Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Park life could lift Bluebirds
CHIPPENHAM Town’s new feeder club has been christened Chippenham Park FC and will have two teams playing in the Wiltshire League next season.
Park’s first team, who will play their home games at Hardenhuish Park, will play in the Premier Division and will be managed by Chippenham Town U18 boss Dave Ferris while Chippenham Park Reserves, whose home will be Stanley Park, will operate a league below in Division One and be managed by Gary Williamson.
The new Park sides will replace the now-dissolved FC Chippenham Youth adult sides and the club has been formed to develop the best local players for Southern League football.
New Park boss Ferris, 55, who has managed Town’s U18s for ten years and FC Chippenham Youth’s first team for two, says that he’s excited to be a part of the town’s ambitious new football framework.
“It’s a great joint venture and I think that everyone’s excited about how things will go.
“We have had players from the U18s who’ve been on the bench last season like Charlie Austin and Ben Wickens and there was also George Nash a few years ago but the gap from that kind of level to the Southern League is huge.
“There would have been no point in running Chippenham Park and FC Chippenham Youth at that level so I think this is the right decision.
“Nothing’s ever a given in life but our FC Chippenham team have finished in the top three in the (Premier) Division in the last few years so hopefully we can do even better with Chippenham Park.”
The Bluebirds vice-chairman Neil Blackmore revealed that the Town board are keen to see Chippenham Park win promotion to the Western League as soon as possible. He said: “In an ideal world we’d have liked the sides to go straight into the Western League but try as hard as we might, it wasn’t going to happen.
“The Western League were brilliant and they were happy to accept us but there are rules and regulations from the FA and we have to abide by those like everyone else.
“We’ve got a pathway now where lads can go through – hopefully we can draw in all the local talent now and get their families in the ground to watch.
“Both Dave and Gary are out there talking to people and we’ve had some real interest in the teams.
“We’ve had lads from other Wiltshire Premier Division teams, ex-Western League players, as well as our own youth and the FC Chippenham youth lads.”