Chester FC – they call it momentum

A press conference on Tuesday officially confirmed the first manager of newly resurrected Chester FC. Former Colwyn Bay manager Neil Young and his assistant Gary Jones have skipped across the England-Wales border and taken two steps south in non-league pyramid terms (as it stands anyway) to take on what they clearly see as an exciting project. One, they believe, with the potential to lift the new club to the league status of the old one. Chester’s fans can only be hoping Young takes some inspiration from his more illustrious namesake and delivers success at the Deva “Like a Hurricane.”

Young and Jones’s strong recent track record made them an attractive proposition to Chester. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ashton enthused: “We are absolutely delighted with the appointment of Neil and Gary, they are a successful management team and have shown their commitment to Chester. Both recognise the long-term potential of the club and have demonstrated this by coming to the Deva.” The pair’s recent success is worth emulating. After taking a struggling side on a late charge to the Unibond League One play-offs in 2008/09, Young and Jones went one step further by successfully negotiating the same format with victory against a Lancaster side who had impressed all season. This follows Young’s earlier impressive work as Assistant Manager at Cammell Laird, who rose through the non-league pyramid at a rapid rate in the second half of the last decade. Thus, the Seagulls are gutted to have lost the duo who had cultivated such a winning environment. One hopes the friendly between the two sides at Llanelian Park on July 10 is well attended.

Meanwhile, Chester are also awaiting the result of their appeal to the FA over the decision to place them in Step Five of the non-league pyramid. In the last article on CFC, this writer observed that it seemed a strange, harsh and avoidable move to place a side so low in the structure when a) they have the potential and size to be a major player at any non-league level, b) other clubs in similar or worse circumstances have been given places in a higher division, and c) the new Chester FC bares absolutely no resemblance to the old Chester City FC in terms of ownership or its approach to matters of finance. Somehow penalising the new club – whose founders hated the Vaughan family’s methods as much as anyone – is, frankly, stupid.

The press statement on this question is to the point: “An appeal was lodged with the FA on Wednesday May 19, 2010. This followed an initial request on Tuesday May 18 for clarification on the criteria and subsequent reasons for the decision to be placed in Step Five, Chester FC await the response to this request.” One hopes that the FA see sense and at least grant the club a place in Step Four, which would be a satisfactory outcome for all concerned. They certainly have a capable management team in place – with experience of this higher level – as well as the fanbase and potential to be more than competitive.

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