Senior Blues Members Meeting recap for December 2022, thanks to Les Smith for providing the update!
Chris Courtenay Williams opened another well attended meeting by introducing Chester Women’s Manager Martin Fitzimons and team member Molly Wood who has been a regular for the past two years. Martin was pleased that attendances were now growing in what has been a very stop start season in terms of results, having, for example, lost the last five games. Though awareness in the Chester Women’s side is increasing via Podcasts and Twitter, there is a definite downside of Social Media platforms which players and volunteers do not need.
Since the England team’s success in the Euros there has been an upsurge in interest and competition but Martin was optimistic about an improved performance in the league. He recognised the sponsorship provided by the Senior Blues. Chairman Chris then fulfilled one of his most enjoyable duties by asking Molly a series of none too taxing questions about her time at Chester and about football in general which she answered with good grace and charm.
Club Historian, Chas Sumner then gave an in-depth illustrated talk on the history of Sealand Road. Starting with the formation of the Club in 1885, through the grounds in Hoole and Whipcord Lane, and finally to Sealand Road ground in 1906. After the first world war, the Club were founder members of the Cheshire County League before election into the Football League in 1931. Some notable innovations over the years were the tannoy system built in the early 1930’s and ”decent” floodlights (1960), the latter largely funded by the Supporters Association. Many photographs were shown which illustrated the development of the Sealand Road stands, the pitchside wall and cinder track, and the Kop. The ground record was over 20,000 (vs Chelsea, FA Cup replay 1951-52) was on a January afternoon well before the days of floodlights. The new main stand was built in 1979/80 at a cost of around £0.5M, double the original estimate. An annex to the stadium was sold in 1973 for £290K which help fund promotion. To close the talk Chas showed numerous nostalgic shots of the last days of the ground after it had been closed for good.
This short report does not do justice to the time and effort Chas has put in over the years to build up his archive and knowledge, and his talk was well appreciated by the members.
The meeting was then joined by the management team to a well deserved round of applause. After a relatively short annual address from Calum, everyone adjourned to the Legends Lounge for what turned out to be an excellent Christmas Lunch and an equally excellent “after lunch” speech by special guest Jeannie France-Hayhurst, the High Sheriff of Cheshire.
Next Meeting Friday January 6th
Guest Speakers: Chester Player of the Year 1982-83 John Thomas, First Team Coach Mike Allcock and Vice-Chair Jim Green.