MEET THE LEGENDS: James Constable | 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!
James Constable, affectionately dubbed ‘Beano’ will always be fondly remembered on the terraces at Chippenham.
His 29 goals and his partnership with fellow former striker Dave Gilroy between 2003-2006 will go down in Chippenham folklore as will the song “When the ball hits the goal, it’s not Shearer or Cole it’s the Beano”.
Naturally when someone makes the kind of impression James did, it’s not long before it attracts attention and the prolific striker was signed by England legend Paul Merson for Walsall in 2006 for £4000. Constable didn’t set the world alight at Walsall but it was after leaving Birmingham that his career really took flight! Beano left for Conference side Kidderminster Harriers and made history in the FA Trophy final being the goalscorer of both the first and second goal at the new Wembley Stadium for an English club. Ironic that Chippenham were one of the last to play at the old Wembley and their talismanic former striker opened the show at the new home of football. A quick spell with League 2, Shrewsbury before James found a home in Oxford United. ‘Beano’ went on to become a legend at Oxford with a loan spell seeing him notch 23 goals in a 42 game season before signing permanently with the club in 2009.
He spent a further 204 games with the Oxfordshire side scoring a further 67 league goals and leaving the club only one goal shy of the all-time Oxford United scoring record of 107! Most recently Constable has made his way back down the pyramid playing for Eastleigh, Poole and signing as player/coach for Banbury United in 2020.
He is now making the jump back up to the dizzying heights of the CTFC Legends side to take on Manchester United and with James’ big game experience, goals and only just retired from football level of fitness, he is sure to be a sure fire hit with the Bluebirds faithful once more. After many years of the question “Why aren’t we in for Constable?” We can finally say.. Welcome Home Beano!
But before we do, we caught up with James for a quick Q&A about his return the place where it all started for him.
Simon – So James, firstly, when did you sign for Chippenham?
James – I was brought to the club in 2003 from Cirencester Academy, it was a big move for me at the time and a jump up the pyramid so I was very excited to sign for the Bluebirds.
Simon – And James, what is your favourite memory from your time with Chippenham?
James – I had loads of amazing times at Chippenham, a lot of goals and some great involvement in the playoffs but I would have to say making the 1st Round Proper for only the second time in the club’s history. Stepping out at then Hardenhuish Park in front of nearly 3000 gave me a real taste of things to come in my career and was an amazing feeling. Getting to the First Round Proper and the sense of excitement in the town in the build up to the game, the atmosphere around the club was just incredible.
Simon – And was there a real standout moment for you personally in your time at the club?
James – That game! Walking out at Hardenhuish Park for an FA Cup 1st Round game and getting a draw against a very strong Worcester City side put us in the hat for the 2nd Round. Heading there for the replay knowing that a result would see us face off against Huddersfield who were top of League 1 at the time! We couldn’t have got a better draw and would almost have certainly been on the television in Round 2. Fine margins and all that but a fantastic occasion despite the disappointment.
Simon – And over the years, you played with some fantastic players. Are there any that stand out from your time at Chippenham?
James – I loved my time at CTFC and made lots of friends during my time at the club, but would have to say Macca (Matthew McEntegart), Gilly (David Gilroy) and Sammy Allison. Must also mention Rene Regis who sadly passed away in 2019. We would stop at the barracks near Hullavington to pick him up for training and games, he was such a nice guy who loved football and his home country of St Lucia.
Simon – Well you must be buzzing with the news that your old strike partner David Gilroy has been added to the legends side for United and of course we echo that sentiment about Rene. He was a lovely guy and a real popular figure at the club in his time. It’s important to remember those that we have lost and all of us hope wherever Rene is, he is still having fun and loving his football.
James – I am, I am really looking forward to seeing Gilly again and of course I am really looking forward to seeing some old faces and the fans at the club again. The club gave me the chance to live my dream, so it will be great to come back and see the fans who were a big part of my time at the club. It will be great to see some familiar faces and catch up with my ex teammates.
Simon – Well Beano, it was fantastic to catch up with you and we cannot wait to see you again at Chippenham for a long overdue welcome back!