Chichester in West Sussex is certainly more well known for it’s cathedral more than anything else, but the football club within the city are starting to make people sit up and take notice.
The Lilywhites might have a long history dating back to 1873, one of the oldest clubs in Sussex, and were indeed one of the founding members of the Sussex County League. The club’s current ground of Oaklands Park pictured above has been their home since the 1950’s bar a short spell at Church Road just off the main A27 road in the early part of the year 2000 soon after their merger with Portfield allowing for the council to redevelop Oaklands Park.
Fast forward to 2018/19 and City re-wrote their history in superb fashion with a breath taking campaign winning the Southern Combination League Premier Division title (formerly Sussex County League) in emphatic style and with it promotion to the BetVictor South East Division, the first time the club had stepped out beyond the county league scene.
And so far as we head into October Chichester are grasping every opportunity to impress. Sitting just outside the play-off places with two games in hand, City have continued last season’s fine form with only two defeats so far whilst averaging 164 spectators through the gate.
On Saturday, that progress continued with an FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round win over higher placed opposition Enfield Town to take their place in the draw on Monday morning for the 4th qualifying round, a feat the club have manged only once before back in 1968. That is not the furthest FA Cup adventure for City, a First Round Proper appearance can be matched at the end of the month should the draw be kind. This is the stage the National League top clubs come into and although the draw is split into North and South sections, Chichester could pull out a good local derby or an ex league club primed for an upset.
The club have had their share of success along the way throughout their history but with a clear vision of where a club can go through the pyramid now there’s no reason why City can’t sustain themselves at this level and then push onwards for more glory. One thing that has made clubs push themselves for the right reasons is title winning means promotion and unable to refuse it without suffering the consequences, that is aimed more at leagues in the northern half of the country and most that I’ve seen go up have blossomed at a higher level, long may it continue!