It’s caught the imagination of many in Chichester - and football fans across the country. And now Chi City’s 2019-20 FA Cup run has won praise from another two members of the last squad from the club to reach the competition’s ‘proper rounds’.
Mick Blythman was inside left and Derek Bailey centre-half in the City team who were the talk of Sussex in the 1960-61 season when they reached the first round - only to lose 11-0 to Bristol City.
Like Fred Knotts and Nigel Hillier, whose memories we featured last week, Mick and Derek have clear memories of their brush with Cup fame 59 seasons ago – and are as excited as anyone by the present-day team’s heroics.
Mick, of Tangmere, said: “You can’t imagine how excited I was when I saw them get a bye straight into the second round. At least it meant they didn’t have a first round tie like us when we lost 11-0 – that was a bit traumatic, I can tell you!
“We couldn’t believe what was happening back then. We were a solid amateur team and beat some very good sides on our way to the first round.
“The trip to Bristol was very special. We took our wives and stayed overnight in a blinking good hotel. We wanted to do well in the game and felt we could.
“To play in front of 12,000 was terrific, a really special occasion. They had been told to push on and make sure they had us beaten early, and they certainly achieved that. It was 8-0 by half-time.
“We were local heroes at the time but we were the best team in the county.”
Mick, who also played for Crawley and later had spells managing Littlehampton and Chichester-based Portfield, looks out for City’s results and has been following this season’s exploits with interest.
“I’m delighted to see how well they are doing and would like to get to a game there soon.”
If Mick does make it to Oaklands Park, he may well bump into his old team-mate Derek, who is also keen to get a piece of the 2019 FA Cup action.
Derek, who lives in Middleton, spent five or six seasons with Chi City and after starting as a striker, he had been converted to centre-half by the time the trip to Ashton Gate came around.
He recalls: “I had the job of marking John Ayteo and he scored five that day so you can judge how difficult it was! In fact although he scored those goals, it was a forward Bristol had named Bobby Williams who was really tricky and caused havoc.
“It was 8-0 at half-time and I think Bristol were tired out for the second half, which is why they only got another three.
“But despite the result it was a tremendous day for us. We went up the night before and when we went in we got a big cheer from the people working at the hotel. It turned out they were Bristol Rovers fans, and wanted us to knock out their rivals.
“It was fantastic to play in front of such a big crowd. The atmosphere was great and although we got a hiding it was a super weekend.
“I think the club made about £2,000 from it which was an awful lot of money in those days. I think they’ve made something like £80,000 out of this season’s run and I hope it makes a real difference to them for now and the future.”