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Chippenham Town Football Club, Our Club's History

The club was formed in 1873 when Queen Victoria was alive and kicking and Livingstone was discovering the places that we now go to on long weekends.

In 1904 the Club took the decision to join the Western League and play alongside Trowbridge, Radstock, Welton Rovers, Staple Hill, Bristol East, and the reserve teams of Bristol Rovers, Swindon Town and Bristol City. Chippenham's playing record was poor and the Club came bottom the first season and third from bottom the next. It was then decided to withdraw and play in the local Wiltshire League a move that resulted in the Town winning their new league in 1907-08 and 1908-09.

After playing at four different locations during the early days, Chippenham made Hardenhuish Park their HQ on the 24th September 1919. During the 1920s they won the Championship and the Wiltshire Senior Cup on three occasions and in the tremendous season of 1928-29, the Town won all four Wiltshire Trophies. Following that success they rejoined the Western League for the 1930-31 season.

After the war years under the leadership of local businessman George Flower, the Club turned professional at the start of the 1948-49 season and changed the colour of their strip from black and white to blue and white that is still proudly worn today. This was to be the start of a very successful period for the Bluebirds who then went on to win the Western League title for the only time in its history in 1951-52.

Throughout the 1960s and most of the 1970s the decline in support for grass roots football throughout the country was dramatic and Chippenham Town was no exception. In 1964 the Town returned to local Wiltshire League football. After a spell in the Hellenic League the club returned to the Western League in 1973. The late 1970s saw the Club turn the corner. The clubhouse was built in 1979 and promotion to the Premier Division of the Western League was gained in 1981.

In 1998 Tommy Saunders became manager and in his first full season in charge he created a new team and took the Club to third in the league, the highest placing achieved for over forty years. Football was also made available for boys and girls from seven to sixteen following the merger with Wessex Youth and the subsequent formation of Chippenham Town Youth Football Club.

The 1999-2000 season saw a superb increase in support at Hardenhuish Park with the highest attendance figures in the country achieved for the fifth, sixth and semi-final rounds of the F.A. Vase. This culminated in a crowd of 20,083 the second highest in the history of the competition attending the final at Wembley against Deal Town which unfortunately the Bluebirds lost by one goal to nil. However, the Club finished fourth in the league and completed a memorable season by beating Taunton Town to win the Les Phillips Cup.

Success continued on and off the pitch for the Bluebirds in the 2000-2001 season with the club finishing the season second in the league thereby qualifying for promotion to the Dr. Martens League. In addition we retained the Les Phillips (League) Cup and reached the quarterfinals of the F.A. Vase but not before recording the highest attendance in the competition outside of the final. In May 2001 the club was elected to the Dr. Martens Southern Football League.

The 2001-2002 season was meant to be one of consolidation but as the season progressed so did the teams performances and much to everyones surprise we finished as league runners-up thus securing promotion to the Dr. Martens Premier Division at our first attempt. To round off another successful season the Club won the Wiltshire Premier Shield (County Cup) beating Swindon Town in the final watched by over 1,200 and not to be outdone the Under 18s won the Wiltshire County Youth Floodlight League.

The club adapted well to life in their first season in the Dr. Martens Premier Division. They finished fifth in the league and were semi-finalists in the League Cup. The average home attendance increased for the fifth season year in a row to 736. Season 2003-2004 marked the 130th anniversary of the club and despite a disappointing season in the league the Club recaptured the Wiltshire Premier Shield by defeating Swindon Town by two goals to nil. During the season Steve White was appointed Manager and with Ronnie Needham as his assistant.

The 2004-2005 season saw the Bluebirds finish runners-up in the Southern League Premier Division their highest ever league finish, but unfortunately they just failed to win promotion via the play-offs when they were beaten one nil by Hednesford Town in the final. However, the Club retained the Wiltshire Premier Shield by defeating Swindon Town by six goals to four in an exciting game at Swindons County Ground.

During the close season Steve White resigned as manager and the club appointed Darren Perrin, formerly manager at Southern League Paulton Rovers as their new manager. Former player and Hardenhuish Park favourite Adie Mings was appointed Assistant Manager.

The 2005-2006 season proved to be another excellent one for the Bluebirds. They just failed to win promotion via the play-offs when they were beaten 3-2 at home to Bedford Town to a last minute goal in the play-off final. However, the club reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for only the second time in their history finally losing in a replay away to Worcester City, the games being watched by a combined attendance of 7,000 .

The Wiltshire Premier Shield was retained after beating Salisbury City away, the Southern League Premier Division Champions, one goal to nil. We also reached the semi-finals of the Errea League Cup and the third qualifying round of the FA Trophy.

The Bluebirds finish a creditable seventh, just two points out of the pay-offs, after a difficult 2006-2007 season both on and off the pitch.
During the 2006-2007 season Adie Mings was appointed Manager and brought about a much needed improvement in the teams fortunes. The Bluebirds have continuously been around the play-off zone. The club finished 7th in 2006-2007 just missing out on a play-off place, 4th in 2007-2008 before going out to Halesowen Town in the play-off semi-final, 8th in 2008-09 and in 2009-2010 a 3rd place league finish took them into the play-offs where they eventually lost the final in extra time against Nuneaton Town. In 2010-2011 Chippenham finish a very respectable 7th place just missing out on getting into the play-offs again.

It is hoped that the 2011-2012 season will see the Bluebirds successful in their desire for promotion to the Conference South.

Where next?

History 2 Stadium The club play at Hardenhuish Park on Bristol road, situated near Hardenhuish Secondary Scho


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