Thursday, 26 April 2012

Bye, then

The season is done, and the Jestrian is done with it. We’ve locked up Jestrian HQ and thrown away the key.

We’ve been producing articles daily since August and it’s been exhausting. Fortunately, Chester have enough peculiarities from the boardroom to the pitch to the players to sustain such a model, but even so, this is as good as any a place to end it. It’s been emotional.

There will be a preview of the awards dinner in a couple of weeks, so you’re welcome to join us for that.

For those of you who have wondered, you can see who the Jestrian is by clicking here.

So long and farewell,

The Jestrian

PS. If you were late in the day discovering the Jestrian, here are a few of our favourites for your perusal.

Christian Smith to have Spa Pool installed on pitch
Fans and players start to dream of Senior Cup glory
Gang Culture envelops CFC
Neil Young's Hip Hop Debut
Northwich Victoria vs Chester FC - Match Caricature
Jestrian Issue #100: Hi-Jack!
Disney Re-Makes at the Exacta
St Milner's Day
Is Your Business Backing the Jestrian?
Player out of Focus - George Horan

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Chances to see the trophy

Last year, The City Fans United provided Blues fans with several chances to see the trophy, and this year there will be even more.

Open Top Bus Parade
This will take place on Saturday, and will involve the Chester squad trundling through the city on an open top bus, probably a few feet behind a bunch of tourists doing the same thing.  Fans are expected to keep pointing out Chester Heritage Tour Buses, wondering if maybe George Horan is on that one.

When the bus finally arrives, fans will find something to criticise.  Past favourites have included bad views and the presence of directors on the bus.

"What do they do, day to day?" grumbled H Block snarler Henry Fishgills.  "Work tirelessly for free to provide the football I watch?  Is that all?  I begrudge them any small perks."

Meanwhile, Neil Young has moved to assure those thinking of attending that the event will be quite the spectacle.

"I've been practicing on the rail replacement buses at Merseyrail," enthused Young.  "I've got my technique down, and I think the fans will be really happy with their glimpse of me clenching a fist and lifting a trophy.  If you've got any plans, cancel 'em."

Awards Presentation Dinner
Scheduled for 19th May, Famous Colin Murray is being asked to miss the Champions League Final in order to confirm to a room full of suited Chester fans that he and Jeff Banks are still in touch.

The Player of the Year Award should obviously be given to Scary Alex Brown, who is three or four classes above the level at which he is playing.  However, given that Chester fans are mostly massive narcissists, they'll probably all vote for someone like Michael Taylor, in the belief that they will look like a more knowledgable supporter if they choose a player who isn't talked about all that often.

"I'm voting for Joe Ormrod," confirmed E Block regular Don Flippers.  "You less intelligent fans don't notice it, but the job Ormrod has done off the ball this season is incredible.  I know football.  Are you impressed?  Do you see how I'm better than you?"

Grenville's Memories of the Evo-Stik League
On a Wednesday afternoon some time in May, Grenville Millington will be fondly reminiscing about Chester's time in the Evo-Stik Leagues whilst members of the Senior Blues nod along.  After the event, there will be a chance to have a photo with Grenville, or one with Grenville and the Evo Stik Premier trophy.  There will be no option to have a photograph with only the trophy.

Jeff Bank's Airplane Lectures
Starting May 31st, Jeff Banks will give a series of four 6 hour lectures on the airplanes.  Each attendee will be forced to sit two written examinations and an oral test at the end of the week.  Provided they pass, each participant will be asked to donate £2000 to the "Save the Vulcan Bomber" fund.  Once this cheque is cashed, the donator will be allowed to have a photo with the trophy and Grenville Millington.

Exiles Trophy Day
Given that it is impossible for the Exiles to attend the above events, special provision has been made for Chester's most loyal stayaways.  On May 22nd, Neil Young will place the trophy on a Virgin Pendolino and send it on its way to London Euston, with an extortionate ticket placed inside it so that it's not booted off the train at Watford.  Provided theives and vandals leave the shiny pot alone, it will arrive in the capital around about half six in the evening so that "exiled" fans can throw darts at it before the train makes its return journey.

"I hope I don't get trapped on the train after I put the trophy on there," fretted Neil Young.  "If I'm spotted on a Pendolino, it'll be a massive PR blow for Merseyrail.

Witton Albion Evo Stik Northern Premier Trophy Extraganza (UNCONFIRMED)
The date as yet unset, and the entire occasion subject to the approval of The City Fans United, Witton Albion will be opening their social club and buying a trophy stand especially for the purposes of showcasing Chester's achievement. 

In keeping with Chester's way of celebrating things, Witton will providing their legendary goalkeeper Andy Oakes for photo opportunities.

All Blues fans are welcome to attend and if they want to take in a Witton game some time too, that'd be cool.

Magaluf Party Time
The playing squad are to take the trophy on their team holiday to Magaluf.  The airport lounge will be a great venue to see the trophy in its current condition before it comes back dented, bronze and with a handle falling off.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Jestrian End of Season Awards

Player of the Season
Michael Powell, for having an excellent quiff and always getting booked, thereby providing the Jestrian with endless material - or at least, a little bit of material which we've mercilessly flogged the life out of.

Honorouble Mentions - Iain Howard made a late play for the honour by growing some unlikely hair and getting some sparkly teeth, whilst Michael Taylor is the subject of Jestrian derision, showing no interest in the accolade by doing nothing noteworthy all season.

The 'real' Evo-Stik Premier League Champions
Hednesford Town.  Yes, Chester amassed 100 points and 102 goals, but the Blues lost both home and away to The Pitmen - and once more in the cup for good measure.

If only football championships were awarded like boxing titles, Hednesford's exuberant celebrations at the Exacta may have been justified.  The only things missing from the Midlands side's jubilant greeting of the final whistle were a ropey-looking confetti cannon and a half-completed lap of honour.  Oh, and the subsequent inability to consistently win matches against poor teams.

Runners Up - Nantwich Town, for their comprehensive thrashing of the Blues on the August Bank Holiday weekend coupled with a point at the Exacta in January.

Honourable Mentions - Northwich Vics, who avoided defeat twice, and Chasetown, who came within two minutes of doing the same, but for Michael Wilde's late winner at home in October.  The Scholars went on to be relegated by a point.  Sorry about that.

The Danny Toronczak Jug
Chester fans have an obsession with crediting anyone but their own players for victories, and the Danny Toronczak Jug is presented to a player who doesn't play for Chester, but still influenced their season completely by chance.  Chester were so dominant this year that the candidates for the jug are few and far between.

The judging panel finally settled on Tom Field as the rightful recipient, his incorrect registration for Northwich allowing Chester an extra three point lead, meaning that the Blues could win the title at the Exacta instead of out at Mickleover.

That Northwich were latterly booted out of the Evo-Stik League is of no consequence to the award - however, it is worth pointing out that their ineligibility for promotion means Chester actually went 'past the post' in terms of points needed for the title at North Ferriby United.  Therefore, only the 400 real fans who travelled to Humberside on a Tuesday night actually saw the champions crowned, whilst, in reality, the 5009 bank holiday glory hunters missed their target by a couple of weeks.

