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Smith: I still need a buyer

CHESTER City FC boss Terry Smith broke his silence last night after one of the most dramatic weeks in the club's history.

CHESTER City FC boss Terry Smith broke his silence last night after one of the most dramatic weeks in the club's history.

Mr Smith announced that the club was still for sale after the collapse of yet another prospective takeover deal.

Terry Smith - Chester FC(158) (copy)

Returning to the Deva stadium yesterday after a week-long absence, Mr Smith (pictured)  confirmed that negotiations with former club director and chief executive Dan Brooks had broken down.

The announcement represents the latest in a series of dramatic twists.

Confusion had surrounded the club's future since last Monday, when Mr Smith announced that he had sold his shares to a mystery buyer who would reveal his identity the following Wednesday.

When no new owners materialised and Mr Smith could not be found at his home on the outskirts of Chester, speculation was rife that he had sold the club.

Stunned club managers admitted they were "baffled" as to who was in charge.

In fact, negotiations were still ongoing and Mr Smith was holidaying with his family in Scotland.

Yesterday, Mr Smith said he and his father, millionaire Gerald Smith, would remain in control of the club for the foreseeable future.

It is also understood that the club last night signed a shirt sponsorship deal with a major UK drinks manufacturer.

Officials said it was "business as usual" yesterday as the club prepared for its opening Nationwide Conference match at home to Woking on Saturday.

Mr Smith said an outstanding £200,000 legal claim from former player-manager Kevin Ratcliffe was the biggest obstacle to selling the club.

Mr Smith said he was close to an agreement with Dan Brooks.

Mr Smith senior, who is a director and major investor in the club, had stepped in as a broker, but, after protracted negotiations, Mr Brooks finally pulled out of the deal.

The Smiths have also now ruled out a potential deal with Merseyside businessman Phil Davis, who has repeatedly stated his interest in buying the club.

Terry Smith added: "We are talking to anyone who has potential interest. Lots of offers have been made but none of them have come to anything."

But Mr Smith senior indicated yesterday that new talks were under way with an interested local buyer.

Although Mr Smith, who owns a string of car dealerships, hotels and restaurants in the US, said he had enough money to keep the club going for the next 20 years, his son was ready to end his association with the club as soon as possible, he said.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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