July 2001

City anger as transfer loophole leaves them empty handed (30/7/01)

City have been left stunned and angry after Scott Walker was allowed to switch to Newport County on a free transfer because their Dr Martens League rivals are considered to be a foreign club. City had demanded a £10,000 fee for the talented left-back believing he was covered by the Bosman ruling that meant players under 24, who had been offered at least an equal contract to their previous deal, could not leave without a transfer fee being paid. However, this rule does not apply to transfers to overseas clubs and, due to Newport’s affiliation to the Welsh FA, they are viewed as a foreign club. The loophole only came to light after another Dr Martens Premier Division side, Merthyr Tydfil, used it to steal Clevedon Town’s Danny Haines for nothing. Whilst accepting that Newport have done nothing illegal City are to appeal to the FA to close this loophole and prevent other clubs losing out in the same manner. And it is not the first time that City have missed out on a transfer fee at the hands of Newport County. In their previous existence as a league club the Welsh side failed to pay an agreed £15,000 for Paul Bodin, despite selling him on to Swindon a month or so later for twice that amount.

It’s goodbye to Scott Walker as he heads to ‘foreign’ shores (29/7/01)

The long running saga of Scott Walker appears to have concluded with the 21-year making the switch to Newport County. This is in direct contradiction to manager Alan Pridham’s statement that the former Exeter City player would only leave City if it were for a Conference or league club. And, in what will further dismay all City followers, although this has yet to be confirmed, the left-back will move to City’s Dr Martens League rivals on a free transfer as they are considered a foreign club, contrary to the fact that under the Bosman ruling City should have received a fee for the players services.

Another player unlikely to feature for City in the forthcoming season is Peter Tisdale. The web page’s most improved player last season has not featured in any of City’s pre-season friendlies and his failure to contact Pridham re a new contract means he is unlikely add to his 99 City appearances.

Late penalty condemns City to first pre-season defeat (28/7/01)

After two wins and a draw City tasted defeat for the first time in their latest pre-season game against Forest Green Rovers at Twerton Park this afternoon. This was despite taking a first half lead through Sam Allison’s sixth friendly goal after 35 minutes. The Conference side equalised on the hour mark when Cooper headed past Hervin, before Meecham converted from the penalty spot with three minutes remaining after trialist Paul Donnelly had handled a cross. This was slightly harsh on a City side who had matched their higher opposition well and created a number of chances to have won the game.

City have added a further game to their pre-season campaign and will face Keynsham Town at their Crown Fields ground on Thursday 8 August.

City annouce AJM Pet Products as new main sponsor (26/7/01)

City have announced that their new sponsor for the 2001-02 season will be AJM Pet Products, under the name of their leading product Techni-Cal Super-Premium Pet Food. City director and lifelong fan Andrew Pierce, Managing Director of the Yate based firm, said, “This is an exciting time for us. Techni-Cal is a leading brand throughout the UK, and we hope that with this sponsorship we can introduce many new customers to the benefits it offers their pets.”

Tonight City fought out a goalless draw with Weston Super Mare in their latest pre-season friendly. In a largely uneventual encounter, playing on the usual uneven Woodspring Park surface, City created the clearer chances but failed to really test the home side, who featured City’s record appearance holder Dave Mogg in goal in the second half.

Pre-season winning run continues as Allison strikes again (23/7/01)

City made it two pre-season wins out of two as a goal in each half gave them a 2-1 victory over Team Bath. The first goal came from a 28th minute Jamie Gosling header, before Sam Allison turned in Colin Towler headed centre from close range after 76 minutes. The Screwfix League side grabbed a consolation goal in the final minute when Fidell Richards beat Mark Hervin from the penalty spot. The game saw recent signing Gary Thorne make his first appearance in City colours, plus another run-out for Australian trialst Clinton Green.

Four goal Allison helps City to a winning friendly start (21/7/01)

City began their pre-season friendlies with a comfortable 5-1 win over Jewson League side Andover at Twerton Park this afternoon. Star of the show was Sam Allison, who after arriving as a 60th minute substitute for Graham MacLean fired in four goals. The other goal came midway through the first period from a deflected Jamie Zabek shot, before Andover grabbed a consolation in stoppage time. The game saw manager Alan Pridham field 18 players, including Australian trialist Clinton Green, with just Mark Hervin, Lee Vickerman and Iain Harvey playing the whole 90 minutes.

City have arranged another friendly against Team Bath this coming Monday. The game will kick off at 7.45pm at Twerton Park.

Young City keeper Bull misses out on Premiership switch (21/7/01)

Following a week long trial at the Reebok Stadium City’s young keeper has narrowly missed out on a move to Premiership new-boys Bolton Wanderers. Despite being told he was the equal of their current youth team keeper the 18-year old was not offered a contract. The England Schoolboy international, who made five first team appearances last season, will return to Twerton Park but still has trials lined-up at Notts County and Wigan Athletic as he looks to make the switch to the professional game.

Newport County arrival is a Thorne in City’s side (20/7/01)

Alan Pridham has moved quickly to boost his squad after the surprise departure of recent arrival Matt Coupe, signing Newport County centre-back Gary Thorne on a 2-year contract. The 24-year old ex-Gloucester City player has made over 300 Dr Martens League appearances and will add vital experience to City’s line-up for the forthcoming season.

