Chester FC: Jon McCarthy warns fans not to raise expectations 'too high'

Published date: 07 July 2017 |
Published by: Charlie Croasdale
Read more articles by Charlie Croasdale

Jon McCarthy 

JON MCCARTHY has warned Chester fans not to raise expectation levels ‘too high’ but admits he is ‘thrilled’ with the club’s summer recruitment.

The Chester manager, who opted to take a step back from the media spotlight following a tumultuous end to last season, has now agreed to break his silence, following an off-season which has seen the Blues make a succession of impressive signings.

McCarthy’s relationship with sections of the Blues’ support was in danger of becoming toxic in April, as Chester finished the campaign in 19th having lost eight successive home matches and picked up just 13 points since the turn of the year.

However, McCarthy has worked diligently in the close season to secure the key signings including Harry White, Andy Halls and Paul Turnbull, and landed a double transfer coup with former Blues’ favourites Ross Hannah and Kingsley James re-joining on two-year deals.

“I’m delighted by the optimism and enthusiasm the fans are showing and how excited they are with the signings,” said McCarthy, who has seen his first-team budget significantly boosted by the sale of talented younger defender Sam Hughes to Leicester City for a fee in the region of £130,000.

“This is the best squad we’ve had here but in terms of financial resources we’re still down there, despite what I read from other managers. But I’m thrilled with the players we’ve brought in.

“If it goes on resources we’d be right down there, but if it goes on the quality of our fans then we’d be in the play-offs, they are fantastic for us when they want to be. The hard work and ethic is here, we have a system and we’ve brought some better players on.

“I want the fans to be realistic, don’t raise expectations too high. But believe me, there’s no one more passionate about Chester than I am, I’ve been here a long time and no one lives it more than me.

“There’s fans who’ve been here a lot longer than me, I get that, but in this moment nobody spends more time here than me, no one works harder than me and no one wants to win football matches more than me, and I believe I can get this football club back into the Football League.”

McCarthy, who will take charge of his new-look squad in Monday’s first pre-season friendly at Runcorn Town (7.30pm), feels part of the damage created by the Blues’ dreadful run in the second-half of the last campaign has now been repaired, but accepts he will be judged on results when the competitive action gets underway on August 5 with a trip to Solihull Moors. The 46-year-old admits he’d have liked to bring in ‘one or two’ more quality signings with a ‘big queue’ of players forming to sign for the Blues, but spending has been curbed for the time being.

That could change however, if a fee can be agreed for out-of-contract striker James Alabi, who is set to sort out his future in the coming days.

“We’ve been busy for a long time now, I’m happy with the squad we’ve got in and people can now see what was going on behind the scenes,” McCarthy continued.

“It explains what our strategy was and how the board have been striving to increase the budget. We’ve worked hard to bring the type of players in we have done and I’m delighted with that.

“We’re realistic though, we’ve moved on a bit and we’ve convinced the club to move forward. The encouraging thing and the exciting part is the quality of player we’ve attracted and believe me, there was a big queue behind them of players we’d have loved to have on board.

“That’s not a criticism of the board, as they’ve eeked out every last penny for us to get in the quality squad we’ve got.

“We’ve moved on financially, we’ve produced a player of the quality of Sam Hughes and been able to move him on and credit to everybody involved in that process. Massive credit to Sam who was the main reason that’s happened.

“That has brought the club forward. Some people were blinded by what happened at the end of the season but they’ve hopefully realised that we’re moving forward together.”

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