Blakely is new boss as Chichester City Ladies go for all-female management team

Chi City Ladies lift the Sussex Cup / Picture by Sheena Booker
Chi City Ladies lift the Sussex Cup / Picture by Sheena Booker

Chichester City Ladies have announced their new manager - Sadie Blakely.

She takes over as first team manager Aaron Smith, who has stepped down.

Blakely comes to the club with experience of Chi's current league - the southern premier division of the FA Women's National League - as a winner and with many years in the game at a high level. She has previously played for Chi City's first team.

Alongside her will be her assistant manager Laura Oakes, who has played at the highest level in the women’s game.

Head coach will be Kim Stenning, currently studying for her UEFA A licence, and she will be working with Emma Alexandre, the head of City's youth set-up who will be a UEFA B licensed coach.

Other coaching and behind the scenes roles are currently to be confirmed and will be in place for the start of the new season.

The club's ladies and girls' committee said: "One thing we are very proud of is that we have chosen four women to run our first team (alongside others) - this shows the dedication and commitment to the women’s game by our club."

Development squad manager will be Connor Slade, who has stepped up from being coach this season to the new role, and his assistant and coach will be Rihanna Farr. Both have coaching experience and have worked with the team this season already.

The committee added: "We are planning on running an U21s side for 2019-20 to ensure our player pathway is available for all players looking at making the step up to senior football. The manager will be Jake Edwards and his assistant and coach will be Hannah Humphries, who has been working with our U16s this season.

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"All youth managers will remain the same as this season and just make the step up to the next age groups, giving us an U11s, two U13s and two U15s sides. Our club has always had the philosophy of developing players, coaches and managers and this will continue in to the new season, with many of our senior players coaching our youth teams through the academy work that Emma Alexandre runs with Chichester College.

"We have created a new board of volunteers and members of our club to ensure we bring in experience in all areas to help the club run effectively and efficiently behind the scenes."

Caz Henry-Evans remains as director/chair and secretary of the club with Sam Ashton as vice chair. John Hutter will remain as company secretary but has also become joint business manager. Siobhan McClean will be treasurer and joint business manager. Welfare official Carole remains in place but new welfare officer Lenise Danino will be in place for all players/parents to contact if/when needed.

The rest of our board comprises people with experience in HR and business, long-term experience in football, parents and people who have a love for our club and football - and are: Beckie Mellers, Daren Pearce, Andrea Carruthers, Alan Price, Sarah Davey, Karen Stoddart, Emma Alexandre and Clive Stubbs.

"We are as a committee excited about the future of the club and bringing football to girls and ladies in the local area and progressing our club behind the scenes ready for when we can make the next steps forward," the statement added.

"We look forward to seeing you at games for 2019-20 season and will be posting information about sponsoring opportunities in the coming weeks."

The ladies finished third in the southern premier in the season just ended - their highest placing - and also won the Sussex Women's Cup.