All you need to know ahead of the Town's trip to the Deva
WHERE? The right answer: in the historical and handsome city of Chester. The wrong answer: in the middle of nowhere on an industrial estate. Chester FC – to give them their full name (more on that in a bit) – play their games at the Deva Stadium, and have done since 1992.
HOW TO GET THERE. In all seriousness the Deva is actually located out of town on an industrial estate, approximately two miles from the centre of the city and the train station. Town fans should head north on the M1 and M6, taking the M56. Stay on the M56 until its end and then continue along the A494 towards Queensferry and North Wales. Take the A548 turn off towards Chester and Flint and at the roundabout take the first exit towards Chester (A548). At the next roundabout again go left continuing along the A548 towards Chester. Head straight through the first set of traffic lights and after passing a Vauxhall and then a Renault garage on your left, turn right at the next lights into Sovereign Way. Continue to the end of Sovereign Way and then turn right into Bumpers Lane and the entrance to the club car park is on the right.
SAT-NAV SAVVY. Or, you could completely ignore the above and carefully punch the postcode CH1 4LT into your preferred brand of satellite navigation technology, and bob’s your uncle.
DO WHAT? Deva is Latin for Chester, don’t you know.
BOB IT. The Bobbers will be making the pilgrimage to Cheshire and if you prefer someone else (i.e. a coach driver) to do the driving for you, give them a call on 01234 856542 to book. They leave the Maple Road car park at 9.30am and the fare is £23 for adults and £20 for concessions.
PAY ON THE DAY. Town fans will be allocated covered seating at the Deva on Saturday and admission is £16 for adults, £11 for over-65s and £3 for under-16s. Chester are giving members of the armed forces free entry to the game, which is a fabulous respectful touch. These tickets, though, must be bought from the Chester ticket office.
IT NEVER HAPPENED. The Hatters will be playing at Chester for the sixth time in their history on Saturday, although technically it will only be the fifth time. To cut a long story short, the old Chester club had its playing record expunged in 2009/10, a season the Town drew 0-0 at the Deva on a cold December day in 2009.
ZERO ZEN. When the Town officially last had a game at Chester (excluding the expunged game) the Hatters reached zero points, wiping out their 30 point deduction with a point in a 2-2 draw at the Deva in January 2009.
FC OK? Following the old club’s (aka Chester City) liquidation, a new club formed – Chester FC. Don’t forget the FC either – it’s officially part of their name, just like AFC Bournemouth or AFC Wimbledon.
PHOENIX. The new club find themselves back in the Conference just three seasons after the old club ceased thanks to three successive title-winning campaigns. The club have gone from the Northern Premier League Division One North straight through to the Conference. Their points tally for the last three seasons read: 97, 100, 107. Goal-wise it’s: 107, 102, 103.
CHAMPIONS. Of the Town’s five previous visits to Chester that do remain in the history books, the Hatters have only won once. On that day the Town won 3-1 at the Blues’ old Sealand Road ground in October 1967 thanks to two goals from Keith Allen and one from Ian Buxton. The Hatters went onto lift the Division Four championship come the end of the season.
HEAD2HEAD. That win, 46 years ago, was indeed the last time the Town have beaten Chester. The Blues have only won once, too – an FA Cup tie at Sealand Road in January 1977.
DRAWING BOARD. There have been five draws in the eight games between the two clubs, and seven draws in 10 if you count the expunged results. A draw is a 5/2 shot with most bookies. You heard it here first.
FUTCHER BROS. In 1974 the Town purchased Futcher brothers Ron and Paul from Chester. The pair went onto make 275 appearances between them for the Town.
TOWN CONNECTION. Winger Shaun Whalley began his career with Chester and made his Football League debut for the club - against Cambridge in 2004.
HOW THEY DOING? Chester originally made a difficult start to their return to non-league’s top flight – losing their first five matches. However, Neil Young’s side have steadied the ship and have lost just once in their last seven league games, winning two and drawing four. They currently lie one place above the relegation zone.
DEVA DEARTH. Chester have won just once in nine home games at the Deva, but have drawn five times – including a goalless stalemate against Cambridge – and lost three. The Deva Stadium is one of two grounds in the Skrill Premier (Lincoln the other) that has seen the least amount of goals so far this season with just 12 scored in those nine matches. That’s an average of just 1.333333333333 goals per game.
TOWN TEAM NEWS. John Still is confident Paul Benson and Steve McNulty can overcome knocks to feature for the Town at Chester. Both players came off during Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Braintree.
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