City midfielder Yan Klukowski could be on his way to the United States after being offered two four-year football scholarships. The 18-year old, who also had trials with Coca-Cola League sides Reading and Northampton, attracted interest from Connecticut University in New England and Fairfield University in Connecticut during his England Schoolboy outings, where he captained the side. Yan is currently revising for his A Levels but will have to make a decision on the move by the end of next week.
Amongst the usual suspects (Bodin, White, Perrin, Gregan, Saunders, Pridham) two more unlikely candidates have surfaced in the battle to replace Gary Owers in the City hot-seat. The first is City’s record appearance holder Dave Mogg who confirmed he has applied for the job. The keeper played 519 games in two spells at Twerton Park covering 15 years and has been assistant manager with Weston Super Mare, Clevedon Town and Taunton Town. The second name to be linked with the post is ex-Merthyr Tydfil boss John Relish. The former Newport County player and manager took the Martyrs to the Southern League play-offs last season but resigned following their defeat to eventual winners Hednesford Town.
In news that was rather overshadowed by Gary Owers’ move to Forest Green Rovers, City captain Bobby Ford has signed a new one-year contract. This leaves Paul Evans, Graeme Power, Steve Jones, Yan Klukowski and Chris Holland still to agree to new terms, although there must be a strong possibilty that Owers will look to take several of these players to Forest Green, in particular keeper Evans and centre-back Holland.
City will have to search for a new boss after the surprise news that Gary Owers has been named the new manager at Conference North side Forest Green Rovers. The Gloucestershire-based club were relegated from the Conference last season and had been searching for a replacement for Alan Lewer for several weeks but there had been no indication that Owers was amongst their targets. However, it appears Rovers had approached Owers – who joined City from the Lawn back in November 2003 – and despite City’s attempt to persuade him to remain at Twerton Park he requested a move and was released from his contract.
Supporters buying a season ticket for the 2005-06 before 10 June will receive a discount on the price. An adult terrace ticket will cost £142.50 but before 10 June you can get one for just £135.00, saving you £7.50. Similarly, an adult stand ticket purchased before the cut-off date will be £162.00 instead of £171.00. To download the full prices click here and to download an application form click here.
Last season’s top scorer and website player of the year John Williams has completed a move to Conference North side Redditch United. The 37-year old was offered a new deal to remain with City but has choosen to join a club nearer to his Birmingham home. Willow, who became a firm fans favourite following a shakey start, scored 19 goals in 43 starts for City and will be best remembered for his hat-trick against Chippenham Town in the 4-2 victory. Unfortunately, his time with City ended on a stretcher after he was carried from the pitch after a clash of heads in scoring against Solihull Borough. He suffered severe concussion and a perforated eardrum in the incident, and is still suffering problems due to the injury, but all City fans will wish him a full recovery and hope he is a success with Redditch.
The line-up for next season’s Southern League Premier Division has been confirmed by the FA Leagues Committee, with just one change from the original list. The demise of Conference South Hornchurch (they have rightly been demoted to the Essex Senior League) has handed a reprieve to Maidenhead United, with Cheshunt filling the gap. Appeals from Northwood and Salisbury City to remain in the Ryman League were rejected.
Two victories in as many days saw City’s youth team secure the South West Counties Youth League title. Having beaten Filton College Academy 4-2 on Thursday night, thanks to a Flower hat-trick and a goal from Yan Klukowski, they went into last nights game against Aldershot Town needing just a point. However, two first half goals set them on their way and a further goal in the second period put them 3-0 up. The visitors pulled a goal back late on but it could not deny the team a deserved victory. Congratulations to all concerned with the youth set-up, in particular the management team of Ali Belcher and Nigel Ashworth.
City striker Scott Partridge will be a VIP guest at tomorrow’s FA Final between Arsenal and Manchester United courtesy of his player of the round performance against Brockenhurst back in October. He joins the other ten winners who will be honoured at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff with a half-time introduction to the crowd. In addition to this his hat-trick against the Badgers won him a £1000 worth of UMBRO kit and equipment. This was shared between Hannah More Infant School in Nailsea, where Partridge’s daughter attends, and Bath Arsenal Junior Football Club.
