Friday, 1 July 2011

Season Preview Part III - Cambridge, Chesham and Chippenham

Here ya go, part three of our look at the clubs Totton will be facing this season. You lucky dogs, you. Under the microscope today are Cambridge City, Chesham City and Chippenham Town.

Cambridge City

A Brief History: The club was founded in 1908 as Cambridge Town. In 1936 the club was invited to apply to join the Football League but the Cambridge directors declined, preferring to concentrate on amateur football. Cambridge moved to the Spartan League, winning 3 titles between 1945 and 1950. When the Town of Cambridge was granted City status in 1951, Cambridge Town and Abbey United both applied for a name change to Cambridge City. Town applied first and were accepted, so Abbey United changed their name and became the team known today as Cambridge United. City left the amateur game in 1958 and joined the Southern League, winning promotion in the first season and again 3 years later to join the Premier Division. From 1975-85 the club went through a terrible period including relegation, lower attendances, and protests against the decision to return to amateur status, which eventually forced most of the Board to leave. The club's fortunes improved and in 1986 the Southern League South title was won on the final day of the season. In 2004 Cambridge gained promotion to the Conference South. 5 years later they were relegated back to the Southern League, though this was because their ground failed to meet FA grading at Conference Level.

Ground: Cambridge City play at the City Ground. Another inspired choice of name. It has a capacity of 2,300 including 500 seats and a covered stand with room for 220 standing. In 2008 the ground failed an FA inspection and cost Cambridge their place in the Conference South. So it's the stadium's fault that the club are where they are today. Be sure to boo it as you go through the turnstiles this season.

Nickname: The Lilywhites, apparently due to the fact that the team traditionally play in white shirts.

Notable Former Players: Millwall's all-time top goalscorer Neil Harris began his career with Cambridge before signing for The Lions for £30,000. Arguably the best £30k Millwall ever spent. Or ever will. Teddy Sheringham's son, Charlie, played for the club in 2008, scoring 6 goals in 5 appearances. And Premier League referee Mark Halsey played for Cambridge City in his younger days before he took up refereeing! Fancy that.

Chesham United

A Brief History: Chesham United was founded in 1917 following the merger of Chesham Town FC and Chesham Generals FC. The club played it's first league season in the Spartan League and Great Western Suburban League. In 1967/68 season Chesham reached the final of the FA Amateur Cup, losing 1-0 to Leytonstone in the final at Wembley Stadium in front of 54,000 people. The club sold 22,000 tickets for the game, 4,000 more than the entire population of Chesham at the time. The club suffered a massive blow in 1983 when the main stand burned down on May 3rd. A new stand was opened a year later. In 1991 Chesham won promotion and the Division One title. The next season they won the Isthmian League Premier Division but were denied promotion because necessary ground improvements could not be afforded. In the early 2000's the club eyed promotion to the Conference again but were unable to achieve it. In 2006 the club went into decline and a campaign was started to save the club. A local businessman helped revive the club before handing it over to the supporters with the club promoted back to the Southern League Premier Division. Relegation and a transfer to the Southern League Midlands Division followed. The club won promotion again in the 2008/09 season.

Ground: The Meadow. It has a capacity of 5000, including 284 seats.

Nickname: The Generals. As was explained earlier, Chesham United was formed from the merger of Chesham Town and Chesham Generals. One can only assume the nickname stems from the old Chesham Generals team.

Notable Former Players: Where do we begin? Chesham, over the years, have had their fair share of players who have gone on to bigger things or joined the club at the end of their careers. Kerry Dixon, Mark Lawrenson, Bruce Grobelaar, Fitz Hall and DJ Campbell all played for the club, and Luther Blissett was Chesham manager from February 2006 to April 2007. The late Ernie Cooksey played for Chesham for 2 years from 2000 to 2002. Cooksey sadly passed away in the early hours of July 3rd 2008, at the age of 28.

Chippenham Town

A Brief History: Chippenham Town FC was founded in 1873. In 1904 they joined the Western League but struggled and frequently finished at the bottom end of the table. The club withdrew and moved to the Wiltshire League, winning it in 1908 and 1909. In 1928/29 Chippenham won a quadruple of trophies including the league title and the Wiltshire Senior Cup. They rejoined the Western League in 1930. Town turned professional in 1948 and won the Western League in 1952. In 1964 the club returned to the Wiltshire League. After a spell in the Hellenic League the club returned to the Western League in 1973. In the late 70's the club was on the up. A clubhouse was built and promotion to the Western League Premier Division was achieved in 1981. In 1998 the club finished 4th in the league, the highest they club had finished in 40 years. Chippenham lost in the FA Vase final at Wembley in 2000. In 2005 the club finished 2nd in the Southern League Premier Division but lost the play off final 1-0 to Hednesford Town. The same happened the next season, this time losing 3-2 to Bedford Town in the play off final.

Ground: Chippenham Town play at Hardenhuish Park. It's obviously sturdier than Yeovil's ground. (If you don't get that, I'm not explaining it to you). It has a capacity of 2,815, with 500 seats.

Nickname: The Bluebirds. There are no wild bluebirds in Chippenham. Nor will you find them on your bird feeders in Cardiff. They are native to North America. But I guess it's a good sounding nickname nonetheless.

Notable Former Players: Oxford United striker James Constable and former Swindon Town, Wycombe Wanderers and Salisbury City striker Charlie Griffin both played for Chippenham early on in their careers.


That's part three over and done with. Are you keeping up? Tomorrow, Cirencester Town, Evesham United and fellow South & West Division promotionees* Frome Town get the once over from me. So look forward to that. Or even if you're not looking forward to it, give it a read anyway? Please?

*To the best of my knowledge, 'promotionees' is not actually a real word.

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