The full extent of Chester FC's financial problems were laid bare last night as City Fans United members were told the club need to find £50,000 to surive.
Heralded beforehand as the most important meeting in the fan-owned club's history since the famous ones at the Guidhall, the mood in the Blues Bar was markedly different, however, as supporters discovered just how much of a mess their beloved Blues have become off the field.
Our Chester FC reporter Dave Powell was down at the ground while Paul Wheelock was back at base to bring you all the coverage from a tumultuous night.
You can recap the meeting in full below.
Thanks for joining me on this blog tonight. Our Chester FC reporter Dave Powell has just returned to the office. Click HERE for his report.
Everything you need to know
- The club needs to raise £50,000 in the short term.
- The club could run out of cash as early as next month if things don’t change.
- It costs between £85k and £90k to run the club each month. ‘If we can’t raise £85k-£90k a month then we could be finished in a couple of months. We need to recover deficit. It has eaten away at reserves. This is the reality’.
- £1,214 was raised by fans during the meetings.
- Budget this season is £450k. Could be as low as £250k next season.
- Players on lucrative two-year deals (Ross Hannah, Kingsley James, Paul Turnbull) will have to be moved on.
- Second instalment of Sam Hughes money to arrive in June. ‘Biggest asset we have is sell-on for Sam Hughes. If needs dictate then we would look at selling sell-on clause. We don’t want to do that’.
- Stagecoach deal still on the agenda.
- CFU chairman Jonny Hughes: ‘We are sorry about what we have put you through. But we will put it right.’
- CFU have identified where they need help. Four working groups set up: strategy, football, membership, commercial.
- Former CFU chairman Simon Olorenshaw leading strategy. He said: “This is about the football club. There are fans out there who aren’t members, don’t want to be members but want to help. We need to know what the whole fan base wants.”
- Former secretary Calvin Hughes leading football strategy for first team, academy and scholars. Calvin said: “I’m concerned the way things have been going on the football side of things. We don’t want the mistakes being made again. I was shocked and appalled at some of the figures I saw on players’ 52-week contracts. Not right how a large part of budget had been spent on a few players. We need a scouting procedure. Bernard Concannon found Sam Hughes and without that the club would be a mess.”
- James Alabi tribunal set for February 15.
- Manager Marcus Bignot is contracted to the club until the end of May.
- New signing Shepherd Murombedzi played for free last Saturday.
- The CFU memebership stands at 1,060. It costs £12 a year to sign and you can do it HERE.
Good to hear
Manager Marcus Bignot is contracted to the club until the end of May.
Chairman will not resign
Our man Dave Powell...
Passionate speech from Calum McIntyre on the need to keep a football club for the young players who dream of playing for the Blues.
Get down to the Deva
Can you help?
It starts here
We need £50k short term. We need to be raising that money out of whatever way we can.
Final section of the meeting
Sign up for the CFU
It costs £12 a year and you can do it HERE.
'We have to get people fired up again'
We have to get people fired up again. It’s the only way it will work.
This is what's needed
The membership numbers
More from Calvin
We need a scouting procedure. Bernard Concannon found Sam Hughes and without that the club would be a mess.
Strong stuff from Calvin Hughes
I’m concerned the way things have been going on the football side of things. We don’t want the mistakes being made again. I was shocked and appalled at some of the figures I saw on players’ 52-week contracts. Not right how a large part of budget had been spent on a few players.
Another familiar face returns
Calvin Hughes was previously the club’s secretary.
More from Olorenshaw
Simon Olorenshaw is the former CFU chairman who wrote an open letter to The Chronicle last month. You can read it in full HERE.
This is about the football club. There are fans out there who aren’t members, don’t want to be members but want to help. We need to know what the whole fan base wants.