History 2 of 3

2. History 2


Season 2000/2001: The club started their debut season in Sussex County League Division One with Adie Girdler as manager and Joe Laidlaw as assistant manager. The club's first ever competitive game resulted in 5-1 defeat at home to Saltdean United - Roger Moore scoring the consolation goal - closely followed by a 4-1 defeat at Pagham. Despite the poor start to the season the first team managed to finish seventh in the league and were also the highest scorers, with Jamie Laidlaw scoring 32 goals in 45 games.

The Reserve team won the Reserve Section West Championship by 10 points from local rivals Oving after going on a 30 league match unbeaten run - a good performance considering they lost their first two games of the season 8-2 and 6-4. They also reached the semi-finals of the Reserve Section Cup where they lost 1-0 to the eventual Reserve Premier league winners, Horsham YMCA.

Season 2001/2002: Chichester City United finished third in the County League Division One, 23 points behind runaway leaders Burgess Hill. The best cup run they achieved was reaching the third round of the John O'Hara League Cup where they lost 7-1 away to Ringmer, although they did reach the second round proper of the FA Vase where they lost 4-2 at home to Hallen.

The Reserves finished 5th in the Reserve Premier League and also reached the Reserve Cup Final where they lost 1-0 to Premier League winners Eastbourne Borough.

Season 2002/2003: Chichester City United finished in fourth place with 69 points from 38 games but one place lower than the previous season when 67 points was sufficient to gain third place. In 50 competitive matches Chi scored 104 goals with Roger Moore heading the goal scoring chart with 24 goals. Jamie Laidlaw contributed 22 goals to bring his tally to 86 goals in three seasons with the Club. Paul Thomas found the net 14 times and Neil Murfin and Tony Stephens scored 9 apiece just ahead of Matt Smith with 8 goals. In total 15 Chi players found the net with spectacular efforts from James Wills at Wick and Stefan Wojciechowski against Pagham amongst the highlights.

Laidlaw missed only one game all season and Moore and goalkeeper, Ben O'Connor only missed a few games each. O'Connor came into the side after Lee Preston was ruled out by a long term injury and performed heroically to keep a clean sheet as Chi were one of the few sides to beat Burgess Hill - and even scored in the penalty shoot out against Lancing. Chi used 43 players in all with many of the players from the successful Youth team set up getting their first taste of senior action.

Performance in Cup competitions was patchy with an early exit from the F.A. Cup after a replay with Deal Town and defeat at Gosport Borough in the first round of the F.A. Vase. Shoreham, Pagham and Selsey ended Chi's interest in the County Cup competitions but at least the Youth Team won the Sussex County Youth Cup. The Reserves reached the semi-final of the Reserve Section cup but underperformed in the Final to be well beaten by Burgess Hill.

Season 2003/2004: Chichester City United secured their first major honour when they were crowned Sussex County League Champions. They finished with 77 points from 36 games, winning 23 and drawing 8 along the way with 87 goals for and 47 against. They also reached the semi-final of the League Cup where they lost 3-0 to Arundel and the semi-final of the R.U.R. Cup where they on penalties to Three Bridges after a 3-3 draw and extra time. In the FA Cup they lost 3-1 to Abingdon Town in the first qualifying round and in the FA Vase they lost 2-1 to Abingdon United in the second qualifying round. In the Sussex Senior Cup they lost 6-1 to Oakwood in the second round.

Chichester Reserves finished fifth in the Reserve Premier.

Season 2004/2005: In remarkable contrast to the previous season, Chichester struggled to maintain their division one status, finishing just 16th with 43 points, just 2 points above the relegation zone. Despite their low finish, they still managed to maintain a positive goal difference with 63 goals scored for and 62 against. Scott Tipper topped the club goal scoring charts with 29 for the season. Chichester tasted their first cup triumph after beating Ryman League club Horsham on penalties in the Brighton Charity Cup Final. They also reached the semi-final of the R.U.R. Charity Cup where they lost 1-0 to Ringmer.

