.....to my blog dedicated to the history of Chelmsford City Football Club. I will be bloging regularly with request for information, updates on what progress has been made and other interesting tit bits relating to City's days gone by. This will be augmented by statistical and trivia postings. In this way I hope that the Blog can contribute to the compilation of a complete history of the Club. Look out too for the first issue of 'The Chelmsford City Historian' my quarterly newsletter for all those who have an interest in the history of our great Club. Finally, a plea. Please contribute if you can and help make both the Blog and the newsletter a resounding success.

Sunday, 28 February 2010


……again to my latest blog.


Gary Mixture has e-mailed me regarding the four missing line ups. He points out that if a little detective work is to be undertaken then a list of those sources already tried would be helpful. Well Gary the Essex Chronicle and Essex Weekly News microfilms held at Chelmsford Library have already been tried and this is where the main information has been gleaned from. You will notice that, with the exception of the Dartford match, the games were played on Wednesday or Thursdays, too late for that weeks papers and old hat by the time the following weeks editions were out. As a result coverage was minimal with no line ups included. As mentioned last time Dave Clarke has looked at the East Anglian Daily Times whilst I have e-mailed all four of the Clubs, but without success. I have also contacted Kidderminster Library, am awaiting a response from Dartford Library and will be contacting Bedford Library and Llanelly Library in due course. The only ‘local’ paper left is the Essex County Standard, which although Colchester based, did cover City from time to time. I’m pretty certain that the ‘Green ‘Uns’ files have also been checked.

In my piece last time on Friday 13th I omitted the month from the date of the game against Folkestone. This game, which City won 2-0, was played on Friday 13th October 1972.


Apologies for mentioning this again, it pops up in my programme columns from time to time, but after beating Alvechurch 2-0 on Saturday 21st April 1990 City did not win another home league game on a Saturday until 11th January 1992, when they beat Burton Albion 3-1. That’s a run of 21 home Saturday league games without a win. The run consisted of 13 draws and 8 defeats.

That is a remarkable enough statistic in itself, but this is what makes it so special for me. During the same spell City played 10 league games at home on days other than a Saturday and did not lose one! The 10 games were played on Mondays, 7, and Wednesday’s, 3, and City won 5 games and drew the other 5. Must have been something to do with the floodlights!


John Morris has become a real star when it comes to tracking down players on what I am now calling ‘Operation Birth-day’, that is a project to record the birth details of every player who played a league game for City. John has really taken this on board and is e-mailing me, almost on a daily basis, with potential leads. Please see further down for details of those players I have tracked down with John’s help. Keep up the good work John.


Sadly former City ‘keeper Brynley John ‘Jack’ Parry died on January 20th. Jack, who was born on 11th January 1924 in Pontardawe, joined City in the summer of 1955. He started his league career with Swansea Town just after the Second World War and made 98 appearances before being transferred to Ipswich Town for £750 in August 1951. He spent four years at Portman Road making 138 league appearances before being released and signing for City. He won a full Welsh international cap whilst with Swansea. In all he spent 4 seasons at New Writtle Street making 149 appearances, although he had spells on the sidelines after breaking an arm in August 1956 and again in November 1958.


City have appeared in the final of this competition for the last two seasons and have reached the semi final again this season. Consequently since losing 3-0 at Braintree Town in a 3rd Round tie on Tuesday 7th November 2006 the only defeat City have suffered was the Final at Roots Hall against Southend United in April 2008. That’s a run of 13 games with 12 wins and just the solitary defeat. If only our form was as good in the FA Trophy!


City’s recent 0-0 home draw with Newport County saw Ricky Holmes make his 200th appearance for the Club. Ricky made his debut when he came on as a substitute in a 3-1 home League Cup win over Horsham on Wednesday 9th November 2005 at New Lodge. He made his full debut in an Essex Senior Cup tie at Brentwood Town in November 2005. His full league debut did not come until August 2006 in a 1-1 home draw with Bromley. Coincidentally his first goal was scored against Bromley in the second game played at Melbourne Park when he scored with a header after coming on as a substitute. The breakdown of his first 200 games is:

Apps Gls

League 150 43

League Cup 9 0

FA Cup 14 4

FA Trophy 11 4

Essex Senior Cup 13 8

Play Offs 3 0

Totals 200 59


They say, of course, that modern day players play too much football and that they need a rest from time to time. Try telling that to John Docherty who joined City in the summer of 1965. He missed just one first team game in his first two seasons at New Writtle Street. Nothing too amazing in that you might say, until you realise that thanks to taking part in the Eastern Floodlight Competition City played 67 games in 1965-1966, Docherty missed one game, and 73 in 1966-1967. That’s 140 competitive games in two seasons and Docherty played in 139 of them! Of course there were substitutes in the latter season but John started all 139 games not once appearing as a substitute, a quite remarkable record. The game he missed? Well that was an Eastern Floodlight Competition game at Cambridge United on January 5th 1966 after which he played in 117 consecutive games. It’s not as though Docherty was a youngster either, he was already 30 when he signed for City!


