MORE than 500 Blues supporters crammed into the Guildhall last night to bring about the rebirth of Chester FC.
There was not a spare seat in the house as club officials unveiled their ambitious and exciting plans.
Amid euphoric scenes, all those who attended the public meeting were left in no doubt the success of the resurrected club is now in the hands of its owners – the fans.
Chris Pilsbury, chairman of the City Fans United (CFU) group which owns the Blues, said: "This is your club. The fans now own this football club. Everything is yours and without you it won’t work."
CFU, which was handed the keys to the Deva Stadium by the council earlier this month has raised £48,400 so far and is aiming to double that figure by the start of the season through donations, loan notes and the Seals Lottery.
CFU continues to grow, with 100 new members signing up on the night. That means there are now more than 1,800 members, a figure which amazed one of the meeting’s key speakers.
Andy Walsh, general manager of the fan-owned FC United of Manchester, said: "The number of members you have is incredible as you have only supported an idea – you have not even kicked a ball yet."
Outside investment, through sponsorship, is also key with a number of impressive commercial partners set to be announced in the coming weeks.
All monies coming into the club will stay in the club as it is a not-for-profit organisation, and supporters were assured by Chester’s chief executive Steve Ashton that the club will have the means to enjoy success on the field.
Ashton, whose role is being funded by his employers Bank of America, told the audience that the Blues’ first manager could be appointed as early as next week and that he would boast the talent and experience to lead the club out of the Vodkat League Premier Division.
Chester had earlier in the week learned that the FA has recommended that they start lower down the non-league pyramid than expected in step five, alongside the likes of Winsford United and Runcorn Linnets. But the initial disappointment that accompanied the shock news was washed away as more of the club’s plans were announced, including how it will integrate itself back into the community through the Seals Foundation.
But the biggest cheers of the night were saved for when Blues legend Daryl Clare was inducted into the CFU Hall of Fame and when the club’s new badge was put on show for the first time.
The story behind the crest, designed free-of-charge by Blues fan Martin Huxley, can be found at www.mhgraphicdesign.co.uk
Chester Football Club’s new website – www.chesterfc.com – will be launched 3pm on Saturday, May 22.