Tag: Chelmsford City

Video Of The Week: Non-League Special

We’re returning this week to a theme that we touched on a couple of weeks ago, with highlights from some of the matches played in the non-league game over the last few days. We kick off with a top of the table local derby from the Ryman League Premier Division that was played last Tuesday night between Sutton United and Kingstonian. A crowd of not far short of 800 (a remarkable statistic, if we stop and consider that this is being played in effectively the regional seventh division of English football) turned out for this match, with Sutton three points clear at the top of the table and with a chance to extend their lead. Our second match sees us stay in Surrey, for Saturday’s match from the Blue Square South between Woking and Chelmsford City. Both of these teams have had curious seasons so far. Woking could be forgiven for being distracted by their forthcoming FA Cup match against Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday night, with a match against FC United of Manchester being the reward for the winners of that match. For all of their success in the FA Cup this season, however, Woking have stalled in the league so far and sit in a lower mid-table position at present. Chelmsford City are already in the Second Round of the competition and will travel to Wycombe...

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125 Years Of Lewes FC

They had talked, during the week, of what the crowd might be on Saturday. That the average home crowd of Lewes FC in the Blue Square South has risen by fifty per cent this season in spite of being near the bottom of the table says something in itself about the moves that are already being made to restore the links between the clubs and its community, but the club’s hopes of getting the crowd up to 1,200 for the visit of Chelmsford City seemed optimistic. They needn’t have worried. The weather on Saturday afternoon was fine and, with a large travelling support having travelled down from Essex, the crowd swelled to 1,326 as a real festival, a half-time procession of former players and a birthday cake gave The Dripping Pan a carnival atmopshere. “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang played over the tannoy as the teams lined up to kick-off. It might have been more appropriate to play “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John because, after the tribulations of the last couple of years, there was an element of thankfulness at the club’s continuing existence to the celebrations. There have been some hard times at The Dripping Pan over the last couple of years and there may yet be more to follow, but the club still exists and its future feels more secure than it has done for...

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Match Of The Week: Dartford 1-4 Chelmsford City

The non-league game, we are told, is a constant state of flux and crisis, but this weekend’s FA Cup match between Dartford and Chelmsford City shows that things aren’t always disastrously bad, as this match – played at an outstanding facility in front of a big crowd – proves.

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The Late Jim Thompson

The death of Jim Thompson last week was a passing that left most people in the non-league game with mixed feelings. On the one hand, Thompson was the chairman of the Steering Committee which led to the formation of the Alliance Premier League in 1979. Within eight years, the closed shop of the Football League would be gone forever, and non-league football would experience a revitalisation that it still reaps the benefits of now. On the other hand, he was reckless in the stewardship of his own club, Maidstone United. Maidstone left their home without planning permission to build a new one, and the events that followed would lead to the near-bankruptcy of another club and leave Thompson banned from football by the FA. The end of amateurism in non-league football had been a long time coming, but it didn’t automatically solve the problems of the new semi-professional game. Crowds had started to fall at the end of the 1950s, and by the end of the 1970s there were only a handful of clubs that could boast average crowds of over 1,000. Thompson, then the chairman of Southern League side Maidstone United, was placed in charge of the committee which founded the Alliance Premier League, taking ten clubs from the Southern Premier League and ten from the Northern Premier League. The aim was an increase in playing standards, with...

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Match Of The Week – St Albans City 1-2 Chelmsford City

Throughout my youth, going to watch St Albans City play wasn’t something that ordinarily provoked the senses very much. The Saints were experts at finishing somewhere between sixth and seventeenth in the league never unduly troubling the top or bottom of the table. I don’t really know how I would have coped with going week in, week out over the last few years. The excitement of the last few seasons (promotion, relegation, another close shave with relegation), one suspects, has been a little too much for the locals. Their surprise promotion into the Conference in 2006 was not so much a surprise as an utter, utter shock, and they demonstrated this in the cack-handed way with which they dealt with life in a higher division, filling the team with loanees and defending like a school football team against sides that made them look more like an overgrown youth team than a side capable of competing at that level. The overwhelming feeling that I have taken from recent visits to Clarence Park has been a yearning for a return to normality, a desire to be able to turn around and spend the afternoon talking with one’s friends, without having to take too much notice of what is going on on the pitch. Chelmsford City arrive at Clarence Park in fine fettle. They won the Ryman League at a canter last...

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