Chester FC ’s relegation to the National League North became more and more apparent to Blues fans as last season’s dreadful campaign panned out.

And with that, there will be a fresh group of teams the Blues will be facing come August.

So let’s take a look and see what the Blues’ league rivals have been getting up to over the past few days...

York City

And we start with a team the Blues last faced in the 2016-17 National League campaign, York City.

The Ministermen have made two signings after finishing the National League North in 11th this campaign, five points off the play-offs.

They have snapped up striker Jordan Burrow who has dropped down a division from Gateshead, whom he scored 10 goals for last season.

And he is hoping to rejoin the National League with the Yorkshire side.

Jordan Burrow putting Gateshead 2-1 up against Chester FC in 2017.

“We are not going to beat about the bush. Promotion is what everybody wants who is associated with the club. That’s the reason I have come here,” he told York’s official website.

“There are some strong teams in this league and some good players - so it’s down to us to make sure that we do well.”

Another to sign for Martin Gray’s side from Gateshead is former York captain Russell Penn, who played more than 100 times for the club between 2014 and 2016.

Like Burrow, the 32-year-old is aiming for promotion on his return to Bootham Crescent.

“From what I am hearing and the news I am getting from the manager, we are going to be really competitive next year and right up there,” he told the club’s website.

“I wouldn’t be here otherwise. That’s my sole aim this year. Obviously, 24 teams are going to be saying the same thing - and the proof will be in the pudding - but, put it this way, I am looking forward to coming back.”

Southport

The Blues are still working their way through appointing a new manager, but Southport have unveiled a boss who their fans will be very familiar with.

Liam Watson has returned to Haig Avenue for the third time.

He tasted success in his previous spells with the Sandgrounders, clinching the National League North title twice and leading the club to seventh in the National League during the 2011-12 season.

And Watson revealed he has drawn inspiration from watching Accrington Stanley’s remarkable League Two title win this season as he embarks on attempting to gain promotion, with ex-Chester boss Jon McCarthy as assistant.

“We have the nucleus of a squad capable of winning promotion and we have already identified targets to strengthen,” he told the club website.

“We have the budget available to put together a squad which can play an attractive, attacking style of football and I can’t wait to get started working with Jon McCarthy on that.

“My desire to manage again has stemmed from watching Accrington Stanley and, my friend, John Coleman, win League Two this season. I was at the game when they clinched the title and the ‘butterflies’ returned. I want that experience again myself.

“It’s important to me that the club now has the ambition to match my own, and I believe that I can now achieve all of my managerial dreams here at Southport, something I’ve not been able to achieve previously.”

Alfreton Town

The theme of fresh bosses at the helm continues at Alfreton, who have unveiled Billy Heath as their new manager.

The former Halifax Town and North Ferriby United manager has joined the club with assistant Mark Carroll.

Under his guidance, North Ferriby went from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League to the National League, while he also took Halifax into non-league’s highest division.

Former Chester FC number two Ian Sharps leaves Walsall role

Speaking to the Alfreton website, Heath said: “There has always been a good feel to Alfreton when I’ve brought teams here, it’s very well run and the club has been successful in the past when they were in the Conference and it’s an exciting project here.

“There was big expectations last season for the Club and as an outsider looking in last season, I thought Alfreton should have been higher up the table but it’s important for us to prepare during the summer, pre-season is paramount at any football club and you can imagine it’s hectic now!”

AFC Telford United

It’s been little over a month since Marcus Bignot was sacked as Blues boss with three games of the National League season to go.

But getting back into work for a football manager can sometimes come around sooner rather than later after being linked with the managerial vacancy at AFC Telford United .

The club is without a boss after announcing former Wolves defender Rob Edwards has left, with the Bucks keen to make a longer term appointment as it bids to plan for the future.

In a statement, Edwards said: “It’s been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make and not one I’ve taken lightly. Telford means an awful lot to me and it’s been a privilege to lead the club this season.

“It’s been a difficult year, I took the job at short notice on the eve of the new season and it took longer than hoped to make the changes I felt were necessary, but I genuinely feel we showed with our form in the last few months we had turned the corner and I truly believe I’m leaving the club in a stronger position than when I arrived.

“It’s a decision I have made for me and my family as I still have strong ambitions to progress in my coaching career.”

Boston United

At this time of year, clubs release their retained lists, though Chester are yet to do so and have until the start of June to submit thiers.

Boston United manager Craig Elliott has offered contracts to seven players for next season.

And two of those, goalkeeper George Willis and attacker Jay Rollins, have agreed new one-year deals with the Pilgrims.

Stopper Willis played 42 times for the club during his first season there and kept 11 clean sheets throughout.

Rollins meanwhile will be starting his fourth season with Boston, having scored 24 goals so far during his time at the Jakemans Stadium.

Stockport County

While Boston have signed players up, another National League North club have parted company with one for a record fee during their time in non-league football.

Stockport County have announced midfielder Jimmy Ball has agreed terms with League Two Stevenage.

The club has revealed it has received a five-figure fee from the Boro for a player who found the back of the net 11 times last season and helped them reach the play-offs.

Ball played more than 90 times for the Hatters after moving from Stalybridge Celtic in September 2016.

County boss Jim Gannon told the club’s website: “There are a lot of emotions when a player leaves the club.

“The first one is pride for Jimmy. Not pride in our work, but in his.

“Jimmy has come through the difficulties of leaving a League club and finding his way through non-league football.

“I am really pleased for Jimmy and it is a real success story. We should all have ambition but it should be tempered with reality and an understanding of the work, experience and growth that is needed to realise our ambition.

“Jimmy has done that work and I believe, should he continue to work hard and grow, he will be an asset to Stevenage and will become a very good League player.

“Jimmy was a big part of our team and replacing him will be difficult, but I’ve always had those challenges as a manager – in my first season, in the middle of our promotion campaign and in almost every season – it is just part of the cycle of football.”