FANS fighting to preserve professional football in Chester have been given encouragement from one of the game’s top broadcasters.
Martin Tyler, the voice of Sky Sports’ Premier League coverage, has always held Chester close to his heart. He was born in the city and, despite moving south at an early age, made regular trips to watch Chester at Sealand Road in the 1950s and 60s.
Tyler was dismayed to see the old Chester City FC die but hopes a bright future lies ahead for those looking to establish a phoenix club in the city.
Tyler said: “Although it was a very sad day, it was the start of a new dawn because it couldn’t go on. It was an embarrassment what was happening.
“Now it’s the chance for those who really care about Chester to make sure the area has a football club that can go forward again.”
As well as commentating on top-level English football, Tyler – a Woking fan – is also a coach with non-league Kingstonian, who are chasing promotion in the Isthmian League Premier Division. He knows all about the pitfalls of running a non-league club.
“Do not underestimate the difficulty ahead,” he warned.
“Football clubs are like the garden – you have to nourish it. If you let it just grow because you think it will always be there, it quickly becomes a mess. So they need some good gardeners, someone to plant the right kind of seeds. When those seeds start to flourish, make sure there is nothing about that poisons the atmosphere and makes the plants die.”
The commentator reckons Chester fans can take heart from the success of AFC Wimbledon, who were formed eight years ago when the FA allowed Wimbledon FC to relocate 56 miles north to become MK Dons.
Since 2002, AFC Wimbledon have risen from the Combined Counties League to the Blue Square Premier.
Tyler said: “They have come from trials in the park to being on the verge of getting into the Football League.
“The history books says everything Wimbledon FC did belongs to them. Everything Chester City did will belong to the new consortium of supporters, that’s my belief.
“The only way is up.”