CHELMSLEY TOWN FC HISTORY
Chelmsley Town were founded by members of the Christ Church Bible Class, in 1927 and played as Christchurch FC until 1968. The club played in the Handsworth League in the early years, which included West Bromwich Albion Colts amongst others. Recent research has revealed that the clubs original home ground was Summerfield Park, Selwyn Road, Ladywood, until the outbreak of War (the club continued without a break during the war). That ground was taken over for School purposes and the club moved to Rookery Park, Spring Lane, in Erdington.
The club soon moved again, spending a 19-year period at Wallace Road, in Selly Park. It had always been assumed the clubs next move was to Chelmsley Hopsital, in Coleshill Road, Marston Green. However, a recent document has revealed that Christ Church actually moved to Colehill Hall Hospital, off Gilson Lane, in Coleshill, North Warwickshire. This venue became the club’s official headquarters, and home of its reserve and junior teams. First team fixtures were played at Chelmsley Hopsital, in Marston Green, Bickenhill.
The club played in the Mercian League from the mid-sixties, winning the Premier Division in 1965 and 1967.
In 1968 (previously thought to be 1969) with the building of Birmingham’s overspill city ‘Chelmsley Wood’, branded a ’60,000 plus overspill new town’, the clubs Secretary Len Ward saw it advantageous for the club to change its name to it’s current title ‘Chelmsley Town’. The club hoped with the support of Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Alderman Charles Simpson, they would find a suitable social center for members, supporters and residents, within Chelmsley Wood. The club always struggling to achieve any planning permission from the Meriden Rurual Council.
In 1974 Birmingham Council sold Chelmsley Wood and surrounding area’s to Solihull Council (mostly a tradeoff for land at Birmingham Airport), with this any hopes of the club moving to Chelmsley Wood, and any support of the local council regards planning disappeared forever.
Chelmsley joined the Midland Combination in 1972 and by 1988 had reached the Premier Division, mixing company with the likes of Moor Green and Solihull Borough. The club also enjoyed a number of high profile friendlies in the 90's, narrowly losing to Birmingham City 1-0 thanks to a Simon Sturridge goal. Around 3000 people also packed into Chelmsley’s ‘Pavilion’ ground for a Charity game against Aston Villa Old-Star’s in the 1980’s.
In 1975 the club gained entry to the FA Vase for the first time, losing 4-0 at Blakenall, the following year the club played in the Vase for a second time losing 2-1 at Wigston Fields. It was 1989 before the clubs 3rd Vase game, and another defeat this time 2-0 at Stratford Town. The following year 1990, the clubs luck didn’t change, yet another away tiee, and another defeat, this time a 3-1 win for Solihull Borough.
In 1996 floodlights became necessary to play in the Premier Division, and despite finishing 11th the club were relegated, with no possibility of any planning support or funding from the local authorities.
Sadly, by 1999 Chelmsley were relegated further to Division 2, with the club in serious danger of extinction, in fact the club suffered a couple of 15-0 defeats, and points deductions for falling to field a team. Current first team manager Steve Solomon’s association with the club’s senior team began here, a former player of the youth and junior section, he returned from a short spell with Coleshill Town’s Youth team, and was part of an ‘emergency team’ of kids and dads thrown together to fulfil fixtures, Brian Bennett taking charge of the first team.
Despite finishing the season with just 4 points, the side remained together to compete as the club’s reserve side in Division 3. The clubs first team fixtures for 2000/01 were fulfilled by a side ‘on loan’ from Marston Green, and enjoyed a reasonable finish. However, for the 2001/02 season, the kids and dads ended up completing the season again, after the entire first team management walked out on the club mid-season, Brian Bennett becoming the first team manager for a second spell.
2002/03 began with the same players continuing, however in November manager Brian Bennett resigned, leaving the clubs future in doubt. With just two active board/committee members remaining, Steve Solomon was offered the job as player-manager, at the tender age of 23 (a job he still holds today, although a lot less of the ‘player’ side is now seen).
The club finished bottom of the league for the next 3 seasons, although the re-introduction of players paying ‘subs’ meant despite lack of success on the pitch, the new manager had put in place a structure and ethos for the club which still exists to this day. Colin Harris and Jason Gibbons filled various roles in the managers back room staff over the years, and although Colin is now retired, his principles live long in the structure of Chelmsley Town FC.
The 2004/2005 saw the introduction of former Birmingham City players Dave Arrowsmith and Lee Vaughan, and the club enjoyed a top half finish that season, although with both departed for the 2005/06 season the club finished 3rd from bottom.
On Good Friday 2009 Chelmsley collected their first silver wear in 10 years, captain Garry Humphries, lifting the Fazeley Charity Cup for the first time after finishing runners up in 2007 and 2008.
The 2009/10 season saw Chelmsley lose narrowly to Kenilworth Town 2-1 in the Final of the Mid Comb’s Jack Mould Trophy.2011/12 saw Chelmsley promoted finishing 3rd (on goal difference) in Division 2, plus became holders of the Mid Comb Vase, defeating Polesworth 4-3. A fire at the clubs home in May 2012, meant Chelmsley returned to Selly Oak for the 2012/13 season, playing home fixtures at Shenley Lane CA (also home of Northfield Town). The club returned home to Marston Green for the 2013/14 season, and after a couple of seasons of consolidation the club were promoted in 2016 to the Step 6 (now called Midland League Division One), after an absence of 20 years.
The Rioch Arena was the venue for the Coventry Telegraph Cup Final in 2016, unfortunately Chelmsley suffered a 2-1 defeat to Woodlands WMC, despite a wonder goal from Nick Ellis.
The club finally broke it's FA Vase duck in 2016, defeating Studley 3-2 in a home fixture at Pack Meadow.
Later years have seen Steve Solomon, assisted by Steve Pike (ex Coton Green manager & legend), Maurice Fordy, and Steve Harris, who have all contributed to the club’s success.
The planning permission problems which seem to have always followed the club, are now no longer. The clubs new home is Pack Meadow, Coleshill, which have a Step 5 Ground Grading, and the club have an agreement to play its home fixtures there for the foreseeable future.
Well known former players include Troy Deeney, who moved directly from Chelmsley to Walsall in 2006, and then onto Watford for £500,000. Deeney still regularly attends Chelmsley home fixtures whenever Watford are not playing, and remains a friend and keen supporter of the club
Bobby Peyton joined Port Vale directly from Chelmsley in 1971, making 2 appearances in the Football League just months after playing Mid Comb football.
Lee Vaughan left Chelmsley for Walsall in 2004, although he failed to play in the Football League, he then enjoyed a spell at Telford United winning an England C cap in 2009 against Hungary. He has since played for Kidderminster Harriers, Cheltenham Town, and is currently with Tranmere Rovers.
Former Aston Villa Youth Cup captain Ellis Deeney (Troy’s brother) had a short spell at Chelmsley during 2011/12 season, before linking up with Kettering Town, then Worcester City, and is currently with Tamworth FC.
Former Birmingham City player Paul Hendrie (father of Lee) also had a spell at the club at the end of his career as player/coach.