City have added another two players to their 2006-07 squad, one a new arrival and one a familiar face. The new arrival is versatile ex-Southampton Academy player Mike Green. The 21-year old spent most of last season at Cinderford Town following spells with Forest Green Rovers and Chippenham Town. He is mainly a right-sided defender but can also play on the left and in midfield. Fourteen years his senior is Steve Jones and he has also agreed to a new one-year deal. Jones has made 121 appearances for City since signing in October 2003 and means City have secured the services of all four defenders who were the basis of last season’s second best Southern League defence.
City’s 2005-06 player of the season Gethin Jones has signed a new one-year contract. The 24-year old put pen to paper on the deal after helping the Welsh side to Four Nation Tournament success at the weekend. Jones joins Matt Coupe, with whom he formed an excellent centre-back partnership last season, Jim Rollo, Phil Walsh, Chris Holland and Craig Davidge, plus new signings Mark McKeever and Lewis Hogg, in committing themselves to City for the forthcoming season.
John Relish, plus Adie Harris, Matt Coupe and Gethin Jones, brought their season to a successful end as they helped Wales win the 2006 Four Nations Tournament. It was the Welsh side’s second victory in three years, and signals Relish last match as assistant manager, due to a fall out with the Welsh FA. The side, captained by City’s player of the year Jones, beat Ireland 3-0 on Saturday which, after England could only beat Scotland by two goals to nil, was enough to win the competition on goal difference. Thanks to Mark Stillman for the photos, after he, Martin ‘Pinky’ Powell and Phil Weaver travelled up to Sussex to cheer on the City stars.
Another person connected with City also celebrating over the weekend was Ken Loach after his film, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, won the top prize at the Cannes film festival, the Palme d’Or. The 69-year old film director is a regular follower of City both home and away and served on the club’s board between 1998 and 2001. The controversial film about Ireland’s struggle for independence features 28 Days Later star Cillian Murphy, and will get it first UK showing at Bath’s Little Theatre on Wednesday 14 June with all proceeds going to Bath City. Full details to follow.
City manager John Relish has confirmed that winger Alex Sykes is the first of at least three members of last season’s squad to be released. The 32-year old former Forest Green Rovers players missed large chunks of last season through injury but made 54 appearances, scoring 13 goals, in total having joined City in September 2004, after a brief loan spell at Twerton Park 12 months earlier. Assistant manager Adie Britten confirmed that at least two more players will be released and their names will be annonuced in due course.
City’s pre-season friendly against Bristol Rovers at Twerton Park has been brought forward to Saturday 15 July (ko 3pm) and should feature a full strength Pirates line-up.
A 79th minute penalty by Dagenham and Redbridge’s Chris Moore gave City’s strongly influenced Wales semi-professional side a 1-1 draw against their English counterparts yesterday. The draw keeps them level at the top of the table with England and in with a great chance of winning the Four Nations Tournament. They face Ireland in their final game on Saturday whilst England meet Scotland.
City’s successful youth team has finished runners-up in the South West Counties Youth League. Whilst they just failed to defend the title they won in 2004-05, finishing three points behind winners Newport County, it represents another excellent season for the side managed by Ali Belcher and Nigel Ashworth. Top scorer Kane Ingram was named the side’s players’ player of the year and Tom Parsons the managers player of the year. Ingram, who scored 26 goals during the campaign, and Parsons, plus Adam Shackell and Theo Sellasi will all join the first team for pre-season training with a view to making the step up to Southern League football.
One game next season they could all feature in is the Somerset Premier Cup 2nd Round meeting with Taunton Town. City were drawn against the holders and will face them at Twerton Park sometime between 13-27 November.
Gethin Jones, Matt Coupe and Adie Harris all played their part in getting Wales off to a winning start yesterday in the 2006 Four Nations tournament at Bognor Regis’ Nyewood Lane ground. Coupe and Jones both started the 2-1 victory over Scotland – the former being substitued after 69 minutes, one minute before Scotland scored – and Harris came on 13 minutes from time. The Welsh side, assistant managed by City boss John Relish, face holders England next at Eastbourne on Thursday.
City have signed midfielder Lewis Hogg from Conference South side Weston in their second move of the summer. The arrival of the 23-year old completes a double raid on the Seasiders, having signed Mark McKeever last week, but it is still a shock that the former Bristol Rovers captain has choosen to drop to the Southern League. He made over 100 appearances for Rovers having played for the Pirates since joining them as a trainee in 1999.
City boss John Relish has completed his first new signing of the summer with the capture of experienced left-sided midfielder Mark McKeever. The Irish born 27-year old has played for Norwich City, Peterborough United and Sheffield Wednesday, plus loan spells with Bristol Rovers and Reading, before dropping into non-league football with Weston Super Mare in 2003. He joined Southern League rivals Gloucester City in March 2006 and looks to be a direct replacement for Bristol Rovers bound Andy Sandell.
Despite interest from a number of other clubs defensive pairing Matt Coupe and Chris Holland have both signed one-year deals to remain with City for the 2006-07 season. Coupe, who missed just two games last season, had attracted interest from Conference South side Weston Super Mare and Chippenham Town. Holland, in contrast, made just eight starts and spent loans periods at Weston and Gloucester City, with the latter particularly keen on retaining his services due to the major part he played in saving them from relegation.
As expected City’s star winger Andy Sandell has completed his dream move into League football by signing a two-year deal with Bristol Rovers. The 22-year old passed a medical this afternoon and put pen to paper on the move that completes a meteoric rise from the Southern League Western Division to Coca-Cola League 2 in less than a year. The Pirates are believed to have paid in the region of £5000 for Sandell’s services, with various sell-on clauses, although his former club Paulton Rovers are entitled to 50% of any profit City made over the £1500 they originally paid for him.
