Darin Killpartrick is the perfect coach to help Chichester City adapt to life in their new higher league.
The former Rocks coach and manager has joined Southern Combination Football League premier division champions Chichester City as they prepare for life in the south east division of the Bostik League.
Killpartrick, known by most in the game as Dabba, will take on a coaching role at Chi working alongside manager Miles Rutherford, his No2 Graeme Gee and first team coach Danny Potter.
He left Bognor Regis Town at the end of the 2017-18 season after almost 20 years’ service as a player, manager and coach.
Chichester’s latest addition to their staff faces his old club on Tuesday, July 30 when Chichester and Bognor meet in the Sussex Community Shield at Culver Road, Lancing – an annual showdown between the Sussex Senior Cup winners and SCFL champions.
City coach Potter said: “Dabba brings a wealth of experience with him, not only on the pitch but off it as well. He’s someone I’ve known for quite a few years now in a professional setting but in a football setting he’s possibly the person I look up to the most.
“I think we will complement each other really well. Miles and Gee have positioned themselves in the managerial areas off the pitch whereas Dabba and myself will lead the hands-on coaching on the pitch.
“Dabba is somebody I want to work with in a coaching capacity, he is somebody that will help support my journey in football and in return I’m hoping
Dabba will get the same enjoyment I’ve had at Chichester City in the past three and a half seasons.
“He needed his break and it was well-documented at the time. Dabba is a fantastic coach and the game’s been at a loss without him. I think we’ve caught him at a very good time where he needs that steady, flexible club to go into.
“Chichester will give him that flexibility and Miles is possibly the most laid back manager in non-league football to work with. We’re very much aware that Dabba has got other commitments away from football and we have no problem with that.
“This is a big signing for us as we go into step four. He knows Sussex football better than anyone, he knows Isthmian football inside out and he’s a person that can help take us to the next level.
“There was a real buzz once the players found out he was coming. They’re excited, they’re aware of his pedigree and they’re aware of who he is. He’s such a well-respected person in football, in non-league football, not just in this area but in the regional and national non-league game and the players cannot wait for Dabba to work with them on the pitch.
“For myself it’s a great opportunity to try and emulate what he’s done in football.”
Potter revealed that Connor Cody would be club captain next season. He said: “Connor is fantastic on and off the pitch and Dabba and Connor know each other very well from when Dabba taught Connor at college. Connor has represented different teams Dabba has been involved with. “Players like
Connor were the first to text in to say they couldn’t wait to get the season started.
“We’ve got the players in early for their testing to prepare physically and technically. We’ve got a busy pre-season schedule with lots of fixtures and training sessions where we want to make sure that we are ready come the start of the season.”
City’s first season in the Bostik south east begins in August. Before that they play friendlies away against an Isle of Wight rep side on Saturday, July 6; Arundel on Saturday 13; Christchurch on Tuesday 16; Hamble on Saturday 20 and AFC Portchester on Tuesday 23, before a home fixture with Worthing on Saturday 27 which will be followed that evening by a sponsors’ draw in the Oaklands Park clubhouse.
Local businesses and individuals interested in supporting the club should contact chairman Andy Bell on firstname.lastname@example.org and committee members will be visiting businesses in Chichester this weekend to discuss sponsorship opportunities.