Before I come on to the exploits of John Morris I have to mention that Dave Clarke has also been digging around and come up with a couple of nuggets. He has tracked down the birth details of James McCombe who played for City in 1938-1939 after spells with Clapton Orient and in Scotland. He has also done the same and confirmed details for Hopkin John ‘Jack’ Roberts who appeared as a guest for the Club in the 1945-1946 season.

So on to John Morris. He has managed to conform the birth details for Jack Coulter, listed in many books as 1912. John has been in contact with Marshall Gillespie, the Editor of the Northern Ireland Football Yearbook, who has confirmed that Jack was in fact born in 1910, and he has also confirmed the actual date.

John has also provided leads that ended with me speaking to Dave Weights, Harry Yardley and Trevor Inch and confirming their respective birth details. Further details below. The number of players left has now dropped to 183 with more leads from John to follow up.


I had an excellent chat with Dave Weights who confirmed to me that, along with Tottenham Hotspur and Dagenham and Redbridge, he looks for the City result each Saturday. Dave made 39 appearances for the Club scoring 10 goals in the 1979-1980 season, finishing as joint top scorer along with Frank Bishop with 7 league goals. Originally with Fulham he joined Barking and then Leytonstone, where he struck up a friendship with John Still. He enjoyed a short loan spell at Grays Athletic before joining City in October 1979. It was not a great season for City as Manager Don Walker’s side finished 21st in the 24 team Southern League Southern Division. After leaving City Dave suffered with a back injury that prompted an early retirement from playing football, although he did some coaching in local football. Dave will always be remembered by City fans for his 4 goals at Gosport Borough in March 1980, a game that City won 5-3. By doing so he equalled the efforts of Frank Peterson who had scored 4 in a 5-2 league win at Guildford City in September 1971. This has subsequently been equalled by Alec Gallagher, who got 4 at Ruislip in a 9-0 win in December 1988 and Steve Portway, who did the same in a 5-1 win at Burnham in September 2000. The Club record in away games is 5 scored by Syd Plunkett in an 8-1 win at Exeter City Reserves in October 1949.

For many years an Executive with the Whitbread Group Dave and his wife have recently purchased a swimming pool and established a business that specialises in courses for schools. He tells me that it hard but very enjoyable work.


Originally an apprentice and full time professional with Portsmouth Trevor signed for City in August 1986 after spells at Southend United and Crawley Town. Unfortunately an injury suffered whilst he was at Fratton Park always hampered his career and he played only 37 games in goal for City before leaving in January 1987. He had a short spell at Basingstoke Town before hanging up his boots at a relatively young age.

Trevor told me that the highlight of his time at City was the FA Cup 2nd Round tie at Gillingham in December 1986. Two goals from Tony Cascarino were enough to see the Gills through, in front of a crowd of 5,843. It was certainly an improvement for City who just 3 years earlier had lost at Priestfield 6-1 in another 2nd Round tie.


Alive and still living in Galleywood is Harry Yardley who made 4 appearances for the Club in September and October 1952, making his debut when just 18 years of age. Originally on the books of West Ham United he played for City under Ben Burley but after being dropped he refused to sign a professional contract and left the Club, never to return. Whilst on National Service he was approached by both Plymouth Argyle and Torquay whilst playing for the United Services but was unable to fit in any games owing to his other commitments.

Once his National Service had finished he returned to Chelmsford and played for Chelmsford Swifts preferring local football with all its social side to the professional game. He also played for Park Avenue in the early days of the Chelmsford Sunday League.


Dave Clarke has introduced me to a chap called David Williams who is an expert in all things Bedford Town. David is concentrating on the post 1950 seasons, so he is unable to help with the missing players from the April 1948 game. However he is visiting the National Newspaper Library at Colindale shortly and has promised me that he will hunt through the Bedfordshire papers of the time to see if anything turns up.


….that if you do not to want keep checking whether I have posted a new Blog then please e-mail me at the address below and I will add you to my distribution list. I will then e-mail you as soon as I have Blogged!


…..don’t forget that if you want to contact me with any help, feedback or requests you can e-mail me at chelmsfordcityhistory@googlemail.com.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sunday 14th February 2010


……to my latest blog. I hope that you find this as interesting as my first effort obviously was judging by the feedback that I have had.


I have received some really positive feedback to my last blog and I thank all those who took the trouble to let me know how much they appreciated it.

Trevor Wright has pointed out to me that he was the Chairman when we visited King’s Lynn in the FA Trophy. Peter Stroud was one of the Club’s Directors at the time and had yet to move into the hot seat. Apologies for the error and a thank you to Trevor for putting the record straight.

In the final piece on Billy Kellock’s 4 goals against Banbury United I omitted to mention the year the game took place. City’s 6-1 win was played on Monday 20th October 1975.