The "That one girl at the office who's a bit too keen" Award
Winners: Witton Albion.

Witton Albion very kindly opened their social club to travelling Chester fans ahead of the Boxing Day clash with Northwich.  Everyone had a pleasant time, but Albion proceeded to bombard Chester with texts asking when they could hang out again and insisting that Blues fans should come to a Witton game some time.

Their persistence has paid off in part, with Chester reportedly agreeing to a pre-season friendly with Albion.  However, this is merely likely to give Witton the false hope that a meaningful relationship might flourish before the Blues crush them by going off with Vauxhall Motors, 'cos they have a car.

Most Splendidly Named Opposition Manager
Peter Rinkcavage claims a comfortable victory with a surname that sounds like an attacking move in a game of competitive fell-walking.

Rinkcavage benefits in this category from being in a league full of managers with humour-devoid names, such as Kevin Lynch at Marine, Rob Smith of Hednesford and Mickleover's Dick Pratley.

Awkward Moment of the Season
Kitman Jimmy Soul turning up to the Chester Soul Night at the Exacta, having mistakenly believed it to be a long-overdue tribute to himself.

Football Writers Award
A lot of competition for this one... The Tall Peacock off of the Chronicle and Tennis Ball from the Evening Leader did battle all season, both producing countless 'state the obvious' exclusives, with scoops including Michael Wilde wanting to play and score goals, Michael Taylor revealing that the team would not let up for the title run-in and numerous articles indicating that Neil Young likes it when Chester win.

Meanwhile, Chronicle pin-up Sharks Prowling finally brought the printed word into the 21st Century.  In a world in which image has become so important, Prowling's bad-boy persona and flowing locks have become a hit with women throughout the Cheshire area, reinvigorating the Chronicle at an uncertain time for local journalism.

Twitter also plays a part, and The Tall Peacock was looking good to win the award due to his ability to always tweet a Chester goal a split-second before the official club feed.  However, a sloppy failure to identify a Matty McGinn assist at Mickleover saw renewed calls for Prowling to take over the Twitter mantle, and we wound up giving the award to our cat, mostly because the trophy for this one looks a bit like a ball of wool.

Award for "Just not getting it"
Goes to whichever Wrexham fan linked to the Jestrian from Red Passion, with the comment "Chester fands [sic] admitting that they are Jesters..."

Honestly, I've got no idea what that even means.

Runner Up - The other one from The Blue & White for getting all upset when we jokingly accused them of ripping off our material, after they ripped off our material.  Look out for a cut-out Tall Peacock tail on the back of issue 4 ;)

The Chorley Cup
Awarded to the team with whom angry Chester fans try to strike up a faux-rivalry, Northwich Victoria were in contention for this one thanks to a disreputable owner, a theatrical right back and a ticketing policy that was as needlessly obstructive and stupid as the one in place at Victory Park last year.  That, and their ability to win a few football games, thus jeopardising Chester's rightful position as The Best.

However, when the Vics fans sportingly clapped Chester's championship victory, it became evident that the Chorley Cup was to stay right where it already is.  In Chorley.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Chester FC 4-0 Marine - Completion Report

The season drew to a close on Saturday as Chester scored two more than they were supposed to en route to a 4-0 thumping of Marine.

Numerous Blues fans walked out as Chris Simm smashed in the third of the game, thereby ruining their pre-meditated "100 goals/100 points" t-shirts and banners.

Marc Williams got scoring underway, before turning provider as Chris Simm nodded home Chester's second.  Simm isn't renowned for his aerial prowess, and Blues manager Neil Young described the former Southport forward’s headed goal as "rarer than an edition of Banksy's Blog that doesn't start with the word 'well'."

At this point, the Seals were on for finishing the season with 100 goals and 100 points.  In spite of the pleasing nature of the round numbers and the symmetry, the referee chose to play enough first half injury time for Chris Simm to hammer home Chester's third of the game and their 101st of the season, spoiling it for everyone.

"People like the number 100," grumbled Harry Mac regular Larry Goatscheese, in the immediate aftermath of the strike.  "Ever seen a cricketer raise his bat because he's scored 101?  No.  Where does Winnie the Pooh live?  Not ‘Hundred and One Acre Wood' is it?  I’ve never had hundred and ones and thousands on my ice crème.  Simmo has made a nonsense of the whole season with that goal.”

Simm wasn’t done however, and rounded off his hat-trick midway through the second half, much to the delight of everyone in the stadium, save for those who enjoyed quoting negative statistics about him whilst putting forward their case for recalling Jamie Rainford from Halifax earlier in the season.

“I still reckon Rainford could do a job,” muttered West Stand shuffler Jimmy Contrarian.

With the game drawing to a close, Matty McGinn - sick of the constant shouts of “shoot” whenever he touched the ball - visibly snapped.  Screaming “FINE THEN!”, McGinn almost produced a carbon copy of his Northwich thunderbolt, denied only by a stunning finger-tip save from the Marine keeper.

Meanwhile, fans were studying the still photo of McGinn’s promotion winning goal in the free programme, which displayed the left-back as having struck the ball with a fully intact boot.

“This whole ‘I hit it so hard it ripped my boot’ line is clearly some folk tale he wants us to believe, but in reality, it probably got torn in a 50/50 melée three minutes later,” confirmed club historian Jazz Drummer.

Chester ran out comfortable 4-0 winners, and Neil Young confirmed his surprise at the ease with which his team succeeded.

“I thought the Marines were supposed to be tough,” said a clearly confused manager.

The Blues lifted the trophy after the game, with CEO Pet Husky promising a “Champions League style” presentation.  This translated to hiring two hydraulic streamer cannons - only one of which was deployed in time, and both of which were pretty weak, doing little other than adding to both the club’s carbon footprint and next year’s admission prices.  It did, however, look quite good in the photos, and many fans were left wondering if they’d been at a different game altogether upon viewing the images.

In a post-match speech to the entire crowd, manager Young announced that he didn’t believe there was any such thing as a “rest” between seasons, leading to looks of disbelief on the faces of his exhausted squad, many of whom are looking forward to a team holiday in Magaluf.

“Me and Mrs Youngy will be going along as chaperones, to make sure the boys don’t get up to any mischief,” said the gaffer.  “We’ve got some right rascals in the squad and you can’t take your eyes of them for a second.”

Tomorrow on the Jestrian – the end of season awards.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Chester FC vs Marine - Completion Preview

Chester will tomorrow finally release The Jestrian from the burden having to come up with this rubbish on a daily basis, as they wrap up their season by welcoming Marine to the Exacta Stadium.

Despite a highly impressive season in which Chester wrapped up the league title with three games to go, the whole sorry affair will be considered flagrant waste of time if the Blues don't wind up with 100 points and 100 goals.

"Double figures is nothing new, don't bring that weak mess round Youngy's house," growled manager Neil Young.  "It's the ton up or nothing for me."

