CAPTAIN Tim Ryan has denied Chester’s players went on strike over their unpaid wages – the truth is they could not afford the petrol to get into work.
It was widely reported that the members of City’s small squad would have refused to play in last Saturday’s match against Grays Athletic had they not been given a small amount of what they are owed.
Cash-strapped Chester stumped up a week’s worth of wages to their employees – who have gone without pay for three months – and pledged that more cash would be coming their way by the end of this week.
The money allowed the players to fill-up their cars – with empty tanks the only factor that would have prevented them from playing, according to skipper Ryan.
“There were rumours coming out saying that the lads were going to strike, but it was nothing to do with that,” said Doncaster-based Ryan. “All it was to do with was that the lads couldn’t physically get in.
“Everyone still playing for Chester City will go out there and give it 100% for the club, but at the end of the day if you can’t physically afford to get in, it’s one of them. The fact is the lads didn’t have enough to do the home life and also put petrol in the car.
“So the money helped. I’m travelling quite a distance, the Liverpool lads travel over an hour, and to go quite a long time without money hits everyone in the pocket.”
Ryan was scheduled to complete his two-match suspension against Grays but the game was called off because of a frozen pitch. That means he will have to sit out the visit of Ebbsfleet United to the Deva Stadium on Saturday (3pm).
Like every other match they will play until the end of the season, the rock-bottom Blues will be firm underdogs for the clash. But Ryan is promising the club’s ever-dwindling fanbase his young colleagues will be giving it everything they’ve got.
“I’ve spoke to a lot of people in football and they all agree you cannot point the finger at our players,” said 35-year-old Ryan.
“We’re losing games because we’ve got such a young side and we’re bedding players in who might not be ready. But after every single match you can’t say to any of us that we’re not giving it our all.”
Morell Maison, Chester’s director of football, is resigned to losing the services of the versatile Rhys Meynell, while it is understood another player with considerable first-team experience is looking to leave.
City – who remain up for sale for £1, and who have until March 10 to avoid being wound-up – were reported to have met the footballing authorities yesterday to discuss the club’s present plight.
But officials from the FA and the Football Conference told The Chronicle they knew of no such meeting.
The Blues are away to Forest Green Rovers on Tuesday (7.45pm).