CITY Fans United are still determined to develop a supporter-run club – but that isn’t stopping them from chasing outside investment.
A 1,300-strong membership means the Supporters’ Trust body has built up a solid war chest in their attempt to bring football back to the Deva Stadium.
But as they wait for the council and FA to give them the go-ahead to start up their reformed ‘Chester Football Club’, CFU chiefs have been making real inroads into the business community as they bid to inject serious cash into their proposed fans-owned model.
CFU press officer Jeff Banks said: “I think everyone is aware we’re looking for a 100% supporter-owned club, but the meetings we’ve had with business people and businesses, some of whom are high profile, have been very positive so far, and I think it will only snowball if we get the lease from the council.
“Businesses can offer us a great deal in terms of finances and know-how, and in return we can highlight who they are or what their business is through sponsorship of the club, as opposed to them actually owning all or part of the club.
“We believe the Deva Stadium has got a lot of potential and we want to totally revamp the club in terms of sponsorship to help the club financially. We’re starting afresh, we want to build up our war chest, so while we understand there are parts of the ground that can’t be changed – the Harry McNally Terrace, for example – there are other elements of the ground that are open to sponsorship.
“It’s difficult to make anything concrete at the moment as the club is not yet in existence, but if and when everything is in place we will let people know.”
Cheshire West and Chester Council, the owners of the Deva, has set a deadline of Monday, April 19 for interested parties to declare their intention to run a club from the Bumpers Lane facility.
CFU have provided the council with a draft of their business plan which they continue to refine.
Banks said: “We are improving the business plan with each passing day with extra things going into it that will prove we are the strongest bid.”
CFU can add a further £1,112 to their war chest after members of the Chester Exiles fans group went ‘behind enemy lines’ to stage a successful bucket collection at Wrexham’s Blue Square Premier match at AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night.
The FA has upheld the Football Conference’s decision to expunge Chester City FC’s results.
A number of clubs wanted Chester’s record in the Blue Square Premier to stand even though the now-defunct club has been expelled from the league.
But the clubs have been told by the FA that their appeal was too late.