CONFUSION surrounded the future of Chester City FC yesterday, with no word from its new mystery buyers or from outgoing club boss Terry Smith.
Mr Smith issued a statement on Tuesday announcing that he had signed away his shares in the club and that a press conference would take place yesterday, when the new owners would be revealed.
But only the players appeared at the club for their pre-season press day and the club's management confessed that it was "stunned and baffled" by the lack of an announcement.
The gates of Mr Smith's home in Elton were locked yesterday and the house appeared deserted, leading to speculation that he had already left the city.
Staff at the club have received a farewell fax from their former boss, but have been unable to contact him since Saturday.
A person close to the club said there were hints that an American media and internet firm had become involved in a deal brokered by Mr Smith's father, Gerald Smith: "Gerald Smith has been ringing from an American company and a deal is in place."
It was also rumoured the club's former commercial manager, Canadian businessman Dan Brooks, was fronting a deal, but Mr Brooks was unavailable for comment.
New owners now face a race against time as the Conference season kicks off at home to Woking a week on Saturday.
The Conference is holding a board meeting in London later today and it is anxious to speak to the new owners.
Meanwhile, players, supporters and staff face an anxious wait for news, and Director of Football Gordon Hill has expressed doubts as to whether any new owners were yet in place.
Club secretary Michael Fair said: "We still know nothing about what is going on, although there are all sorts of rumours flying around.
"We can run the club on a day-to-day basis but the critical time will come next Wednesday when pay day comes and whoever owns the club must make a payment.
"It is very frustrating. I am just working to keep the club I love going."
He added: "There are ten non-playing staff here and a considerable number of part-time workers."