The Chelsea of Cheshire <br>The sign is taped to the ticket office wall and written in felt-tip pen. Its maker ran out of space, so ?Tickets for Sunderland? became ?Tickets for Sunderlan?. Out on the pitch, shooting practice flirts with abandonment because the players are running out of balls; four have sailed out of the stadium into the cement works behind. Lunch is served in the ? boardroom?. This turns out to be a portable building, and the spread is hotpot with crust. <br>Despite this, it would be a mistake to patronise Northwich Victoria. The Cheshire club?s visit to the Stadium of Light is but a detour on a much grander journey, according to Mike Connett, their owner. His flash motor sits pitch-side and the logo of the paper-shredding business from which he made part of his fortune adorns advertising boards and the front of Northwich?s shirts. ?Confidential destruction?, its slogan promises. Might Sunderland meet their end, not so confidentially, this afternoon? Connett is confident the Premiership side will be shredded like an incriminating memo. <br>?If we played Sunderland 10 times, they might win eight. We?d draw one and win one, perhaps, so we need this to be one of those times,? he says. ?All our guys are used to winning. Sunderland ? how many games have they won this year?? He goes off on a tangent about how ?Rushy? sees the tie and what ?Barnesy? says. He has barely met Ian Rush and John Barnes, here doing promotional work for FA Cup ball suppliers Mitre, but that?s what Connett?s like: irrepressible. <br>The magnate, who owes the rest of his money to entertainment, leisure and property businesses, estimates he has spent about ?3.5m saving Northwich from administration, paying the wage bill of the 20-strong football staff, who earn up to ?300 a week, and developing the half-built stadium he inherited when he took over in autumn 2004. He has big plans. The main stand, replete with bars, restaurants, executive boxes and conference facilities, will be completed by Easter, and by the start of 2007 he expects the rest of his vision to be realised. <br><br>At the far end of the ground, all-weather facilities, parking for 400 cars and, yes, a hotel will be built. ?Another Chelsea Village,? Connett beams. He intends going one better than the London club by using land bordering the River Weaver Canal to construct a marina, although he rules out mooring his own boat there. ?I keep it in Torquay and it?s too big, though not quite as big as Roman?s (Abramovich).? <br><br>There are only 55,000 people in Northwich and the location for Connett?s leisure mecca-to-be is an industrial estate in the neighbouring village of Wincham. But if you build, it they will come ? at least so Hollywood reckons. Connett, who describes himself as ?a conceptual thinker?, maintains his Northwich project is ?not a dream, dreams don?t come true ? this is a business plan?. <br><br>Emotion has played a part, though: he first got involved because his son, Ben, 21, is Northwich?s reserve goalkeeper. ?All kids cost their dads a bit of money, and that?s without buying their football club,? Connett says. ?But Ben never asked me to get involved. It?s an investment.? <br><br>Connett, whether madman or seer, is a big improvement on the last guy who arrived at Northwich making promises. Colin Moore, their previous shirt sponsor, was jailed in September for deception. He sold advertising in magazines and calendars that he pretended were for the benefit of bodies including a hospice, and paid Northwich just ?1,000 of a ?7,000 sponsorship deal. That was one of a series of mishaps that brought Northwich to the brink of extinction in 2004. Then they were tenants at the ground of sworn local enemies Witton Albion, Connett?s predecessors having sold Northwich?s former stadium, Drill Field, their home since 1875. <br><br>Northwich started the 2004-05 season with a 10-point deduction for entering administration, yet fought clear of relegation. But the Conference demoted them because of an alleged mistake made by solicitors working for the administrator regarding the club?s move to their new ground. Connett is suing the administrator. ?It was a proper kick in the nuts,? says his son. ?We fought so hard to survive and didn?t think we?d be able to keep the team together but nearly everyone stayed. It?s because people enjoy it so much here.? <br>WHERE'S HE SPENT ?3.5 MILLION<br> <br> <br>
I applaud your story but I would ask, "When are we going to be playing a Premiership team? <br>WHS
I have been retired for 8 years now and I can confirm two things; You cannot work out how you found time to go to work and it is wonderful to be TOTALLY in charge of your life, with the wife's permission of course. Read me in the Our Town magazine.
Debbie,<br><br>It was in the Times Saturday or the Sunday Times. Probably the Sunday one previewing the sunday games alongside gary lineker article previewing the Leicester v spurs game. I was a full page with pictures. <br><br>It was a bit cheezy, More about him than the club which says it all really! [smiley=cheezy.gif]
Re: THE CHELSEA OF CHESHIRE!HA! HA!
13 years 6 months ago #5
Ego trip or What!!!<br><br>I read another b**sh*t article at the weekend with quotes such as ' the club he loves so much' and 'players supplementing their ?100 per week income'.<br><br>Having said all that I take WHS's point and it doesn't help when there in the Third Round of the FA Cup in the same week that we announce that we increased our debts by nearly a grand a week last year!
I agree it is cheezy, but is there any Witton supporter who wouldn?t have swapped places and watched there team in the Stadium of Light? I doubt it, it would have also been nice to have banked all the money from their FA Cup run.<br><br>He may have borrowed, but he certainly has put his money where his mouth is, spending the short of money he says is a definite possibility, remember they had no income for two years.