City boss Gary Owers will take to the pitch in a Sunderland shirt again this Saturday as part of the Black Cats side taking part in the 2004 Masters Football tournament. The 35-year old spent eight years with the Wearside club and returns to his roots as part of the side facing Newcastle United, Middlesborough and Blackburn Rovers in the Northern section of the annual indoor six-a-side compeition. Players honoured to share a pitch with Owers will include Peter Beardsley, Rob Lee, Stuart Ripley and Kevin Gallagher. The competition takes place at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on Saturday 3 July (3pm) and Sky Sports will be covering the event live.
Twerton Park will see a Rovers Return on Sunday 25 July but there will be no sign of City’s former tennats Bristol Rovers. Instead a Coronation Street All Stars XI, captained by Bradley Walsh, will take on a Gary Owers Master XI in a match where a share of the proceeds will go to Dorothy House Hospice. Other Corrie stars lined up to take part include Bruce Jones, who plays Les Battersby, Sean Wilson, who is Martin Platt and Mike Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster. Walsh, who recently joined the Street cast as Danny Baldwin, is also trying to arrange for a number of Premiership and Football League players to take part. For full details contact Sandra Young on 01225 423087.
With further movement on new players unlikely to happen until City’s pre-season program begins in just over three weeks Gary Owers has instead strengthened his backroom staff. Taking over from Alan Grey as coach of the Youth Team is former Frome Town manager Ali Belcher. The 35-year old has also coached both the Wiltshire County Under 18 and senior sides. And joining the club’s scouting network is ex-Forest Green Rovers chief scout Alan McDougald.
Also off the pitch the club has announced they will be looking for a Stadium Manager to take over many of the functions carried out by shortly to depart Club Secretary Quentin Edwards. Q will continue to look after football administrative matters with Managing Director Paul Williams responisble for the financial side of the club.
City have made their second close season signing with the capture of former Kidderminster Harriers striker John Williams. The Birmingham born 36-year old scored 5 goals for the Harriers last season including the one that almost beat Wolverhampton in the FA Cup. Prior to his time at Aggborough he had played for a number of league sides including Coventry City in the Premiership, where he made approaching 100 appearances.
City had also added another match to their pre-season friendly list. They will entertain Yeovil Town at Twerton Park on Tuesday 20 July (ko tbc).
City’s 2002-03 player of the season Andy Williams has suffered another injury setback after discovering he will need surgery to overcome a knee problem. The midfielder picked up the injury against Newport County in April, having already missed the majority of the season due to a hernia complaint, and a scan has revealed some damage to the anterior cruciate ligament that will require keyhole surgery. If all goes well Willow should be available when City’s pre-season training begins on June 30.
City’s youth team manager Alan ‘Bluey’ Grey has decided to stand down from the post for personal reasons. Along with assistant Nigel Ashworth he has lead the side with great success during the past two seasons and I wish him all the best in the future.