Ross Thorpe will continue working for Chester on a voluntary basis after the assistant manager gave up his wage to help the crisis-hit club.
The full extent of the Blues financial plight was revealed just under a fortnight ago and in the time since supporters have rallied around in tremendous fashion, raising over £40,000 for the club, just £10,000 shy of the funds needed to avoid Chester going out of business this month.
First-team players such as Tom Shaw, Alex Lynch and Reece Hall-Johnson have all left Chester in recent weeks as part of cost-cutting measures, and although Thorpe is no longer on the payroll at the Deva, the 36-year-old will continue to help out as Marcus Bignot’s number two and will be present on matchdays.
“Ahead of the meeting where everything came out, we had an idea of the situation so I spoke to the gaffer and told him I’d give up my wage,” he said.
“I was on non-contract terms, so it makes sense. But I’m still doing the same job effectively, I’m on the phone to Marcus three or four times a day, looking at players and I’ll be part of the backroom on matchdays. Just at the end of the month I won’t be paid.
“It’s just day-to-day really I won't be at training. But this is something I was well aware of and it’s a chance to save money for the club.
“At the end of the day, sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture. The club is bigger than a few individuals, if it means we have to take a hit then so be it. The future of the club comes first and no one wants this club to survive and stay in the National League more than me.
“I’m just focusing on Woking (away) now and focused on helping Chester stay up.”
A major fundraising campaign is well underway to save Chester from facing a second insolvency within eight years, and the efforts of the club’s loyal fanbase has come as ‘no surprise’ to Thorpe, who has also worked with Bignot at Solihull Moors and Birmingham Ladies.
“To hit the figures they have after just 10 days is overwhelming,” he continued. “But I’m not surprised one bit by the response of the supporters, with it being a fan-owned club.
“The fans are crucial in everything we do here. It’s not a shock that everybody has come together to rally around the club, as it’s been evident since the day we arrived here that the fans are proud of their football club.
“The gaffer has spoken about the difference between fans and supporters, and this past week has shown that this club has an awful lot of supporters out there.”
Following this weekend’s trip to Woking, the Blues have back-to-back home matches against Eastleigh and Leyton Orient, a pair of fixtures Thorpe has identified as being crucial to the club both on and off the pitch.
“Those two home games against Eastleigh and Leyton Orient are going to be massive,” he added.
“We’ve got to try and get as many people through the gate as possible and get some points on the board.
“We’d love there to be two special atmospheres and the players will respond. When they get the place rocking it makes such a difference.
“The number of opposition managers who come in after the game and say to Marcus they knew it was so important to silence our crowd. That tells you other teams know the sort of noise the Chester fans can create.
“People will reflect on the games against Kidderminster, Halifax, but they didn’t have much to shout about in those games did they?
“There’s been a couple of home games where we didn’t give the fans much to shout about but we cannot forget the fantastic atmospheres they’ve created in games like Barrow and Wrexham.”