Bath City F.C.

Bath City Football Club is a semi-professional association football club based in Bath, Somerset, England. Formed in 1889 as Bath AFC, the club is affiliated to the Somerset FA and currently compete in the National League South, English football's sixth tier.

Bath City
Bath City logo
Full nameBath City Football Club
Nickname(s)The Romans, The Stripes
Founded1889; 132 years ago (1889) (as Bath AFC)
GroundTwerton Park
Capacity3,528 (1,006 seated)[1]
ChairmanNick Blofeld
ManagerJerry Gill
LeagueNational League South
2020–21National League South (season curtailed)
WebsiteClub website

They play their home matches at Twerton Park, wear black and white striped shirts, black shorts, and white socks and are traditionally called "The Romans" or ‘The Stripes". Their current manager is former player Jerry Gill.

Bath City's history is entirely in non-league football, missing out on election to the Football League by a few votes in 1978 and again in 1985.[2] The club have a good history with the FA Cup, reaching the Third Round no less than six times, and have beaten league sides including Crystal Palace (in 1931), Cardiff City and Millwall.[3]

HistoryEdit

In 1889 Bath City were formed as Bath AFC and began to play at the Belvoir ground. In 1908 they commenced playing competitive league format football, joining the Western League Division Two. For the 1921–22 season they moved up to Southern League, English section. Here they remained until the Second World War when they were by chance accepted to join the temporary Division Two Northern Division competing with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton, finishing the eventual champions, thereby becoming the only semi-professional side ever to win a Football League trophy. After the War they were forced to resume playing in the Southern League which they won in the 1959–60 season. A year later they were runners up in the same league.

Over the next thirteen years they were three times relegated into and again promoted from the Southern League Division one. In the 1977–78 season they won the Southern League title for a second time. For the next season they fell short of election to the Football League by a narrow margin [1] so they became founder members of the Alliance Premier League, now the Conference National. They finished runners-up at this level in 1985 but champions Wealdstone did not meet Football League stadium capacity requirements, so Bath City were allowed to apply for election to the Football League Fourth Division (the election system was in its penultimate season before the introduction of automatic promotion and relegation). They narrowly missed out on election to the Football League.

In 1989 however they were relegated back to the Southern League but were promoted back next season. Here they remained until they were relegated once more to the Southern League in 1997.

They narrowly missed out on promotion to the Conference South in the season 2005–06 season finishing second in the Southern League and lost to Bedford Town. However the following season they won promotion as winners of the Southern League in their second season under manager John Relish.

They finished in 8th position in the Conference South in the 2007–08 season. In the same season they developed a local arrangement to establish a junior footballing set-up called Bath City Youth. This set-up is now being developed into a football academy and in October 2008 manager John Relish moved aside from managerial duties to concentrate on creating this. He was replaced by his former assistant Adie Britton.

On 9 May 2010 Bath City won the Conference South Play-off final against Woking 1–0 and returned to the Conference Premier for the first time since 1997.

On 25 November 2010 Bath City's away game in the Conference against Histon was televised on Premier Sports where Bath City won 2–1 making it Bath City's second live televised football match after the FA Cup Tie v Hereford United shown on BSkyB on 5 December 1993. Their 3rd live televised match was in 2011 when Bath city lost 3–1 a.e.t against Dagenham and Redbridge on ESPN. However, ESPN did not play the extra time, instead cut back after the end of the match.

In the 2011–12 season, Bath City had a terrible run of bad results, therefore being relegated from the Conference National, needing 17 points from the remaining five fixtures to stay up. They were the first football club in the top five divisions of England to be relegated. They are currently playing in the Conference South following this relegation.

The club's performances have been mixed since, with the club just three points from the play-offs in the 2013/14 season. They did have success in the 2014/15 season, reaching the semi-final of the FA Trophy, beating Dover Athletic, Altrincham FC and local rivals Bristol Rovers, en route to losing on penalties to eventual winners, North Ferriby United.