The draw for the 2005-06 Somerset Premier Cup has paired City with fellow Southern League side Paulton Rovers. The 1st round match will take place at Winterfield Road during the week commencing October 3. If City win they will face another away match at either Bishop Sutton or Backwell in the 2nd Round.
City’s current vice-chairman Geoff Todd has been confirmed as Steve Hall’s successor in the top seat at Twerton Park. The lifelong City fan takes over from Hall, who announced that he was to step down at the end of the season following seven years as chairman. The Bath born 53-year old, who owns television production company BVC (Bath) Ltd, has spent the last four years as vice chairman and was instrumental in the buy back of the club in 2003. He was also the mystery benefactor who pumped £25,000 into the club to boost City’s ultimately unsuccessful push for promotion back to the Conference during the 1999-2000 season.
Player of the year Jim Rollo has committed himself to City for next season after putting his signature to a new deal. The right-back, who made his 150th City outing in the final match of the season against Aylesbury United, is joined by young striker Ricky Hulbert in signing a one-year deal. Bobby Ford, Paul Evans, Graeme Power, Steve Jones, Chris Holland, Yan Klukowski and John Williams have all been offered new deals and boss Gary Owers hopes to have them all signed up by the end of the month.
One player who doesn’t look like he will return to Twerton Park is winger Owen Story. The former Team Bath player joined from Torquay United in April 2005 and featured in City’s final five games of the season but has been unable to committ himself to City due to living in Leicester.
For the 3rd successive season City’s matchday programme has been named the Southern League’s best in the annual Wirral Programme Survey. Despite a change in editor, Phil Weaver taking over from Chris Stillman, the publication repeated it success in 2002-03 and 2003-04 to win the Southern League Premier Division and overall Southern League award, beating Gloucester City into second place and East Division Arlesey Town into third. In the overall standings City were placed ninth behind winners Exeter City.
The line-up for next seasons Southern League Premier Division was announced by the FA today and it represents a reduction in travelling for City of over 20%. Although they will be disappointed to see that King’s Lynn and Grantham Town remain in the league, making a mockery of the title Southern, the arrival of local sides such as Mangotsfield United, Yate Town and Salisbury City mean that the distance City will be on the road falls from 2158.2 to 1704.9 miles. The set-up has to be ratified by the Leagues Committee who meet on May 19, with a possible appeal by Northwood over their switch from the Ryman League. The full line up is:
Matt Coupe has once again been named in the Wales semi-professional squad that will take part in this summers Four Nations competition taking place in Ireland. The defender was part of the Welsh side that won the compeition twelve months ago, playing in the victories over England and Ireland, and despite a season affected by a back injury he has retained his place in the squad. The tournament begins on May 24 when Wales take on Scotland.
City’s five out of five clean sheets in April has earned them the Hereward Sports Team Wear & Trophies Safe Hands Awards for the month. In total City have gone 626 minutes without conceding a goal since Chippenham Town scored their 2nd in the fourth minute of the match on March 25. During this shutout period City themselves have scored 13 goals, including four against the play-off losers, although they would have needed a further four to have earned a play-off place themselves.
Russell Milton, Jimmy Benefield and Darren Hawkins have all been released as City boss Gary Owers begins his planning for another season in the Southern League. 36-year old Milton is perhaps the surprise inclusion of the trio, having been Owers assistant for the closing months of last season. During his two years with City he made 51 outings, ten from the bench, scoring three goals. However, the former Arsenal and Cheltenham Town player will best be remembered for the injury he suffered when celebrating a goal against Weston Super Mare in just his second game. The release of Benefield and Hawkins is less of a shock as neither has been able to earn a starting place during the latter stages of the season. Ex-Torquay star Benefield – nicknamed Frodo by City fans due to his hobbit-like hairstyle – played 40 games and scored 7 goals. Hawkins, who signed for City in January 2005 having already spent three loan periods at Twerton Park, made 49 appearances with 14 goals.
