When a new owner is announced to be taking over a football club, the usual reaction is one of optimism, however Chelmsford City fans were sceptical about Steve Shore’s involvement with the Clarets almost from minute one.

In our interview with Chelmsford Supporters’ Club Chairman Jordan McManus (pictured above), he revealed all in what has been a seven year struggle with Shore, who announced he was making his 60% share of the club available for sale last Thursday. 

Shore’s first message to Clarets fans was that he aimed to make them “the main event” and in many ways he has, but for all the wrong reasons.

Jordan spoke about his first impressions: “He was a bit of an unknown at the time, not many had heard of him but eyebrows were raised when he pretty much admitted to not being a football fan in his first meeting with the fans.

“We were willing to give him a chance as we were coming off the back of a bit of a crisis, we had our manager at the time having to put his own money into the club to help keep us afloat, so we were just grateful to have a club and an owner I suppose.”

Yet it didn’t take long for any of the initial grace afforded to Shore to quickly disappear due to poor decisions off and on the pitch, including the failure to secure a new site for a fit for purpose ground to play at: “We need to be more central to the city centre in all honesty, we’re too far out of the way at Melbourne Park.

“We’re right next to the racecourse and many of us feel that’s the only reason why we’ve stayed so long as some roundabout way of profiting the people in charge at the moment.”

As relationships continued to sour with the owners, emotions boiled over into a full blown protest from fans in 2022, not long after Jordan had joined the Supporters Club. Clarets fans boycotted season ticket sales and arranged a peaceful protest march before their match against St Albans. 

“We had an investor lined up who was a fan of the club, but it never seemed the club took it as seriously as it should have been and it all went quiet on that front which was a huge frustration for the supporters which eventually led to the protests. We felt they lacked transparency and proper governance.”

The protests led to Shore appointing Phil Crowe as General Manager to effectively run the club.

The ex-Concord man has had the job of patching things up with supporters by liaising with them over the last 18 months: “The atmosphere at the club has turned very poor, it has been or a while,” Jordan revealed, “Attendances have fallen significantly, even last year when we finished second in the league, but it’s nice to have had someone in Phil who is actually a football person over the last couple of years.”

Dan Watkins, a business owner from Chelmsford and fan of the club has been involved in the last few years, acquiring 40% of his beloved club. With the other 60% going up for sale, Clarets fans like Jordan may be hoping he takes a majority share: “Everyone is quite excited about Dan and what he has planned for us.

“We hope he gets a controlling stake but we know it’s unlikely he’ll buy the other 60%, so if we get another owner remotely close to him with the club’s best interests at heart, that will be great.”

Speaking about the fan’s reactions to the news on Thursday, John said: “We had heart a couple weeks back that he was selling up, we just needed to hear the confirmation.

“It didn’t go as far as getting the champagne out but it came pretty close, we just want to put this time behind us and get our club back, hopefully at a new ground.”

As noted before, Chelmsford were close to getting back to the fifth tier last season, losing to bitter rivals Braintree in the playoffs, continuing their horrible record in postseason knockout games having lost on eight different occasions in the Vanarama National League South.

It shows with proper backing, there is untapped potential to take this one city club back to the top of non-league: “Promotion is the ultimate goal, we feel we should be in the National League and that’s what we hope the next owner can help deliver.

“Off the field we would like to see the club work under a one club banner, as all teams we have seem to be disjointed at this moment in time.”

Lessons would have been learnt by Chelmsford fans to not get their hopes up too much when it comes to new owners, but you can’t deny there is a lot more to be positive about for the Essex club who will be hoping to put the last seven years behind them now.

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