Chester fc celebrate promotion from the Evo-stik Premier division in 2012 (c) BBC
It has been three years since Chester City went and were forced into reforming and became Chester FC and were place into the Northern Premier League. After three consecutive promotions they have returned to the Conference Premier.
The Blues haven’t made the best of starts to life back in the Conference Premier and after five games the sit 23rd in the league table. We spoke to the co-editor of the Blue and White fanzine Richard Bellis to discuss Chester fc goings on.
The main thing for Chester fans was there return to the Conference Premier and it has delighted the Blues faithful as Bellis explained: Good! “Well, the poor start isn’t good, but it’s great to be back in the division where the previous incarnation of the club folded.
“It’s been a brilliant three years getting promoted through the divisions but now it’s back to normal I suppose – not being the best team in the league, having to scrap for every point and so on. It’s fun still, but in a different way.
“The goals and the results mean more – we can’t expect to tonk anybody like we have over the last few years.”
The league table shows Chester haven’t had the best of start to life back in the Conference which read five games played no wins, no draws and 5 losses. Results were 3-0 against Barnet, 2-0 against Hereford, 2-0 against Woking, 3-1 against Kidderminster and 2-1 against Forest Green Rovers on Bank Holiday Monday.
Bellis explains why this is the case: “Basically, it’s a steep learning curve. Defensively we can’t defend corners and something like nine of the twelve goals we’ve conceded have been from set-pieces.
“Up top we’re creating few chances and not putting away enough, but we have the makings of a good team in there. We’ve also had an extremely difficult start, playing five full-time clubs in our first six matches was never going to be easy.
“Though we were unlucky not to nick a point against Forest Green I thought.”
The Blues have signed a number of players and last season they had a team full of match winners as the made the charge to the Blue Square North title.
So who will be the key men for The Seals?
“It’s been quite mixed. Some have slotted in very well: Kevin McIntyre, Michael Kay and the Turner twins (on loan) look good. Others have looked decent: Lee Pugh, Danny Harrison, Alex Titchener.
“Then others have looked pretty bad, but let’s not name names.
“In terms of key men Ben Mills played well last match and grabbed a goal, Jamie Reed is supposed to be good, though he hasn’t played too much.
“Alex Titchener looks a good bet for a partnership up front with Mills, but I think this year will be a team effort, unless we can get another Antoni Sarcevic like player who can be our creative hub in midfield. We have a team of grafters at the minute.”
A number of teams in the Skrill Premier are full time. But one of the teams that are not full time is Chester. So will Chester become a full time team in the near future: “No. We can’t afford full-time football so we certainly shouldn’t go full-time.
“Otherwise we’d be back down the divisions after going bankrupt again. To be fair I don’t think many people seriously think we should go full-time yet as we all have a good idea about the state of the club’s finances – one of the benefits of being fan owned.”
This Saturday sees the return of the much anticipated Cross Boarder Derby as Chester visit the Racecourse ground, the home of Wrexham FC. The game has been made a bubble game, which mean away fans have to travel into the ground on official transport only. The game has also been a 1pm kick off.
“It’s the first fixture we all looked for and everyone is really excited about the match, though the ridiculous restrictions put in place by the police has taken some of the shine off the day.
“Why a non-league fixture that is going to attract about 6,000 fans needs to be a ‘bubble’ match is beyond me. If anything it’ll encourage trouble as Chester fans living in Wrexham will just risk it and go in the home end.
The racecourse ground will welcome the first Cross Boarder derby of the season.
photo by Steve Pic
“North Wales Police will then use that as an excuse to bubble all future derbies for us. It’s incompetence of the highest order. The match will be good though.”
“It’s our biggest game since we reformed, so it’d be our biggest win. But the three league titles in a row obviously stand out in terms of achievements.
“On the day one team can upset the form book, but to win any league you have to be the best team. Being the best team in three divisions of increasing difficulty – and making them look increasingly easy – is something that can’t be matched by one game of football. Would still love to see us win though! But it’s got 0-0 written all over it.”