MEET THE LEGENDS: Iain Harvey | Chippenham Town Legends XI vs Manchester United Legends XI
In the build-up to the Chippenham Town Legends XI vs Manchester United Legends XI fixture on the 27th of March we meet the legends of Chippenham Town for a more in depth look into their career, achievements and involvement with the club over the years as they prepare to return to the pitch!
Iain Harvey joins up with the Chippenham Legends as one of the longest serving and most important Bluebirds of recent times with a career that spanned 10 seasons with CTFC before leaving rather unfortunately just one season before the team he led for many years, lifted the Southern Premier League Shield!
As a young lad Iain played for the likes of Brislington and Bishops Sutton and had various youth spells around the country before doing his apprenticeship at Swindon as a YTS. Joining the Robins at a time where they were a Premier League side. Developing his skills under the likes of Steve McMahon and around players such as Kevin Horlock, Jason Drysdale and Jan Aage Fjortoft to name a few!
Upon his release from Swindon in 1994 he joined Bath City as an 18 year old. It didn’t really work out for Harvs at Bath and he spent the remainder of the season with Alan Pridham at Odd Down.
Iain then joined Steve Fey at Clevedon Town, a side that spawned many great players from that generation such as Marco Michche, Paul Milsom and future Chippenham Town favourites Matt Rawlins and Nathan Rudge. Winning promotion to the Dr Martens Premier League with Clevedon, Iain returned to Bath under former manager Alan Pridham for a second spell at the club. Iain enjoyed a couple of seasons at the Romans before Pridham was replaced by Gary Owers and Harvs found himself down the pecking order.
Significantly during this time however, Iain met the second love of his life, his beautiful wife Michelle. A good footballer in her own right, the former Bristol Rovers Ladies favourite and Iain remain firmly together to this day, having two young lads that have been raised on the terraces and we are looking forward to seeing all of Iain’s lovely family who became mainstays themselves during Iain’s time with the club.
From Bath it was off to Tiverton Town under Martyn Rogers for a season before finding his long term home in the Bluebirds when Darren Perrin came calling for industrious midfielder. Harvs became a stalwart in the Chippenham midfield, playing alongside several players and under many managers during a career lasting between 2005 until his departure in 2015.
Playing a pivotal role in all 4 playoff campaigns and of course a vital role in Chippenham reaching the 1st Round Proper of the FA Cup for only the second time in the clubs history at the time. Harvs made the difficult decision in 2015/16 to step away from Chippenham. The demands of Southern Premier League football and the traveling commitments of the side with aspirations of heading further up the pyramid left Iain with a difficult decision to make and at the time, Harvs was given the hero’s send off he so richly deserved as he left Chippenham to go and join Bristol Manor Farm, a little closer to home for Harvs and with plenty of ex-Chippenham lads still there such as Kye Holly and Ben John.
You could forgive Iain for using this as a chance to slow down. Not for Harvs! He captained BMF to a very successful time in the league, taking the side from the bottom half of the division and also to the latter rounds of the FA Vase in his time with the Bristol side.
Obviously for Chippenham, the story is very well known in the aftermath of Iain Harvey’s departure from the club. The following season, Chippenham went on an absolute tear and won the Southern Premier League at a canter and Iain was one of the first on hand to offer his congratulations to his former manager and teammates.
Over the years, Harvs has been a captain, friend, mentor and teammate to several Chippenham players, with players such as James Constable and Tyrone Mings playing with Harvs before heading on up the leagues in football but most importantly with Iain, his dedication to lifting his teammates and lifting the supporters of the club in his time with the Bluebirds will be what he is likely most remembered for. One of those players that nobody has a bad word to say about from the Chairman right down to the casual supporters, all his teammates and more often than not his opposition.
Iain was respected, loved and and cherished by all who he came into contact with during his time at Hardenhuish Park. It is with tremendous pleasure that we welcome back to Chippenham, former captain and Chippenham Town legend, Iain Harvey.
But, before we do, we caught up with Harvs ahead of the big fixture against Manchester United.
Simon – So Iain, obviously a fantastic career with Chippenham behind you. When did you first come to the club?
Iain – So I signed for Chippenham under Darren Perrin in the 2004/05 season. I had been kicking around for a little while at this point with spells at Bath and Tiverton to name a few so to come to Chippenham just felt like a really good fit at the time with Derv and the lads that were there.
Simon – And there you stayed for some 11 seasons after that! I am sure you had no idea at the time you were due for such a long stay but 4 playoffs, an FA Cup 1st Round, countless great games and memories, any that particularly standout for you Harvs?
Iain – Definitely the FA Cup. To get to the FA Cup 1st Round as a non-league club is a huge deal and for us to do it for only the second time in Chippenham’s history was a real honour. The first home game against Worcester that we drew will always stick with me. 4000 people at home in the FA Cup is the stuff you just cannot get your head around at the time.
Simon – And your best moment individually probably came the round before?
Iain – Ah yes, the goal to put us there against Basingstoke! I didn’t score many goals in my career and that was a very special one.
Simon – Funny story for myself actually, I was a young lad at the time working in a restaurant and I had a shift the day of the Basingstoke game. I called in sick and made my way to Basingstoke and got a call from my manager later in the evening asking if I was feeling better. I played along until he announced that he had just watched me on Match of the Day, being mobbed by a goalscorer called Iain Harvey and there is you and I, plain as day celebrating your goal on the BBC highlights show! Safe to say, it was worth it but I didn’t have that job much longer!
Iain – Unbelievable times they were, the unity between the supporters and the club are a big reason why I loved it so much. It was a shame we couldn’t progress further past the Worcester game but they were a good side at the time and had several players that went on to bigger things and losing 1-0 to them with 10 men was no shame.
Simon – No shame at all, great times. So you had the pleasure of playing for, captaining and of course staying with Chippenham for some 11 seasons. It must be very difficult to put a “Best Teammate” down but do you fancy having a go?
Iain – You’re right, far too many to mention but I will have a go. I loved playing with Ash Williams, for the longest time he was my partner in the midfield and we understood each other’s game very well. A player in my own mold, a warrior that you would always rather have on your team that is coming up against you. Also my long suffering best mate Matt Coupe. I played with Coupey as a YTS at Swindon and again with the likes of Bath and Chippenham, a great bloke and a great player, still going now and he’s only a year younger than me so goes to show what an engine the lad has. Looking forward to meeting up with those lads on the pitch again.
Simon – Two great players Ash and Coupey and both in the squad for the Manchester United Legends XI as well! Anything you are particularly looking forward to about the day Iain?
Iain – I am looking forward to seeing everyone. When you stay at a club as long as I did at Chippenham, you get to know so many people, supporters, players over the years, directors, the lot so I can’t wait to see everyone again. As for the game, I am just hoping I don’t make an embarrassment of myself!
Simon – Well we cannot wait to welcome you back, and I am fairly sure if anyone isn’t going to make a fool of themselves, it’ll be you Harvs! A top man and a fantastic Chippenham legend. Welcome back to Chippenham Iain.
Iain – Thanks mate, see you on the 27th!
Simon – That’s right folks, the 27th is not far away now, if you want to get your tickets to come and see Iain and the rest of his Chippenham teammates take on the Manchester United Legends XI follow the link and grab your tickets before it’s too late.
Click here for more information and to get your tickets for the Chippenham Town Legends XI vs Manchester United Legends XI match.