Following the presentation by the Bath City Supporters Society regarding community ownership to its membership last week the major shareholders of Bath City Football Club have published the following statement:
Following the general meeting of the Supporters Society earlier this week, we the undersigned, as major shareholders, loan creditors, and long term supporters of the Club, wish to express our concern and disappointment at the timing of the proposal to pursue the idea of community ownership of the Club. We feel that although some of the views expressed at the meeting were interesting, the presentation considered the benefits without ample discussion of the risks involved in this model of ownership, or any mention of the level of football envisaged.
The Club is not in the dire financial straits of most clubs which adopt this model as a last resort, and unlike these clubs, it retains the ownership of the ground. This has been vital in the negotiations towards achieving a new stadium, which will provide the Club with a sustainable future, with maximum community involvement, and the completion of the aims outlined in the strategy document.
These negotiations would be delayed and therefore threatened if there is any uncertainty, both inside and outside of the Club, and we believe it is in the best interests of the Club to continue along a path which is well underway. It should be remembered that the Board of Directors is just over one year into the three year strategy, which was presented to, discussed and adopted by shareholders at last year’s AGM. To start a new process at this time, that is both lengthy and uncertain, would not only undermine this plan, but may even threaten the future of the Club.
We all helped to found the society, and having been actively involved from the outset in the campaign to provide the Society its voice and ensure Bath City became and remains a fan owned Club, we believe the Board should be given support to continue the work that has been undertaken to deliver the aims of the strategy document within the timescale agreed, and confirm our backing in this resolve. Anything else can be considered once that timescale has elapsed.
Bath City is delighted to announce two main sponsors for the upcoming season. Moore Stephens has recommitted to the club. Having done an initial sponsorship covering two and a half seasons, and working very closely with the club, they have decided to be shirt sponsor for both home and away kits 2013-14. Rob Branch, Moore Stephens marketing partner said “I must admit that I thought our run as main sponsors had come to an end in April but during the close season the club and ourselves have been talking about the upcoming season and what we would be doing by way of sponsorship and the conversations simply ended with us signing up to the full package again. The new signings and the retention of key players from last season shows real intent from the club to be battling it out at the top rather than the bottom of the table and we would like to be involved in what could be a very important year for the club both on and off the pitch.” Andy Weeks, Director of Operations said, “It wouldn’t be a home match without Rob, his family and colleagues supporting the Team. We are very grateful for all that they do for us, as sponsors, accountants, supporters…and friends.”
Mayday Trust are continuing their naming rights into next season having won the rights in a draw at the beginning of season 2012-13. Jim Arnold, chairman commented, “As a mad keen Bath City fan I was delighted when we won the competition, but I hadn’t entirely realised what a transformative deal it would be for the charity. The work Manda and her team did with our clients has enhanced their opportunities enormously, and we look forward to more collaborative volunteering and community work next season.” Chairman Manda Rigby commented, “We couldn’t wish for more supportive sponsors, and I am personally delighted that they share the Boards vision for the future and want to be part of it. Moore Stephens, I couldn’t recommend them highly enough as accountants in the Bath area, and urge all our fans who have a need for accountancy services to use them. Mayday Trust, it’s been a real pleasure working with you for community benefit, and I am delighted you want to stay with us.”
Andy Gallinagh has returned to Bath City after agreeing a deal for the 2013-14 season subject to paperwork. The versatile defender joined City on loan from Cheltenham Town in September 2011, returning to the Robins three months later. He was back in Bath in January 2012 where he spent the rest of the season, before being snapped up by Hereford United during the 2012 close season. He was a regular first team player during the first half of last season with the Bulls but missed some of the campaign through injury. Hereford finished a very creditable sixth. The 28-year old said, “I am very excited to be returning, and look forward to next season very much. I enjoyed our first [training] session, it feels very very positive, and they are a really good group of lads.”
A further five members of the 2012-13 squad have agreed terms to remain at Bath City for another year. With nearly 600 games in the black and white stripes between them, the famous five are Chris Allen, Joe Burnell, Adam Connolly, Josh Low and Sekani Simpson. Burnell said, “I’m looking forward to next season and excited by our prospects. Having played a season at this level, we have a better understanding of what is required for promotion. The squad is shaping well, with quality, depth and looks dynamic with some younger players.”
