NEW Blues boss Neil Young was given a warm welcome by Chester supporters on a night when membership of City Fans United moved close to breaking through the 2,000-barrier.
CFU, the Supporters’ Trust group which owns the resurrected club, had aimed to meet that target by the end of June. But with an incredible 1,950 members now on board, officials are confident that 50 new members will sign up before then.
The announcement of the figure was one of the highlights of CFU’s annual general meeting at the Home Guard Club in Chester on Thursday, and it came after Young was introduced to the supporters for the first time.
The 35-year-old, who has a proven track record in non-league football having led Colwyn Bay to promotion to the UniBond League Premier Division last season, told the packed crowd that he would have no problems in building up a squad from scratch that he believes will be capable of winning promotion in his first year in the Deva Stadium hotseat.
Chester have been provisionally placed in step five of the non-league ladder, in the Vodkat League Premier Division, but the club has appealed to the FA to be bumped up a level into the UniBond.
Young, who hopes to complete deals for a number of targets this week, is aiming for glory no matter what league the Blues are placed in and wants to recruit players good enough to hold their own in the UniBond Premier.
Young’s first game in charge of Chester is likely to be the pre-season friendly at his old club Colwyn Bay on Saturday, July 10. The Blues will then make the trip to face neighbours Airbus UK Broughton on Tuesday, July 20, with 50% of the proceeds going to Chester FC.
An encounter with another Welsh Premier League outfit, three-time Welsh Cup holders Bangor City, is also on the cards, while Young is investigating the possibility of a friendly with League One’s Tranmere Rovers, a club he and his assistant Gary Jones have close links with.
Away from the field, CFU treasurer and newly-elected board member Jane Hipkiss revealed that the group’s ‘war chest’ had swelled by some £6,500 in the last week, taking the total in the bank up to an impressive £54,800.
CFU board members and Chester’s chief executive Steve Ashton – who was also present – are delighted with that figure and believe their target of raising £100,000 by the start of the season in August is very much achievable.
The 125th Anniversary of Chester FC bash at Chester Racecourse on Saturday, June 12 – which will be attended by up to 30 Blues legends – is expected to raise a significant amount.
Increasing the membership of the Seals Lottery – the monthly draw that offers participants the chance to win cash prizes while raising money for CFU – is also seen as a major way of generating funds, with press officer Jeff Banks stating that if every CFU member signed up it would raise around £60,000 each year. Manager Young says every player in his squad will join the lottery.
The Home Guard crowd also heard that the Blues are making big inroads into reintegrating the club back into the community.