THE vice-chairman of Chester FC has urged fans not to panic after a backlash when the club forecast losses of up to £75,000.
Many Blues fans had voiced their anger and concern on the internet following the revelation from the club’s board at a City Fand United meeting last Wednesday that the club was facing heavy losses for this season.
The losses forecast by club bosses was attributed to increased player and staff costs, under-performing commercial contracts and uncovered financial irregularities involving the alleged theft of money from the club’s accounts to the tune of at least £20,000, which is currently under police investigation.
Vice-chairman of the Blue Square North table-toppers, Steve Ashton, moved to allay fears about the health of the supporter-owned club, and served a reminder as to how far they have come in a short space of time.
Mr Ashton said: “We all share the disappointment of the forecast losses that were announced at the CFU Meeting on Wednesday evening.
“Those that attended the meeting were able to hear the board explain our current situation in wider context and whilst this situation is not ideal, we were able to explain that we are all determined to make in-roads to the forecast loss, and increase the financial controls in place.
“Moreover, to simply focus on the regrettable losses, undermines all the positive work that is, and has taken place at the club, started by the previous boards and now carried on with energy and enthusiasm by us all.
“Negativity, panic and blame do not and will not figure in our determination to continue on our road to success. Control, trust, enthusiasm, hard work and transparency is what will make us succeed further, and if we get it wrong sometimes it will not be for the want of trying to do our best, as others have done.
“We will succeed together, challenges have been identified, and solutions are either in place or will be very soon.”
Mr Ashton explained that, as well as enjoying a successfu; three year period on the field, the club was debt free and had established a Community Trust, with assets of £35,000, and had a grant-funded Community Trust manager in place.
He added: “We would not be where we are today had it not been for those Board members who led the rebuilding of our club, ensuring that senior football survived in the City. These people gave and continue to give everything, at great personal cost, to preserve our football heritage. They deserve nothing but praise and our thanks.
“They have lives, jobs and families, but they gave everything they could for our cause. Without their foresight and effort we would now be floundering in the North West Counties League potentially under Danish ownership, or worse.”