AGAINST a backdrop of confusion and chaos at Chester City, Eric Whalley’s arrival at the Deva Stadium has almost gone unnoticed.
The colourful businessman has joined the Blues board and been appointed director of football – just two weeks after ending a 15-year spell as chairman and owner of Accrington Stanley.
Providing City are granted their FA membership and live to fight another day, Whalley will inject some of his own cash into the club in an effort to propel the Blues back into the Football League.
It is only a matter of weeks since Whalley sold his 52% stake in Accrington – but he could not resist the urge to get involved with Chester.
“At the end of the day, football has been my life and I don’t think I could stand seven days at home with my missus,” joked Whalley, before adding: “I’ve got to find something else to do and, knowing Stephen (Vaughan) like I do, I think it’s the ideal place to come.
“Hopefully I can help to get Chester back into the Football League.
“That is the idea and certainly I’ll put some cash in.”
As director of football, Whalley says he will liaise between City boss Mick Wadsworth and the club’s board, spending his time “making sure everybody’s happy”.
He ploughed around £2m into Accrington, helping the club win four promotions on their way from non-league to the Football League. He made his money out of his Rishton-based firm EW Cartons, which recycles cardboard.
Whalley has known Blues owner Stephen Vaughan since Vaughan was running non-league Barrow.
“We’ve always got on really well,” said Whalley. “It just seemed an ideal club to come to.
“I think they’ve got absolutely brilliant facilities for a club of Chester’s size and that is one advantage they have over someone like Accrington, who have certainly got the worst facilities in the league and the lowest gates.
“Hopefully, with the relationship I have with the chairman we can hopefully push it forward.”
City transfer target Mark Bower, who had been training with Blues and was poised to join them last week, has signed for Darlington.
Former Chester winger Richie Partridge – released at the end of the season – has secured a one-year contract with League One outfit MK Dons.