Community ownershipEdit

In June 2015 "Big Bath City Bid" was launched by filmmaker and Bath fan Ken Loach to turn the club into a community-owned, ‘one member one vote’ club, in an effort to develop the club and clear its debts.[4][5] In September 2016 the appeal achieved its £300,000 target to turn the club into a community-owned asset.[6] The community ownership received backing from around the world, including ex-Manchester Utd footballer, Eric Cantona.[7] On 5 May 2017, the club completed its transition to community ownership, and the major shareholder is Bath City Supporters Society Ltd with 54.6%.[8][9]

COVID-19 pandemicEdit

On 16 March 2020, the National League Board announced the suspension of all National League football until at least 3 April, due to the rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic.[10] On 31 March, the suspension was extended indefinitely[11] and, on 22 April, all remaining league matches were cancelled.[12] Following a vote by National League member clubs, it was agreed that final league tables would be compiled on an “unweighted points per game” basis and that end of season play-offs would proceed.[13] City finished in 4th place, the club's highest league finish since 2012.[14] Supporters donated £53,025[15] to the club to help cover the extra costs of participating in the playoffs, such as COVID-19 testing for all players and backroom staff. City were beaten 2-1 by Dorking Wanderers in the play-off eliminator at Twerton Park.[16]

The 2020–21 National League South season did not commence until 6 October 2020, following confirmation of financial support from the UK Government to compensate clubs for having to play 'behind closed doors'.[17] The club established a livestreaming service, allowing supporters to remotely watch games played at Twerton Park.[18] The season was disrupted by a number of fixture postponements caused by positive COVID-19 tests within the City squad and National League South opponents.[19][20] On 22 January 2021, with increasing uncertainty about continued financial support for National League member clubs, the National League Board announced that the National League South would be halted immediately for a two-week period.[21] On 18 February 2021, following a vote by National League member clubs, National League South was declared null and void with immediate effect.[22] City were in 18th position at the time, having played thirteen games.

European recordEdit

In 1977 and 1978, Bath City were one of six clubs to represent England in the Anglo-Italian Cup, a now defunct European football competition. They qualified as the English finalist in both tournaments but lost to Lecco (1977)[23] and Udinese (1978)[24] respectively. During the group stage of the 1977 tournament, the club recorded impressive victories over Parma and Bari.

Season Competition Round Date Opposition Home Away
1976–77 Anglo-Italian Cup First stage 27 April 1977   Bari 2–1 N/A
30 April 1977   Turris 2–0 N/A
Second stage 22 June 1977   Parma N/A 1–0
25 June 1977   Teramo N/A 0–4
Final 29 June 1977   Lecco N/A 0–3
1977–78 First stage 22 March 1978   Arezzo 5–0 N/A
25 March 1978   Paganese 2–0 N/A
Second stage 20 June 1978   Udinese N/A 1–3
25 June 1978   Treviso N/A 2–0
Final 28 June 1978   Udinese N/A 0–5

StadiumEdit

Bath City play their home games at Twerton Park, Twerton, Bath, Somerset, BA2 1DB.

 
Twerton Park hosting the 2009 Conference South Play-off final

Twerton Park became Bath City's ground in 1932; it is located in Twerton, a suburb of Bath. It currently has a reduced ground capacity of 3,528,[25] with a seating capacity of 1,006. A record attendance of 18,020 was recorded in 1960 versus Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup.

Between 1986 and 1996, Bath City shared Twerton Park with Bristol Rovers, who were a Football League club. It has also hosted Team Bath, who were a full-time professional team playing in the Conference South until their resignation at the end of the 2008–09 season.

On 21 August 2008, Bath City's chairman Geoff Todd stated that "the club held talks with Bath Rugby over a possible ground share at the Rec" meaning in the future, Bath City could move to the Recreation Ground. At the end of the 2011–12 season the club offered the naming rights to Twerton Park for just £50. The offer drew 167 entries from as far afield as the US, Australia, Norway and Singapore which raised £3,850 for the club. Businesses made up 58 of the entries with only a handful of the remaining personalised entries being deemed unsuitable. The winning entry drawn at random was The Mayday Trust, a charitable organisation that helps to rehome vulnerable people.

