Chichester City’s team from the past is one for the future

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Fans at Oaklands Park this Saturday will be able to take a trip down memory lane as the Chichester City veterans take on the present-day Chichester reserves in a truly nostalgic occasion (midday kick-off).

The veterans’ team is the brainchild of Paul Stevens, a 42-year-old who made his first-team debut back in 1989 and was still playing for the club as recently as last season.

With the help of former players Martin ‘Vinnie’ Smith and Sean Forry, Stevens has assembled a squad of 22 players who between them have amassed 3,000 appearances and 300 goals for the club over the past 40 years.

Stevens said: “The match will hopefully be the launchpad to get a regular Chichester veterans’ team up and running which can then enter local competitions and it will be great to get some former managers, players and supporters back involved with the club.”

Some of the more notable members of the squad include former player-managers Neal Holder, Dave Kelly and Steve White as well as first-team legends Martin Luff, Daniel Matthews, Chris Heath, Shane Mott and Dave Barnes. The veterans will be managed on the day by former player-coach Grahame Vick, who started his Chichester career in the late 1960s and was a member of the Sussex county squad in 1972-73 under manager Johnny Gordon.

He has also coached at Chichester as well as several other local clubs.

Chichester reserves manager Sean Forry will also be playing for the veterans team – against his own side.

Veterans duo Chris Heath and Forry may well come up against their sons Corey Heath and Morgan Forry, who both feature in the reserve squad.

The match will be followed by the present-day Chichester City team taking on Alresford in a friendly (3pm).

Entry to both games will be free and will include a souvenir programme, subject to availability.

Ex-players, managers and supporters and current-day fans are welcome to watch the games and sample the new clubhouse and bar.

VINNIE SMITH