Chester FC will continue to operate as a part-time club next season – even if they win promotion to the Blue Square Bet Premier.
The vast majority of clubs in the Football Conference’s top tier are full-time, meaning their players have the benefit of training every day rather than during the evening when they have finished day jobs.
But Blues boss Neil Young revealed this week that his team – who are top of the Blue Square Bet North table and well on course for promotion – will resist the temptation to go full-time next season.
“We’re definitely staying part time. We can’t financially look at full-time at the moment,” said Young. “We’re already planning for next year, irrespective of what league we’re in.”
Young wants the expectation levels of the club’s fans to be realistic, should the Blues go on to win promotion to the Conference.
“People have got to be realistic wages-wise over what we can afford because at the moment I can’t see the budget being much different from what it is now,” said Young, one of the club’s few full-time employees.
“Expectation has got to be realistic as well. We’ve had a phenomenal season, let’s be honest, and we’re quietly confident here. We’re confident that, whatever level we’re at, we can bring in players that suit us. There’s a lot of hard work going into that. It’s not magic.”
Young stressed that a much greater burden would be placed on his players if they reached the Conference, which is a national league with teams spread across the country.
“People have got to realise that part-time in this league is a lot different to part-time in the Conference,” he said. “There’s no full-time teams in this league apart from Stalybridge, who are a young full-time team. The big teams, they’re training every single day and that makes a massive difference.
“That’s the realisation our supporters are going to have to get, if we do manage to get out of this league.”
Young said he would continue to scour the non-league scene for talented young players. In the past, the likes of Ashley Williams, Antoni Sarcevic and Dom Collins have been picked up for modest fees or free transfers.
“That will be the ethos going forward,” he said. “We’ll look to developing younger players if we can find them.”
Chester are without a fixture this weekend so the squad will be brought in for a 10am training session on Saturday. Young and assistant boss Gary Jones will spend the afternoon on a scouting mission, running the rule over a transfer target for next season.
Nathan Turner has been joined at the Exacta Stadium by his twin brother Lewis, who received clearance to begin a loan spell with the Blues this week.
The Leeds United midfield duo will remain at Chester on loan until the end of the season. Nathan joined Chester in December and has since broken into the first team.
Leeds are paying the pair’s wages during their loan spell.