We’ve had enough run-ins with sides from Herts and Beds – so what about Essex? Flying one flag here are Chelmsford City; the Clarets being a team that we’ve met at various points over the years. Have we stuck it to them from the county town of that county over there? Or does our record make for grim reading. After all, we are – self-styled of course – the pride of Hertfordshire? Our first meeting came in the 1981-2 Eastern Floodlit Cup semi-final and it’s the perfect place to start the story.
Chelmsford City: The Facts
Salerno Way, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 2EH
The start of the Clarets’ tale? Technically, it’s 1938. Now, there was a ‘Chelmsford FC’ before this point – formed long ago in 1878. But, in 1938, that club were in the Essex County League and the powers that be (so we understand) wanted to go pro and join the Southern League. After seeing how such a move had badly affected the old Colchester Town when Colchester United was born, it called for bold action. The old club closed down and the new professional one opened.
From the start, they were known as Chelmsford City too. But Chelmsford wasn’t named as a city until 2012. That’s firmly in “ideas above your station” territory. What next? Stevenage City FC?
The Clarets started as members of the Southern League. And that’s how things remained for the next few decades. Sure, there were some high points on the way; four times lifting the Southern League title. There was even an appearance in the Anglo-Italian Cup, if you can believe that? But don’t be fooled. The Clarets had loftier ambitions. And the best way to prove that is with the 15(?) bids to join the Football League between 1938 and 1976.
The old marvellous election system, however, was in their way; the Clarets unable to gain the popular support for their proposed membership.
Why do we know the Clarets?
Of course, that’s all very well and good. But they were stuck in the Southern League. We never chose that route. So, how did our paths cross? Well, it’s all due to a little side-show called the East Anglian Cup. To be exact, it was the 1981-2 edition at the semi-final stage. At the time, Boro’ were getting used to the United Counties League Premier Division after promotion in 1981. The Clarets were clearly our superiors at the time…
How to get to Chelmsford City – Travel Information – Distance: 38 miles
There are a couple of options to explore – depending on how direct you want to make the trip across to Essex.
The first will involve going over to Ware on the A602; joining the A10 south for a short bit, before leaving for the A414. Between Ware and Harlow, it’s mostly dual carriageway. But, after the M11 junction on the other side of Harlow, it’s only single carriageway for the rest of the journey. The A414 will take you into the south of Chelmsford.
Turn left towards the town centre and left again onto the A138/A1016 and head north. Go left onto the A1060 for Sawbridgeworth and continue along Bundick’s Hill until you reach a right turn for Chigwell Lane. Take this right and head up here until you reach Melbourne Avenue. Turn right along here and the ground will shortly be on your right.
You can also head towards the M25 and travel clockwise for the A12 junction. Head north on the A12 until you reach the A414 turnoff. Bear left towards Chelmsford and follow the directions for when you meet the A138/A1016.
There’s a small number of parking spaces at the ground and limited street parking in the surrounding area.
Services to: LONDON LIVERPOOL STREET
Leave the station and cut down the pedestrian area onto Duke Street. Turn right and keep going along when it becomes Rainsford Road. The directions become – more or less – the same as the car ones once you get to Bundick’s Hill. Well, unless you’d like to cut through the residential area on a more direct route.
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