Furthermore, Chester need only avoid defeat in order to finish the league season unbeaten in games not featuring Jamie Rainford.  #teamrainford

Circumstances have allowed Ashley Williams to feature substantially since his return from injury, and the central midfielder proved at Chorley Town that he hasn't lost the ability to fly into tackles with no regard for the safety of himself, his opponent or wider society in general.

"I'm trying to catch Powelly up for bookings," admitted Williams.

Elsewhere in the squad, Matty McGinn is a doubt, having picked up industrial tinnitus, due to the booming roars of "shooooooooooot" which now eminate from Chester fans whenever he picks up the ball.  This has reportedly caused McGinn to file a compensation claim against the club, which is thought to be the real reason behind next season's £2 price increase.

"Whaaat?!", shouted Matty McGinn when asked for a quote.

Despite repeated claims that money is desperately needed in order for Chester FC to progress, The City Fans United have confirmed that they are going to write off hundreds of pounds to give everyone who attends tomorrow a free programme, even though no-one ever has asked for this.

"It would make sense to give the fans something for free that doesn't cost the club money wouldn't it?", asked West Stand regular Harold Grabbers.  "How about the NATV highlights?  That's done for free isn't it?  Surely we haven't locked ourselves into a deal where voluntary work can't be rolled out to the public without charge?  Have we?"

The Blues will lift the trophy after the game, and fans are expected to flood onto the pitch in order that on Monday they may regail their colleagues with tales of how they touched the Evo Stik Northern Premier League trophy.

"The lads on the second floor won't believe it!", sobbed a misty-eyed Y Blocker, Kelvin Deerstalker.

Meanwhile, Neil Young has commented to Chronicle pen-wizard the Tall Peacock that he wants his players to savour the moment.

"I will be monitoring the situation, and anyone who I deem to have taken the occasion for granted will be forced to stay inside the stadium 'til they look a bit overwhelmed," barked a stern Young.  "Mike Taylor can be a bit surly, but I'm not in work on Sunday, so I've got all night if needs require."

The opponents, Marine, could frankly be anyone for the purposes of tomorrow's game and we've done the Arriva/Merseyrail rivalry jokes before, so that's quite enough about them.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Chorley Town 0-2 Chester FC - Sense of Victory Report

Chester sent pub quiz bores into a frothy mess last night as they inched closer to their 100-point and 100-goal target with a routine victory over plastic rivals Chorley Town. In truth, Gary Flitcroft's men were second best throughout - mainly due the fact Chester have the best players in the league, lots more points and loads more goals.

A large travelling army of 813 managed to remember where they'd put their tickets from the postponed fixture in February and descended upon 'Victory' Park, overlooking the fact that they could easily have enjoyed a high quality football match from the comfort and warmth of their sofas with ITV1 showing a Chelsea v Barcelona game that actually held some relevance.

The Blues dominated the early stages and opened the scoring in the sixth minute.  Latching onto a Robbie Booth through ball, Chris Simm rounded the keeper to stab the ball in the net, only for Iain Howard to steal the last touch, much as Simm himself had done to Booth at North Ferriby last month.

"Team Winger - REVENGE!", yelled Howard as he openly gloated in front of a visibly upset Simm.

Howard, not content with his new hair has reportedly invested in a new set of teeth, a clear indication that the plastering industry is booming.

“We’ve encouraged Iain to get his gnashers done,” confirmed Neil Young.  "In recent games, he'd be standing out on the left flank in space waving his arms about but nobody noticed him.  He’s positively gleaming now, and he’s reaping the rewards”.

Chorley did threaten once or twice, but nobody really remembered or cared.  "I was at the game and the first I heard of Michael Taylor's heroic clearance was on Tall Peacock's Twitter feed," exclaimed Blues fan Trenton Mugshot.

Chronic Chronicle Twitter addict The Peacock also mused on the chilled out aura that oozed out of manager Neil Young during the game.  Young reportedly took time out to declare to the press area that Chester’s second goal from Mark Williams was the result of a training ground routine, and that he alone should take the credit. The Blues supremo further relaxed as he sportingly participated in a game of Cluedo with the press hounds, whilst occasionally barking at the referee to feign interest in events unfolding on the pitch.

"Professor Plum! With a lead pipe... in the Billiard Room? BOOM!", Young exclaimed on the 70min mark as the main stand burst into applause, leaving Evening Leader scribe Tennis Ball to curse his luck, having already correctly identified the location and assailant.

The away following were in fine voice throughout the game, with a non-stop rendition of "I am a Cestrian" being aired in an attempt to beat the previous record of ridiculously long chanting, held by the travelling faithful at Leyton Orient in 2000 who solemnly recited "Ian Atkins' Blue and White Army" from the moment they boarded the coach in the morning.

"I'm still going!", cried away day fanatic Adam McSnare. "Ian Atkins Blue and White Army!"

Trevor Brokeback of the Royal Society of Grown Men Chanting at Football, insisted that the Ian Atkins chant still holds the record, whilst giving honourable mentions to "Big Bob's Barmy Army" at Chesterfield and "Top of the League, having a laugh" at Shrewsbury in the Conference-winning season.

The game finished 2-0 and, for the second year in succession, joyous Blues fans filed out of the ground to be faced with an intimidating pack of hooved animals, the entire council tax budget having been blown on substituting last season's baying mob of locals with police horses.

Chester return to action for the final time this season on Saturday when Marine visit the Exacta Stadium looking to spoil the record books.  "Wouldn't it be great if Perry Groves and Pat Nevin could score the two goals we need to reach the hundred?!" said everyone on Deva Chat.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Chorley Town vs Chester FC - Sense Of Forboding Preview

Chester travel to Chorley Town tonight for what we can only hope is the final chapter in the utter non-rivalry that the two teams seem to have struck up.

The whole day is likely to be marred by an inevitably excessive police presence - something which apparently comes as a complete surprise to those fans who turned up last year, snarling and shaking a fence in blind fury.

"The police can't wait to get involved can they?  Just cos last year, fans on both sides turned up and acted like stroppy four year olds apparently now we need the fuzz on hand to monitor us," grumbled trendy fan Adrian Grizzlybear.  "Why can't they just accept that throwing heavy stuff and getting into fights is a valid way of supporting your team?"

The game is a dead rubber for the already-confirmed champions Chester, but Chorley Town are fighting to secure third place, giving them a logistical advantage is the play offs.

"We're fired up for this, because we want to make sure that Chorley Town don't follow us up again this year," grimaced Neil Young.  "Honestly, I cannot bear listening to large sections of our support acting like they're massive rivals again next season."

Chester have the opportunity to reach 100 goals and 100 points in the league this season, and Young also moved to confirm that he will be attending the remaining games dressed in full cricketing gear, intending to nonchalantly raise his bat to onlooking Blues fans when the hundredth goal hits the net.

"Oh, by the way, let Deva Chat know that I'm not going to put Pat Nevin and Perry Groves on the bench for any game ever, would you?" he concluded exasperatedly.

Another player unlikely to feature in Young’s plans for the next two games is Michael Wilde, who has feigned a groin strain so that he can enjoy being “back” from injury just one more time once pre-season comes around.

