TEARS were shed yesterday as Chester City’s Football League status almost certainly came to an end.
A 2-2 draw at Aldershot Town means City require a miracle to stand any chance of surviving the drop back into the non-league wilderness from which they emerged five years ago.
Chester need to win their final League Two game of the campaign, hope Grimsby Town lose theirs and overturn a 19-goal deficit to survive on goal difference.
There is no chance of that happening and the Blues fans who made the long trip to Hampshire had clearly accepted their fate come the final whistle.
Heads were held in hands and tears rolled down the cheeks as they contemplated a second relegation into the Conference in the last nine years.
City’s off-the-field future remains far from clear but there was good news for the club’s long-suffering supporters when manager Mark Wright indicated he will stay.
Wright returned to the Deva Stadium in November but has been unable to buy or loan players because of a transfer embargo imposed on the cash-strapped club for the late payment of players’ wages.
Wright, who guided the Blues to the Conference title in 2004, said: “It is a very sad day for the club and I feel for the chairman Stephen Vaughan, the supporters and the players. But if you end up with the points we’ve got you don’t deserve to stay in the League.
“It’s been a long, hard struggle but when you’ve only got 13 professionals, with kids on £45 and £90 a week, then it’s very hard to compete.
“We’ve got out of the Conference before and while it’s going to be difficult, it’s not impossible to do it again. So if we can get the right ilk of players and if the chairman wants me to stay around, I will stay and put a team out that will compete in the Conference.”
TOMORROW – Return to this site for more reaction to Chester’s inevitable relegation.