BLOG NUMBER 8
THE CHELMSFORD CITY HISTORIAN MAGAZINE
Once again sincere apologies for the delay in the publication of the first issue of the ‘must have’ magazine for those who are interested in the history of our Club. I have now agreed a price with a printer and all that is needed is for the finishing touches to be done and the magazine will be up and running. I have set myself the target of having it out by our next scheduled home game on October 2nd at the very latest. The first issue will be 24 A5 pages and will sell for £2. If interest is high then I may well expand the size of issue 2 and several articles are already lined up.
Sadly since my last Blog I have learned of the death of two former City players, Bobby Moss and Alec Wilson.
Bobby Moss was born on 13th February 1952 in Chigwell and signed schoolboy forms for Leyton Orient in 1968 as a striker, signing professional forms 2 years later. He made his first team debut for the O’s in November 1970, scoring within 5 minutes with a terrific header.
In August 1972 he moved to Colchester United but left the U’s in January 1973 for what was to be a long career in non league football. He played for Dover, Folkestone Town, Barnet, Wimbledon and Wealdstone before joining City in the summer of 1980. He went on to make 211 appearances for the Club before being released early in 1985, scoring 41 goals during his time at New Writtle Street. He was signed by Colin Harper and made his debut in a 1-1 home draw with Waterlooville. His final appearance came in December 1984 when City beat Alvechurch 3-1.
He sadly passed away on 1st August 2010 after a two year long battle with pancreatic cancer.
(‘The Chelmsford City Historian’ would like to acknowledge the help given by Leyton Orient historian Neil Kaufmann in the compilation of this short tribute to Bobby.)
Alec Wilson was City’s first choice left full back for most of the 1967-1968 championship season. A full tribute to him will appear in my next Blog.
NEW SEASON STATISTICS
Well the new season is underway with 8 games having been played as I type. The Club stands in 5th place with 4 games having been played at home and away. Interestingly whilst we have still to concede a goal at home, 10 have been conceded in the same number of away games. City have now gone 5 games at home without conceding a goal, with just 2 goals conceded in the last 11 home league games. No side has scored 2 goals at Melbourne Park in a league game since Eastleigh on February 6th 2010, 12 games ago.
The run of 5 home league games without conceding a goal is the best since a similar run of 5 games in March/April 1999 under Gary Bellamy and equals the Club record of 5. There have now been 5 occasions when this has been achieved. As well as the current run and the one mentioned above similar runs were achieved in January/February/March 1998 under Gary Bellamy and Colin Norman, in December1988/January/February 1999 under Chris Symes and in October/November/December/1955 under Frank Grice. So a clean sheet against Maidenhead United on October 2nd will create a new Club record.
Sam Higgins’ brace against Dorchester Town after coming on as a substitute led several fans to ask me when this last happened and whether any City sub had ever scored a hat trick. Answering the second question first, on Saturday 28th August 1971 Pat Ferry came on as a substitute in a Southern League game against Dartford at New Writtle Street and scored 3 in a 5-1 win. 2,198 saw Terry Price score City’s other 2 goals.
There have been 7 other occasions when a City sub has scored 2 goals, with the other scorers being, Gerry O’Rourke (1973), David Morrison (1993), Sean Campbell (1997), Ben Fuller (1999 and 2001), Stafford Browne (2005) and Chris Moore (2008).
Great progress has been made on this project and another 7 players details have been tracked down, bringing the outstanding total down to 173.
I spoke to Ray Murphy, the Secretary of Eastleigh Football Club, and he was able to track down the details of 2 players for me. Ray was previously the Secretary at Dagenham and fortunately for me keeps all his important papers. A quick visit up to his loft and he was able to give me the details for Clive Beauchamp (1979), and Colin Mitchell (1976-1977) who both played for Dagenham as well as for City.
Beauchamp made 2 appearances for City in March 1979, in fact his City career lasted just 3 days, playing as he did on a Saturday and then on the Monday. Both games were played at New Writtle Street. He had joined Dagenham in July 1977 from West Ham and moved to Hornchurch before joining City. He later played for Aveley, Barkingside and Basildon United.