Victory Park plays host to the game and a large crowd is expected.  Chorley’s stadium is often erroneously referred to as Victory Road, which is in fact a meeting venue from the original Pokémon video game.  A bizarre, greyscale world, full of odd looking creatures who are bred to fight each other, Chorley is in the North West of England.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Price Ain't Right

The recent Big City Census has caused controversy, as the board of The City Fans United once again propose an increase in admission prices for next season, looking to establish a price of £12 for the terrace and £14 to sit.

Admission prices were hiked last year after the board posed an horrifically leading question, asking whether members would favour "a modest increase in admission prices" in order "to assist with our objective of securing promotion", leading to disquiet from certain Chester fans.

This year's census - in which some bright spark lists the Jestrian as a bona fide news source, for goodness' sake - threatened to follow suit, as leaked first drafts of the questionnaire indicate that the original question on the subject for this season read as follows;

"Given that there's blatantly only one right answer to this, and bearing in mind that anyone who disagrees with us is an idiot, do you agree that we should put the prices up by a couple of quid so that we don't rot in the non-leagues forever?"

Unlike the utterly heinous "let's charge our fans for services provided by volunteers in order to make money for a third party just so that we can have an absolutely dreadful website" business plan that is the Blue$ Player, the proposed price increase does have some merit.

At the most basic level, a higher tier of football logically demands a higher price. There are also many costs associated with turning full time, not to mention desired improvements such as a bar extension, specialised training facilities, filling in potholes in the car park, Elton Welsby, new players and a set of massive floodlights. Most importantly, it'll probably price out half of Blacon.

"You can't say that!" shrieked Board Member The Dark Owl.

On the flip side, a full Exacta Stadium is a delight for all to see, and casual fans must be encouraged to attend. Provided they don't attend at the expense of "loyal" supporters, of course.

"We need to get some occasional attendees in so I can sing about how I'm more talented at following a football club than they are," muttered responsibility-free teenager Stevie Grasscutter.

Certainly, it is a divisive subject - a fact which is highlighted by the usual geniuses who like to debate these issues on The Deva Chat.

The discussion appears broadly to encompass two categories of fan:

a. those who like to quote the word "community" in order to substantiate their claim that they shouldn't have to pay any more than they do already

b. those who would happily pay the club for the right to visit their own mother if the board told them to

"It's a community club, and we must encourage more fans to come along," said fan Andy Griddlepan. "I've literally never invited any of my friends to a Chester match, so I've no idea what their thoughts on prices are, but they're definitely going to be put off by the increase - if only cos they'll have to listen to me moan about it."

"By the way, I'm absolutely baffled by anyone who thinks differently. It's incomprehensible to me that there should be another opinion on the matter."

On the other side of the coin, P Block regular Gertrude Alarmclocks argues that "the club needs money, the club needs money, the club needs money, give them your money, they need it, look at where we were two years ago, stop complaining, it's only an extra two quid, and if we put it up by another two quid on top of that, that'll only be an extra two quid as well, stop moaning."

"By the way, I'm absolutely baffled by anyone who thinks differently. It's incomprehensible to me that there should be another opinion on the matter."

Also present in the debate are the most bizarre of all Chester fans - those who don't want to be a member of The City Fans United, but that still want a say in how the club is run.

"Oh, what, because I'm not an owner, I don't get a vote?" said Harry Mac regular Paranoid Jim. "They should give everyone with a Chester postcode a vote. Or just anyone who's ever watched a game of footy, even. We need to know whether people who don't come very often want to pay £12 or £14. Because we don't already know the answer to that question."

"This is just like the time I wasn't given a vote on the price of milk, just because I don't own a cow. Absolute disgrace."

Whilst all this hysteria is going on, it appears that no-one has thought to ask the board to properly outline their plans for what our extra £2 a game will help contribute towards, and they continue to hide behind the vague strapline of it "helping the club to grow".

The decision will be a difficult one for those who have to make it. On balance, however, it is fair to suggest that anyone who is "baffled" by any part of the debate should probably retire from it.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Mickleover Sports 1-3 Chester FC - Superfluous Match Report

Chester overcame Mickleover Sports on Saturday, continuing their already-completed quest to take the Evo Stik Northern Premier League title.

Unhappy with having taken 25 points from the last 27 available, manager Neil Young furiously opted for a change in formation, commenting to reporters before the game that "we're seriously going to have to up our performances if we want to win the league."

The system change saw Young field three strikers, a move so out of character that his assistant Gary Jones took measures to ensure that the Blues boss hadn't been cunningly replaced by dastardly twin brother Ralph.
"He's a right rascal, Ralph Young," said Jones.  "Once he turned up at Merseyrail and gave the order for all services through Green Bank to be cancelled.  Mayhem, it caused."

"But I asked Neil a question that only he would know the answer to – like they do in the movies - and he got it right, so it must have been him.”

Chris Simm got scoring underway for the Blues early in the first half.  The assist came from a blatant Matty McGinn cross, but this was missed by now-slacking journalist The Tall Peacock, who spent the next ten minutes filling Twitter news feeds with desperate pleas for information.

"I was eating my packed lunch when it happened," admitted the Chronicle scribbler.  "Mrs Peacock put in some tasty chicken kievs, and those things demand your full attention."

With Mickleover deperately needing a victory to steer them clear of relegation, Robbie Booth showed no sentimentality as he swept home Chester's second around the seventy minute mark.

"I am ruthless!" he was heard to maliciously cackle.

Mickleover gave themselves some hope of a result when Karl Ashton halved Chester's lead, slotting in from close quarters. However, as the Sports players gathered round in a huddle and chatted excitedly about how they could maybe still snatch a draw, Chester restarted, and Iain Howard strolled into the area unchallenged to  restore the Blues' two goal advantage.

Neil Young admitted that he was "chuffed, mate" with the win, but despite his team having secured the championship, the Chester manager refuses to stop playing mind games.

"I think the pressure is all on Northwich," mused Young post-match.  "They're on a good run, and we've got some players out, so they have to be favourites for the title.  We'll keep trying to churn out results and we'll hope for the best but I really can't see anyone catching the Vics on current form."

Friday, 13 April 2012

Mickleover Sports vs Chester FC - Superfluous Match Preview

Chester hit the road tomorrow in order to take on Mickleover Sports in a game which, in the grand scheme of things, is about as relevant as the solo career of that Abs out of 90’s boyband 5ive.

Following Chester's clinching of the title on Monday, many Blues supporters spent the evening believing themselves to be best mates with the squad, by getting in the way of various players as they attempted to bust a move on the dance floor and taking unflattering photographs of their clearly harrassed heros.  One over-excited fan tweeted from Cruise that Neil Young had drunkenly and cryptically slurred that he was going to “do a Wenger” for the Mickleover game, before skulking off muttering something about having a superior puffer to the Frenchman.

“Me and Youngy are pretty pally these days,” rasped Harry Mac regular Dominic Sprinkler, which will no doubt be news to Neil Young.

With the title in the bag, players are already on the wind down with Michael Taylor claiming that he is “gonna be David Luiz for the next three games, basically.”

