SENIOR BLUES | March meeting this Friday; plus February recap!

March’s Senior Blues meeting takes place at the Deva Stadium this Friday!


WHEN? Friday 3rd March at 10.30am

WHERE? Blues Bar, Deva Stadium, CH1 4LT

WHO? Host of ‘The Price of Football’ Podcast and football finance guru Kieran Maguire, and former Blues midfielder turned professional boxer, Paddy Lacey.

Chester FC Senior Blues is a group for older supporters who meet monthly and organise regular social activities.

New members are very welcome with membership costing only £10 a year..

Meetings start at 10.30am and are well attended with generally between 50 and 70 members present. Tea, coffee and biscuits are served and there is a raffle and merchandise for sale

All monies raised is for the benefit of Chester FC, with the principal focus being the Academy, which has received approximately £20,000 to date.

New members are welcome and all money raised goes to the Senior Blues Youth Foundation.

Senior Blues Members Meeting recap for February 2023, thanks to Les Smith for providing the update!

Chairman Chris was fit and able to return to duty and welcomed our first speaker of the day, CFU Board member Nick Phillipson.

Nick remembered his first visit to Sealand Road, Easter Monday, vs York City 1971 (and like most of us has carried on supporting regardless). He replaced Richard Lynes, being invited onto the Board at the start of the pandemic. Nick’s role covers facilities and catering and he referenced his work on replacing both the floodlights and catering companies. Despite a 30% saving with the new LED lights, bought with a 70% grant from the Football Stadium Improvement Fund, the bills are “horrendous” due to energy price increases.

He explained the catering set up with Olive Tree providing hospitality meals, Aaron running the bars and the Kiosk arrangements. As far as the stadium is concerned, after 32 years there is much to maintain. An arrangement with VINCI was beneficial for necessary resurfacing of the car park. Clearing the gutters via a cherry picker revealed ten balls on the stand roofs while the recent cold snap created 28 water leaks on the Harry Mac alone. There is always a need to be on the look out for grants to cover all eventualities.

Nick was followed by fellow Board member Ollie Hill who was elected in November. Brought up in Chester though now living in Liverpool and working as a Civil Servant, Ollie’s first game was a promotion winning match vs Scarborough through the persuasive power of Adam Langan. Before being elected, Ollie was involved with the Fundraising Committee and is currently working alongside Nick and looking to means of diversifying income with a view to increasing the budget.

There were a number of questions from the members concerning things such as missile throwing from the Harry Mac, the viability of the fan ownership model should we get promoted, and the Club Shop. These were discussed at length. Nick informed us that a “Board Away Day” was due to take place imminently where strategy planning was the main topic on the agenda.

Margaret informed the members about the forthcoming trips to the Gladstone Library and the Wroxeter Vineyard whilst Chris reported that the new boardroom chairs, donated by the Senior Blues, had been received.

The talk by the Blacon History Group was introduced by long-standing (Sealand Road Ender, now Harry Mac) supporter and Blacon resident Dave Cartwright. He described how, after a number of stops and starts, the group has gone from producing 1000 copies of a printed book to going digital, working with schools and producing a leaflet detailing four history walks around Blacon. During Covid the work was supplemented by the use of drones.

Dave was accompanied by Alan Smith, (Chair), and Norman Stainthorp, (Chief Historian) and between the three of them they gave us an illustrated talk on the history of Blacon Station and the line to Chester Northgate and New Brighton. Incredible as it may seem, the line was constructed by the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company as a route to the Mersey, having been denied access by LMS and GWR to use their lines. Blacon Station was built in 1890 at the behest of local landowner, Lord Crewe, despite the fact that there were very few houses at the time, (the oldest house in Blacon being built circa 1843).

The Beeching Report and the growth of car ownnership in the mid to late 1960’s had a disastrous effect on passenger numbers and the service finally closed in 1968. Gone were the days when it was the preferred mode of transport into Chester. Chester Northgate Station was demolished to build the Northgate Arena and Blacon Station fell into disrepair, to be demolished in 1986.

However a single track remained which was used to transport steel coils to John Summers until the early 90’s. In the early 2000’s after a consultation process it was converted to the current cycleway. On reflection, Dave admitted that perhaps (his) opposition to a proposed tramway may have been misplaced given the changes in environmental thinking and sustainability.

The talk was supplemented by illustrations of Blacon station and the railway line, with eagle eyed rail enthusiasts able to identify specific locomotive classes. In addition, recent photos taken on the cycleway were useful pointers to long-lost features along the line. All in all, an excellent and interesting talk complete with a working model railway mock up of Blacon Station. And if anyone ever wondered what happened to the old Highfield pub sign, Norman rescued it from a skip after it had been knocked down.

Chris thanked all the speakers for their well received presentations and closed the meeting.