After being in trouble for much of the season, Chichester Reserves staged a late recovery to finish 7th in the reserve Premier League with 47 points from 30 games. James Wills was the Reserve's top goal scorer with 29 goals for the season.

Season 2005/2006: The 2005/2006 season will always be remembered for the death of first team player Steve Bernard, who tragically lost his life in a car accident in November. The majority of players attended Steve's funeral in Bournemouth before returning home to play Selsey in a League Cup match that evening. Nomad-Online also organised a charity match to honour Steve's memory and £2500 was raised, which Steve's family donated to the schools he attended.

The rest of the season was insignificant for Chichester but they did manage to retain the Brighton Charity Cup after beating Ringmer 2-1 at Horsham FC thanks to goals from Adrian Brockway and Alex Ward. First Team Manger Aidie Girdler dedicated the victory to Steve Bernard. Chichester finished 8th in Division One on 60 points (W 17 D9 L12 F 61 A 55), and were knocked out of both the FA Cup (East Preston) and FA Vase (Colliers Wood United) at the first hurdle. Scott Tipper topped the scoring charts on 22 goals with Scott Murfin and Adrian Brockway next best on 13 goals. Scott Tipper also made the most appearances, featuring in 47 matches, with captain Alex Ward close on 40. Aidie Girdler used 41 different players during the season.

Chichester Reserves finished 5th in the Reserve Premier and were knocked out of the Intermediate Cup, Vernon Wentworth Cup and Reserve Cup in the early rounds. Dave Kelly stood down as Reserve Team manager at the end of the season after being offered the post of First team manger at Midhurst FC.

Season 2006/2007: After spending ten years at the helm of the club, Aidie Girdler stepped down as manager in October 2006 due to personal commitments and took up his new backroom role as Director of Football. He first joined Chichester City FC in 1996 and helped push through the amalgamation with neighbours Portfield FC in 2000 before steering the newly formed Chichester City United to the County League Championship in 2003/2004.

Mick Catlin and Ian Saunders took over team affairs for the rest of the 2006/2007 season and their ambition and drive created a close knit squad and a positive atmosphere at the club under difficult circumstances. Chichester only managed to finish eleventh in Division One with 49 points (PL 38 W 14 D 7 L 17 F 59 A 58) but they won the RUR Cup, beating Whitehawk 2-1 in a pulsating final at Culver Road in March and also reached the final of the Brighton Charity Cup where they lost 5-2 a.e.t to Ryman League side Horsham FC. The cup success more than made up for the fact that the club were not entered in the FA Cup or FA Vase due to administration error at the start of the season.

Steve Boston took the top goal scorer award with an amazing haul of 15 goals in 18 games, Neil Murfin won the coveted Player's Player award, Manager's Player went to Paul Jones and the Young Player of the season went to Mike Turvey who scored a spectacular goal in the RUR Cup final.

Andy Probee took over as Reserve Team Player Manager following the departure of Dave Kelly to Midhurst FC and the team started the season back in the Reserve Section West to cut down on travelling for the young squad. Despite limited resources and a very young team, Andy steered the Reserves to fourth place in the league and created a good foundation for the future - Andy stepped down at the end of the season to take over as First Team Manager at Sidlesham FC.

Season 2007/2008: The club were rocked by the resignation of Mick Catlin in early June who decided to take up the vacant manager's post at Wick, with Ian Saunders following him out of Church Road. The club quickly appointed Joe Laidlaw and Louis Savage as joint managers - who had previously worked together at Wessex league side Fareham Town - and the club got off to an excellent start with 4 wins and a draw from the first 7 games taking them to second place in the league.

Due to administration error the previous season, Chichester were once again not entered into the FA Cup and they were soon knocked out of the FA Vase after a 7-0 thumping away to Greenwich Borough in the first round. They did reach the third round in the John O'Hara League Challenge Cup and RUR Cup where they were knocked out by Shoreham (2-1) and Pagham (5-1) respectively, but they were less fortunate in the Sussex Senior Cup and Brighton Charity Cup where they were knocked out at the first hurdle by Wealden (2-0) and Steyning Town (L 3-0).