Simpson said, “I am looking forward to progressing this season from the strong end to last season.”, and Allen adding, “I’m really excited and optimistic about next season. I enjoyed last season and am looking forward to working with Arch and Adie again, and getting to know the new signings.” And Connolly said, “I’m really pleased to be staying, and am looking forward to the challenge of getting the club back into Conference Premier.”
Manager Lee Howells added, “I’m pleased with the new players we have added to squad, and we have a nice balance of youth and maturity for the coming season.”, with Director of Football Development Adie Britton saying, “Very pleased to have made agreement with the lads at a relatively early stage of pre-season allowing us to start training with a full complement of players, enhanced by some from the academy and development squad. The fact that all of last season’s squad wanted to stay is testament to them seeing another competitive side being built.” All deals are subject to paperwork.
City have added a fourth home pre-season match with a Bristol City XI side visiting Twerton Park on Monday 22 July (ko 7.45pm). City last faced the Robins during the 2011 close season, where a second half strike from former Ahston Gate legend Scott Murray was enough to secure a 1-0 victory. The Romans will also face Bristol Rovers (12/7), Plymouth Argyle (16/7) and Carmarthen Town (3/8) as they build up to to the start of the 2013-14 Conference South season on Saturday 17 August. Admission prices for the games will be announced shortly.
Season 2012-13 turned out to be a season of transition on the field of play for Bath City Football Club. We have seen a number of young players will great potential coming through to play first team football and this is a theme that we are sure will continue in the future. The likes of Noah Keats and Brad Norris have been funded by the Pledge during season 2012-13 and young goalkeeper Jason Mellor is another outstanding prospect, as is Danny Ball. The Pledge also helped fund other players in particular Sean Canham, on loan from Hereford, and Harry Hooman, who spent a month on loan from Cheltenham in the autumn. The Pledge raised just over £8000 and this was a great help to the management team as the club worked hard to ensure that we maintain Conference South football in Bath whilst operating with a small squad that have been stretched to the limit at times. The club is most appreciative for all the support it received.
It is now the challenge of all those associated with the Football Club to continue to compete at the highest level its budget will allow. This will not be easy but we are trying our very best to raise enough financial backing to give ourselves a good chance of developing the team, and this is where YOU can help. Our Pledge scheme encourages all those who can, to donate £10 a month, via a monthly standing order. You can donate more if you wish. All the money raised will again be ring fenced and be added to the playing budget for the season 2012-13. You can download a monthly standing order mandate here and your support would be greatly appreciated.
There will be a special page in the match day programme naming all those people/companies who have kindly contributed to the scheme, unless anonymity is requested. At the end of the season you will be invited to a special “thank-you” event that will take place with the players and management team. Alternatively, if you would like to make a one-off contribution towards the playing budget, then please make your cheque payable to Bath City Football Club Ltd Players Fund, and your contribution will be added to the ring fenced money. Your support in this scheme would be greatly appreciated as all those within the club try to build for a better future.
Now in its third year, Bath City’s development squad, based at the University of Bath, is looking forward to welcoming its new intake this year, to complement those 18-21 year olds already studying and playing football. This year, 15 new students will be joining, 90% of whom are coming direct from a league team and who will use the next three years to develop their physical strength and footballing skills, whilst getting an academic qualification. Typical amongst them is George Lavender from Watford who is a young talented player with some great attributes and has a real desire to improve and develop as a player.
Lee Smith, Head of Football, commented on his hopes for next year, “We are very pleased with the way the recruitment process has gone this year, the hard work seems to have paid off with a large group of talented players coming into the programme, this will strengthen the U21 squad. The initial aim for next year will be to have more players from the group closer to the first team.” The strategy of the club was laid out in its three year plan last July, and the development squad plays a crucial role in the on pitch progress. Adrian Britton, Director of Football, said, “We are focusing on youth and local talent. We are running on a small squad for the first team so it is vital we have players in the development squad capable of coming through to play in Conference South this season, and help us get promoted back to Conference Premier. The best of them will be training with the first team, and we are hopeful that, as Noah Keats did last season, we will find a couple of players with the attributes to contribute to the team this season.”
