Chester FC: Talking Bull Away Guide

Hereford will be looking to bounce back in the re-scheduled game against Chester on Tuesday evening. The Talking Bull Ground Guide Guru, Simon Wright, has updated his original article. So if you’re up for the relatively short trip up to the Swansway Chester Stadium here is the information you need.

Chester FC

And welcome to Version two of the Talking Bull Away Guide to Chester.  As everyone knows, a major flood at the ground needed a whole months’ work to put right, meaning that several big home games were postponed.  I dread to think of the impact on their cash flow, bearing in mind only supporter frantic fundraising kept the club in business last season.  And to cap it all, some mindless Chester supporters damaged the away section at Telford and their club has to pick up that bill as well.  Fortunately, the £1 million donation in June from a wealthy businessman will keep the Dingle away from the door.  64-year-old Stuart Murphy, who lives in Majorca, wants the vast majority to be invested into infrastructure so better bars, better car parks ands better commercial managers to bring in more investment.

A night fixture here feels a waste. Chester is such a lovely city to explore as its full of history and astonishing architecture. Shame that doesn’t extend to the local football ground as the Deva Stadium is no more than a functional steel and concrete container. I think I’ve been to the Deva (or the Swansway Chester Stadium as its now called) 6 times plus 3 games at previous stadiums.  Familiarity is a novelty for Hereford FC.

There aren’t too many home games to mention. A couple of goalless draws against FC United and Spennymoor, plus beating Bradford 5-3.  That is an impressive result when you remember how our team laboured to score one against Bradford.

The supporter-owned club is based at the end of an industrial estate on the edge of the city. Famously, most of the ground lies in Wales. The Deva is 75% seated so its seats only for us in part of the Centurion Community Stand or whatever its called now, along the touchline. Admission will be £15 adults and £12 seniors/ students/Armed Forces with just £3 required for Under 16’s.  There is a £10 rate for 18-21 year olds but do have ID to hand.

Although we are welcomed into the Blues Bar, the capacity of 120 means it does fill up very quickly. The only drinking alternatives are a 20-minute walk away, not feasible for a night game. Your best bet is to stop en-route.

£2 buys a place on the club car park. Convenient but with only a single road out, parking along Bumpers Lane or on the industrial estate is a popular alternative. Chester FC have much in common with us and a stark reminder of what may await us if we don’t collectively stay on top of the finances.  Chester, despite their Phoenix status, simply overspent. After a wretched relegation season from Step One last season, featuring multiple managers, Chairmen and near closure, the Cestrians have the uber aggressive Johnson and Morley as joint managers. The ex-Salford pair and BBC stars have a £250,000 playing budget for a squad who train three times weekly.  That budget may be extended with some of the Murphy money.

Predictably, Chester signed 3 players from Salford, two of them on loan. Striker Anthony Dudley is Chester’s new main striker.  He scored 13 for Salford last term as an impact sub. Former team mate midfielder Danny Livesey already possesses 3 Step 2 Champions medals.  Dudley scored twice v Bradford while Livesey has had injury problems.  Their formation does vary from game to game. They played 4-3-3 during their recent back to the wall win at Boston.

Getting There

By train:  Your choice is to miss the last 20 minutes or get back to Hereford station at 6.30am. Nope, not really realistic is it. Unless you take a short break in a local B&B or guesthouse. After all Chester is a historic place to visit.

By Reg:   Coach departs Radfords at 4.00pm. Adults £15 concs £10. Visit Hereford Awaydays Facebook group for bookings.

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