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Move to stop the exodus

A CHESTER solicitor will today warn all Football League bosses against snapping up Blues players on the cheap.

A CHESTER solicitor will today warn all Football League bosses against snapping up Blues players on the cheap.

In a move to preserve the current Chester squad, Graham Ross, of Neston, has faxed a letter to all 92 clubs explaining that by law, if the club went into liquidation, any player bought at an undervalued price may have to be returned to the club

This follows news that Blues owner Terry Smith had put seven first team players on the transfer list.

Now Mr Ross, a member of Chester City Supporters' Trust, has taken action after City and Stevenage Borough agreed a £5,000 fee for Chris Blackburn ­- a deal now dead in the water over personal terms but one that the solicitor saw as a massive under-valuation of the midfielder's worth.

The lawyer had contacted Stevenage chief executive Bob Makin, urging him to reconsider the deal.

Mr Ross said: 'I spoke to Stevenage Borough and have warned them of the possible consequences of losing the player due to the Insolvency Act 1986, should Chester City go into administration.

'What Terry Smith has done is damaging to the creditors of the company as he is damaging its resources by selling off its assests for any price,' Mr Ross alleged.

Today, Mr Ross will circulate a letter outlining the risks to every football chief in the English league. He said: 'What we are trying to do is preserve the squad by warning all clubs.'

team coach Gordon Hill said he had been instructed to sell the players to balance the books.

He said: 'It's a horrible position to be in, but we need to sell some players to make sure we can keep the majority of others. I'm a devil if I do and a devil if I don't.

'If all clubs want to offer for Chris Blackburn is £5,000 then we have to accept it. I think Mark Beesley is worth six figures but if we're not offered that what can I do. If the powers that be want to sell and the player wants to go then we have to let them go.'

Terry Smith was unavailable for comment yesterday.

A senior barrister backed up Mr Ross' claims. The barrister, who wishes to remain unnamed, said: 'In the event of a winding up order or an administration order being made, Section 238 of the Insolvency Act 1986 enables a liquidator, or administrator, to apply to the court to set aside any transactions entered into at undervalue in the two years preceding the winding up or administration order.

'Anyone who purchases an asset such as a player at undervalue had better make sure the money paid in respect of any transaction goes to the company and no-one else.'

Meanwhile, the same barrister backed the Chester City Supporters' Trust's plea to the city council to use its position as landlords to enforce changes at the Deva Stadium.

The council refused to change its view, saying any difficulties at the Deva can only be dealt with by the current owner.

The issue was discussed at Monday night's supporters' group meeting at the Royal Mail Club and fans were urged to lobby their local councillors.

It was agreed to stage a peaceful demonstration at the FA's London headquarters, in Soho Square, on October 10.

Supporters are also urged to boycott the next Chester home game, against Margate, on October 6 when fans will petition against Smith and hope to make a big impact in the city centre.

* The Football Association will reveal details of its Compliance Unit's year-long investigations into City's financial affairs within the next few weeks.

* There will be no supporters' coach for tomorrow's trip to Stevenage or Tuesday's game at Scarborough due to lack of interest.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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