CHRISTCHURCH FOOTBALL CLUB
Founded in 1885, Christchurch FC are celebrating over 125 years in local football and can claim to be one of the pioneers of Hampshire League soccer, as they were founder members of the Hampshire Football Association in 1887 following the dissolution of the South Hants and Dorset FA and the consequential formation of the Dorset FA.
Christchurch's first honours on local soccer fields came in 1893 when they won the Hampshire Junior Cup. The team was then known locally as the "Can't Whack Ems" and further successes were achieved in the competition in 1912 and 1921. Between the wars, Christchurch were members of the Bournemouth and Hampshire County Leagues and in 1938 gained promotion to Hants 1 for the first time by winning the Hants 2 championship. Like most clubs of long standing, Christchurch has enjoyed mixed fortunes during their history, they have been relegated to Hants 2 & 3 and then climbed back to the top sphere again, winning Hants 2 again in 1948 and 1986 and Hants 3 in 1953.
In 1970 Christchurch gained the distinction of being the 1st. club to win the Bournemouth Senior Cup 3 times in successive seasons, won the Bournemouth Pickford Cup in 1977 and in 1987 won the Hampshire Intermediate Cup. Christchurch gained admission to the Wessex League in the 1987/88 season and they are one of the few clubs still retaining their amateur status. Despite competition from neighbouring clubs, they still succeed in attracting a loyal band of players to Hurn Bridge with its excellent playing surface, envied by many and the superb floodlights that have been upgraded to almost 300 LUX giving one of the brightest readings in non league football.
Christchurch's long association with Barrack Road Recreation ground, in the centre of the town, ended at the start of the 1984/85 season when the club accepted the opportunity provided by Christchurch Borough Council to move its headquarters to Hurn Bridge with its excellent clubhouse facilities. The sports ground was formally owned by British Aerospace and a substantial investment was made initially by the council, Football club and Sports club on various ground improvements, including the provision of floodlights, covered accommodation for spectators and 2 extensions to the club house. Bournemouth FA have established their headquarters at Hurn Bridge and in 1994 Dorset County Cricket also built their indoor cricket school on the site. Christchurch Cricket Club also play at the ground in the Dorset County Cricket League.
At the start of the 1995/96 season, the football club built a new 200 seat cantilever stand. A press box has now been installed in the stand along with a computerised electronic scoreboard.
In April 2003, Poole Sports Charitable Trust opted to use the get out clause in the long-term lease they had agreed with Christchurch Council for running the Hurn Bridge site. This led to the long-term lease for the entire complex being offered and eventually assigned to Christchurch Football Club Ltd a totally separate operation from the playing side.
The club is very pro-active in youth development and has 7 teams playing in leagues from the age of 8 up to 15 years old, a very successful under 18's set up plus a thriving ladies team in the county league. Christchurch Football Club now has 11 teams under its umbrella operating at all levels up to the Sydenhams Football League. Christchurch Football Club is now seeing the benefits of a strong youth policy with many of the youth players now holding regular positions in the first team.
At the end of the 2012/13 season Graham Kemp, after six successful seasons left the Club along with coach Jim Totcyzk for rivals Winchester City but not before guiding the Club to a second season finishing at third place in the Sydenhams League, the Club also lost its reserve management team for personal reasons this meant a new start for everybody and the committee were pleased to appoint Michael Cuffie and Dave Morris to the first team manager roles and Leo Cabaleira and Mark Lowe to the reserve manager roles.
The 2013/14 season proved to be a difficult one for the club. Bob Sullivan joined Michael Cuffie after the departure of Dave Morris before the season got going with the playing squads at the start of the season decimated by players leaving for many varying reasons, which meant both the first and reserve teams had to recruit a large number of players though the situation did offer up opportunities for many of the successful under18's team to stake their claims for senior places alongside a small core of loyal players who remained with the club. A turbulent season saw the first team achieve a creditable 16th place and safely retain their place in the Sydenhams League top flight, whilst the reserves proved a strong match for any opponent in the Wyvern League.
At the start of the 2014/15 season a further managerial change with the First Team saw Adie Arnold take the reigns supported by Danny Saxby following the resignations of Michael Cuffie and Bob Sullivan, this season will no doubt be equally as challenging with Church aiming for a top half position to build on last seasons achievements.
With regards to the continual ground improvements, at long last the changing room build has a roof and windows, making it weatherproof but progress is still slow due to a lack of funds and a failure to attract enough sponsorship to complete the project, despite tremendous support from local companies and an enthusiastic band of volunteers, this still remains the primary focus of the Club, coupled with arguably one of the best playing surfaces in the league together the excellent floodlights makes it a delight to be associated with this progressive club making the future look very positive and all at Christchurch FC are looking for yet another successful season.