MARK MAGUIRE insists Chester have learned from their mistakes as they look to safeguard against losing their prized assets.
The Blues’ chief executive, who arrived at the club last June having previously held senior roles at both Hull City and Stockport County, faces a busy period as he attempts to tie down the majority of the first-team squad to new contracts.
The Blues lost out when highly-rated defender Ben Heneghan joined Motherwell on a free transfer last summer and Maguire is adamant that if any key players under the age of 24 – such as Sam Hughes or James Alabi – are subject to transfer bids this summer, Chester have done everything in their power to ensure they will be entitled to full compensation which can be reinvested in Jon McCarthy’s first-team squad.
Under Football Association regulations, clubs are due compensation if any of their players under the age of 24 join a new club when their contract expires, as long as they have offered them a new deal more than 60 days prior to their current deal expiring.
“It’s not just about Sam, it’s about all our players under the age of 24, there are league rules in place to protect that,” he revealed.
“That 60-day deadline is crucial that we’ve submitted an offer to them in order to qualify for compensation. There’s compensation for the period of time they’ve trained with you but also their transfer value too.
“Anything that was missed previously, Ben Heneghan being the prime example and has been talked about, we won’t miss again. I can happily confirm we’ve ticked all the boxes to ensure that will not happen again.
“We are completely protected and in general we needed a greater awareness here about how the transfer market works, and we’re now in a position to deal with enquiries or bids when they come in.
“Realistically this club relies on producing young players and we probably need to see some of them move on in the next two or three years, because that money will be reinvested in the growth of the first-team.
“But they will go at the right time, at the right price and it will be the right deal for the club. Progression at the right time is also important.”
Asked if the next two months prior to the end of the season could be the most pivotal in terms of securing the bulk of the playing squad for next season, Maguire replied: “Massively so, we talked about it in October and Jon was really clear and keen to stress that initial contract talks would take place with the squad as a whole rather than individuals.
“Equally we are guided by those deadlines so inevitably our business builds up to this point now. We don’t just want to keep the under 24s but all the squad and we want to keep as many of these players together as possible, which would be fantastic because there’s a great atmosphere around the place.
“We’ve got contracts, season ticket campaigns and commercial deals to sort out so it’s my busiest time of year, but I wouldn’t swap it with anything.”
Maguire admits he has been surprised with the progress the club have made on the pitch this season.
Despite having one of the lowest budgets in the division, McCarthy has transformed his side from National League relegation candidates into play-off hopefuls, although their top five challenge has faded in the past two months.
Maguire explained he has earmarked clear areas for development in terms of club revenue, on and off field growth and community involvement, and believes everyone can play their part in helping the club ultimately achieve it’s long-term aim of securing a Football League return.
“I’ll take the main responsibility to grow commercial revenue, the players can do their bit by winning the odd cup match as that produces additional revenue also,” he continued.
“We’ve also spent a lot of time on ticket campaigns and trying not just to attract people to the ground, but to get them coming back time and time again.”