Just when Chester City fans thought their club might finally be put out of its misery in its present state — its ownership having wrecked the club’s finances to the extent that they could not field a team, thus now facing a vote on expulsion from the Blue Square Premier — things have taken a turn for the even more bizarre. Last week, Chester’s supporters’ trust said they hoped they would be given the chance to start the club over, but now it seems a Danish consortium claiming to be saviours might make things even worse.
Owner Stephen Vaughan Junior (who acquired the club from his father, skirting rules banishing him from owning a club) revealed to chesterfirst that:
A deal has been done with a Denmark-based consortium, Chester projekt.dk, subject to legal issues being agreed.
“I was one of three people from Chester City who met members of the Conference board at a meeting in London on Friday where the club presented cash forecasts and funding projections in a bid to safeguard the club from being expelled from the league.
“The club admitted it had breached five rules including rule 8.6 which mentions expulsion, and the Conference board have now recommended that member clubs of the Conference Premier Division will vote to expel Chester City from the competition.
“The Vaughan family will today contact the Football Conference and inform them that we will defer full payment until June 2011 and ensure that full funding will be made available to pay all of our outstanding creditors, i.e. rent, revenue and all players wages and players arrears, and other football creditors.
“We will make an application to the Football Conference for them to reconsider their position so that we can fulfil the remainder of our fixtures.”
Now, let’s check out this Danish group “Chester projekt.dk” via their own website, which they’ve perhaps unhelpfully for themselves translated into English via rather garbled English. Check out this gem on their page about “Our Ambitions”:
Of course we won’t interfere in strictly sporting affairs such as who’s in the starting eleven and so on. However, it’s the owners of the club who will approve new player contracts, hiring of staff and so forth, so in that respect we’ll have the final saying.
Of course we won’t be in charge of the day-to-day operation of the club; we will need to hire some skilled people to do that (there is already a lot of people employed at the club – we just need to find out if they are the right ones). This is where the CFU will come in to the picture; the fan club will really be able to contribute with a lot, be it fundraising, knowledge of the local area and so on.
We have a limit of 10 shares which each investor are allowed to own. This limit ensures that it will be a more democratically elected board of directors and this will therefore reflect the common stance of the shareholders. This has been put in place due to the fact that we don’t want one person to dictate the entire future of the club.
The CFU mentioned is City Fans United, the Chester City Supporters’ Trust.
Last week, the Chester Project.dk website said: “Unfortunately there has been some miscommunication between us and CFU. It appeared here on our website that CFU was behind us 100%. They have their own option to save the club, but we keep them informed on a daily basis and we will meet with them this weekend to discuss options for future collaboration. They are very important in this project – no fans, no club.”
The Danish consortium did indeed meet with the Trust this weekend. And it certainly doesn’t sound like the supporters want anything to do with them, from a press release yesterday on the CFU’s site:
Members of a Danish consortium met representatives of the CFU yesterday before they met the club. It was made clear to them that any rescue bid would need the support of the fans, the wider community, and a viable Business Plan. We were not satisfied with the very brief report we had after the meeting with the club.
In our opinion the Danish consortium also have no adequate business plan or strategy for running the club on a day to day basis. They do not have adequate finances to cover the current debt, and have no plans for community involvement.
We are saying clearly and directly to the Danish consortium: On Thursday you stated that if we did not wish you to continue with your bid, you would not proceed. We are saying that we do not wish you to proceed with your bid. We would however welcome you to be part of an exciting journey with us as we rebuild our club in our own vision. But if you proceed without us, you are proceeding against us with all that entails.
I think that’s pretty clear: “On Thursday you stated that if we did not wish you to continue with your bid, you would not proceed. We are saying that we do not wish you to proceed with your bid.”
Despite this opposition, today the Chester Chronicle reports that “Chester Projekt.dk have reached an agreement with the Vaughan family to buy their 100% stake in the Football Conference outfit.”
Obviously, the Danish consortium have no actual respect at all for the wishes or plans of the supporters for the club; at the least, they could stop pretending they care.
Two Hundred Percent has the transcript of an interview with the man leading the consortium, Palle Rasmussen. It’s google translated from Danish, but I think this version of sums up the fantastic and hideous situation the club and its supporters are in:
Yes, so the news came out a little before intended, and some people its on TV2 with red ears.
Well, all that stands in my presence mail today. This will be my last blog. From tomorrow, our forum on the legs, and only people who have paid for the project is included in the debate.
There has been too many new flap hats today, this is a serious undertaking; prepared operating budgets, capital raised and every detail thought through.
And in terms of fan support:
CFU is a new fan club founded on 4 months ago with the sole aim would start their own club up and leave the existing bankruptcy. Fortunately, more than 100 true fans let me know by email that there will come people on battens. And that the CFU is “old but sour.” I can only recognize: Yesterday TV2 and I was invited to the football festival of CFU in Chester. We had counted on club jerseys and “pep in Sweeping” – but came down to a game of bingo for 100 persons aged 50 +. It was so bad that TV2 and I subsequently chose to slip away again without filming.
And just to repeat the words from our attorney, who acted 20 football clubs for the last 8 years: Fans can boycott but always comes back. Therefore: We are not the press of a fanfraktion how official they may be. Therefore: We are not the press of a fanfraktion how official they may be. In our operating model, we expect yet not with so many spectators at the start; money can/should include retrieved in a newly created youth amateur division and a football academy + many other new projects I am GAME to reveal to you all in the closed forum.
Thank you for this time – and to all faithful chesterprojekt.dk investors: I will be contacted tomorrow + Tuesday with an “entry ticket” to our closed forum.
“Too many new flap hats” indeed, Palle.