Christychurn community football team plaing

Community Football hero retires


Christ Church United Football Club is a community club that has been coaching the children
of Epsom since the early ’90’s. 

 The club that’s always welcomed both boys and girls was set up by the Rvd. Clive Potter
over 30 years ago.
 Now Reverend Potter is due to retire and the club want to thank him for leaving a lasting legacy
of real community football in the area.

A popular community football club founder is hanging up his cassock after over 30 years at the St John’s Evangelist Church in the Surrey village of Milford. Local Vicar, the Rvd. Clive Potter, also founded the Christ Church United Football Club which has been coaching the children of Epsom since the early ’90’s

Having arrived at the parish, Rvd Clive was looking for somewhere for children to play, but the problem was that youth football traditionally takes place on a Sunday morning and this prompted him to start thinking about starting a club.  

Having been involved with football all his life he got the idea during a church service one morning to
set up a team. He approached the vicar at Christ Church who initially suggested a cricket club
instead.  However, being an Eastender by birth, with a working-class background, he felt much more
comfortable starting a football team.

Current coach, Paul Wilson, takes up the story: “They started in September 1992 with just 12 kids in
the first week.  At the end of the first session, he asked all the children to bring a friend the following
week, saying that if they did and then they all also brought a friend they would get to about 50
children and that would be enough for a club.  And that’s how it began.”

The membership grew to over 100 children, but it wasn’t easy. Getting a pitch was the first task. 
They played at a local primary school, Stamford Green, before growing out of that and moving to
Blenheim High School, where the club remains to this day.  Like now, the coaching staff was made up of volunteers and he began convincing people to do coaching courses to take the club to the next level.

Rvd Clive then began the missionary work to take the ideas to others in the community.  He became
a sports advisor for the diocese and encouraged the setting up of many more clubs.  Other clubs
bought into the opportunity for competition with a Bishop’s League, a Bishop’s Cup and a Bishop’s

The Christ Church United Football Club was then affiliated with the Football Association with an aim
to become professional in style if not attitude.  The club still holds its affiliation to the FA and
coaches benefit from training on many of its Coaching and Safeguarding courses. 

Rvd Clive met Ted Powell, the then England U18 Coach, who came to a presentation evening, and
they formed a long-lasting friendship.  Rvd Clive got involved with organisations like Christians inSport and the British Sports Trust until, in late 1996, he moved to Guildford and repeated the process.
Speaking about his role, Rvd Clive said: “The vision was always to relate the church to the
community, to build a good ethos and to develop friendships.  I’m delighted to see the club still
running after all this time, it’s brilliant for the community.”

Paul added: “He was delighted to hear that today’s Christ Church United Football Club embraces
much of that first ethos.  The fees are still affordable and the club is open to girls and boys regardless
of ability.  Some of our current coaches are kids who were once players at the club and the club is
also providing support to the Refugee Network with players being drawn from the Ukrainian
community in Epsom. We want to thank Rvd Clive for having the foresight and drive to create the
club, and we are hoping for another 30 years and beyond of kids (and their families) enjoying the
beautiful game. We’re always looking to welcome new members so please get in touch if you are

The club trains at Blenheim High School every Saturday morning during term time, from 9:00-10:30

Paul Wilson

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