ANTHONY JOHNSON insists it’s “vitally important” that Chester are able to keep a hybrid model in some shape or form next season.

The game is expected to change drastically throughout the pyramid as a result of the coronavirus crisis, which will obviously have a greater impact on non-league clubs.

Stuart Murphy’s attempted takeover bid has come and gone for the Blues, who are sticking with the fans-owned model that has been in operation since they reformed since 2010.

The Blues - like most if not all - clubs in the country, will have to cut their cloth accordingly going forward, but joint-boss Johnson hopes the hybrid model doesn’t fall by the wayside.

Johnson and Bernard Morley helped install a hybrid for the 2019/20 campaign, which means an increased number of contact hours with players at the club.

Speaking to The Friday Night Football Show on dee 106.3, Johnson said: “Going back to the hybrid model, it’s vitally important we try to find a way of maintaining that in some guise.

“If you’ve got talented young quality players coming out of a full-time academy, which is what we’ve got, into a part-time model, it’s a totally different world.

“That full-time training and development they’ve been exposed to is taken away from them. They are training two or three hours a week as opposed to the eight to 10 hours they are going to need. That’s absolutely vital from 17 to 21. If you go to Premier League, Championship, League One or League Two they have under-23 football. They have five or six years.

“You look at someone like Sam Hughes (pictured), who went from Chester to Leicester at the age of 19/20, he’s had three years in under-23 football.

“Because we don’t have an under-23 system at our level, or at our club, these players are being judged on what they do either in training, in matches or out on-loan.

“It’s not fair on players because some end up slipping through the net.

“We are absolutely desperate to find a way of ensuring we can keep the quality of players coming through the academy, and players like Jamie Morgan, Brad Jackson, Joel Taylor, Anthony Dudley, George Glendon, etc that are coming to the club, can see there is a real professional output from us.”

City Fans United rolled out a strategic plan consultation as Chester attempt to put together a five-year vision, which includes questions regarding on-field and off-field activities.

Johnson is pleased the fans are able to have an input on shaping the future of the club, but he’s also keen to point out that he and Morley have been ticking a lot of boxes during their two seasons at Chester.

He continued: “From a football perspective, I hope it doesn’t get lost that the stuff in there is the stuff we’ve been doing for the last 18 months.

“We went to hybrid last season and I think this is a massively, massively important thing. It’s all well and good us championing this super successful academy we’ve got - the hybrid model that we put in place last season allowed us to have a higher portion of players coming through out of the academy and training with the first team four days a week, being exposed to first team training and then first team football, whether out on-loan.

“Those things we’ve been talking about, we’ve already done.

“Planning for the longer term future - seven or eight players are contracted for next season and the average age is 23.

“Alright we’ve had Danny Livesey, Simon Grand, Gary Stopforth, Gary Roberts, but you need that core of experience around younger players, that’s how they get better.

“When the Class of ‘92 came through at Manchester United, it wasn’t just 20 kids like Alan Hanson made it sound. They were surrounded by Roy Keane, Eric Cantona, Gary Pallister and Dennis Irwin, they were surrounded by class and experience.

“Although we aren’t talking world class players, you still need that experience around these players coming through.

“For us to have a group of players whose average age is 23 and the oldest is Kevin Roberts at 30, is brilliant and one we want to work with.”