THE proposed takeover of Chester FC has been called off – with businessman Stuart Murphy to end his association with the football club.

The second shock announcement in as many weeks was confirmed by the City Fans United board, which said it had received notification from Stuart Murphy, on behalf of Exacta Plc, on Sunday, May 10, advising his intention to end his association with the club forthwith.

It means Chester FC will continue to be run as a fan-owned club for the future, as has been the case since 2010 following the collapse of Chester City FC.

A statement from the CFU board said: "The Board wishes to advise members we consider Stuart’s approach to takeover the ownership of Chester FC to be withdrawn.

"We can confirm that to date we have not received settlement of the outstanding financial commitments for the 2019/20 season, however we remain in discussion with Stuart regarding this matter.

"Chester FC would like to place on record its appreciation to Stuart for his financial support and donations received since his association with the club commenced in 2018 and we wish him well for the future.

"The board will provide further updates to members over the coming days and weeks, and is committed to fully engaging with the membership in developing a revised strategy to ensure we can overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, continue to function sustainably and remain competitive when football returns as a 100% supporter-owned football club."

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, including into funding players.

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 takeover bid – made 10 years to the week after Chester FC fans were given the keys to the Deva Stadium – split the fanbase.

Among those not in favour was City of Chester MP Chris Matheson, who said he preferred the future of the club to be fan-owned.

He said: "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 takeover.""