THE Chester Chronicle conducted a question and answer session with Blues chief executive Steve Ashton earlier this week to provide fans with an update on the progress of the resurrected Chester Football Club. Here it is in full.
Q: Last Thursday represented a major breakthrough for Chester Football Club when City Fans United were awarded the Deva Stadium lease. What has been happening since then?
A: Last Thursday was the catalyst to commence the enormous task of establishing a football club from scratch. We are now putting into place the business infrastructure of the club such as the safety certificate and establishing processes for the day-to-day running of the club.
We are looking for long term business partners to join us on the exciting journey of the development of Chester Football Club. We have various flexible and adaptable packages suitable for companies of all sizes as well as opportunities for fans to sponsor the club. If prospective partners have a specific sponsorship need, please get in touch and we will be more than willing to assist.
Q: Chester Football Club are now advertising for their first manager. What has the response been like so far? Both in terms of quantity and quality?
A: So far we have had an excellent response to our advertisement with some very good applications.
Q: When do you want a new manager in place by?
A: Basically as soon as possible to enable him to get the best players available at our level. Certainly by the end of June, but hopefully earlier.
Q: Along with the appointment of a manager, the next big step is to be placed into a league. What is the latest on your application to the FA?
A: We have to go to Wembley to meet members of the FA, who already have a copy of our business plan, and we will discuss with them the league into which we will be placed. However, the final decision on this matter lies with them and not with us.
Q: Have you been given an indication into what league Chester FC will be placed in? What is the lowest or highest level you want the club to start at?
A: No, we haven’t been given any indication as yet. FA rules state that we must fall by at least two divisions from our position last season; that would place us in The Evo-Stik Premier League.
Q: Next Thursday brings the relaunch of Chester Football Club with a public meeting at the Guildhall. Why is it important for Blues fans to attend and what can they expect on the night?
A: We will give all Chester Football Club fans, not only City Fans United members, a full update on the progress being made.
We will be asking the community to dig deep. The football club is a not-for-profit organisation and the business plan is built on ongoing contributions from the business community and fans to grow the club. This is exactly the same as AFC Wimbledon and AFC Telford. The more the local community, both fans and businesses, put into the club the more can be invested in developing Chester FC. We need to raise more funds quickly. I am liaising with local businesses to invest sponsorship monies into the club - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org - but the business plan also requires ongoing donations from fans. It does not matter how big or small, everyone can play their part.
Committing to £5 a month will make a difference. Larger donations will of course be gratefully received and will help speed up the development of football in Chester.
Please bring your cheque books or bank details to next Thursday's meeting and invest in the future of football in our city. This is an historic moment and we can all play a part.
If fans are unable to attend the meeting, to pledge money please visit the CFU website for details of how to donate, alternatively cheques should be sent to Chester FC, Deva Stadium, Bumpers Lane, Chester, CH1 4LT.
Please remember that Chester FC is a not-for-profit organisation and all monies will be invested in developing the club.
Q: Will you have any special guests or legends on the night?
A: The modern legend Daryl Clare will be attending the re-launch of Chester FC. We also hope to have a number of other former players.
But the special guests are the fans. We want all fans old and young to join us at the start of this exciting journey that will hopefully see Chester FC eventually regain its position in the Football League once again as a community and fans-owned club.