THE first manager of Chester FC could be unveiled as early as next week.
The deadline for applications to become the first boss of the resurrected club only closed yesterday, but Blues chief executive Steve Ashton has already begun to grill candidates for the vacant Deva Stadium post.
Ashton has received more than 50 inquiries and, such is the calibre of the applicants, he has kick-started the interview process early with a view to appointing a manager by the end of the month.
Ashton said: “We have been interviewing and shortlisting candidates as we’ve been going along as there’s no time to waste.
“We’re hoping to have something by the end of next week, which will mean we’ve made an offer by the end of May and have someone in place for the beginning of June.”
Ashton is remaining tight-lipped on the names in the frame, but those linked with the position include former Blues boss Jim Harvey, ex-AFC Telford United manager Rob Smith and Chester-born former Tranmere Rovers defender Dave Challinor, who was captain of the Colwyn Bay side that won promotion to the UniBond League Premier Division earlier this month.
Harvey became a firm fans’ favourites during a turbulent three-month spell at the Deva last season and would bring a wealth of non-league managerial experience to the role. The same could be said of Smith, the man who led fan-owned Telford up to Blue Square North.
Whether the likes of Harvey and Smith would be willing to manage in the Vodkat League remains to be seen.
But Chris Pilsbury, the chairman of the City Fans United supporters group which own the Blues, believes the chance to lead a club with the potential of Chester is too good to turn down
He said: “If Chester Football Club is run well both on and off the field there is absolutely no reason why we can’t be back in the Conference in five or six years.
“We’ve got a good, loyal fan base who I am sure will stick with the club and, if we do start in the Vodkat League Premier Division, it just means it is one more promotion we’ve got to get.”