Chelmsford City fans are some of the most loyal supporters in Essex
Whether you supported the Clarets 10, 20, 30 years ago or still support the club, there’s certain things that only Chelmsford City fans will know what you’re talking about.
The club were founded in 1878, as Chelmsford Football Club, before being formed as a semi-professional outfit in 1938 with a rebrand to become Chelmsford City Football Club.
City have played their matches at numerous locations across the county, including at New Writtle Street, Maldon Town, Billericay Town and eventually the Melbourne Community Stadium.
From the infamous parrot mascot to the traditional – yet somewhat baffling – choice of walk-out music, Chelmsford City Football Club certainly has its unique elements.
The bitterly cold temperatures on Monday night at The Gulag
Mainstream football fans may well say that visiting Stoke City on a Monday night is something to be fearful of, well they have clearly not visited the Melbourne Community Stadium on a winter day.
With the wind blowing through the stadium, causing complete havoc to the evening’s football performance, the bitterly cold breeze is one to leave you frozen to your seat.
The £1 sweet stall
Offering all different kinds of treats, the popular sweet stall is a key mainstay at home matches. Drawing customers from all ages, the outlet offers everything from contemporary sweets such as strawberry laces to the more traditional such as liquorice and lemon sherbets.
Only being able to play home midweek matches on certain days
While it is common for midweek matches to be played on Monday or Tuesdays, or even Thursdays for European fixtures, the Clarets are limited as to when their home midweek matches can be played.
As a result of sharing their home with Chelmsford Athletics Club, the Clarets are only able to play their home midweek matches on Monday and Wednesday evenings in order to avoid the athletics training sessions.
Home cup replays being forced to have an earlier kick-off
The Melbourne Community Stadium is located within a residential area. However, in order to play at National League South level, the Club must have sufficient floodlight grading. Therefore, in order to avoid disruption to residents during the week, City’s midweek matches must kick-off at 7.30pm rather than 7.45pm if there is the potential of heading to extra time and penalties.
A rather interesting mascot
It’s rather common for clubs to base their mascot around their club nickname or logo, whether it be Burton’s ‘Bettie Brewer’ or Spurs’ ‘Chirpy Cockerel’. However, the Clarets mascot – the ‘Claret Parrot’ is based purely on the rhyming of ‘Claret’ and ‘Parrot’.
The exodus years
Chelmsford City had been enjoying a fair few years of success at New Writtle Street. However, the sale of the club’s ground in 1997, saw them forced to groundshare at Maldon Town and Billericay Town. The Clarets eventually returned to Chelmsford under the Chairmanship of Paul Hopkins in January 2006.
Originally clubs used to have to be elected into the Football League. City were handed the opportunity to be voted into the Football League system on no fewer than 17 occasions between 1947 and 1976. Now the Clarets just need to legitimately win promotion twice to reach the promised land.
City’s European record
In 1977, the Clarets were elected as one of six sides to represent England in the Anglo-Italian cup. A 1-1 draw with Cremonese preceded a 1-2 loss at home to Lecco in the first stage. The second stage saw Chelmsford defeated 6-1 at Bari and then 3-0 at Turris. The Clarets finished bottom of the English representative group.
An unusual county title triumph
Despite being based in Essex, the Clarets failed to be elected into the South Essex League and went on to finish as Champions of the Middlesex County League in 1923-24.
Intriguing walk out music
Whether it be a Bon Jovi tune to send a shiver down the opposition’s spine or a song with local ties to the club, teams walk out to various different songs. However, the Clarets have emerged to Frank Chacksfield’s 1953 hit Waltzing Bugle Boy for a number of years and it seems as though they will continue to do so.
Former Chelsea and AC Milan striker Jimmy Greaves swapped one Claret for another when he joined Chelmsford City for one season during 1976-1977. Greaves made 38 appearances and scored 20 goals as he sought to recover from alcoholism.
Chelmsford City’s impact on the 1966 World Cup win
When Chelmsford signed Charlie Hurst in 1948, the Club pushed the wheels in motion for England’s World Cup win. Charlie’s young son, Geoff Hurst, scored the hat-trick which famously sank the Germans.
But before shooting to international stardom, Geoff used to watch his father play for the Clarets and therefore, having been brought into the West Ham catchment area, it was Charlie’s move which led to England’s singular World Cup triumph.
Reason for being founded
Chelmsford Football Club was founded in 1878. However, the reason behind the foundation of the club was purely because the members of the Chelmsford Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club wanted something to do in the winter.
So, as our city has such an interesting football club, why not head across to the Melbourne Community Stadium and support the Clarets as they target another push for promotion.