with a buy-out for months and has been seen at the Deva this week, but he has been unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, Gordon Hill said he was '80 per cent happy' with his squad with just over a week to the start of the season.

'I have been happy with the way we have been performing, but there will be no signings until other players leave the club. There are one or two players who aren't happy,' he said.

One of them may be Chris Blackburn who, despite a trial at Mane Road, will not be going to Manchester City. He has been linked with Rochdale who signed his Chester team-mate Matt Doughty recently.

Goalkeeper Wayne Brown may be lining up against Chester for Conference newcomers Farnborough next month if the clubs can agree a fee.

p Chester have been drawn at home to Congleton Town in the first round of the UniBond Cheshire Senior Cup on or before September 22.

p The club will play a reserve team in the First Division of the Lancashire League this season, starting at home to Colwyn Bay Reserves on Wednesday, August 22. Other opponents are Accrington Stanley, Altrincham, Ashton, Bamber Bridge, Barrow, Burscough, Guiseley, Lancaster City, Leigh RMI, Marine, Morecambe, Northwich Vics, Ossett Town, Rossendale United and Southport.

Season ticket prices for the new season are ­ adults: £152 (terrace), £190 (stands); senior citizens and unwaged: £121 and £149; under 16s: £90 and £100.

Executive lounge tickets are £350 for adults and £250 for senior citizens.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
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