John Morris has done some digging around with regard to the half a dozen players I listed whose date and place of birth are missing. This has led to some interesting leads, most notably for Danny Moul, that I will be following up later. Another six players are listed later.


Following my recent ‘City Legends’ article on Len I have managed to track down his family and sent his wife Joan a copy of the relevant programme. I received a very nice letter from Joan in response in which she explained that Len has been in hospital for over two and a half years suffering from vascular dementia as well as having arthritis in most of his limbs. I had asked Joan if she could arrange for Len to autograph a copy of the programme but with Len’s current condition that was impossible. However she very kindly sent me an autographed copy of the Portsmouth team that won the Football League Division One title in the late forties. Evidently Len is the only one of that squad still alive.

Jim Culleton, who currently undertakes a role at the Club looking after the match officials and their guests, met Joan last week on a visit to Portsmouth and she told Jim that she is in touch with Derek Tiffin. Hopefully this will lead to me being able to send Derek a copy of the programme that featured him in the ‘City Legends’ series.


Peter Foster asked on the City Message Board whether City’s current run of eight consecutive home games was a record. It is indeed a Club record Peter, the previous longest run being seven games. This run started following an away game at Wimbledon on Tuesday 14th January 1975, when City went down 2-0 in a league game at Plough Lane. City then played seven consecutive home games before travelling to Atherstone Town on Saturday 1st March and getting thumped 4-0, again in a league game. The run of seven games consisted of three league games and four games in the Eastern Floodlight Competition. City won six of the games but lost one, a 1-0 defeat against Telford United in the league. On four occasions City have played six consecutive home games, with runs ending in January 1992, March 1990, April 1983 and December 1980.

The most consecutive away games played stands at eight with a run that stretched from 2nd October 1999 until 13th November 1999. This run consisted of four league games, two FA Cup games, and FA Trophy game and an EFC game. The Club also played seven consecutive away games from 20th October 1956 until 1st December 1956 although this run included the FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Replay with Clacton Town that was played at Layer Road, Colchester.


Len played four games for City and there are some interesting coincidences. All four games were played in April, two in 1947 and two in 1948 and all four games were against Bedford Town! Len obviously liked playing against Bedford because in those four appearances he scored three goals. Playing at inside forward Len appeared in three League Cup ties and one League game.


Thanks to the Club’s former Kit Manager Ian Butcher I have made contact with Justin Beacher and obtained his date and place of birth details bringing down the number of players details needed to 188. As mentioned above I have some leads to follow up from John Morris that should see this number reduced further. Here are another six fairly recent players who I would like to track down – Roger Brown (1991), Mark O’Leary (1991), Jason Coles (1991), Gary Barden (1991), Merrick Harriott (1991) and Steve Jones (1991). Merrick Harriott was born in London in 1955 but I do not have any more precise details.


With Saturday’s game against Newport County taking place on the 13th of the month I was asked whether Friday 13th was lucky or unlucky for City. Well I suppose you could say that itis lucky, but as the Club have only ever played one game on that day and date it might be stretching things a little! On Friday 13th 1972 City played Folkestone at New Writtle Street and won 2-0 with goals from Frank Peterson and Barry Thornley. A crowd of 2,979 watched the game.


Dave Clarke has done some digging around and come up with a match report on the game at Bedford Town on Wednesday 14th April 1948. City lost the League Cup game 2-0. Although the report, which is from the East Anglian Daily Times, does not list the team line ups it does include the names of several City players with the result that we now know the names of another three City players who took part in this game.

The full list of games where we have incomplete line ups are:

14th April 1948 A Bedford Town LCP – 2 players missing.
21st April 1952 A Dartford Lge – 2 players missing.
30th April 1953 A Kidderminster Harriers Lge – 5 players missing.
27th April 1955 A Llanelly Lge – 2 players missing.

A lot of research has gone into trying to track down these missing players names, so if you can help in any way then please let me know. It may be, for example, that you have a programme from one of these games that has been marked with the names of the players who took part.


Those who read my first blog will know that I am considering publishing a quarterly newsletter covering the history and statistics of the Club.

To enable me to decide whether to go ahead I would welcome your feedback on whether you think that this should be in paper format, which would obviously result in a charge to cover costs, or in PDF format made available by e-mail. I would appreciate hearing your views.


It was good to see the former City Chairman Bryan Reeve at the Newport County game. Bryan confirmed to me that he retains an avid interest in non league football but this was the first City game he had attended since he stood down as Chairman in 1988. Needless to say I obtained his contact details so that I can interview him in depth on his time not only as City Chairman but as a member of the Southern League Management Committee.


The attendance of 554 for the recent home game with Dorchester Town was the second lowest for a league game at Melbourne Park. The lowest crowd was 502 who watched the 3-0 win over Hendon on Wednesday 8th March 2006, on what was a very, very wet day. City’s goals were scored by Tony Boot and Richard Halle (2).


…..don’t forget that if you want to contact me with any help, feedback or requests you can e-mail me at chelmsfordcityhistory@googlemail.com.