Following the departues of Mark Harrington and Jimmy Fraser within the last week City boss Alan Pridham has moved quickly to strengthen his midfield with the signature of Clevedon Town’s Marco Micciche. The 25-year old becomes the fourth player to make the switch from the relegated Seasiders and, in common with Mark Hervin and Iain Harvey, begins his second spell at Twerton Park. Pridham has also hailed the tough-tackling Micciche, who made 9 appearances for City during the 1995-96 season, the perfect replacement for fans favourite Jon Holloway, who left for Worcester City shortly after the end of last season.
Mark Harrington has become the second player in a week to depart City, as the drain of players away from Twerton Park continues. Despite efforts from manager Alan Pridham to convice Harry to remain at City the former player of the season has made the short journey to Wiltshire on a two-year contract – security that it would appear he couldn’t get at City. The 24-year old midfielder arrived in the summer of 1996, winning the player of the year award that season, and went on to make over 200 appearances for the club. Harry joins an increasingly long list of players who have left Twerton Park this summer and it looks set to be a vastly different City line-up that will begin the new campaign to that which finished last season. One further new face in this line-up will be attacking midfielder Bradley Thomas who has made the switch from Cinderford Town.
34-year old centre-half Lee Burns has become the latest player to arrive at Twerton Park following his move from Dr Martens League newcomers Chippenham Town. The former Bluebirds captain, who lead them out in their FA Vase final defeat last year, returns to the club he featured for as a 15-year old reserve player and will aim to combine a playing and coaching role, teaming up with reserve side manager Dave Hobbs.
One player who may be making the opposite journey is long-serving midfielder Mark Harrington. The Wiltshire club have offered the ex-Bristol Rovers man a two-year contract but City boss Alan Pridham will make one last attempt to keep him at Twerton Park in a meeting tonight.
Next Monday 2 July will see City hold a fans forum at Twerton Park, where Pridham will take questions from supporters and, possibly, introduce further new signings. The meeting will take place in Charlie’s and begin at 7.30pm.
Jimmy Fraser has become the second City player to move to Basingstoke Town after he agreed a two year deal with the Ryman League club. He follows Mike Davis after turning the offer of a non-contract deal at City, but has admitted he is devastated at having to leave Twerton Park. Whilst Fraser could never be considered exactly a ‘fans favourite’ his departure will almost certainly increase the anxiety of City fans as a player who clearly wanted to play for the club is allowed to slip away. This combined with the lack of further signings or confirmation of which players have accepted new deals has left many fans fearful for the new season which is now less than two months away.
City’s pre-season friendly fixtures see them come face to face with their FA Cup and FA Trophy conquerers from last season. Forest Green are the visitors to Twerton Park on July 28 and Yeovil make the journey to Bath on either August 8 or 9. City will also face a home match against Second Division Cardiff City on August 6. Trips to manager Alan Pridham’s former club Paulton Rovers (31/7), Swindon Supermarine (4/8) and Mangotsfield United (11/8) complete the list, although the club hopes to confirm a further match on July 21, possibly against Weston Super Mare.
City have also annouced a partnership with local charity, Dorothy House through the club’s lottery, the City Sweep. The scheme has always raised money for local charities but has now the arrangement with the hospice has been put on a more regular footing, as they will receive a percentage of the profits.
City will come face to face with former top scorer Martin Paul in the 1st round of the Dr Martens Cup after they were paired with his new club Newport County. The trip over the Servern Bridge will also give them the opportunity to avenge last season defeat in the same competition when a very under-strength side crashed 5-0 to The Exiles.
As announced live on Radio Bristol by Phil Weaver this morning the Trust Fund has now reached £75,000. The club is very pleased with this but feels that there are still some supporters out there who are holding back “to see what happens”. It is hoped that we shall reach £100,000 from ordinary supporters, and that is a very good amount to announce to local businesses as we try to get their support as well. The first major target remains the £225,000 owed to Foster. Thanks to all who have suggested names of businesses that might be interested in supporting the Trust via a sponsorship deal. More suggestions are very welcome, and we are hoping that more supporters will send us their investments in the Trust.
Bath City’s match programme has been voted best in the Dr Martens Premier Division and, even more pleasing, 12th equal nationally out of 1103 programmes. Interestingly, Rushden and Yeovil did not make the top 20. The only Conference Clubs that made it into the top 20 were Hayes, (5th) and Woking (17th). The winner was Hoddesdon Town of the Ryman League. Programme editor, Chris Stillman, has been producing the programme for 3 years now and is grateful to all his regualr contributors. “Without the likes of Terry Mullan, whose columns are sometimes only loosely related to football, and Les Bingham, who has a wealth of facts and figures which he presents in an entertaining way, we could not have won this prestigious award. My son Mark also does some of the very time-consuming work of updating results and tables. Of course, things have become simpler with the material available on the internet. It’s a lot easier to download a league table than type it out yourself. Digital cameras are a great help as well, when you can load a picture straight into the computer. It’s also very noticeable, going round all the other clubs in our division, that the standard of grammar and spelling is not very high. We are kept very much on our toes by director Phil Weaver, who proofreads every programme. Again, email is great. I send it to him, he sends the amended copy back and then I email it on to our printers, Minuteman Press, who provide a great service. We are also very unusual in producing the programme ourselves. Most clubs contract it out but all our writing and layout is done on my home PC. We also make a healthy profit for the club. Other clubs use the programme adverts to pay for the production costs but we pay for ours out of sales, and then the programme adverts make a clear profit for the club, about £7,000 a season, I believe.”
City have again raided relegated Clevedon Town with another two players making the short journey to Twerton Park. Matt Coupe and Iain Harvey, both of whom can play in either defence or midfield, are the arrivals from the Seasiders and are joined at City by highly rated Paulton Rovers midfielder Jamie Crandon. Another current player, Jimmy Fraser, has also committed himself to the club for another season, leaving just Sam Allison and Peter Tisdale to confirm their intentions. City manager Alan Pridham is currently in talks with four strikers, one of whom has already agreed to join City.
City have also announced that in the five days since the first Bath City Football Trust figure was published the scheme has received another £7000 in pledges and the club is beginning to turn its attention to local businesses. To this end they have requested supporters contact the club to give suggestions about who to approach in the commercial and business world. Whilst the directors do have many contacts they would welcome further targets. If anyone knows of a business that may be interested in contributing to the scheme either contact the web page on the usual e-mail address or the club at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New City boss Alan Pridham has made a familiar face his first signing since arriving at the club just over a fortnight ago. Keeper Mark Hervin returns to City after two years away from Twerton Park with Gloucester City and Clevedon Town. The 28-year old left City in May 1999 with a move into league football with Crewe Alexandra looking a possibility, however that fell through and the keeper ended up back at Dr Martens League level. A number of City players have also begun to tie themselves to the club for the forthcoming season. Joining skipper Colin Towler are highly rated Jamie Gosling, Scott Walker, Lee Vickerman, Gary Powell, James Hughes and Mark Harrington. Jimmy Fraser, Sam Allison and Peter Tisdale are also having talks with Pridham and should sign deals later this week.
City have confirmed that in the first month of The Bath City Football Trust over £60,000 has been raised. Donations from supporters of between £250 and £5000 have seen a total of £64,000 pledged as City look to raise sufficent funds to clear the massive debts that are currently crippling the club. The aim now is to boost this figure to around the £100,000 mark before the club takes its appeal to the businessess of Bath.
Two of City’s departing players have found new homes. Mike Davis, who was placed on the transfer list at his own request, has joined Basingstoke Town for a nominal fee and released Mark Clode will make the short switch to relegated Clevedon Town.