With the first friendly less than 3 weeks away City’s Supporters Club will be holding a meeting – entitled: City – Looking back, looking forward – on Tuesday 6 July. At the meeting will be City’s management team of Paul Bodin and Steve White and the board plus a chance to see some of last seasons goals. Also being discussed will be help with work on the ground and the City Sweep. The meeting is in the Supporters Bar and starts at 7.45.
Paul Bodin has finally begun to build his squad for next season with the signing of Mark Clode. The 26 year old left-sided utility player has arrived on a free transfer after being released by Swansea City. Despite interest from several other clubs Bodin convinced the player to come to Twerton Park after 6 years with the Welsh side. He will add some vital experience to City’s squad having made over 100 appearances for Swansea, including a Wembley outing in 1994. A series of injuries over the past couple of seasons saw him struggle to earn a starting place in the Vetch Field first team and he was released at the end of last season.
Despite the lack of on the pitch success last season, City gained some consolation with the news that their programme has been voted the best in the Dr Martens Premier Division in the annual programme of the year survey run by the Wirral Programme Club. The programme, edited by Chris Stillman, earned 150 points, edging out second placed Tamworth (148) and third place Worcester (143). Overall, the publication came 5th in the Dr Martens League and 46th (out of 1192 entries) nationally. The national winner was Denaby United with 199 points. Well done Chris.
City have also been boosted by a four figure donation from the supporters club aimed directly at bringing new faces to Twerton Park. The money is to be used solely to pay transfer or signing on fees and should increase Paul Bodin’s power to improve his squad. News on the first signings should be released soon, with the manager back from his summer break. Read it here first (or, at least second).
The draw for the first round of the Dr Martens Cup has given City a home tie against Merthyr Tydfil. This is a repeat of last years tie in which City won 7-5 on aggregate, winning 3-2 in Wales and 4-3 at Twerton Park. This seasons game will be played over just 1 match. One change to the list of pre-season friendlies sees City meeting Cardiff City at Twerton Park on Tuesday 27 July instead of Paulton Rovers.
Also Martin Paul won the Predator Award for scoring the most league and cup goals in the Dr Martens League. His total of 30 just pipped Halesowen’s Steve Piearce, although the recently transferred to Hereford player collected the award for Paul as he was away getting married.
With likes of Tiverton in the Midland Division and Witney playing in the Southern Division, making the titles complete nonsense, the Dr Martens League committee have come up with a radical solution to this problem … changing the division names. From next season the Midland will become the Midland & West Division and the Southern will be known as the Southern & East Division. The committee have also confirmed that Cambridge City will play in the (North & South & East & West) Premier Division next season after Barrow’s expulsion from the Conference. This (should) finally confirm next seasons Premier line-up as:
|Atherstone United||Bath City||Boston United||Burton Albion||Cambridge City|
|Clevedon Town||Crawley Town||Dorchester Town||Gloucester City||Grantham Town|
|Halesowen Town||Havant & W’ville||Ilkeston Town||King’s Lynn||Margate|
|Merthyr Tydfil||Newport County||Rothwell Town||Salisbury City||Tamworth|
The news that the Conference have confirmed Barrow’s expulsion has given fresh hope to Cambridge City who, subject to confirmation from the Dr Martens League, should now reclaim their place in the Premier Division. The Cumbrian side, who folded in January but completed their fixtures under a newly formed club Barrow AFC (1999) Ltd, have been told that they will not be given a place in the Conference for next season. Welling United have already taken their place which leaves the gap in the Dr Martens Premier Division that Cambridge should fill.
The confusion over City target Steve Tweedle has been cleared up with the confirmation that the Melksham Town striker has signed for local rivals Chippenham Town, although he will not join the Wiltshire side until later in the year when he leaves the Army.
With news of signings still thin on the ground one possible target looks to escaped City’s clutches with the announcement that he has signed for Screwfix League Chippenham Town. Melksham Town striker Steve Tweedle had agreed to a trial at City but, along with two other Melksham players, appears to have decided to move to their local rivals, turning down the chance of a step up in standard. City boss Paul Bodin hopes to clear up the confusion shortly. One other possible City target, although perhaps only in the opinion of this page, Adie Mings is also a target of the Chippenham side, who have ambitions of making the Dr Martens League soon.
The Dr Martens League have confirmed that Hastings Town resignation from the Premier Division will stand but, rather than leave them facing life in the Sussex County League, have given them a place in the Southern Division next season. This guarantees Rothwell Town’s place and should have completed the picture for next seasons line-up, but events in the Conference have now put Welling’s relegation in doubt. If, as seems quite likely, Barrow are expelled from the Conference at the AGM on Saturday this will save Welling and, in turn, repreive Cambridge City. Even if Barrow are saved the possible merger of Stevenage Borough and Barnet may lead to the same senario. One side who will definitely join the Dr Martens League next season, in the Midland Division, is (relatively) local side, and FA Vase holders, Tiverton Town.