Cheltenham Saracens: More Than a Football Club

There are some big things going on at Cheltenham Saracens. In this blog, Chairman Graham Roberts tells us all about the club’s history, the impact it’s had on the St. Peter’s and The Moors area, and working with us at SPTM Big Local.

I started playing for the Saracens when I was just 16 years old in the Cheltenham League. I played right up until I was 31 for various sides, and I was even player/manager for a few seasons. Then I left and played for Cheltenham Civil Service for around 5 years, before returning to Saracens’ 3rd team as a player/manager.

After the sad passing of the club founder, Bob Attwood, I stepped in as Chairman. Bob did great things for the club and I hope we can continue his hard work. This is now my 5th year as chairman and I do think we have improved the club as a whole, and we will continue to do so.

The history of Cheltenham Saracens

Cheltenham Saracens Sports Club was formed in 1964 by a group of friends who all worked together at Smiths Industries. The football club turned out to be so popular and it became one of the strongest clubs in Cheltenham.  It soon climbed the football divisions and in 1986, won promotion to the Hellenic League, where our 1st and 2nd teams still play today. As well as adult teams, there are also a number of youth football teams, from the Under 8’s to the Under 18’s.

As well as being known for football, Cheltenham Saracens also became known for a range of other sports including rugby, cricket, table tennis, karate, crib, darts, pool and skittles, attracting people to the club from all over Gloucestershire.

Cheltenham Saracens: A Community Club

Being a community club means a great deal to me personally, and to everyone who’s involved with the club. We want residents to feel part of it and get involved with what we do. Not just with the football side of things, but with all the other activities we host at the ground.

We are trying to get more use out of the ground, and we’ve joined forces with SPTM Big Local to hold an annual summer family fun day and after school activities. Play Gloucestershire has used the ground during school holidays and we have held free football sessions for local children.

SPTM Big Local also runs its Reduce Waste Food Project every Wednesday morning at the ground. The project has helped so many families in need, particularly during the pandemic. There’s also a weekly community coffee morning where residents can come along, have coffee and a cake, and get to know each other.

Cheltenham Saracens: The Positive Impact on the Local Area

I think that the increased engagement with local residents and children has reduced anti-social behaviour and crime in the area around the ground. Because more people are talking to each other, we are building a stronger community too.

This is what makes the plans for a new community building so exciting. The residents are excited to be getting a building they can call their own. This will only bring people closer together.

Working with SPTM Big Local

SPTM Big Local has been a big part of everything we have achieved so far. It’s given us grants to help with the costs of the family fun day and its sponsorship of the ground has helped us to improve our facilities. Not only that, it’s put us in touch with the right people so we can continue to grow as a club.

Having SPTM’s support for our new community building has been amazing. From setting up local resident consultations to make sure people want the building, and most importantly will use the building, to organising meetings with the council, architects, and business plan writers, the support we’ve had has been invaluable. It’s been tough but we are getting there, and hopefully we should see the fruits of our labour soon.

Going From Strength to Strength

It’s been hard finding new sponsors for the last two seasons. Covid has meant that companies have been less keen to part with their cash. But thankfully, we’ve managed to get some great sponsors this year.

I don’t think sponsors know how important they are to clubs like ours, but we really couldn’t continue without their support. We really do appreciate it. That’s why I want to give a big shout out to:

  • SPTM Big Local, our ground sponsors for the next 2 years.
  • The Cheltenham Jockey Club, which has again sponsored the 1st team kit and one of our stands.
  • Switch Electrical & Building Contractors who have sponsored our U18s kit and one of our stands.
  • Cheltenham Diesel, N J Roberts Electrical, Mowtech, McAlary Roofing, Surescaff who have all had pitch side banners.
  • Jon Palmer, a local sports journalist and this year’s match ball sponsor.
  • MLT Fitness, who won a raffle to be the new sponsor for our development team kit.

Our club continues to go from strength to strength, and I’d like to thank everyone for the continued support they are showing for the new community building.

If you would like to get involved with Cheltenham Saracens, please do get in touch. We are always looking for new coaches, players and volunteers.

You can get in touch with Graham at: saracenschairman@outlook.com