Poor Chester City, of England’s Football Conference. Imagine waking up the day after Christmas and finding that your club had appointed as Director of Football a man who had led another club (Halesowen) into severe financial peril and expulsion from the FA Cup, and who had received a year-long touchline ban after clashing with one of his own players? That’s what Chester fans discovered on Boxing Day, as they learned their former owner, Stephen Vaughan, had appointed Morrell Maison in that position.
This is the same Morrell Maison who only two months ago was arrested as part of a police investigation into fraud at Halesowen.
Vaughan himself is pretty much the opposite of a white knight. Only last month, he was banned from operating as a company director for eleven years for fraud while he ran Widnes Rugby Club. Following this, he became the first club owner to fail the Football Association’s Fit and Proper Persons test, and was told he had 21 days to divest of his majority stake in Chester City. Vaughan simply passed on the shares to his son, also called Stephen, to skirt the ruling. He claims the family are looking to sell their share.
This latest news caps off a terrible 2009 for Chester City. Relegated from the Football League at the end of last season, they were given a 25 point deduction to start the 2009-10 season for financial irregularities. They sit bottom of the Conference National league today, still on -3 points.
City Fans United issued a statement today on the decision to appoint Morell Maison, praising the players for their continued efforts despite the off the field distractions (and lack of pay):
CFU are both surprised, disappointed and shocked at events currently taking place at The Deva Stadium.
Whilst the players, we believe, have still to be paid from November and the current manager is working miracles in what can be some of the most difficult circumstances ever experienced by a Chester manager, Stephen Vaughan, currently banned from acting as a director by The Department of Trade, has appeared to appoint Morell Maison as Director of Football.
CFU feel that this appointment is totally unnecessary and can only undermine the excellent work of both the manager and the players at this very difficult time.
Mr Maison’s time at Halesowen was one of great turbulence for the club; being expelled from the FA Cup and FA Trophy, going into administration and reports of financial irregularities.
Maison also recieved a twelve month touchline ban after clashing with one of his own players and the former Chief Executive, Guy Simpson, who arrived at the club on the invitation of Maison, was in August 2009 charged with fraudulent evasion of tax duty in the region of £4.5 million.
Once again we call upon Vaughan and his family to make real efforts to sell the club at a reasonable price to genuine potential purchasers. In the meanwhile we ask him to reconsider his approach to Maison who, we feel has nothing to offer to CCFC and use the money which would be paid to him to pay some of the unpaid players.
We would also like to thank the manager and the current players for their great professionalism under these very trying circumstances.
The City Fans United committee would like to wish all CFU members, and Chester City fans across the globe, a Happy New Year.
Two Hundred Percent, as ever, best sums up the position this club in crisis faces as they enter the new year:
Chester City will finish 2009 with a negative points tally after their match this afternoon was postponed. No-one at the Football Conference, the Football League or the Football Association has yet made a public statement on the startling success of their decision to allow Vaughan to perform what could best be described as a “switcheroo” during the summer. Exactly who will benefit, and in what way, from the involvement of Morell Maison at Chester City Football Club is anybody’s guess, and the bare fact of the matter is that there is precious little to suggest that the issues surrounding the ownership of the club has been resolved.