One player possibly making the opposite journey is highly-rated left-back Scott Walker. The former Exeter City defender has been looking for a move away from City, although the Welsh side will have to find a considerable fee as the 21-year old is on a contract at City.

Thorne, though probably not Walker, looks set to play some part in City’s opening friendly against Andover at Twerton Park tomorrow. He will be part of an 18-man squad that will feature against the Jewson League side.

City set to lose one of their new boys before season start (14/7/01)

The almost constant coming and going around Twerton Park this summer took on a new twist today with the news that Matt Coupe, one of the six players signed from Clevedon Town, looks set to leave City before he has even kicked a ball for the club. The centre-back, who arrived with Iain Harvey and Mark Hervin, has been tempted to switch to League of Wales side Aberystwyth Town, now managed by former City managerial candidate Frank Gregan. Despite signing a deal with City boss Alan Pridham, and the Welsh sides apparent failure to put in a seven-day approach for the player, it looks as if City will be looking for a new defender to partner captain Colin Towler. This may open the way for Peter Tisdale to earn a deal with club that he has so far eluded him. The 22-year old, who was voted the most improved player last season, looked set to remain at City after deferring for a year a new London-based job but, despite joining the return to training last week, has yet to sign a new contract.

City have added a further match to their pre-season fixtures, with Andover becoming their first opponents this coming Saturday 21 July. The clash with the Jewson League side will kick off at 3.00pm at Twerton Park.

City have also announced that director Ken Loach has resigned from the board. The world renowned film director cited his London-based commitments as the reason behind him stepping down from the post he has occupied for over 3 years.

Pridham era begins with visit of Premier Division new boys (10/7/01)

The fixture list published by the Dr Martens League today has once again given City a home start, with Premier Division new boys Chelmsford City becoming the latest side to begin their season with a visit to Twerton Park. This now means City have had home start in every season since they were relegated from the Conference in 1997. Three days later they make their first trip of the season with the short journey to the South coast to face Weymouth. The Christmas period sees City face a Boxing Day trip to Havant & Waterlooville before Newport IOW arrive at Twerton on New Years Day. And City’s season will come to an end at Worcester City on April 27, a week earlier than normal as Sky have decided they want the FA Cup Final played on May 4. The full fixture list can be found here.

Ex-boss Paul Bodin takes on triple Swindon role (7/7/01)

Following his departure from City back in May, Paul Bodin has returned to his footballing roots with a triple role at Swindon Town, Swindon College and Swindon Supermarine. Alongside coaching roles at the second division side and college, he will also act as a football consultant for the Dr Martens Western Division newcomers, who face City in a friendly on Saturday 4 August. Initially a temporary role the former Welsh international will oversee Supermarine’s step up to Dr Martens football, following their promotion from the Hellenic League.

The draw for the forthcoming seasons FA Cup, which City enter at the 2nd Qualifying stage, has given them a home tie with either Cinderford, Bideford, Tuffley or Wimborne. The clash will take place on Saturday 29 September.

Young star MacLean return unveiled at fans form (2/7/01)

Following the arrival of Paul Milsom earlier in the day City boss Alan Pridham confirmed the second half of his new strikeforce tonight at the fans forum with the annoucement that Graham MacLean has returned to the club. The 19-year former Canadian youth international returns following his surprise move to Clevedon Town back in January. The entertaining forum, held in Charlie’s at Twerton Park this evening, saw Pridham field questions from nearly 100 City supporters. Click here to see pictures from the evening.

City have also confirmed two changes to their pre-season friendly line-up. The match against Weston Super Mare, which was provisionally planned for Saturday 21 July, will now take place on Thursday 26 July. And the clash with Yeovil Town has been cancelled because they’re scared.

Supporters Club funds allow Pridham to get his man (2/7/01)

Using funds provided by the Supporters Club City have signed striker Paul Milsom from local rivals (and, increasingly, City’s feeder club) Clevedon Town. The 24-year old has signed a two-year contract at Twerton Park, becoming the fifth player to make the switch from the Hand Stadium during the close season. Whilst the fee has not been disclosed it is believed to be in the region of £2000-3000. And another arrival at City is former Cheltenham Town and Salisbury City defender Ian Howell who has joined former Cinderford teammate Bradley Thomas at Twerton Park.

FA Trophy draw hands City another Newport test (1/7/01)

The draw for next seasons FA Trophy has handed City a home tie with Dr Martens Premier Division rivals Newport County. The first round clash, which will take place on Saturday 3 November, means City will face the Welsh side, plus former striker Martin Paul, at least four times next season. In addition to the two league meetings the teams have also been paired together in the 1st round of the Dr Martens Cup. And City could face another former player if they overcome Newport, as their opponents in the second round will be either Walton & Hersham or Chippenham Town – the side that Mark Harrington moved to a week ago.

Lee Vickerman has become the latest City player to commit himself to City for the forthcoming season. The full-back, who was in and out the side under previous manager Paul Bodin, will look to establish himself under new boss Alan Pridham.