City fans looking to watch their club’s assault on the Southern League Premier Division title next season will have to pay slightly more for the privilege with the announcement of the first admission price increase for three seasons. A place on the Twerton Park terraces will cost £8 (concessions £5/£3.50) and a seat in the stand £9.50 (concessions £6.50/£4.50). The club has also confirmed season ticket prices plus details of the new Junior Stripes package.
A season ticket entitles the holder to entry to the 21 league games plus all friendlies and the Junior Stripes package will include a Bath City football and a meet the players and stadium tour. For further details on either deal contact the club on 01225 423087.
The teams that will stand in the way of City’s attempt to go one better than their second place finish last season have been confirmed after the FA released the make-up of the National League “pyramid” at Steps 1 to 4 for season 2006/2007. They will face six new teams, Clevedon Town, Corby Town, Stamford and Hemel Hempstead Town, all promoted from the Eastern and Western Divisions, plus Maidenhead United, relegated from the Conference South, and Wealdstone, switched from the Ryman League. The full list is:
The changes will see a slight increase in City’s travelling next season, rising from 1704.9 miles during the 05-06 campaign to 1788.7 miles next season. Yay, more time on the coaches with the York’s!!
City captain Jim Rollo has become the third player to committ himself to Twerton Park for the 2006-07 season signing a new one-year deal. The former Walsall and Cardiff City player is City’s longest serving current star, having made 199 appearances, scoring 8 times, since joining in the summer of 2002, following two brief loan spells with he club during the 1990’s. He joins Craig Davidge and Phil Walsh in signing new deals.
The players jetted off yesterday for an end of season holiday to Marbella.
Andy Sandell should be a Bristol Rovers player by this time next week following talks between the winger and the Coca-Cola League 2 side yesterday. The official Rovers website has confirmed that the former Paulton Rovers will become their first signing of the summer. The 22-year old only joined City in the summer of 2005 but immediately put in a series of impressive performances that brought him to the attention of several league clubs. A move to Swansea City was on the cards at Christmas only for an ankle injury to end Sandell’s hopes of joining the Swans.
City striker Phil Walsh has put pen to paper on a one-year deal and fellow frontman Scott Partridge looks set to follow suit. Walsh, who scored 12 goals during his first season at Twerton Park, becomes the 2nd City player to commit himself to the club for the 2006-07 season, following Craig Davidge who signed five weeks ago. There had been some speculation that Partridge may be on his way from Twerton after he came to the end of his 30 month contract last week but he has made clear his desire to remain with City and is holding talks with manager John Relish today. The widely travelled striker joined City in January 2004 from Weymouth and has now scored 57 goals in just 109 appearances.
City’s play-off conquerors Bedford Town secured their place in the Conference South on Monday with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Chippenham Town. The Eagles raced into a 2-0 lead only for the Bluebirds to peg them back with a dubious penalty and lucky 2nd goal. However, with just a minute left the 20-yard screamer secured promotion for Bedford. It was the 2nd successive season that Chippenham has stumbled at the final play-off hurdle.
City’s build-up to the 2006-07 season will include a visit from League 2 side Bristol Rovers. The clubs will meet at Twerton Park on Saturday 29 July (ko 3pm).
The inaugural match between Bath City Forum XI and Bristol Rovers Forum XI was marred shortly after the hour mark when a serious neck injury to City’s Mark Scott, caused the game to be abandoned. Both teams started brightly with chances at either end before Bristol Rovers took the lead with a well take goal by David White. Chris Wakins increased the visitors lead shortly after, before Paul Hill deservedly pulled one back for City. Shortly before the break, John Freegard equalised with a fine effort to send both sides into the interval on level terms. Rovers began the second period in determined fashion and were unlucky on a couple of occasions not to take the lead with efforts rebounding off the post and crossbar. On 62 minutes, Rovers pressure eventually told when David White restored their lead. In the build up to the goal however, City’s defender Mark Scott, suffered an injury, which sadly brought the evening’s proceedings to a premature end. Thankfully, Mark has now been discharged from hospital and is on the road to recovery. The match, enjoyed by a sizeable crowd, is likely to become an annual fixture with both sides playing the match in the right spirit and joining forces to raise money for both Bath City Supporters Club and the Childrens Hospice South West – the official charity of the Great Bristol Fans Derby 2006. A DVD (including commentary) and photos from the match together with the presentations will be available shortly – prices of which have yet to be confirmed. (Thanks to Andy Weeks for the report)
Gethin Jones, Matt Coupe and Adie Harris have all been selected for the Welsh squad to take part in this summers four nation tournament. Both Coupe and Jones (then a Merthyr player) featured in the 2005 competition in which Wales came 3rd. This years tournament takes place in Sussex between 23 and 27 May. In addition to the three players, City boss John Relish is assistant manager to his former colleague at Merthyr Andy Beattie.
A 4th minute header by Bedford Town’s Rene Howe condemed City to another season of Southern League football at Twerton Park this afternoon. A mistake by Jon Holloway led to the free-kick that allowed an unmarked Howe to head past Justin Shuttlewood and send the Eagles into the Southern League play-off final against Chippenham Town on Saturday. It took City a while to recover from this early setback and the visitors wasted several chances to increase their lead. However, after the interval City began to push Bedford back and appeared to have got a deserved equaliser with 15 minutes left when keeper Brown fumbled a high ball in the box which Scott Partridge fired home. His celebrations were brought to an abrupt halt due to an offside (probably correct) flag. In stoppage time it was again Partridge who came desperately close to levelling but his close range effort was somehow blocked by Brown, the ball spinning inches wide of the post, and with it City’s promotion dreams died for another season.