Whether this means that Taylor will attempt to play in the comical style of Luiz, or rather that he will seek to sport hair that a centre back shouldn’t have, remains to be seen.

Other players have also confirmed that they’re just going have a bit of a lark in the next few weeks.  Playground mentality has taken over, and each player will pretend to be a footballing legend in the remaining games.  Liam Brownhill has bagsied Cafu, Mick Wilde will mimic Alan Shearer and Scary Alex Brown has fiercely insisted that he is “well gonna be Paul Telfer”.  After netting the spectacular title clinching goal, Matty McGinn has merely stated that he is going play like Wes Baynes and just shoot from anywhere.

“Do you reckon I could be Colin Murray for a few days?” blushed famous-again Deaf Skunks.

Meanwhile, Neil Young is refusing to take any questions on football, as the games "just don't matter anymore".

"Look, there are things going on in my life right now that are actually important," snarled Young, reportedly irate due to his wife's having forgotten to pick up some of his favourite chocolate mousses from Sainsbury's on Tuesday.

“Nobody cares now, it’s all about partying,” bubbled assistant manager Gary Jones, covering the awkward silence. “Powelly reckons he’s going to wear a tutu tomorrow, so we’ve asked the league for special dispensation to allow him to do so – he’s got the pins to pull it off.”

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Behind Enemy Felines

[Click here for the cat's first ever exposé]

The Jestrian has a cat.  He is a cratfy master of stealth and a budding investigative journalist.  We've sent him into the Exacta again to see how things are going following the Blue's title win.


Diary of The Jestrian's Cat - 11.04.12

8.58AM - Rolled into the car park on a passing bandwagon, much like approximately 2,000 of Monday's attendees. Sneaked into the building behind Neil. He has the swagger of a champion about him. Either that, or a limp.

9.54AM - CEO Pet Husky hasn't arrived yet, so I've broken into his office to watch TV. It's all adverts at this time of day. Apparently 8 out of 10 cats prefer Whiskas, but me and my mates are all Felix eaters.

10.30AM - Husky's finally turned up and I've had to quickly hide. I'll sneak out once he's hard at work.

10.40AM - Still hiding

10.50AM - As above

11.00AM - Still hiding.

11.06AM - Finally got out when Husky went to make himself a brew. I've just found the Evo Stik Northern Premier League trophy sitting in its cabinet. It is shiny, and I must have it.

11.37AM - Managed to lug the trophy out to the car park. Lupus helped for the last bit. We've hidden it in one of the potholes and we will come back for it later.

12.45PM - Stealthed my way into the Blues Bar and siphoned off a sneaky half of Spitting Feathers. I actually once spat feathers when I caught a particularly dry sparrow and carried it home in my mouth. There was plumage in my teeth for weeks. On balance, I think I preferred that to the beer.

12.56PM - That swift half is playing havoc with my insides. Regurgitated it into Robbie Booth's kit bag.

1.12PM - Outside the changing room. Sounds like the sick in Boothy's kit bag has been blamed on Scary Alex Brown. Got away with it. I am Teflon.

2.36PM – Neil’s in his office. He’s got all his manager of the month trophies stapled together and he’s using them as a calendar. I love Neil. He’s so resourceful.

3.43PM - In a corridor. There's some hot debate going on about whether admission prices should be raised or not. Of course, if the idea is to be a community club, they should not. If the idea is to get back to the football league and turn full time, they should be. There is a nonsense inherent in the idea that you can have both. The two concepts are almost entirely contradictory. I'd tell them this, but I'm a cat and no-one will listen.

4.30PM - The trophy's gone! The trophy's gone! I went back to pick it up and it's gone! I bet it was that Lupus! I. Will. Find. Him.

4.31PM - Found him. Turns out that media gazelle Jaffa Cakes caught him with the trophy. They're having a massive row. I might leave them to it to be honest.

4.48PM – Tried to take a wander on the pitch, but The Dee 106.3 cat chased me away. Very territorial, us cats. I'd do the same if that mangy tabby ever came anywhere near the Jestrian’s orchard.  Have you seen the state of him by the way?  Turned up to the Northwich game, the little glory hunter.  He's clearly been hanging round with some hungry moths somewhere without a washing machine.

4.56PM - The police have turned up regarding the trophy theft. Think I'll get an early dart.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Player out of Focus - George Horan

There are so many new celebrities around Chester FC these days - Neil Young, The Tall Peacock, Jiff Bricks, Pet Husky, Elton Welsby, The Pilsbury Dough Beard, Famous Colin Murray, Big Lupus - that it can be easy to forget the team's onfield leader, George Horan.
Club captain and the only follower of the Jestrian in the first team squad, Horan has skippered his team to two titles in a row, and he claims his influence is even greater than meets the eye.

"I'm actually running the whole operation," drawls Horan.  "Neil Young is just a figurehead, it's me pulling the strings."

"It's simple really," he continues.  "I give Neil the starting line up on a Friday night, and I write his team talk for him.  The post-match interview is a little more tricky to prepare for, so I just get him to toddle out and moan about the ref for an hour - seems to do the job."

"I've only got him in as a human shield, for when I have to make the tough calls.  I felt bad on him, because it was my decision to bin off Brad Barnes, and Neil's taken some right stick for that one."

However, Horan has admitted that Young "went rogue" when he brought on Liam Brownhill for Antoni Sarcevic against Northwich.

"I think he got over-excited," he reminisces.  "I never give him the authority to make subs, because that's precisely the kind of nonsense change he likes to make.  He's no idea what he's doing, he just enjoys seeing the coloured numbers go up.  Fortunately, this one came off.  We might not be so lucky next time."

Horan is perhaps best known for his work clambering all over opposition forwards.

"It's all about ensuring the striker has no mobility whatsoever," says the Blues skipper, who can often be spotted mid-game sneakily attaching a set of portable rungs to the back of a striker, in order to gain himself some extra leverage. 

Indeed, Horan was once sent off whilst playing for Rhyl, after he attempted to shepherd Connah's Quay Nomads striker Tommy Mutton into a straitjacket.

"I'd have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that pesky linesman," he mutters.

Undoubtedly a popular figure at the club, Horan has earnt himself a chant which sees fans hypothesise about a dream situation in which Horan is cloned and selected in all eleven positions of Chester's first XI. This caused some brief controversy on Monday, as striker Chris Simm - mistaking the song for Cleggy's announcement of the starting eleven - stormed out in protest at the news that Horan was to partner himself in attack.

"They're too similar to play up front together!" Simm was heard to scream.

Despite being a centre back, the captain chips in with a good number of goals, most of which happen in backwater Northern towns.

"I like to save my goals for the hardened travellers," Horan explains.  "Sack scoring at the Exacta, there's scarcely anyone paying attention there anyway."

George Horan is available for a limited time only.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Chester FC 1-1 Northwich Victoria - Party Report

Chester wrapped up the Evo-Stik Premier League title at the first available opportunity yesterday. Having stored up all the drama and excitement that should have graced the last nine wins, The Blues spat it out whole against second-placed Northwich Victoria with a mere five minutes left to play.

