City have earned a rare lead story in this week’s Bath Chronicle as the long running saga of the club’s future at Twerton Park is once again front page news. Manager and acting chairman Adie Britton has made it clear that if the club is to progress on the field it will need to decide by the end of the forthcoming season whether to build a new ground or redevelop its existing one. With a possible decision on Bath Rugby club’s future at the Recreation Ground due next month talks over a ground sharing arrangement are still on the table but alternative options such as selling off part of Twerton Park for low-cost housing or student accommodation and redveloping the stadium are also being considered. The last time plans went beyond the discussion stage was ten years ago when a potential move to the old Stothert and Pitt sports ground on Lower Bristol Road was rejected by shareholders.
Midfielder Alex Russell could make a suprise return to Twerton Park after joining up with the squad as they return to training this week. The vastly experienced 38-year old made 15 impressive appearances, scoring four times, for City last season before returning to league football with Yeovil Town in January 2011. However, he made just two starts for the perennial League 1 strugglers and turned down the offer of a new contract for the 2011-12 season. With a possible coaching opportunity with Bristol City on the table he will look to combine this role whilst continuing his playing career with City.
In a tie up with the Utility Warehouse, City are giving supporters (and their family and friends) the opportunity to save money on their utility bills whilst raising money for the club at the same time. By signing up for one or more of gas, electricity, home telephone, broadband and mobile phone you can provide City with a much needed income stream. So, every time you boil a kettle, turn on the computer, or text a mate you will be doing it cheaply, and adding to Adie Britton’s budget. For further details visit www.utilitywarehouse.co.uk or contact Communications and Enterprise Manager Ned Vaught on 07969 794568.
City have signed goalkeeper Jason Matthews as they continue to assemble their squad for the 2011-12 season. The Paulton-born 36-year-old has been a regular City opponent during the last ten years having played over 350 games for Weymouth and Eastleigh. His arrival will see City have genuine competition for the no.1 shirt having brought in Glyn Garner from Newport County last month.
City have added a further date to their pre-season campaign, which will now begin at Southern League Division 1 side Bishops Cleeve on Monday 4 July (ko 7.30pm).
City’s on and off the field position was outlined last night as manager, and acting chairman, Adie Britton hosted a Meet the Manager event at Twerton Park. Along with his assistant Lee Howells, Director of Football Andrew Jones and new physio Lee Williams, he covered a number of areas during the two-hour meeting. As initially revealed in Sunday’s Non-League Paper it was confirmed that the club lost around £70,000 during their first season back in non-league’s top flight but this was put into context that all bar two or three Conference clubs made a loss last season, with the majority recording a much bigger deficit. Other subjects discussed included the search for a new permament chairman, the size of next season’s squad, the future of the bars at the ground and potential new sponsorship areas, including the possible renaming of Twerton Park should a suitable offer be made for that honour.
The meeting also saw a presentation by Communications and Enterprise Manager Ned Vaught about an exciting new fund raising scheme in partnership with The Utility Warehouse. In a tie-up that not only raises much-needed funds for the club but at the same saves supporters money on their utility bills. For further details contact Ned at the club on 01225 423087 or email@example.com.
As City were lifting the Blue Square Bet Premier Fair Play award yesterday the Football Conference were showing they pay little more than lip service to the FA’s Respect initative. City’s total of just 45 bookings and two red card during the 46 league games last season saw the club well clear of nearest challengers, AFC Wimbledon (57 yellow, 2 red) and Gateshead (58, 4). Remarkably no City player picked up a suspension for cautions, with only Lewis Hogg and Luke Ruddick missing games for disciplinary reasons during the 2010-11 campaign.
However, at the same time as City were earning this accolade the title of Manager of the Year was being handed to Crawley Town’s Steve Evans. Whilst the success of his team could not be disputed (viewed with jealousy or contempt, though, depending on your opinion), his utter lack of respect for officials and opponents from the touchline would appear to be in complete contradiction to the FA’s Respect campaign. However, clearly the Football Conference place a greater emphasis on success than behaviour, making their decision in this category accordingly.
Rushden & Diamonds have been kicked out of the Football Conference following today’s AGM handing a reprieve to Southport, who will retain their Blue Square Bet Premier place despite finishing in 20th place last season. The troubled Northamptonshire club, who face a winding-up order next week, are thought to be over £750K in debt and failed to convince the Conference board that they had the means to survive the forthcoming season. Should Rushden avoid going being wound up they will hope to secure a place in the Southern League which will see them back where it all began for the club 19 years ago.
Danny Webb has become the latest City player to sign for the 2011-12 season.
City have announced a new hospitality facility at Twerton Park for next season: The TR Hayes Premier Lounge. It will be located in the Main Stand upstairs bar which will be fully refurbished during the summer. TR Hayes Premier Lounge Membership will cost £450 for the 2011-12 season and be limited to 50 members on a first come first served basis. Existing season ticket holders can upgrade by paying the difference and all members will enjoy the following benefits:
A familiar face will be missing from City’s bench next season after long-serving physio Dave Lukins announced he will be stepping down from the role. He has spent nearly ten years attending to City players on and off the field, serving under three managers, and fittingly in his final season he was on the touchline when City twice faced his first footballing love, Wrexham FC. Taking over the position will be former Paulton Rovers physio Lee Williams.
City will be holding a close season ‘Meet the Manager (and acting chairman)’ on Wednesday 22 June. This will be followed by a short presentation on a new revenue rasing venture which the club hope all supporters will be able to take part in.
Adie Harris will be playing in the Europa League next season after he brought his third spell at Twerton Park to an end and joined Welsh Premier League side Neath. The 30-year old midfielder had been offered a non-contract deal if he could prove his fitness during pre-season, having missed much of the second half of the 2010-11 campaign with a hamstring injury, but opted to return to his native Wales with the Eagles. In total he played 161 times for City, scoring eight times, the final of these a stunning long range strike against York City back in August 2010, and his battling qualities made him a firm fans favourite at Twerton Park.