“IT’S a very sad situation for all the fans. I’ve supported the club since 1946 and I have been through the Smith days and this is very hard for me to take. I sincerely hope we will get back into the League, but I’m 71 and I really don’t see us coming back in my lifetime.”
These are the words of Chester City Official Supporters Club chairman Barrie Hipkiss, and not words to be taken lightly as the Blues prepare for their Football League swansong at home to Darlington on Saturday.
Saturday’s 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 supporters have now accepted their team will be going down with Luton Town. And, more worryingly, they are not sure that they see a way back.
“I really hope we do get back but it’s going to take a lot of hard work to do it because that league is not easy to get out of, with the best and latest example being our neighbours Wrexham,” said Barrie, who lives on Sealand Road.
“We’ve just got to hope things improve and the club gets some stability because it’s stability the club needs more than anything else. Things have to get better.”
Pauline Meakins is the chair of Chester City Exiles. She, like Barrie, was at Aldershot on Saturday.
She said: “It was a very sad day, probably sadder than we imagined.
“The whole season has not gone well and relegation has become inevitable, but it was still a very hard time.
“All the fans are now worried that, given the way the club has been run this season and given the transfer embargo that has hung over the club, we will lose players. I believe Ryan Lowe has already said he doesn’t want to play in the Conference and I think for many fans he’s been our player of the season. Things have got to change.”
A sportsmen’s evening featuring Everton and Chester City legends is being held at the Slow Boat restaurant in Chester on Thursday, May 28 (7pm) to raise money for the Chester’s Centre of Excellence.
Three days before Everton’s FA Cup final, Ian Snodin and Duncan McKenzie will be joined by comedian Mickey Finn and as yet unnamed former Chester stars.
Tickets cost £30 and include meal. They can be purchased from the club shop on Watergate Street.