Aaron Smith

Chichester aiming to cause cup upset

Photo courtesy of Sheena Booker
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Chichester City

The final of the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup is due to take place on Thursday 18 April 2019 between Brighton & Hove Albion and Chichester City.

Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Chichester City
Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup Final
Date: Thursday 18 April 2019
Kick-off: 7.15pm
Venue: Sussex County FA, Culver Road, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 9AX

Chichester City are used to punching above their weight and they are ready to do so again as they get set to take on Brighton & Hove Albion in the showpiece event of Sussex women’s football.

Having last won the competition in 2014, Chichester are delighted to be back in the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup Final against the county’s leading side.

The Green Army have come a long way since being formed in 1991 and are now playing in The FA Women’s National League Southern Premier Division, which is the third tier of football in this country. Having led the table for some while, they are now likely to finish third which is still remarkable considering the type of opposition they are competing with.

Manager Aaron Smith said: “This is only my second year at the club. The club set a ten-year plan before I came in and we are about five years into that. Hopefully we will keep pushing on and we want to make tier two. That was always the target when we launched this ten-year plan. This year we have got quite close but the criteria has changed which has made it almost impossible for a club like us to go up as we are. That is the problem we will face in the next few years. We have had to readjust everything off the field now to hit that criteria.

“We want to keep that family feel at the club; that is the biggest thing. We started as a small club and we make sure we look after our players more than other clubs perhaps do and our staff. We make them feel valued.

“We are sitting third in our division and we are up against teams like Watford, Oxford and Cardiff. We are playing clubs that have got huge budgets, while we have zero. We don’t pay our players, we don’t even pay expenses so we have to offer them something that no other club can offer them and that is personal development, amazing coaches and as much support as we can as a club, making sure we look after them which could be putting them through coaching badges if they want to do that. It is about keeping that family feel at the club.”

Reaching the County Cup Final is a big thing for Smith and his players. He said: “The last time we got there was four years ago and to get through again is great for everyone at the club. We beat Crawley Wasps who were undefeated in the semi-final and that was huge, especially as they had beaten us in The FA Cup.

“At the beginning of the season we said we wanted to reach the final. Brighton are favourites. It is their Development Squad but they have international players. There are lots of links between us and there have been some great games in the past. A lot of our players played for Brighton or went through their academy. My assistant manager used to work for Brighton with their under-16s. You always want to play against Brighton in the Sussex Cup.”

Chichester’s league campaign is not over yet, but their focus for a while has been on the cup final at Culver Road. Smith added: “For us it is the last serious game of the season. We have two league games after that but we can’t go up and we can’t get relegated so the rest of our season is pointing towards this cup final. It has been motivating the players for the last few weeks because they all want to get in the squad. We will go there, enjoy it and hopefully cause an upset.”

Entry prices for the final are as follows:
£5.00 Adult (17+)
£3.00 Concession (65+ and students with valid student ID card)
FREE Child (16 and under)

For further details about the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup please contact Competitions:

T: 01903 753547
E: Competitions@SussexFA.com

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