The club released plans to redevelop the ground and local area, containing a new grandstand, 3G pitch and housing in a bid to secure the immediate financial future of the club.[26] In March 2020, the plans were rejected.[27]

In August 2020, it was announced that Bristol City Women would play the majority of home games at Twerton Park during the 2020-21 FA Women’s Super League season.[28]

MascotEdit

Since the 2010–11 season, the club mascot has been Bladud the Pig, named after the legendary king of the Britons who is said to have founded the city of Bath and kept a herd of pigs. At the club's home games, he can frequently be seen waving to the crowd, performing press-ups and entertaining younger supporters. In 2019, Bladud the Pig won the Mascot South West Grand National.[29]

RivalsEdit

Due to the lack of other large football clubs in Somerset, Bath have had few main local rivals. Though, historically, Bath's main rivals were Yeovil Town F.C., Weymouth, Newport County A.F.C. and Trowbridge Town FC. The four clubs have been moving in opposite directions in league standings over recent years, being as many as five divisions apart from one another during the 2013–14 season. Newport, were promoted to the Conference Premier for the 2010–11 season, and now participate in the Football League Two, three leagues above Bath. However, Yeovil's subsequent decline means that as of the 2019–20 season Bath currently sit just one tier below.

As of recent years, Bath have forged rivalries with Chippenham Town F.C. and Weston-super-Mare A.F.C., due to the proximity between the clubs, both based on location and league positions.

Both Bristol Rovers and Bristol City aren't considered rivals, having never competed against each other in the league, and have formed friendly relations with the Romans, often sending youth players on loan.

In addition to the two Bristol clubs, Bath have formed a friendly relationship with Italian side Calcio Lecco. The clubs played against each other in the 1977 Anglo-Italian Cup Final, with the Italian side triumphing. This did not sour relations, with fans of both sides celebrating the 40th anniversary of the game in 2017 with a supporters match held in Lecco's Stadio Rigamonti-Ceppi ground.[30]

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

As of 18 September 2021[31]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   ENG Ryan Clarke
2 MF   ENG Joe Raynes
3 DF   ENG Dan Ball
4 DF   ENG Ben Gerring
5 DF   ENG Jack Batten
6 DF   WAL Callum Wood (on loan from Bristol City)
7 GK   ENG Alex Fletcher
8 MF   JAM Omar Holness
9 FW   ENG Cody Cooke
10 MF   ENG Tom Smith
No. Pos. Nation Player
11 MF   ENG Elliott Frear
12 DF   ENG Eddie Jones
13 GK   ENG Will Fuller
14 MF   ENG Ryan Harley
15 MF   ENG Lloyd James
16 MF   ENG Tom Richards
17 MF   AUS Marlee Francois (on loan from Bristol City)
18 MF   ENG Josh Owers (on loan from Bristol City)
19 FW   WAL Momodou Touray (on loan from Salford City)
GK   ENG Archie Matthews (on loan from Birmingham City)

Out on loanEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
GK   ENG Harley Wilkinson (on loan at Clevedon Town)

Club captains, players of the season and top scorersEdit

The following table shows players who have previously been selected to be club captain, have been named the Supporters' Player of the Season and have received the Golden Boot award for scoring the most goals (all competitions) in a season.[32][33] The table is in chronological order and begins from the 1984–85 season:

