Cheshire West regains control of Deva Stadium

Michael Hunt

Cheshire West & Chester Council has regained control of the Deva Stadium, formerly home of the now defunct Chester City Football Club.

The keys to the 5,000- capacity ground, in Bumper's Lane, were handed over to the authority's property management service by administrators acting for the Chester City FC.

Blue Square Premier League clubs voted to expel the former Football League club last month, which was made after Chester City FC pleaded guilty to breaking five league rules.

Mike Jones, leader of Cheshire West & Chester Council, Steve Robinson, chief executive of Chester City FC, and Cllr Richard Short, executive member for culture and recreation, carried out an immediate inspection of the council-owned premises.

Cllr Jones said: "At least, due to our determined efforts, the ground is back in council control. I'm delighted that this has taken place so quickly because it now allow meaningful discussions, obviously not possible under different circumstances.

"We are prepared to talk to anyone seriously interested in maintaining a football team in Chester and with a good business case to support their aspirations."

The council has made no secret of the fact that it would look favourably on a solution which embraces the theme of a community club, involving all age groups in the city and attracting financial support from different agencies.

Talks have been held with representatives of another Phoenix Club in order top understand the mechanics of either reforming the former Chester City Football Club or starting again from scratch.

It is also anticipated that discussions along the same lines will take place with the Football Association.

Cllr Richard Short added: "Anyone considering football at the Deva Stadium will, of course, have to comply with safety regulations which exist to protect spectators.

"This, of course, is an important, and frequently costly aspect, of staging football before spectators in any stadium and would obviously have to be considered as part of any business case."

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