Former City midfielder Jamie Gosling has made a surprise return to Twerton Park. The 26-year old spent 2 1/2 seasons with City in the early 2000’s before joining Yeovil Town for a four-figure fee in May 2003. One of City’s most talented players, he is mainly remembered for the injury he sustained in August 2002 when a perimeter wall at Chippenham Town’s Hardenhuish Park collasped on him whilst he was celebrating a goal. After leaving Yeovil he had spells with Aldershot Town, Weymouth, Torquay United, Woking and Forest Green Rovers, before playing the last two seasons at Hellenic League side Hungerford Town.
Steve Perrin will continue to provide goalkeeping cover for City no.1 Paul Evans for the 2008-09 season. However, he has signed a contract with City and will be loaned out to Western League side Melksham Town when not required, in a reversal of the previous season’s arrangement. The former Chippenham Town stopper was called into action six times during the 2007-08 campaign, including a couple of last minute dashes that City will hope the new arrangement will avoid.
The arrival of Stuart Douglas and re-signing of Steve Perrin takes City’s squad for the 2008-09 season up to 16 players:
Goalkeepers: Paul Evans, Steve Perrin
Defenders: Paul Cochlin, Matt Coupe, Chris Holland, Gethin Jones, Jim Rollo, Sekani Simpson
Midfielders: Ali Gibb, Lewis Hogg, Steve Jones, Scott Rogers, Jason Wood
Forwards: Stuart Douglas, Dave Gilroy, Darren Edwards
City manager John Relish hopes to add one further name – an attacking utility player – to this group before they return to training next Thursday, then fill the final two places in his proposed 19-man squad from a number of pre-season trialists.
City have strengthened their forward options with the signature of pacy former Weymouth front-man Stuart Douglas. He was released by the Terras at the end of last season, where the fully qualified sports therapist was also the club physiotherapist. The 30-year old began his career with Luton Town, making over 150 appearances during his seven years with the Hatters. He then had spells with Oxford United, Rushden & Diamonds, Boston United, Dagenham & Redbridge, Crawley Town and Eastleigh, before joining Weymouth in July 2007.
City will face Southern League side Mangotsfield United in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday 15 July (ko 7.45pm).
All four sides who competed in Sunday’s inaugral Scewfix Western Masters tournament included players familiar to City fans. One current player, Steve Jones, played for Swansea City but couldn’t help the Swans to victory as Bristol City won the competition, with City’s record appearance holder Dave Mogg and former manager Gary Owers in their line-up. They beat a Cardiff City side containing aother ex-City boss Paul Bodin 3-2 in the final of the 5-a-side competition. And in Bristol Rovers squad were two former City strikers, David Mehew and Jeff Meacham, who was the tournament’s top scorer with four goals.
Experienced right winger Ali Gibb has become City’s second summer signing. The Salisbury-born 32-year old was released by Coca-Cola League 1 side Hartlepool Utd in May, having spent the 2nd half of last season on loan with Notts County. Having begun his career as a trainee with Norwich City, he went on to make over 500 appearances for five different league clubs, including Northampton Town, Stockport County and Bristol Rovers. The Chepstow-based player can also player at right-back and in centre midfield.
City have added an additional friendly to their pre-season campaign with a trip to Paulton Rovers on Wednesday 30 July (ko tbc). They are likely to add one or two further games within the next week or so.
City have made their first 2008 close season signing with the arrival of left-sided defender Paul Cochlin from Newport County. The 24-year old, who has signed a one-year contract at Twerton Park after being released by the Welsh club, is primarily a centre-back but can also play at left-back and in midfield. His time at Newport was disrupted by two serious injuries and after recovering from the second of these – a career-threatening knee injury – he had spells on loan with Almondsbury Town and Cirencester Town last season. He has also played for Team Bath, Carmarthen Town and Merthyr Tydfil.
The future of midfielder Justyn McKay is still unclear with the 21-year currently on an extended holiday in Australia. He has yet to advise City’s management of his plans for the 2008-09 season but if there are still spaces in the squad a return to Twerton Park is a possibility. City have also invited former youth team player Alex Lapham to pre-season training – he is currently playing for Western League side Frome Town.
The first set of published odds for the 08-09 Blue Square South – released unsurprisingly by Blue Square – have City at 14/1 to lift the title. For the second successive season pre-season favourites are Havant & Waterlooville (9/2), followed by Eastleigh (7/1), Hampton & Richmond (8/1), the ex-Ryman League pair Chelmsford City (9/1) and AFC Wimbledon (11/1), then five further clubs at 12/1 ahead of City. At the other end of the odds Blue Square expect Bognor Regis Town, Basingstoke Town and the two sides who escaped relegation last season due to other clubs misfortunes, Dorchester Town and Weston Super Mare, to be in the bottom four places. The full odds are:
Havant & Waterlooville 9/2; Eastleigh 7/1; Hampton & Richmond 8/1; Chelmsford City 9/1; AFC Wimbledon 11/1; Fisher Athletic 12/1; Newport County 12/1; Braintree Town 12/1; Bishop’s Stortford 12/1; Bromley 12/1; Bath City 14/1; Worcester City 22/1; Team Bath 25/1; St Albans City 25/1; Hayes & Yeading 28/1; Maidenhead United 33/1; Thurrock 33/1; Welling United 33/1; Bognor Regis Town 40/1; Dorchester Town 40/1; Weston-Super-Mare 50/1; Basingstoke Town 50/1.
