Former Chester favourites Paul Carden and Ryan Lowe believe the people of the city deserve better from their football club.

The popular duo were both back at the Deva for the recent benefit match which raised over £25,000 for Chester’s financial cause, part of the Chester Select XI who played out a superbly entertaining 90 minutes against Colin Murray’s All-Stars.

For former midfielder Carden, the Blues current financial plight is something that ‘must never happen again’, and although National League survival now looks to be slipping from their grasp, keeping the football club alive is the priority.

“The main thing is to make sure there’s a football club here,” said Carden, now manager at Warrington Town.

“The manager came out not long ago and said it was more important the club survives rather than the Conference status. He was right to say that, I know it’s not dead yet but it looks like it’s going to be tough for them and it’s massively important, first and foremost he has a team to manage and the fans have a team to support.

“Having seen what happened in the past, it’s important that doesn’t happen again.

“When I was driving through I was thinking ‘it’s a long time since I’ve done this with my boots in my bag, ready to play’.”

The 38-year-old – who went on to have successful spells at Peterborough, Burton Albion and Cambridge United – says he still looks back on the 2003-04 title-winning campaign as the ‘proudest moment’ of his career, having captained the promotion team.

“We’ve got a reunion coming up in Liverpool, myself, Graham Barrow, Dean Spink, Neil Fisher, we’ve got some real good memories and good times to share from here,” he continued.

“When you see the club in trouble it’s sad to see and if we can have contributed towards the club having some sort of foothold towards survival then that’s the main thing.

“It’s brought back some great memories coming here. The time when we won the league being the main one, coming out there last myself and Mark Wright to lift the trophy, was the proudest moment of my career.

“All those things come flooding back to you. My shirt and Conference winners’ medal takes pride of place in the room at home and I’ll always have fond memories of Chester.”

For 39-year-old Lowe, his two spells at Chester City both ended in disappointing circumstances. Having established himself as a key performer under Keith Curle in the 2005-06 campaign, including two goals in the famous 3-0 FA Cup triumph over Nottingham Forest, he was shown the exit door after Mark Wright took charge once again later in that season, joining Crewe Alexandra.

Signing for the Blues again in 2008, Lowe netted 16 times but couldn’t prevent the side’s relegation from League Two.

“I relished every opportunity I had in a Chester shirt,” Lowe said.

“The first time around I left on not very good terms with the old manager at the time who had come in and then the second time it ended in relegation from League Two, so it didn’t end well either time, but I always relished pulling on the Chester shirt.

“Circumstances are very different nowadays, managers don’t get very long, it’s months or years at it’s best.

“Chester need to stabilise. Which league that’s in remains to be seen right now but as long as there is a football club and the fans stick with it, one day they can get back in the league.

“The key thing is investment. If there’s businessmen out there who can get this club back where they belong then it would be much appreciated by everyone in Chester.”

The Liverpool-born forward is now experiencing life on the other side of the touchline, having been put in joint-charge of Bury’s first-team affairs since Chris Lucketti’s sacking in November, with the Shakers currently second-bottom of the third tier.

“Obviously it’s a bit different but I’m relishing it,” he added.

“It’s been tough circumstances along the way, managers coming and going and where we are in the table, it’s a similar situation for Chester. But at least with Bury we’re in League One and not in the National League, so it’s a tough ask at any level. Hopefully we can do something magic though and stay in League One.”