CHESTER FC boss Terry Smith has sold the club to a mystery buyer, he revealed yesterday.
In a statement released to the Daily Post, Mr Smith announced that he had signed a share sale agreement, ending his association with the club.
But supporters and club staff must wait for a formal announcement, due tomorrow, to find out who the new owners are.
The news came as a shock to the club, where a spokesman said neither staff nor players had been told of the sale.
Club spokesman Michael Fair said: "We have had a meeting with the non-playing staff and told them that this announcement has gone out.
"Other than that, we know nothing more about it and we have not been able to contact Mr Smith.
"The players will be told when they are next at the club."
In a statement yesterday, Mr Smith said: "I am very happy to now be away from the club.
"I have realised that I do not have the money to develop the club in the way the supporters want and so, for the good of the club I love, I want to be certain of its survival and success.
"My place in the club's history was simply to save the club and then to pass it over to more financially strong individuals.
"I have finally been able to find such a purchaser and so have left the club in excellent hands."
Mr Smith urged supporters to get behind the new buyers and said both club and fans must develop "an all for one and one for all attitude".
He added: "The club has been saved and now it can move forward positively.
"Some people did not like the decisions I made, and although I accept their criticism, I know that every decision I made was in what I thought was the best interests of the club at the time."
Supporters' Club Chairman Barry Hipkiss welcomed the news, but remained cautious about the details of the new regime.
He said: "We are anxious to see who it is. Whoever it is, we wish them well, but we would like to see what conditions are attached and what debts are still outstanding.
"I spoke to fans today. Everybody is waiting now with bated breath.
"It seems a buyer has come out of the woodwork, but we do not know whether it is a consortium or an individual, perhaps a local businessman.
"If Mr Smith has ended his association with the club, the fans will give whoever it is the opportunity to put the club right."
Mr Smith's announcement follows months of speculation about a possible deal with Merseyside businessman Phil Davies, who recently insisted that his bid to purchase the club was still ongoing, despite reports that it had fallen through.
In April, Mr Smith publicly stated that he no longer had any interest in running the club.