Chester FC's future will not be 'jeopardised' even if it leads to unwanted relegation

Reporter:

Charlie Croasdale

Mark Maguire has stressed that Chester’s future will not be ‘jeopardised’ financially, even if it leads to an unwanted relegation into National League North.

The Blues chief executive insists the club are not ‘accepting relegation’ and the board will do everything in their power to strengthen Marcus Bignot’s first-team squad in January to give him a chance of hauling the first-team out of the National League’s bottom four.

However, with Chester City’s demise in 2010 still a painful recent memory for the club, Maguire confirmed the financially stable fan-owned model of running the business will not be put at risk.

“If it's a choice between jeopardising the club or accepting relegation, then we'd have to accept relegation,” he explained.

“That's not something I want to focus on because we certainly aren't accepting relegation.

“The financial consequences of relegation would not be catastrophic to the business because we would survive quite comfortably at that level, although it is not automatic we would be uber-competitive down there, because the National League North gets even more competitive each year. But essentially we have a plan in place if that were to happen. It is really important we understand though that it would not be catastrophic for the club.

“However, we want to be as competitive as we can be at this level and for the time being that remains our focus.”

Maguire, who has held backroom roles at both Stockport County and Hull City, was keen to stress Chester is continuing to be run as a member of the non-league top tier, and still harbours ambitions to see the club plying its trade in the Football League.

“We're not contemplating relegation and we're not planning for it, I can't stress that enough,” he continued.

“Every single piece of effort to stay in this division will be put into doing so, and our ambitions are beyond for the long term.

“If the very worst were to happen then the reality of the division below is there would be less trips to the south of England, you'd get more away fans through the gate. It would in some ways be cheaper to operate the business, but the ambition is to operate this club at the highest possible level in the Football League pyramid.

“It's important we realise it's a choice to be where we are, fighting and struggling right now, but the future and safeguarding of the football club far outweighs that because that gets people more positive about the hard work that goes into that.

“We're doing everything we possibly can to stay up and I think we've got a really good chance of doing so.

“We've got good enough players, a good enough management team, we've got the infrastructure to do it and the fanbase to support it. If everyone gets behind that then we've got a hell of a chance of getting out of this mess and building something really good in the seasons to come.”

Meanwhile, a compensation fee for former Blues striker James Alabi remains unresolved with Tranmere Rovers, with Maguire unable to come to an agreement with Prenton Park officials for the 23-year-old, who bagged 17 goals in 42 matches for Chester last season.

Alabi has since headed out on-loan to promotion-chasing Dover Athletic, and a player tribunal will take place in due course.

“We're still waiting for a date for tribunal,” he said. “As we've not been able to come to an agreement with our colleagues at Tranmere.

“We're just pushing for a date for that tribunal as soon as possible so we can get them to decide the value of it.”

Email:

charlie.croasdale@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Chester Leader

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