City will play in the British Gas Business League next season after it was confirmed the company has succeeded Dr Martens as the Southern Football League’s sponsor for the next three seasons, commencing from August 2006. The announcement was made at the Southern League’s Annual General Meeting in Torquay on Saturday, June 24th. Kevin Clarke, Head of Marketing for British Gas Business commercial customers said, “We are absolutely delighted to be associated with a high quality (!), competitive league and with all those individuals and businesses who show such dedication in supporting their local football teams.” Ken Turner, newly elected Chairman of the Southern League said “We were delighted to make the announcement at our AGM of the new partnership and title sponsorship with British Gas Business and look forward to fostering the relationship over the three years of the sponsorship and beyond. Having a nationally renowned company associated with the Southern Football League underlines the status of the League and will help us to raise the profile of the semi professional game as a whole. The significant investment will ensure a solid platform for the future and allow us to continue the development work throughout the League”.
City have identified Chippenham Town striker David Gilroy as one of their main summer targets and do not appear to have been put off by their local rivals rejection of their initial offer, labelling it ‘derisory’. The 23-year old, who had a brief loan spell with City at the end of the 2001-02 season, scored 30 goals for the Bluebirds last season and has been valued at between £15,000 and £20,000, but even this had not put City chairman Geoff Todd off, and a further increased offer is likely. With Scott Partridge still undecided about his future, City currently only have one recognised forward, Phil Walsh, signed on for the 2006-07 season, although they do have high hopes that youth team striker Kane Ingram could make the step up to Southern League football.
England’s World Cup last 16 meeting with Ecuador on Sunday will be shown on the big screen in Charlie’s/Randall’s. The bars open at 3pm and the game kicks off an hour later.
City’s matchday programme was named the best in the Southern League Premier Division for the fourth successive year in the annual end of season awards. The list, complied by the Soccer Club Swap Shop, placed City 16th overall, with Conference side Exeter City named the best non-league programme. Congratulations once again to editor Phil Weaver and all the contributors that make the publication such an entertaining read.
City are appealing to supporters to turn up at Twerton Park on Saturday 1 July to help paint and tidy the ground ahead of the new season. This year we are painting the yellow gates in the wall, painting the Bristol end gates and turnstile doors, painting various other places that need it, like the club shop, and cleaning down all the crash barriers, and clearing the terracing at the Bristol end (far corner). A free drink and good company are assured. Please email (email@example.com) or phone (07867 546088) Phil Weaver to offer help or if you have any questions. Work starts from 9.30am.
A swift Twerton Park return for star winger Andy Sandell (pictured) with his new club Bristol Rovers is the pick of City’s pre-season campaign. The Pirates will face City on Saturday 15 July in the first of three home friendlies, Cardiff City (25/7) and Cwmbran (12/8) the other two sides travelling to Bath. Western League opposition in the form of Bitton, Hallen and Larkhall Athletic make up the other half of City’s summer fixture list, which also includes an appearance in the Bath Festival of Sport at the Recreation Ground on Sunday 30 July. The full list can be see here.
City will play in sky blue change shirts for the first time since 1996-97 after they confirmed the new design shirts they will wear next season. They will also return to a more traditional black and white striped shirt, replacing the ‘V’ design they have worn for the last two seasons. The new shirts are:
City are no closer to securing the services of Scott Partridge for next season after the striker said he is in ‘no rush’ to sign a new deal. It had been hoped that last season’s top scorer would make a decision on his return from holiday at the weekend but with a number of unnamed clubs interested in the experienced striker he is looking to keep his options open. The uncertainty cannot be helping City boss John Relish’s plans for the 2006-07 season and it remains to be seen how long he is prepared to wait for Partridge, who has scored 57 goals in just 109 appearances during his two and a half seasons at Twerton Park, to decide where his future lies.
Influential midfielder Adie Harris has been forced to join a side in his native Wales due to personal circumstances. The 25-year old, quoted as being ‘gutted’ over the difficult decision, has returned to one of his former clubs, Haverfordwest County, after just a single season at Twerton Park. City fans only really saw the best of Harris during the second half of the 2005-06 after he regained full fitness following the serious knee he suffered whilst with Hornchurch. In total he made 45 appearances, scoring 4 goals.
The loss of Harris is tempered by the good news that two other midfielders have pledged themselves to City for next season. Scott Rogers, only signed from Forest Green Rovers in March, has signed a one-year deal and former Merthyr Tydfil player Dean Clarke is staying on a non-contract deal.
In what will be the only World Cup related item on this website (well, unless England win the thing) you can watch all England’s games at Twerton Park this summer. Although their opening game against Paraguay on Saturday will not be shown on the big screen in Charlies, due to two wedding recepetions taking place at the ground, it can be watched in the upstairs bar. However, the next two group games, against Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden, will be shown on the big screen and all supporters (including non-City supporters) are welcome. Check your World Cup wall charts for dates and kick-off times.
There was great excitement and suspense as a record 74 local and national companies gathered for the Annual Dinner and Sponsors Draw at Twerton Park this evening. They were all hoping to win the right to be the main club sponsor for next season. Chairman Geoff Todd spoke of how proud he was of the team’s players and management in reaching the runners-up spot in the league, and former chairman Steve Hall donated one of his watercolours to be auctioned on the night. The mayor then drew the winning ball from the drum. There was a hushed silence before she announced that the winner was the club’s own shop, managed by Supporters Club chairman, Martin Brush and Mark Bladwell. Last year, the winner was Sixteen Films, the film company headed by Ken Loach, long-time City supporter and director, who has recently won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Ken Loach decided to offer the prize back to the club and after a sealed bid auction, the Bath Chronicle was declared the winner. The Bath City club shop have decided to do the same thing this year, and all the entrants have been invited to bid for the right to have their name on the shirt. Martin Brush said “It would have been nice to see the club shop on the front of the shirt, but obviously it makes much more sense for us to let the club auction the prize in this way. This will make even more money for the club, and put on the pitch the sort of team that we are hoping will take us towards promotion next season.” Commercial executive David Gane thanked Brush for his generous gesture and said, “This just shows what a great club Bath City is. Everyone works together for the good of the club and we have already had a number of substantial bids, but the deadline will be extended until all the entrants who were unable to be at the Dinner have been notified.”
Two further players have been released by City boss John Relish ahead of the 2006-07 season. Left-back Graeme Power and striker Tony Bird are the two who join Alex Sykes in being surplus to requirements. Power made 81 appearances for City after joining from Weymouth toward the end of the 2003-04 season but struggled to hold down a first team place during the second half of last season. Exeter-based Power has been linked with Western League newcomers Truro City. Also on his way is experienced forward Tony Bird. The 32-year old was signed in September 2005 and went on to score 16 times in 46 games. He looks set to return to the League of Wales where he has played much of his career.
City have engaged Ecosolve, the firm that looks after the City of Manchester Stadium pitch, to do vital pitch maintenance during the close season, with the £3000 cost of the work raised by the supporters club. The pitch has been de-compacted and aerated, to re-introduce structure lost during a busy season. Bretton King, Ecosolve’s boss, has also levelled the surface by top-dressing with 40 tons of sports sand, and re-seeded with a hard-wearing grass as used at the home of Manchester City.