CITY OF CHESTER MP Chris Matheson believes Chester FC should stick with the fan-owned model, in the face of a takeover bid by businessman Stuart Murphy.

Last week the City Fans United board received the shock takeover proposals from Mr Murphy, who has donated money to the club for the past two years.

Mr Murphy said under the takeover proposals, The 1885 Sporting Village would be created, which he claimed was "the only viable option" in getting the club back into the Football League.

But the plans - unveiled 10 years after Chester FC fans were given the keys to the Deva Stadium - have split the fanbase.

And the plans have not won the support of the city's MP.

He said: "I have seen the news that Stuart Murphy has tabled a bid to buy Chester FC, but I was unaware he was including me in his statement.

"As a supporter, I have been very grateful to Stuart for his generous financial support of Chester FC, initially at a time when we faced difficult financial circumstances.

"When I first met Stuart I asked him about his intentions, and at the time he told me he was simply interested in giving something back to the club and the city. He also outlined some of his ideas as to how we could make the club more business-like, and improve the matchday experience to increase club revenues.

"Stuart is entitled to change his position of course, as the situation changes, but I was not expecting him to bring forward a formal bid to buy the club.

"Since our first meeting, Stuart has also outlined his plans to redevelop the whole area around the ground at the bottom of Bumper’s Lane. I have expressed some doubts about aspects of this scheme but have never publicly expressed a view either way, as the final proposal has not yet been arrived at. As Member of Parliament, I am always willing to listen to anyone who wishes to invest in our city.

"So regarding the take-over bid, I remain of the view that our fan-owned model is the one I support. “Our City, Our Community, Our Club” resonates because it is true, because we have that sense of belonging and a shared ownership that we can all be proud of.

"But if we are to progress as a fan owned club we all have to play our part to make that work. My CFU membership is up to date, and I have just renewed for this coming year.

"I don't get to as many games as I would like because I work on Saturdays and I am away in London for most Tuesday night home games, but I have to start making time to them. I haven’t bought into any of the lotteries or attended any fundraisers for a while - I need to do that more too.

"Fan ownership means responsibility: we each need to ask, “are we doing enough?”

"It may be that in the future the supporters will want to depart from the fan owned model, but for now it is my view we stick with it. I am grateful to Stuart Murphy for his support, but I do not think we should agree to the take-over."