Colin Mitchell made 4 appearances for the Club during the 1976-1977 relegation season, without finding the net. He joined Dagenham after being released by City and then played for Bowers United, Witham Town and Hornchurch.
The Ongar Town website gave me a telephone number for Colin Polley, who is now the Manager of Ongar, and as well as getting Colin’s details he also gave me numbers for Steve Neal and Stan Prince, also associated with Ongar Town, which allowed me to cross off 3 more names in double quick time.
Steve Neal made 2 appearances for the Club, the first coming in April 1976 when City lost 2-0 at Nuneaton Borough whilst, strangely, his second and final appearance came almost 2 years later when a Frank Peterson goal saw City go down 2-1 at home to Taunton Town.
Stan Prince made 54 appearances for City between November 1977 and November 1979, without scoring. He made his debut in a 2-0 Essex Senior Cup defeat at Harwich and Parkeston under Mick Loughton whilst his final game was a 3-1 defeat at Addlestone. Probably the highlight of Stan’s time at City was the 5-0 win at Ashford Town in a Southern League First Division South game on Saturday 4th February 1978, when Mick Loughton, Colin Polley, Geoff Bailey, Dave Mandell and Frank Peterson got City’s goals.
Colin Polley made his debut for City on Saturday 17th December 1977 when City lost 3-2 at Dorchester Town and made 75 appearances for the Club, his final game coming in a 3-0 home defeat, ironically also against Dorchester Town on Saturday 8th December 1979. He scored 9 goals for City.
Funnily enough all 3 of these players, Neal, Prince and Polley, played in Neal’s final game whilst Polley and Prince appeared together 39 times.
I have for some time being trying to track down Mark Gribble who I know joined City from Leyton Orient in August 1988. A quick word with Neil Kaufmann the Leyton Orient historian and he tracked down a mobile ‘phone number for Mark from Eric Gallagher, the Chairman of Writtle Football Club! Gribble joined City from Orient, where he had suffered a broken leg, and made 7 appearances at the beginning of the 1988-1989 season, scoring 2 goals. He later played for Bishop’s Stortford, Baldock Town and Clacton Town and now works in the building trade.
A chance chat with the Club’s Vice Chairman Paul Hopkins led me to getting a phone number for Jess Crook who played for City between March and November 1978. Jess made 12 appearances for the Club scoring 1 goal. Jess, a former pupil at King Edward V Grammar School, had the honour of representing Cambridge University in the 100th Varsity match in 1984, the match ending in a 2-2 draw. The game was played at Wembley Stadium.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
I hope that you are enjoying this new series in the Club’s 100 page match programme, excellent value by the way at just £2.50! My search for players for this series has led me to both Colin Grant and Vic Gomersall from the 1971-1972 championship side, courtesy of leads from Dave Clarke. So look out for articles on these two City Legends in future programmes.
Mike Bayly has just had a book published entitled ‘Changing Ends’ with the sub title ‘A Season In Non League Football’. It contains chapters on 19 non league matches he attended, including Chelmsford City v Oxford United, with 10 pages devoted to the story of that day back in January when City were knocked out of the FA Trophy by their illustrious visitors. The book is published by Blackline Press at £14.99 and full details can be obtained from www.blacklinepress.com.
I have received an e-mail from Alan Travers who tells me that whilst reviewing his wife’s family tree he came across the name of Fred Sargeant a former professional footballer with Tottenham Hotspur and Chelmsford City. Alan asked for information about Fred’s time at Chelmsford. Fred made his debut for City in June 1945 and played a total of 88 games for the Club scoring 22 goals. He made his final appearance in April 1948. He played in a practice match for Chelmsford in August 1948 but then died suddenly from gastric problems. He was aged just 36 when he died on 22nd August 1948. City arranged a friendly against Tottenham Hotspur in September of that year and a crowd of 7,659 saw ‘Spurs win the match 5-1. The match substantially boosted the fund that had been set up for Fred’s widow. Eventually Mrs. Sargeant was to receive £1,389 a not inconsiderable amount in those days.
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