Northwich nearly contrived to win, but did so at the expense of being able to conscionably maintain their claim of being the better footballing side.  Chester's players found themselves booted about by the vigorous visitors, whilst Vics midfielder Tom Field comfortably settled into the "referee's earpiece" role by complaining about the manner in which Michael Wilde returned a drop ball following a first half injury.

It took until the second half for the first goal to arrive, Northwich's Kyle Armstrong providing it just moments after the restart,  So quickly had it come about that CFU media sniffer Jiff Bricks hadn't retaken his seat for the second period.  Emerging from the ether, brushing pie crust from his lapels, Bricks made it clear to manager Neil Young that defeat would not be accepted.

"I am NOT trekking to Mickleover next weekend, Neil!" he was heard to roar.

However, it looked very much as though the Champagne would indeed be kept on ice until Saturday's trip to Derbyshire.  Northwich did their most passable impression of Hednesford, ensuring that the ball
spent more time out of play than on the pitch, with several Vics players becoming enamoured with the precise placement of dead ball situations, whilst others picked up mysterious injuries.

With the situation looking desperate, Neil Young showed why he is the manager and you aren't by producing his most inexplicable substitution of the season.  Removing the dangerous Antoni Sarcevic and introducing solid full back Liam Brownhill, Young carried a noticable smirk on his face as he successfully trolled the entire crowd.

"What on earth is he playing at?" said every single fan, and don't act like you didn't.

Immediately, Vics centre back and thoroughly pleasant chap Ian Kearney was sent off for a second yellow, after he tripped a clean-through Chris Simm.  Kearney took his punishment willingly, by no means turning frighteningly aggressive and abusive.

Fortunately, Tom Field had seen the whole incident, and took the time to explain it to the referee - and subsequently the linesman - before the officials stuck with their decision to dismiss the Northwich skipper.

Matty McGinn wasted the resulting free kick, proving that he shouldn't be allowed another shot in the game.

However, the former Southport man - now advanced into a forward role by virtue of the Sarcevic/Brownhill interchange - clearly hadn't got the memo.  Picking the ball up with five minutes remaining and driving towards goal, McGinn smashed the ball with the outside of his left foot, tearing a hole in both his boot and also in the space/time continuum.

Never has a football struck so hard taken so long to reach its target.

5,000 sets of eyes drank in every revolution of the red and white sphere as it winged its way through the air. 

5,000 brains judged the power and the angle of the shot calculating that, yes, it was on target.

The full house fell quiet for the splittest of all seconds.

Then, as time caught up, the ball slammed into the corner of the net, sparking quite possibly the loudest Deva roar of all time, as relief and joy flooded forth.  Nobody is quite sure what happened next, each Cestrian dancing about to his own crazed rhythm and hugging whomsoever was at hand.

With the result confirmed at 1-1, Chester's players had a brief moment to celebrate on the pitch with the fans before realising they've made a rod for their own back with consecutive championship wins.

"I imagine a a couple of draws and a defeat next season and they'll be calling for my head again," nodded Neil Young.

As the fans finally meandered away from the ground, they wore big grins as they thought up things to moan about on Devachat when they got home.
Note: given the general tone of this blog, it's hard to add that Northwich's fans were an absolute credit to the club without sounding sarcastic.  But they were, and they showed a class sadly missing from other areas of their club.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Stocksbridge Park Steels 1-2 Chester FC Practical Dead Rubber Report PLUS Chester FC vs Northwich Victoria - Very Lively Rubber Preview

Chester take on Northwich today, needing just a draw to secure the Evo Stik Northern Premier League top spot following a victory against Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday.

The Stocksbridge game threatened to break ranks with recent Chester outings.  The Blues scored two goals in 12 minutes, fooling fans into thinking they may just get an entertaining football match finally, but manager Neil Young quickly marshalled his troops, ensuring that they didn't go on to bag an 8-0 drubbing.

"Football is art,"  said Young.  "Sure, we could have gone on battered them, but where's the excitement in that? It's like cinema.  I don't like a film that makes everything easy for me.  I want to have to think about it; I want to have to work for my enjoyment.  I want a bit of drama, a bit of danger, a twist!  I want to have mysteries to solve along the way, then the big reveal and that heart-in-mouth moment before the hero prevails - that's what it's all about!"

The Blues boss wiped away a tear before finally returning back along his tenuous thread of thought and concluding "so yeah, that's why we let 'em have a goal and then hung on for dear life.  All part of the game plan, m'lady."

With the game ending 2-1 to the Blues, attention switched to today's game with Northwich, and Young was quick to point out that Vics have the advantage.

"They didn't play on Saturday.  Also, we're aiming to try and win it out at Mickleover just to make it a logistical headache. Trying to fit 3000 plus into a stadium which holds the same number of people as your average hot-tub?  Be a bit of a laugh wouldn't it?  Also, the Exiles are probably coming today, and they'd be well upset at having trekked up here for nothing."

"Worth it."

Northwich will be without controversial full back John Disney, who went down lightly following an altercation with Michael Powell - a man whose hair has more body than his actual body - at Victoria Stadium on Boxing Day.  Disney has cunningly gotten himself suspended for the occasion, much to the relief of anyone who cringes at the embarrassing Twitter exchanges between the former Republic of Ireland U17 international and those Blues fans who are of the impression that they can make Disney see the error of his ways by swearing at him in 140 characters or fewer.

Meanwhile, over on The Scorching Plaza of Blinding Intellgience (AKA. The Devachats), certain fans are seeking to ship out the current squad before they've even won us the title.

"You've gotta think ahead," said G Blocker, Preston Swingball.  "This is a rough world, and it would be remiss of us to allow even a second to pass between us winning the league and Youngy booting out those who I've deemed aren't good enough even though I've never watched a Blue Square North game in my life.  There's no time to celebrate, it's not like there's an off season in which to sort all this out, or anything."

It is unclear which players will be available for the match, with Chris Simm facing a fight to get his breath back in time, after he left the pitch winded on Saturday.  Christian Smith missed the Stocksbridge encounter altogether, and was left seething at how he was delivered the news that he was to be sidelined.

"I'm in the middle of an 83 game streak with Youngy on Draw Something," explained Smith  "Then he draws a shepherd's crook, and the answer was "DROPPED".  I figured it out and got my three coins, but it's scant consolation even if it did mean I could buy the colour green.  The gaffer's gone too far this time."

A big crowd is expected at the Exacta and, if past form is anything to go by, you can look forward to the Blues winning the trophy in Derbyshire next weekend.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Stocksbridge Park Steels vs Chester FC - Practical Dead Rubber Preview

Chester travel to Stocksbridge Park Steels tomorrow for a game of football which merely threatens to tire out their players ahead of Monday's showdown with second place Northwich.

Irrespective of tomorrow's result, a win on Monday would see Chester crowned champions leading to suggestions that Neil Young may field a weakened side versus Stocksbridge.

"We're rolling back the years - Gary Jones will play centre back and ol' Youngy will lead the forward line," revealed the Blues boss.