Joe Laidlaw was sacked in February 2008 following a bad run of results which left Chichester in danger of relegation and Louis Savage decided to follow Joe out of the door. Club Director Aidie Girdler came to the clubs' rescue and eventually steered the first team to safety by winning the last two league games of the season. Chichester City United also said goodbye to their temporary home at Church Road on 19th April 2008 (the land being sold off for housing development and Chichester returning to Oaklands Park after an 8 year absence) and signed off with a 5-4 victory against Three Bridges where Darren Hickman was also presented with the Player of the Season award.

The Reserve team had a credible season considering all the comings and goings at the club and ended up in fifth place in the league although they didn't enjoy any cup success.

Season 2008/2009: Chichester City United made a welcome return to Oaklands Park for the start of the 2008/2009 season and also making a welcome return was City stalwart Dave Kelly who after spending two years as manager of Midhurst decided to return to his footballing home as Adie Girdler's assistant. The team however made a poor start to the campaign with a 2-0 home defeat against St. Francis Rangers and a 4-0 thrashing away to local neighbours Selsey which left them bottom of the table.

In the FA Cup extra preliminary round Chichester managed to get past Crawley Down at the third attempt with a 3-1 home win after initially drawing 2-2 away and having the first replay abandoned due to floodlight failure. Chichester eventually lost lost 4-1 away to Cray Wanderers in the next round but had the consolation of the game highlights being shown on the ITV website. In the FA Vase, Chichester managed to reach the 2nd round proper after wins against Seaford Town and Epsom & Ewell but fellow division one side Shoreham proved too strong with a 4-0 extra-time victory at Oaklands Park in November.

In the other cup competitions, Wick and Selsey knocked Chichester out of the RUR and League Cups respectively at the first attempt and after wins against Rustington and Whitehawk in the Sussex Senior Cup, Bognor Regis Town proved a hurdle too far in the third round inflicting a 3-1 defeat at Nyewood Lane. Chichester once again proved a strong force in the Brighton Charity Cup, reaching the final after wins over Rustington, East Preston, Southwick and Seaford Town.

On the league front Chichester's form picked up as the season progressed and by early February they had a serious chance of challenging for the title but their ultimate downfall was the inability to field a consistent team due to numerous injuries and players being unavailable - indeed the team actually fielded 58 different players during the season of which nine were goalkeepers including manager Adie Girdler who had to play himself on 4 different occasions. The club eventually finished 7th in the league, 13 points behind winners Eastbourne United Association and Ben Vassallo was the top goalscorer with 27 goals during the campaign (21 league goals).

Chichester City were rocked by a scandal at the end of the season when the Sussex County Football League found them guilty of fielding a banned player during a number of games and as a result the Brighton Charity Cup final was postponed and the final league standings, as well as Chichester's division one status, were held in the balance. The player in question, Callum Cutler, had been banned by the Hampshire FA two years previously for non-payment of an £8 booking fine whilst playing for a Sunday league side, even though the player had given the money to his manager. Chichester and the player himself were unaware of the ban imposed by the Hampshire FA but the SCFL found the club guilty and deducted 19 points from Chichester's final points total (the amount of points gained with Cutler playing) which left the club in 14th place, and fined them £550. They also wanted Chichester to start the 2009/2010 season on minus 10 points but following a successful appeal to the FA this was eventually rescinded.

The development of Oaklands Park has started to take shape Nags Head main stand on the east side of the pitch completed in early January and the building of the new clubhouse will start August 2009 with likely completion in the summer 2010.

Jamie Smith and Ken Ruff took over the running of the Reserve Team at the start of the season and they enjoyed a successful campaign despite difficult circumstances, reaching the 4th round of both the Sussex Intermediate Cup and Vernon Wentworth Cup as well as the 3rd round of the Reserve Cup. They eventually finished 7th in the Reserve Section West just 11 points behind winners Steyning Town.