One further player who looks to have played his last game for City is Mike Trought. The defender has spent three injury-plagued seasons at Twerton Park having signed from Bristol Rovers in the summer of 2002. He missed the last three and a half months of last season with a knee injury and requires further surgery on the problem but Owers has offered him the chance to prove his fitness during the close season.
The Southern League play-off final was won by Hednesford Town this afternoon as a single goal was enough to beat Chippenham Town at Hardenhuish Park.
For the first time the website player of the season poll has produced a different winner to the supporters vote. Jim Rollo, winner in the supporters club run vote, was runner-up to top scorer John Williams. The 19-goal hitman, currently recovering from a perforated eardrum received in City’s penultimate game at Solihull Borough, received 47 votes with Rollo netting 25. In third place was keeper Paul Evans with 14 votes.
The play-off semi finals, that City so narrowly missed out on being part of, took place yesterday and both games were decided in a penalty shoot-out. At Penydarren Park Merthyr Tydfil and Hednesford Town shared a goal each before the Pitman secured a final spot with a 5-3 spot kick victory. The other match between Chippenham Town and Bedford Town finished 1-1 after normal time but looked to heading to the visitors when they took the lead early in extra time and held it until deep in stoppage time. However, the Bluebirds drew level and won the shoot-out courtesy of a single miss by the Eagles. Chippenham now meet Hednesford for a place in the Conference South/North on Saturday at Hardenhuish Park.
The annual supporters match took place at Twerton Park this afternoon between sides representing the official away travel group First Pink Bus and it’s independent rival Welch Travel. And it was the former, managed superbly by Martin ‘Pinky’ Powell, who ran out 12-2 winners, with some of the best football seen on the hallowed turf this season. In front of a Team Bath size crowd there was little sign of the rout to come as the sides shared four goals in the opening 20 minutes. From then on it was all First Pink Bus as Welch Travel, with their manager Mike Welch absent (maybe banned from the touchline), were torn apart time and again. A 5-2 half time lead was turned into a 12-2 final score, with the goals scored by Paul Hill (3), Paul Eastwood (3), Anthony Mullins (2), Simon Howe (2), Fraser Colebrook (pen) and Mark Stillman. Welch Travel finished the game with just eight men as Kevin Platt, Mark Platt and Mark Edwards were all sent off by referee Rob Parkhouse.
City missed out on the end of season play-offs by the narrowest margin yesterday despite beating Aylesbury United by two goals to nil they finished in sixth position with just goal difference separating them from fifth placed Bedford Town. For much of the afternoon it looked as if first half goals from Scott Partridge and Bobby Ford would be enough to secure a play-off spot as Halesowen trailed to Team Bath, Tiverton were being held by King’s Lynn and Hednesford and Merthyr were both struggling to overcome already relegated opposition. Only Bedford were leading against Grantham but this all changed in the closing stages of the games. First Merthyr went ahead against Solihull and then Hednesford scored twice in the final 11 minutes to beat Dunstable, leaving City’s play-off hopes in tatters. The Aylesbury match itself had seen City dominate and the result was never in doubt once Partridge had curled home a shot after 34 minutes. Two minutes later it was 2-0 when Ford’s stunning 50-yard shot flew over badly positioned keeper Rashid to register his first City goal in 59 appearances. They could even afford a missed penalty in the 2nd half, Rashid producing a great double block to deny Partridge, but in the end it was all in vain as results began to filter in from around the country.
Bedford Town, Hednesford Town and Merthyr Tydfil were joined in the play-offs by Chippenham Town after they lost the title decider match at Histon Town.
City right-back, and occasional midfielder, Jim Rollo was named supporters player of the season before yesterday match against Alyesbury United. The popular former Walsall and Cardiff City player, who made his 150th City outing in the match, also won the players player of the year award. The supporter of the year prize, now named after long-time City fan Dennis Hibberd who sadly died during the season, was awarded jointly to Martin ‘Bas’ Brush and Martin ‘Pinky’ Powell. There were further awards made to Martin Paul, for his 100th City goal against Solihull Borough last week, and Bath Chronicle reporter James Pearce, who covered his final City game yesterday before heading off to Liverpool.