"Provided we can register him in time, we might be able to field Barrie Hipkiss wide left and all.  Tricky."

A bumper crowd was expected, but with even a win unable to fast-track Chester's title dream, many fans may now make alternative arrangements.

"Who can be bothered trekking out to Sheffield for a game that doesn't really matter?  I didn't make the effort to travel for the Doodson Cup, and I certainly won't be making the effort now," said West Stand sitter Karl Fairweather.

With his team now almost clear of the Evo Stik leagues, Neil Young's veneer of respect is starting to slip.

"What an embarrassing couple of seasons," he sneered.  "Evo Stik Northern Premier... they can't even spell 'stick' right.  How can you have any time for a company that can't spell its own name?  They got caned for that on The Apprentice on Wednesday."

Following the Blues' midweek victory over Kendal, former England international and local resident Michael Owen took to Twitter to give lip service to his home town almost securing the title. Most reasonable humans were appreciative of the publicity generated and are fully aware that Owen is fond of the club his Dad used to represent, however the comments were like red rag to a bull for some.

“Where was he when we were going bust?” croaked Barry Narnia, believing that Owen had some bizarre obligation to throw money at a football club that was run into the ground by undesirables.

“If he didn’t waste his time messing about with horses he could have helped us out,” added Colin Jerrycan, implying Owen should have given up his treasured hobby to prop up a failed non-league outfit.

Stocksbridge were once a side of note, due to the fact that they boasted the man with the most splendid name in all non-league, Peter Rinkcavage, as their manager.  Chris Willcock is now at the helm, and regularly suffers stick from fans who are unimpressed by his name.

"One fan even screamed that my name is 'too realistic'," recalled Willcock.  "How do you deal with that?!"

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Blues in Brief

Up for the cup
It was announced today that Chester have been accepted into the FA Cup for next season.  The announcement, made yesterday, confirms that the Blues will enter in the first preliminary round, ending a two year wait to return to the competition.

Upon hearing the announcement, two days ago, that their club would be back in the country's most revered cup competition, Blues fans have expressed their delight.

"I'm looking forward to beating a couple of teams in the backwaters of Birmingham, then crashing out before the first round proper to a team we'd have scoffed at five years ago," said an excited C Block regular Henry Quietcarriage.

Chester's exile from the competition, which has now ended with Monday's announcement, was due to the rule that, before a club can take part in the FA Cup, they must first have played in the FA Trophy. Chester FC only managed to do for the first time this season, due to missing the deadline in their first year.  In spite of this, ITV mid-game talker Peter Drury saw fit to announce during Halifax's televised clash with Charlton that the absence was due to "various misdemeanours over the years", before later apologising to CFU media brew Jar Jar Banks over the phone.

"Obviously, I was upset when Drury announced to thenation that we're a bunch of scumbuckets," said South Stand stalwart Terry Geehorsie.  "But he's called Banksy and said sorry, so that's ok then.  There's no need for him to set the record straight on air, where he made the initial slur.  He's apologised to Banksy and that's enough for me.  I'm sure the apology will get back to the rest of the country and our reputation will be restored.  Cheers, Pete."

Chester's appearance in the cup, announced last Friday, is also sure to bring a handy cash injection to the club.

Weeks ago, this happened.  Weeks ago.

High Priority
With Chester seemingly just a couple of games away from winning the Evo Stik Northern Premier, worried fans are starting to fret that they may not gain entry to the Northwich clash.

"I am a CFU member, and I should have priority," tantrummed one fan.  "I want all the benefits of a Season Ticket for a five pound cover!  I paid a nominal and utterly miniscule sum in order to own this club, and I even turned up at one of the meetings once, cos it was in the Blues Bar and I'd gone there to see if the United match was on."

"It's important that the people who own this club are warmly recognised," said CFU member 132.11(b).  "We are the reason the club has been so successful.  I tell you what though, if I see another hard-working director on the open top tour bus this year, I will be fuming!  Why should they get priority for actually doing something?  Just because they are the reason the club has been so successful, doesn't mean they shouldn't get priority over the rest of the fans."

Meanwhile, despite the fact that there have probably been over 6,000 unique spectators at the Exacta this season, and it's thoroughly acceptable that a good wedge of them will all make the effort to attend a game of such significance, various sections of support have moved to produce reasons why their attendance is more important than the next guy.

"We are H Block, and our brand of aggressively slating full backs is imperative to our team's success.  No-one better infiltrate The Block," said Alan Classyclothes.

"I go to the away games," protested Jimmy Non-Sequitor.

"Well, I've been a supporter for over 50 years, so I shouldn't have to get there early to guarantee my spot in a public place, even if I haven't taken advantage of being able to book a seat by buying a Season Ticket," grumbled Gerald Mahogany-Cane of the South Stand.

"I'm the manager, for goodness' sake," implored Neil Young.

Holding Out For A Hero
Concern is growing that the Danny Toronczak Memorial Jug may be left without a clear winner for 2012, with Chester's championship destiny well and truly in their own hands.  The DTM Jug is annually presented to a player of another team whose accidental positive influence on Chester's season is awarded undue importance by Blues fans.  However, barring any unexpected results between now and Monday, the Seals are in the comfortable position of knowing that a victory over second-placed Northwich Victoria will wrap the Evo-Stik Premier title up in the most direct way possible, in stark contrast to last season's run-in.

"To be honest, we could do with getting 4,000 people in and then spectacularly imploding, as usual" confirmed Awards Co-Ordinator Henrietta Shinyfrock.  "Then Northwich can lose to Hednesford and we'll have a winner .  It would be a shame if we couldn't give the award out to someone - and besides, we're scraping the barrel for half-time guests most weeks.  We're crying out for another genuine Cestrian legend."
Manager Neil Young has admitted he's fully focussed on winning the league against the Vics and doesn't want his side to rely on others to win the league for them.

"I don't want to be topping the Nokia up with another tenner and buzzing through to wherever it is Northwich are calling home next weekend, mate," confirmed the Blues gaffer, who went on to dismiss rumours that he'd been seen practicing his 'phone in one hand, raised clenched fist with the other' routine since October.

Should Monday's result mean Chester seal the championship through their own doing, Halifax boss Neil Aspin may be presented with the Jug for his contribution to the cause, having taken toxic influence Jamie Rainford off the club's hands in February.

The winner of the Jug will also earn the right to have Chester fans request that one of their actual players is booted off the sub's bench for the final game of the season in order to accomodate their third party "hero".

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Kendal Town 0-3 Chester FC - Match Post-Empt

Chester now need just five points from the next fifteen to win the Evo Stik title, but may need to accrue these points with an entirely fresh collection of players, as reports surface that the majority of their current squad were last night accidentally cryogenically frozen during their side's 3-0 victory away at Kendal.

"Hopefully we'll be able to regenerate them some time next season, but we haven't got the funds for that kind of thing right now," fretted media chap Jaffa Cakes.

Following a bright start, Chester found themselves in a tough game, though Chris Simm did give the visitors the lead after 11 minutes, turning in from two yards, meaning that his last two goals have come from a combined distance of one yard out.

