Chichester City FC's 1980 champions are together again

Forty-two years to the minute after kicking off their Sussex County League championship-winning match, Chichester City’s class of 1980 reunited last Saturday to celebrate their achievement – and raise money for charity.

The 40th anniversary event was postponed in 2020 because of Covid-19, but they finally got back together to enjoy a great evening with all present reliving and recounting anecdotes of a remarkable season.

Inspired by the manager, ex-Pompey ace Richie Reynolds, the 79-80 team triumphed against the odds, transforming from relegation candidates one season to champions the next.

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Worthing at he Sussex Cup final - in pictures.

How the Observer reported on the 1980 title win

In a short but typically humorous address, Reynolds noted: “I was lured to the club for the princely sum of £20 per week, so how could I refuse? It wasn’t even enough to pay my phone bill!

“You were all, individually, very good players and I couldn’t understand why you weren’t achieving more success.”

With the addition of few new players, and improved organisation, he said, the team grew in confidence.

“You were such a hard-working group and fully deserved every bit of your success,” he added.

Champions reunited: Back row l to r, Duncan Clough Terry Vick Tim Hillier Jon Hunt (son of late Alan) Nicky Sillence Gary Wheatcroft John Hutter (Chairman); Front row l to r, Neal Holder Gary Ashton Neil O’Boyle Greg Brown Richie Reynolds Phil Ray Tony Grundy Dave Egleton / Picture: Neil Holmes

Organisers Neal Holder and Greg Brown were delighted the vast majority of players had been able to attend and help raise £800 for MND and MS charities.

Holder, who acted as auctioneer, said: “Not only was it a great celebration, through the generosity of local businesses, our teammates and supporters, we were able to raise such a large amount and have fun doing it.”

Brown added: “The bonds created all those years ago and the admiration for Richie who inspired so many players, young and old, were evident for all to see.

Other figures from the 1980 joined the players for the reunion / Picture: Neil Holmes

“It was a special night for a special group of people.”