“We are all hoping the away win at Chesterfield is a turning point for us”
The match preview Q&A series continues, as David Tindall from the Chorley FC Supporters Trust discusses ‘The Magpies’:
Hi David, before we discuss the team tell us about the trust, how long has it been going and how does it work with the club?
The Trust was formed in 2013 and it would be fair to say that we have had an up and down relationship with the club. Since January 2019 when we invested in the football club, we have had 2 seats on the board so things have been different and we’ve entered a new phase as a Trust working closely with club officials on all matters on and off the field and we’re doing all we can to make a real difference.
On the pitch the team has had a very tough time so far in the NL, did you expect to struggle this season?
From the start we knew that the National League would be massive challenge coming up against clubs with greater resources (financial and non-financial). That said we have worked hard to strengthen the squad and ensure that the manager has the best chance to keep the Magpies at this level. Realistically 5th bottom would be a massive achievement and we’re learning the hard way that you can’t switch off for a moment at this level, as mistakes get pounced upon as we know to our cost!
Do you think you can turn things around and avoid relegation back to the NLN?
It is a very difficult league but having worked so hard to get out of the NLN we’re doing all we can to avoid an instant return. The number of clean sheets gives us a platform to build on and we’re adjusting to life against the full-time teams. Being part-time brings it’s challenges but we still believe that we have enough quality to get out of the relegation zone with so many games left to play.
How’s your recent form been?
We are all hoping the away win at Chesterfield is a turning point for us. We’ve brought in a couple of new loan signings and both have made a really positive start with Charles Vernam scoring a couple last weekend. The team played well at Mansfield in the FA Cup and were unlucky to lose to a late winner but there were signs in that game that we were on the right track, which proved to be the case at Chesterfield.
Who are Chorley’s key players and why?
There’s a good team spirit at the club which has stood us in good stead over the past few seasons, so it has very much been a team effort. That said Matt Urwin (our keeper) has been a great signing since joining permanently from Fleetwood (after a loan spell) and Courtney Meppen-Walters is an absolute colossus at the back alongside club legend Andy Teague who has played over 300 times for the club.
Who is your manager and how does he like to set the team up?
Jamie Vermiglio is our manager and is a Magpies legend. He was previously a player at the club and assistant manager to Matt Jansen who left before the start of last season and Jamie took over. 2018/19 was a dream first season and the team finally managed to get over the line after a number of play off heartaches. The success of the team is based on a strong defence and despite our lowly position in the league we have had a decent number of clean sheets (mentioned above), so expect a 5-3-2 formation with the full backs getting forward to support the strikers and midfielders.
What’s Victory Park like for those who haven’t visited before and where will the Yellow Army be placed?
Victory Park is a very traditional ground with a huge amount of character. The game won’t be segregated so you’ll be able to walk around the ground at half time to get behind the goal Torquay are attacking which is a real throwback. It’s also worth popping into the club house for a pre-match pint and grabbing a butter pie (a local delicacy) from the Magpies Nest. It tastes much better than it sounds – trust me!
Where’s best for the Yellow Army to grab pre-match food and drinks around the area?
Chorley has a thriving micro pub scene so there is plenty of choice (see attached leaflet on the Ale Trail – Ale_Trail_Chorley_2019) but a particular favourite of mine food-wise is Bees Country Kitchen in the covered market in the town centre. Home cooked fresh food and a great welcome from the owners Sarah and Mike. A bite to eat there and then head off to the micro pubs before getting to Victory Park.
What’s your best achievements as a trust and why should fans join their own supporters trust (ours being the TUST)?
As a Trust one of our biggest achievements has been our investment in the football club last January. Since then we’ve had a real say in how the football club is run (which has been a massive eye opener as you might imagine). We’re perhaps more proud of the fund raising we have done over the years in support of the football club and local charities from race nights, quizzes, food bank collections and sponsored walks – the longest being to FC United last Boxing Day (25 miles!). We’ve supported homeless charities, the local children’s hospice and have helped the club through player sponsorship and the construction of a ramp to allow disabled fans to get into the social club.
We are passionate about supporter engagement and involvement and in the age of Football Manager games, joining your local Trust means you have a real voice and can help influence the direction of the club and make a real difference. It is a struggle to get people involved but we try and engage with the fans through regular monthly meetings, Q&As’ with the management team and having an active presence on social media to try and raise our profile.
Which opposition clubs and players have stood out for you so far?
For a team like Chorley this season has been a real step into the unknown and every week there has been that moment where you realise you are playing ‘big’ teams. For many Magpies fans the game away at Meadow Lane was a real occasion – away at a football league stadium against a recently relegated league team with a long and illustrious history. The result was disappointing but that game was a realisation that we really were in the National League. Barrow came to Victory Park on a cold Tuesday night and if I’m honest they played us off the park – pace, power and extremely well organised.
And finally, give us a match prediction for Saturday afternoon?
I’ll be optimistic and go 1-0 Chorley – scorer Charles Vernam.