An update from Manager Calum McIntyre

    In a written update for Blues supporters, Manager Calum McIntyre reflects on last season and looks ahead to the 2024/25 campaign…


    Further to the update issued by the Board of Directors last week, I wanted to take the opportunity to update our supporters as the 2023/24 season comes to a conclusion.

    During the close season, I look forward to engaging with our supporters with regards to our work as we plan for the 2024/25 season.

    Firstly, on behalf of the management and players, I would like to thanks our supporters for their magnificent backing during the campaign. Our home attendances and superb away following represent our passionate fanbase and have been appreciated by players and staff alike.

    Following a football club is an expensive hobby and we truly recognise the commitment our supporters have showed during the campaign to support their football team.


    As a manager, you have to have certain values and they need to reflect the values you have as a man.

    A key value of mine as the Manager of this Football Club is that I won’t hide in the difficult moments or hide from challenges. I will always take responsibility for results and performances and I will never shy away from that responsibility and all that comes with it.

    This season we failed to achieve our aim of promotion to the National League. Despite achieving our second highest points tally since being relegated into the National League North, we finished six points outside the Play-Offs with 15 fewer points than last year’s third placed finish.

    To have come up short is immensely disappointing and I recognise how disappointing it has been for our supporters.

    It is clear that we didn’t score enough goals, failing to score in 16 of the 46 league games. Our home results since the turn of the year were extremely disappointing particularly given how well we started the campaign at home and this is an area that, as a club, we must improve on recent years.

    Equally, a disappointing points return against the sides at the bottom of the division meant we fell short in achieving a place in the Play-Offs.

    There is lots to analyse and significant work has taken place already since the final game of the season in assessing the areas that held us back this season. We want to ensure during the close season that we assemble and then prepare a squad that gives us the best possible chance of achieving a place in next season’s Play-Offs.


    We have a number of players who are already under contract for 2024/25 and this continuity is important as we look to the season ahead.

    With regards to our younger players, the relevant players have been offered contracts, some several months ago, in line with the deadlines to ensure the club are protected with regards to receiving training compensation.

    As a Football Department we have worked very hard to ensure that we act promptly within these deadlines to ensure that we will receive the right level of training compensation should any of those players aged Under 23 decline the offer of a new contract.

    It is not always appropriate to broadcast those contract offers during the season but our supporters can have confidence that we have taken the right steps at the right times. We also have a number of players who have Options in their contracts which the Club have until mid-May to take up should we wish to extend their contract for another season.

    Conversations are underway with the players who are now out of contract at the end of the 2023/24 season. As a staff, over the previous two seasons we have been fortunate to work with hard working groups full of thoroughly decent human beings.

    As with every close season, there will be players leaving the football club and this process of seeing players depart is never enjoyable.

    These can be difficult conversations and the process of speaking to the existing First Team group will continue over the next 10-14 days and we will issue a full retained list once this process is complete.

    We will not rush this as it is important that we conduct ourselves properly in dealing with our players.


    It is important we continually look to improve our squad.

    Much gets said about budgets and resource, but it is down to the manager to generate as much value as he possibly can within the limits of the playing budget and this is a challenge that I embrace entirely.

    Twelve months ago, we were in a position where we had finished third in the division, achieving our highest finish and points tally since being relegated in 2018. Our focus was on retaining as many of the core of that group as possible and adding in areas where we felt we needed to strengthen.

    I think it is important to note that of the five clubs that took part in last season’s play-offs and were not promoted, three failed to qualify this time around with one being relegated and another finishing just outside the relegation places. Generating back to back success is difficult and we have to look at the reasons why and ensure we are better placed this time around.

    We obviously lost our leading goalscorer, who earned a move to the division above. This would hit any team significantly and we felt that we had actually added some really positive forward options, however, we have only had our centre forwards available for 63% of this season’s games, less than two thirds of the season.

    This summer presents an opportunity to look to improve the group and there has been some real work put in to ensure we have a recruitment model that works for us. We have real clarity as to what we need to strengthen the squad this summer and have returned to a strategy that ensures we will be really specific in terms of our player profile.

    It is clear we need to improve the athletic nature of the group and need to add some physical presence in key positions as well as ensure we return to being a more dynamic force at the top end of the pitch. We intend to run with a smaller squad with part of our recruitment strategy identifying players who have consistently played over 80% of the available minutes in the previous two seasons.

    For our supporters benefit, we have already identified a number of targets and discussions are ongoing. There are pieces of business that we may look to do immediately and are in a place to do that but equally won’t rush our recruitment this summer.

    The nature of football means that supporters always want signings during the close season, particularly when other clubs are seen to be doing business. Often I have found the busiest parts of the close season for us will take place right at the beginning and then again when pre-season training draws closer.


    One thing I am really clear on is what is needed for this club to succeed and the role everyone has to play.

    My role is to put a football team out on the pitch that is clear in its aims and is equipped to achieve them. I have to produce a team that our supporters can get behind before asking them to do so.

    This club is at its best when there is unity and when that becomes momentum.

    Regardless of where opinions differ on matters on and off the pitch, it is the unity in wanting a Chester team in Blue and White to succeed that can make the club successful.

    My mission is to return the club to the National League and I won’t shy away from that.

    Trust me, the work to make that happen ahead of one of our most challenging seasons is already underway but it will absolutely take all of us to contribute to be successful.

    “Quam bene non quantum”