The proposed allocation of clubs for the 2009-10 Blue Square South season has been announced by the FA. It contains no real surprises and sees City renew rivalries with a number of teams, including Woking, Weymouth and Dover Athletic. As expected the resignation of Team Bath has saved Thurrock from relegation despite their 20th place finish, giving City another long trip to Essex. The three sides coming down from the Blue Square Premier are Lewes, Weymouth and Woking who City have met on 166 occasions, although the Terras account for 151 of these games. Another regular opponent joining the Blue Square South is Ryman League champions Dover Athletic. City have faced the Whites 33 times, most recently the remarkable 3-3 draw in Kent in February 2004 when they came back from three goals down at half-time. That season also saw City’s one and only meeting with the final newcomer, Staines Town, a less than auspicious 1-0 FA Trophy defeat to the then Ryman League Division 1 side. Unusually there will be no clubs coming up from the Southern League, with both Corby Town and Gloucester City being placed into the Blue Square North.
Forward Darren Edwards has become the final player from last seasons squad to sign a new contract for the 2009-10 season. The search now begins to find two more strikers to join him and Stuart Douglas in City’s attacking department. With Dave Gilroy, City’s top scorer for the last two seasons, joining Blue Square South opponents Newport County, manager Adie Britton is looking to bring in two new front men to provide the firepower for the forthcoming campaign.
The proposed Step 1 to 4 league allocations for season 2009-10 season will be released tomorrow following the outcome of two Appeal Boards which take place today.
Bristol Rovers will return to their former home as the pick of the first batch of pre-season games announced by City. The Coca-Cola League 1 side will make the short journey to Twerton Park – where they played their home games for ten years between 1986 and 1996 – on Wednesday 22 July. City will begin their preparation for the 2009-10 season against Blue Square South play-off winners Hayes & Yeading United on Monday 13 July at Twerton before travelling to Swindon Supermarine four days later. They will also face a home match against Chippenham Town on Sunday 26 July and a game at Yate Town on Monday 3 August. Further games will be confirmed early next month.
The draw for the 2009-10 Somerset Premier Cup has given City an away tie with Southern League Bridgwater Town. The game will take place in the week commencing 5 October.
Over 400 players and parents attended Bath City Youth’s end of season presentation day at Twerton Park last Sunday. And guest of honour was City defender Matt Coupe as he handed out awards to managers’, players’ and parents’ player of the season trophies for each age group from under-7s to under-16s, as well as the most improved player awards. The event also saw coaching sessions on the Twerton Park pitch and football matches featuring all age ranges from under-fives through to dads. All players with the club are rewarded with free entry to Bath City FC home games and are now looking forward to competing in tournaments throughout the summer, with the title-winning under-11s heading to Holland this weekend to play in the Arnhem Cup.
Forest Green Rovers’ Ryan Robinson has been handed the job of replacing City legend Paul Evans between the Twerton Park posts. It is an unenviable task however Robinson certainly has the pedigree to succeed having begun his career with Blackburn Rovers and played for the England non-league team. He also had spells with Southend United, Morecambe and Southport before following former Shrimp boss Jim Harvey south to join Forest Green in January 2007. He soon established himself as no.1 choice at the Lawn, a place he retained until the second half of last season. The 26-year old was one of a large number of players released by Rovers at the end of the 2008-09 season.
City manager Adie Britton has brought in his first two summer signing with the arrivial of Sido Jombarti from Basingstoke Town and Forest Green Rovers goalkeeper Ryan Robinson (see above). Versatile Portuguese attacking midfielder Jombarti was voted the Basingstoke supporters’ player of the season for their 2008-09 campaign having played in almost every position on the pitch. The 21-year old previously played for Weymouth in the Blue Square Premier.
Jombarti will join up with a former Terras teammate after striker Stuart Douglas committed himself to City for the 2009-10 season.
City will have to wait another twelve days to discover who they will be lining up alongside in the 2009-10 Blue Square South. The FA leagues committee met today to decide the make-up of divisions for next season but, with a number of issues still unresloved, will not make their decisions public until May 26. Amongst these is King’s Lynn’s appeal to the FA over their demotion from the Blue Square North for failing to meet ground regulations. This decision will have a knock-on effect in the Blue Square South which could see either Worcester City or Braintree Town switching leagues. Blue Square Premier relegated trio Woking, Weymouth and Lewes shoud join promoted clubs Dover Athletic (Ryman), Staines Town (Ryman) and Gloucester City (Southern) in the Blue Square South, but it is possible the latter may go North. However, all this could be further complicated if Coca-Cola Football League 2 side Darlington fold after they failed to find a buyer to rescue the financially striken club this week.
Defender Martin Slocombe has become the tenth player to commit themselves to City for next season after he agreed a new contract this week.
Bath City Youth FC are holding their annual presentation day at Twerton Park on Sunday 16 May. The event will begin at 11.30am with presentations to all the squads from Under-7s to Under-16s. There will also be a BBQ, small sided games, penalty shoot-outs and face painting, plus from 12 noon Randall’s bar will be open. Admission is free to Bath City Youth Players, adults £2, including free raffle ticket and a Family ticket £5 (Mums Dads Grandparents Uncles etc). All new players are also welcome from 11am to meet the coaches and get involved in a taster training session and small sided games. For further details visit www.bathcityyouthfc.co.uk.
Sixty yellow and six red cards during their 2008-09 league campaign meant City missed out on a potential share of £5000 in the Football Conference Sportsmanship Award sponsored by Sports 360. This record left them in 14th place in the Blue Square South, with AFC Wimbledon, Basingstoke Town and Team Bath leading the way, earning £2,142.86, £1428.57 and £1428.57 repsectively as the only three clubs to stay in positive points under the competition’s scoring system. Down at the foot of the table were Dorchester Town, Bromley and Weston Super Mare, with Magpies amassing 84 cautions, exactly twice the number AFC Wimbledon received.
48-goal Larkhall Athletic striker Ben Highmore has been invited to join City for their pre-season campaign. The 23-year old’s goals helped the Bath-based side lift the Western League Division 1 title, and he will be given the opportunity to see whether he can make the big step up to Blue Square South football. Another player aiming to earn a contract with City for the 2009-10 season will be Ali Gibb. The experienced winger joined City last summer but a serious ankle injury picked up in a friendly at Melksham Town saw him make just two starts for the club and he will look to prove his fitness in this pre-season.
Hayes & Yeading United joined AFC Wimbledon in the Blue Square Premier with a 3-2 win at Hampton & Richmond Borough this evening in the Blue Square South play-off final.