“The cup tie has captured the imagination of the locals and is very much the talk of the City”.
TT caught up with Winchester City’s everyman Matt Richbell, here’s what he had to say about ‘the Citizens’:
Hi Matt thanks for chatting to TT, before we talk about the team tell us a bit about yourself and your involvement with Winchester City?
I am Club Secretary at Winchester City FC. I am also Joint Programme Editor, Commercial Manager, responsible for Property Maintenance and involved in the club communications with the press and the media.
What were your thoughts after Torquay United V Winchester was picked out of the hat?!
Everybody linked to the Football Club was hoping to draw a prestigious away game, at a good ground against a club that are well supported – and Torquay ticks all of those boxes. The general consensus was that it is a great draw for us. We’re under no illusions of the difficulty of the task and Gary Johnson is doing a brilliant job, but anything can happen in 90 minutes…
What have been the highlights of your FA Cup run so far?
Merthyr Town away was a great day for all involved at the club. A difficult tie on paper but it ended up being an impressive 4-1 away win at a big ground on a 4G pitch as well and we were excellent.
How’s the team’s form been recently?
We come into Saturday’s game on the back of a 4-2 loss in the league. We have only lost two competitive games over 90 minutes all season so we have been in good form this season to date.
Which players should we look out for and why?
Oli Bailey has an eye for goal and Jamie Barron, our skipper in central midfield, isn’t adverse to finding the target from long distance.
Have you got the right man in charge and what sort of tactics does he employ?
‘Davo’, Craig Davis, can do no wrong in our eyes. He has done an amazing job since he joined the club and he always has a ‘Plan B’. Very tactically astute and does his homework on opponents.
Tell us some interesting facts about Winchester City FC?
‘The Citizens’ play at The City Ground, sponsored by ‘Simplyhealth’. It is the first time we have made it to the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup in 64 years and we have never made the First Round Proper. Our Manager is a former Cardiff City player and our Goalkeeper started out as a Professional at AFC Bournemouth. City won the FA Vase at Birmingham City FC in 2004, beating AFC Sudbury in the final.
Who owns the club and are they ambitious to take the club further up the leagues?
The club is run by its committee without an owner. We are a self-funded club who are surviving on sponsorship and gate receipts alone. Our aim for this season is to stabilise the club and make it self-sufficient. Of course we would love to get promoted, but realistically we have no financial backing and small crowds so we enjoy having a competitive team and Craig Davis and his players epitomize everything that the committee and supporters could wish for.
Will you bring many fans down for the match and just how much are you looking forward to it?
Our average away following is usually between 20 and 30. We are anticipating to bring around 200 Citizens down to Plainmoor, which is a great turnout for us. The cup tie has captured the imagination of the locals and is very much the talk of the City.
Gary Johnson has re-invigorated TUFC since arriving, what’s your thoughts on the Gulls if any, and give us a prediction for Saturday?
Gary Johnson is an experienced manager and I expect the Gulls to be pushing for the play-offs this season despite the slow start. Torquay are big club in non-league circles and have lots of experience in the Football League so I am expecting a very tough game. But the FA Cup is a magical competition so I am going for a 2-2 draw. Anything can indeed happen Matt and here’s to an entertaining cup tie, thanks for speaking to us – Dom