In 1938, it was decided that a professional club should be formed in Chelmsford to join the Southern League. It was decided to close down the existing club (Chelmsford Football Club) and to reform as ‘Chelmsford City’, despite the fact that Chelmsford itself would not be granted city status until 2012.
On 27 August 1938, Chelmsford City played their first game, drawing 3–3 against Bristol Rovers Reserves. They made an immediate impact in the FA Cup, reaching the fourth round in their first season.
The club were the Southern League’s first champions when football resumed after World War Two, also winning the Southern League Cup that season.
Chelmsford won the Southern League Cup again in 1959/60 and the league title in 1967/68 and 1971/72. They remained in the top division of the Southern League until 1976–77, when they were relegated to Division One South. In 1977, City were one of six clubs to represent England in the Anglo-Italian Cup.
In 2004, Chelmsford transferred to the Premier Division of the Isthmian League and were champions in 2007/08, earning promotion to the Conference South. They reached the play-offs in the following season but lost to Hampton & Richmond in the play-off semi-finals.
After a period of mid-table finishes, Chelmsford qualified for the play-offs again in 2016/17 after finishing fourth in the renamed National League South. After beating Dartford 2–1 on aggregate in the semi-finals, they lost 2–1 to Ebbsfleet United in the final.
A third place finish the following season led to another play-off campaign, but the club were beaten 1–0 by Hampton & Richmond Borough in the semi-finals. In the 2018/19 season, Chelmsford finished fourth, however lost 3–2 in the play-offs away to Welling United; their ninth play-off campaign in total.
Chelmsford saw a successful 2022/23 Season leading to another play-off campaign having finished fifth but it wasn’t to be as the Clarets lost their play-off eliminator fixture 0-1 at the Melbourne Community Stadium to eventual defeated finalists St Albans City.
Chelmsford make the journey to the South coast off the back of three straight wins over the festive period in the National League South, beating Torquay United before Christmas before completing a derby double over their Essex rivals Braintree on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
The Clarets are up to sixth in the league table and are just two points behind the Rebels in third place in the tightly contested National League South. The Clarets have gained 41 points from their 25 matches this term and have scored 38 and conceded 25 this season.
Robbie Simpson was appointed as Interim Manager in January 2020 following Rod Stringer’s departure. After going unbeaten in 4 from mid-February, without losing at home, “Simmo” was appointed as the Club’s new permanent First Team Manager in March 2020.
Simpson signed for Chelmsford City as a free agent back in 2019 following the end of his spell with MK Dons where he made 21 appearances.
Simpson had a fruitful career in the Football League, featuring for the likes of Cambridge United, Coventry City, Huddersfield Town and Exeter City.
Throughout his career, he has also featured for Brentford, Oldham Athletic, Leyton Orient, Cambridge United for a second spell and most recently, the aforementioned MK Dons, whom he helped gain promotion back to League One.
Experienced central defender Dave Winfield wears the armband for the Clarets after rejoining the club in 2021.
He re-joined the Clarets in July 2021 after a previous spell between October and December 2019 and has made 78 appearances for the Essex side.
Winfield started with hometown club Aldershot where he won promotion to the Football League in 2008 and then moved to Wycombe Wanderers in 2010 where he won promotion to League One in 2011.
The 34-year-old has also played in the Football League for Shrewsbury Town, York City and AFC Wimbledon across his near 20-year career to date.
Winfield joined Ebbsfleet United in 2016 and let the Fleet to promotion to the National League in 2017 through the playoffs.
Charlie Ruff rejoined the Clarets from Havant & Waterlooville in the summer and has hit the ground running on his second spell at Melbourne Stadium.
Ruff has been a key member of the Clarets’ squad this season, featuring in 24 of their 25 league fixtures and scoring six goals from midfield and was votes in the league’s Team of the Half Season last month (https://twitter.com/Vanarama/status/1733174654825595213)
Ruff made 20 appearances, scoring 7 goals for the Clarets in the 2022/23 Season after joining from Hornchurch in July 2022 before his move to the Hawks in November 2022 where he featured 23 times, scoring five.
Ruff initially joined the Clarets from Isthmian Premier Division side Hornchurch, where he played a significant role in their FA Trophy final win v Hereford. After coming on as a substitute in the 59th minute, he scored the equalising goal from close range in the 75th minute and then he produced an outrageous piece of skill on the touchline to play a part in setting up Liam Nash’s 86th minute go-ahead goal in an eventual 3-1 win.
Ruff has a wealth of non-league experience having also played for Hertford, Broxbourne, and Wingate & Finchley.