Steve Jones has become the 11th player to commit themselves to City for the 2008-09 season, meaning that come August 9 they will, at least, be able to field a team. The 37-year old midfielder – who has made over 200 appearances for the club – joins Matt Coupe, Darren Edwards, Paul Evans, Dave Gilroy, Lewis Hogg, Chris Holland, Gethin Jones, Scott Rogers, Jim Rollo and Sekani Simpson. Movement on new arrivals is still slow, with City involved in talks with five potential targets.
Blue Square South rivals Newport County have raided City for the second time in a week by tempting Phil Walsh over the Welsh border. The striker had long been linked with a switch to big-spending Truro City but in a surprise move he has teamed up again with Adie Harris at the Exiles. Walsh joined City during the summer of 2005 and soon formed an effective partnership with Scott Partridge, making 41 of his 68 starting XI appearances during the 2005-06 season, scoring on nine occasions. However, he found his first-team chances more limited during the next two seasons and spent loan spells with Paulton Rovers and Tiverton Town. In addition to his 68 starts he made a further 38 appearances from the bench and scored 25 goals in total during his three seasons at Twerton Park.
City are delighted to announce a two year deal with Spanish sportswear brand JOMA which will see them become the official team wear and footwear supplier to the club. Paul Williams, Managing Director, is pleased with the appointment of JOMA, “The decision to work with JOMA in preference to some other brands was an easy one to make once we knew that their long term objectives for the JOMA brand complimented our own ambitions”. The deal will see Joma supply team and training wear for all teams throughout the football club. Mark Godley, National Sales Manager for Joma said: “Joma are delighted to announce our new partnership with Bath City FC, one of the most recognisable names in non-league football. Joma continues to enhance it’s reputation as a genuine alternative choice for clubs at all levels of the football pyramid, from grass roots upwards, including womens football. The Bath City association offers a great opportunity for JOMA to forge a successful relationship with a club which offers both great traditions and a dedicated fan base. We hope to play our part in any future success the club will have and will focus our resources into making sure we supply the club and its fans with the best products available.” Joma is the official kit supplier to Spanish La Liga and double UEFA Cup Champions Sevilla FC as well as other La Liga and UEFA Cup contenders Getafe and Racing Santander. In the UK, JOMA also provides official team wear to Coca Cola Championship clubs Charlton Athletic and 2008 FA Cup finalists Cardiff City as well as Scottish Division 2 sides Queens Park and Arbroath.
For the successive season only one Blue Square South side will be relegated following the Football Conference AGM yesterday. Despite finishing in 21st position Dorchester Town will remain in the division as a knock-on effect of Nuneaton Borough going into liquidation. The Blue Square North club were demoted to the Southern League Midland division, meaning Redditch United were switched back to the Blue Square North allowing the Magpies to take their place. This follows Weston Super Mare being reprieved for the second season in a row after Cambridge City were thrown out over ground grading issues.
One further change to come from the Football Conference AGM is that next season’s Blue Square South play-off final will no longer be played at a neutral venue. This follows the shambolic events of the 2007-08 final where the venue was swicthed from Stevenage Borough’s Broadhall Way to Ebbsfleet United’s Stonebridge Road, only to then moved back to the original venue a couple of day’s before the match between Hampton & Richmond Borough and Eastbourne. Next season’s final will be played at the home of the highest placed finalist.
City have announced that SN Scaffolds, having supported the club by becoming the main shirt sponsor for the next two seasons, have decided the time is right to ‘back’ the City by offering a further sponsorship deal to have their name on the back of the players’ shirts as well as the front. Sean Noad, a partner in the firm has been helping to promote the Club by spreading the word to his many business contacts and said, “It is our ambition to help Bath City achieve place in the Conference Premier or maybe one day, the Football League.” Sean and Dave Gane, Bath City’s Commercial Executive, will work together in the coming months to develop new business relationships for the long-term benefit of the Club. Dave Gane said, “SN Scaffolds have shown their commitment to Bath City and we are pleased to have their backing.”
Just a day after looking like he would remain at Twerton Park for the 2008-09 season Adie Harris has joined up with Blue Square South rivals Newport County. The midfielder had turned down overtures from a number of clubs, including Wrexham, Havant & Waterlooville and Eastleigh, but following talks with the Exiles new manager Dean Holdsworth he has decided to switch to the Welsh club. Harris made 99 starts and 19 substitute appearances, scoring seven times, in his two spells with City.
Adie Harris looks set to sign a new contract with City despite interest from a number of other clubs. The latest club to join the hunt for the tough-tackling midfielder was non-league newcomers Wrexham, but the 27-year old turned down the offer due to the travelling involved to North Wales. Weston super Mare, Havant & Waterlooville, Eastleigh, Newport County and Bromley had all also expressed an interest in his services, but following talks with manager John Relish he seems set to put pen to paper in the next few days.
This was good news in a frustrating week for City as their hunt for new arrivals came up against the usual barrier – money. They had hoped to have at least two new faces on board by now, with talks reaching an advanced stage with a striker and midfielder from the same Blue Square Premier club. However, with the involvement of agents rife even at this level these days, City are finding themselves facing wage demands that they cannot afford.