The ongoing work of the development squad would not be possible without the very kind sponsorship of Julia Adamson and David Stoyle, in memory of Julia’s aunt Olive Wright, and all connected with Bath City are very grateful. The money is a donation from the will of the late Olive Wright who died on 7th June 2012. Olive was the husband of the late Professor Esmond Wright who was a professor of history, a media personality and a MP for Glasgow in 1967. Olive and Esmond were the Aunt and Uncle of Julia Adamson. When Olive died the beneficiaries of the will wished to give a proportion of the legacy to supporting charitable and educational causes. David Stoyle said, “I am very pleased to be able to sponsor talented young players with a programme which enables them to follow their dreams whilst ensuring that they have an academic qualification for the rest of their lives. We will watch with interest the progress of those who do make it in football, and know that those who don’t will not have regrets about not trying, and will have a basis on which to lead a productive life outside of playing the game they love.”
With the first pre-season friendly just over four weeks away, City have confirmed the re-signing of one of their stand out players from last season plus another new arrival to Twerton Park. Joining the club from Conference South rivals Eastbourne Borough is midfielder Ben Adelsbury. The 22-year old spent two and half seasons with Salisbury City, having begun his career with Plymouth Argyle and Swansea City, before joining Truro City last summer. The Cornish side’s financial problems saw him switch to Eastbourne in September 2012. Ben said, “I have played against Bath City twice in the last two years, once in a pre-season game when I was with Salisbury City and, last season, when I was at Eastbourne. Both times I was impressed by them as they played football the way it should be played. Another factor in me signing is the plan for the future of the club that Adie Britton explained to me. I am really looking forward to joining up with the team and making the forthcoming season a positive one.” Director of Football Development Adie Britton added, “We tried to sign Ben originally three years ago when Salisbury had been relegated. He is a versatile player with the strength and stature we sometimes missed. And at 22 he has a good future in front of him and will be an excellent addition to the squad.”
The player re-signing for the Romans is defender Dan Ball. The 21-year old joined City following his release from Bristol City last summer and produced a series of impressive performances, particularly during the second half of the season when he secured a regular starting XI place. Adie Britton commented on his new deal, “I am particularly pleased Dan has re-signed, he is in the right age group with a good attitude and has improved hugely in the last 12 months. I am sure that the team will benefit further from that in the coming season.” Dan further commented, “I am delighted to have re-signed for Bath City for the upcoming year. I aim to carry my form from last season into the new campaign and help push the team up the table. I want to repay the faith Arch and Adie have shown in me.”
For the second time in three seasons City lifted the Fair Play award at the Football Conference AGM on Saturday. City picked up just 53 yellow cards and no red cards during the course of their 2012-13 Conference South campaign. This record meant not a single City player missed a game due to suspension, a remarkable effort of which the club can be rightfully proud. The full list of awards are:
Blue Square Bet South Programme of the Year: Chelmsford City FC
Blue Square Bet South Fair Play Award: Bath City FC
Blue Square Bet South Respect Award: Sutton United FC
Blue Square Bet South Community Club of the Year: Havant & Waterlooville FC
Blue Square Bet South Golden Boot: Jamie White (Salisbury City) & Ollie Palmer – 25 Goals
Blue Square Bet South Player of the Year: Ollie Palmer (Havant & Waterlooville)
Blue Square Bet South Manager of the Year: Jamie Day (Welling United)
Football Conference Goal of the Season: Matthew Barnes-Homer (Macclesfield Town)
Blue Square Bet South Play-Off Winners: Salisbury City FC
Blue Square Bet South Champions: Welling United FC
City supporters Kirstie Morgan, Chris Reed and Dan Tanner are to undertake the 3 Peaks Challenge to raise money for the club plus two charities, Multiple Sclerosis Trust and the British Lung Foundation. The 3 Peaks Challenge entails climbing Britain’s three mainland mountains; Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike over a short period of time. They will be completing the challenge over three days between July 27th to 30th July. For full details on how you can sponsor the intrepid trio click here.
Plymouth Argyle have been confirmed as the second Football League opposition City will face at Twerton Park ahead of the 2013-14 season. The Pilgrims will travel up from Devon on Tuesday 16 July (ko 7.45pm), four days after City face fellow League 2 side Bristol Rovers. Also heading to Bath, on Saturday 3 August (ko 3pm), are Welsh Premier League side Carmarthen Town. Further matches, including a trip to Devon, will confirmed shortly. The 2013-14 Conference South season begins on Saturday 17 August.