MATCH PREVIEW: Salisbury vs Chippenham Town | Pre-Season Friendly, Saturday 22nd July 2023
Another Wiltshire derby for The Bluebirds.
The Bluebirds take flight one more time this pre-season before heading home to conclude their preparations. Our final away fixture of pre-season see’s Gary Horgan and his men take on Salisbury FC at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium for a friendly match against an old foe!
In years gone past, Salisbury City were the thorn in the side of Chippenham Town, the local rivals who before Bath, arguably gave us our fiercest rivalry in recent times. Of course, the story of Salisbury City is a sad one.
Formed in 1947 Salisbury City FC spent most of their time in the Western League and Southern Premier League.
However, a massive rise through the upper echelon of non-League football saw the Whites win the Southern Premier League in 2005/06 and then instantly gain promotion to National League (then the Conference Premier).
However, after a few seasons in the Conference Premier, disaster struck when Salisbury City FC fell foul of financial problems and were demoted to the Southern Premier League for entering administration whilst members of the Conference Premier in 2009/2010. To the credit of everyone at the club, Salisbury did bounce back, winning promotion via the play-offs in 2010/2011 to the Conference South and making it back to the Conference Premier in 2012/2013 finishing 2nd in the Conference South and winning the CSPO Final 3-2 against Dover at the Ray Mac.
Salisbury’s joy was to be short lived however, after one season in the Conference Premier the club were once again demoted for financial irregularities and subsequently, Salisbury City FC liquidated in 2014.
Of course, the story of Salisbury does have a happy ending and in 2015, Salisbury FC were formed and with legendary Portsmouth and Wolverhampton striker Steve Claridge in both the boardroom and the dugout, Salisbury FC went about finding their way back winning the Wessex Premier League in 2015 and gaining promotion to the Southern Premier League by finishing runners up in the South & West in 2017/2018.
These days Salisbury FC are still plying their trade in the Southern Premier League. For the first time in a long time, Steve Claridge is not in the dugout and former player Brian Dutton is now in charge of the Whites.
Last time out for the Blues, goals from Craig Fasanmade (2), Otis Lewis and Matt McClure gave them a 4-0 win over Swindon Supermarine and manager Gary Horgan will be looking to continue finding their feet as a relatively new squad gels ahead of the National League South season. This will give Chippenham perhaps their toughest test yet with local bragging rights of course at stake in this one in a game which nobody will want to lose despite results of course not being the be and end all in pre-season.
A few lads facing their former employers will not want to find themselves on the losing side either with Salisbury acquiring Aaron Simpson from Chippenham in the close season, he joins former Bluebird Noah Coppin who of course graduated the academy and came into the first team scoring vital goals against Hungerford and the 3rd penalty in the shoot-out against Dartford on route to that famous play-off eliminator win against the Darts.
For Chippenham supporters, this provides an exciting PSF with the Raymond McEnhill Stadium often the backdrop for huge games between these two sides in the past. In their current guise, Salisbury FC are level with Chippenham in terms of wins, playing twice, both at the Ray Mac. The Bluebirds took the win in 2016 winning 3-2 in a FA Trophy QR1 game and the Whites taking their revenge in recent times by knocking Chippenham out of the Wiltshire Shield in 2021/2022 with a 1-0 win.
This is going to be the last chance for you to see the Bluebirds in action on the road in the pre-season schedule so we would love to see as many of you down at the Ray Mac. However, if you cannot make it, don’t fret. Chippenham are back at the TS Stadium on the 25th where we entertain Basingstoke and of course, the grand finale to Pre-Season the Ian Monnery Cup fixture against Melksham will take place on the 29th where CTFC are also running their Community Family Day where ALL KIDS GO FREE and the fanzone will be open from 11am with load of goodies and treats on offer, prizes, football games and a chance to meet and greet those mighty Bluebirds of Chippenham Town FC!