Chester held onto their lead until the break thanks to a string of outstanding saves by Matt Glennon, a man who, upon arrival, was pre-described as "no better than what we already have" by presumably psychic Chester followers.

The second half started with conditions making things unhelpful for the players, and unbearable for the fans.  Following summer's brief appearance last week, snow fell in Kendal and temperatures plummeted quicker than John Disney in the vicinity of a flapping arm.

Chester scored a second goal, but no-one appears to be quite sure who got the final touch as, at this point, all spectators had had their eyelids frozen shut.

Christian Smith was first to surrender to the weather, begging his manager to take him from the field of play.

"The problem with Christian is that he's already so ice cool that when you mix that with the extreme cold, his blood actually turns into a substance not dissimilar to a Slush Puppy," explained physio Will Osbourne.  "Ooh, I haven't had a Slush Puppy in years.  Megabowl tonight, anyone?"

Ashley Williams was Smith's replacement and scored his first goal of the season in his second game since his return, making it three on the night for Chester, who also kept their fourth clean sheet in a row, capping off a fine day of contrived fun with numbers.

Neil Young was saved from the chill by wearing every jacket he's ever owned, but admitted "it's nights like this when I wish I still had my 'fro."

"Now someone get me a Bovril," he added.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Kendal Town vs Chester FC - Match Pre-Empt

Chester travel to Kendal tonight, attempting to further cakewalk their way towards the league title in a game being touted as "probably straightforward, but they have had the odd result".

However, Neil Young's team do have fitness worries.  Due to the petrol shortage, the squad have had to venture to Kendal on foot - setting off yesterday morning - leading to concerns that a number of players may be burnt out before kick off.  "We could've gone by train instead, but there's probably 'engineering works at Birkenhead Central' or something like that.  It'd be next week before we got there," confirmed Young.

With suspensions also looming large, the squad is looking thinner than it should, and the Blues boss has admitted that he doesn't know "which Michaels can play and which ones can't" against Kendal.

"I've heard that Antoni Sarcevic has tweeted saying he was in bits, but to be honest, he and Wes Baynes seem to say that every week so we'll just have to see," continued Young, whilst also pondering whether he should re-introduce his puffer jacket due to the "unpredictable" weather.

"I've got some proper boss fleeces but they won't give me the protection if it rains.  On the other hand, the puffer is huge, and it is a bit of a hassle to carry around if the weather turns out nice," fretted Young, whose ditching of his puffer jacket weeks ago has done nothing to remove the topic from an obsessive Jestrian home page.

Meanwhile, many fans who enjoy fun with mathematics have fainted due to the excitement brought on by the imminent match;

Michael Wilde has scored three in the last three games, Kendal have lost six out of their last six games and Chester have won seven of their last seven games - all of which is very pleasing to those whose love for numbers tips over into the "that guy was probably kicked around at school" category.  Meanwhile, Kendal have conceded either three or four goals in five out of their last six games, which is just plain cool.

Whilst it is true that Lee Ashcroft's men have lost every game for as long as anyone cares to remember, Parkside - just like every other outback to which Chester travel - is being labelled as a place that's "hard to go" as "they get decent results against the big teams", suggesting that the Champions League trophy could take up permanent residence in the Lake District, if only they could get an entry.

"Anywhere that's a bit remote and has a hint of a "Hovis accent" amongst the locals will invariably prove to be a tough nut to crack," confirmed William Tigershark, president of the Society for Peculiar Stereotypes and Parallels in Non-League Football.

Travelling supporters have pledged to boycott Kendal's social club due to its publicised row with the football club.  These scenarios usually occur once a season, with last term witnessing the Great Pie Abstinence of Chorley.

"It's important that we seek to smash the system by refusing drinks and pastries," claimed square-jawed fan Jimmy Guffaws.

Witton Albion directors have confirmed their social club will be open for disaffected Blues fans to enjoy a pre-match pint.

Games this season have been short on songs from the crowd, but if last week at North Ferriby is anything to go by, the first 15 minutes of tonight's clash will be loud, with Blues fans in attendance expected to loudly state their intention to also be at Stocksbridge on Saturday by clapping their hands twice.

"Once we've turned up, that's our job done.  The result is irrelevant, it's not about the team," explained East stand traveller Jensen Hotsoup.  "It's all about getting the recognition for being there, then moving on and attending the next nigh-on inaccessible match."

Away Travel co-ordinator Berry Hipbone has announced his plans to adopt the system for future coach bookings, eschewing his usual clipboard-laden pitchside walkabout in favour of the call-and-response method.  "If you're on the coach to Chorley, clap your hands," yelled Hipbone.  "Not after 8pm, though."

A win will see Chester's grip on the top spot tighten almost beyond reproach, whilst a defeat might at least allow people on The Devachats to worry about something other than the fact that people aren't being all loud and bouncy at drab, easy home games.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Chester FC 2-0 Whitby Town - Match Retrospective

Chester FC continue to make it tricky to come up with new ways to start a match report after winning yet another festival of stodgecraft on Saturday.

It's now seven wins in a row for the Blues, who defeated Whitby Town 2-0 in a game so lacking in entertainment that the entry fee may turn out to be tax deductible, as officials investigate whether attendance of the match can be counted as charity work.

"It certainly doesn't strike me as the kind of thing you'd do for your own benefit," admitted Henry Jumprope, of the Charities Commission.

Chester made a number of changes to the team that faced North Ferriby with Scary Alex Brown notably absent from the squad altogether.

"Alex needed the time off to plan his April Fools' pranks," explained manager Neil Young.  Unconfirmed rumours have since spilt forth that Brown's heinous practical jokes were yesterday so frightening that the government have had to upgrade the country's terror alert from "severe" to "critical".

The match itself held no such terror, excitement, jeopardy or even Elton Welsby.  It took until the 45th minute for Michael Wilde to nick in and poke over the line as the ball dropped into a congested penalty area, following a melée that can only be described as a hullabaloo.

"It was a hullabaloo," described Young.

Chester got a second just after the break when Marc Williams was generously felled in the area by a Whitby defender, who screamed "piggy back!" before hopping up onto the former Wrexham man's shoulders and slamming him to the ground.  Matty McGinn stepped forward and converted the penalty, smashing it straight down the middle, the way you do on FIFA 12 because you still haven't figured out how penalties work.

Michael Powell made a return to the starting line up and predictably picked up a booking.  His tenth of the season, it came on a day on which the Blue and White fanzine ran shamelessly short of ideas and instead looted the Jestrian for material, offering up a cut-out Powell quiff on their back cover.

The post-match conference was tricky for gaffer Young as a competent performance from the officials robbed him of many of his stock phrases such as "once again we're talking about the referee", "I don't know what we have to do to get a penalty" and "they're against me, they're all against me!" 

Reaching for something of interest to say about the uninspiring match that had played out before him, the Merseyrail Supremo spluttered that "Iain Howard's hair is coming on a treat" before asking Radio Merseyside reporter Real Turnip if he'd been watching The Voice.

"What about that Tom Jones, eh?  That guy really knows what he's talking about," nodded an impressed Young.