Chichester believe they are building a club that will finally put the city on the football map.
Chairman Brent Williams wants Chichester City to become a team and a club which local people will take pride in and get behind.
The signs from this season are encouraging.
The first team are in with a good chance of a top-six finish in the premier division of the Southern Combination League, while the club’s ladies are battling for the Women’s Premier League division one south-west title.
There are plans to get a much bigger percentage of the community involved in Chi City life and make next season one to remember.
Williams has been at Oaklands Park for 18 months after five years at Pagham.
City now have a board of directors and a football committee that brings all sections of the club under one umbrella.
Williams paid tribute to the many ‘good football people’ who were helping him move the club forward on and off the pitch.
Probably his biggest single success since taking over has been luring Miles Rutherford to the club as first-team boss.
Rutherford has vast experience of local football and has transformed the team’s fortunes since taking over in October, guiding them to the RUR Cup final and the top six. Williams said: “A lot of work has already been done to stop the club going stale.
“Just as an example, the first floor of our clubhouse was being rented out – it’s now a sports bar that we are benefitting from directly.
“We have a players’ lounge and commercial space. We’re getting people and income in which is vital to what we’re trying to do.”
Williams called the arrival of Rutherford as key and said the manager was capable of leading City to even better things on the pitch next season. Rutherford is backed by assistant manager Graeme Gee and coach Danny Potter.
“We had Daren Pearce as player-boss and he did all right. But I felt we should aim for more than all right,” said Williams. “Since Miles took over we’ve lost only a couple of games and have looked a better team in attack and defence.
“We needed a new spine and Miles has brought in some good lads. We have an exciting team and all being equal we are looking at competing in the top four of the Southern Combinaton premier next season.”
Williams said the board and committee were looking at all aspects of the club and how it could be improved, and stressed moves to get more local people through the gates were essential.
“We often get only about 70 people at a home game, which is a real shame,” he said.
“No-one knows we’re here and we need to address that.
“Miles will help put us on the map through giving the people of the city a team they will want to watch and support.”
Evidence of that came on Saturday when they put on a stylish performance to beat high-flying Newhaven 4-0 at Oaklands Park.
They aim to end the campaign on a high at Horsham YMCA on Saturday.
The summer will see significant money spent on the pitch, while moves are afoot to make sure they have two under-18 teams running – as they used to – next term.
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