Season Club Captain Player of the Season Golden Boot Goals
1984–85 Dave Palmer Dave Mogg Garry Smith 16
1985–86 Jeff Sherwood Jeff Sherwood Dave Singleton 16
1986–87 Dave Palmer   Paul Bodin   Paul Bodin 27
1987–88 Dave Palmer David Craig   Paul Bodin 14
1988–89 Dave Palmer   Micky Smith John Freegard 27
1989–90 Dave Palmer   Chris Banks   Paul Randall 51
1990–91 Dave Palmer,   Chris Banks   Paul Randall   Paul Randall 22
1991–92   Chris Banks Ian Hedges   Paul Randall 26
1992–93   Chris Banks Richard Crowley Richard Crowley 13
1993–94   Chris Banks, Nicky Brooks Dave Mogg   Paul Adcock 23
1994–95 Nicky Brooks, Ian Hedges Dave Mogg Dean Birkby 19
1995–96 Nicky Brooks, Ian Hedges Rob Cousins   Graham Withey 13
1996–97 Nicky Brooks, Ian Hedges Mark Harrington Mike Davis 21
1997–98 Nicky Brooks, Colin Towler Ian Hedges Mike Davis 23
1998–99 Colin Towler Mike Davis   Martin Paul 30
1999–00 Colin Towler Colin Towler   Martin Paul 30
2000–01 Colin Towler Jon Holloway   Martin Paul 19
2001–02 Colin Towler, Gary Thorne Gary Thorne   Adrian Foster 21
2002–03 Gary Thorne, Gary Kemp   Andy Williams Jason Eaton 16
2003–04   Steve Jones Matt Coupe   Scott Partridge 18
2004–05   Bobby Ford   Jim Rollo   John Williams 19
2005–06   Bobby Ford,   Jim Rollo   Gethin Jones   Scott Partridge 23
2006–07   Jim Rollo Chris Holland   Scott Partridge 18
2007–08   Jim Rollo Matt Coupe   Dave Gilroy 26
2008–09   Jim Rollo Chris Holland   Dave Gilroy 22
2009–10   Jim Rollo   Adam Connolly,   Lewis Hogg Darren Edwards 25
2010–11   Lewis Hogg   Sido Jombati   Lee Phillips 16
2011–12   Jim Rollo,   Gethin Jones Sekani Simpson   Sean Canham 11
2012–13   Gethin Jones Jason Mellor   Charlie Griffin 20
2013–14   Andy Gallinagh Dave Pratt Dave Pratt 18
2014–15   Andy Gallinagh Dave Pratt Dave Pratt 22
2015–16   Andy Gallinagh,   Steve Phillips Dan Ball Dave Pratt 10
2016–17   Frankie Artus Andy Watkins Andy Watkins 14
2017–18   Anthony Straker   Luke Southwood   Jack Compton 12
2018–19   Anthony Straker   Robbie Cundy Ross Stearn 14
2019–20   Ryan Clarke   Tom Smith 17
2020–21   Ryan Clarke N/A N/A N/A

Notable former playersEdit

Bath City have a long list of notable former players, including one of the best English players. During World War II, Stan Mortensen relocated to the south and played for the Romans 45 times, scoring 27 in the process. Other notable players to turn out for the Stripes include Bobby Zamora, Tony Book, Paul Bodin, Alan Skirton and Charlie Fleming.

Club staffEdit

The current manager is Jerry Gill, who was appointed in October 2017.[34] Gill previously played for the club between 1990 and 1996, making over 200 appearances.[35]

Backroom staffEdit

As of 22nd June 2021[36]
Position Name
Manager Jerry Gill
Assistant Manager Jim Rollo
Physiotherapist Steve Lock
Sports Scientist Vacant (TBC)
Goalkeeping Coach Mark Harrison
Sports Therapist Toby Wellington
Sports Masseur Omar El Bezra
Academy Coach Billy Clark
Scout Mike Ford
Kit Manager Simon Jenkins

Board of directorsEdit

As of 21 December 2020[37]
Position Name
Chairman Nick Blofeld
Football Chairman Paul Williams
Community Director Joy Saunders
Sales & Marketing Director Jon Bickley
Commercial Director Matthew Falk
Director of Operations Shane Morgan
Director Andrew Pierce
Director John Reynolds

Managerial historyEdit

From 1967 onwards:

Years Manager
1967–1970   Arnold Rodgers
1970–1971   Johnny Petts
1971–1972 Joe O'Neil
1972–1973   Dave Burnside
1973 Roy Bence
1973–1975   Bert Head
1975–1976 Jack Smith
1976–1979   Brian Godfrey
1979 Mike Burns
1979–1980 Bob Boyd
1980–1982   Stuart Taylor
1982–1988 Bobby Jones
1988 Paul Gover
1988   Harold Jarman
1988–1999 Les Alderman
1989 Jeff Evans
1989–1991 George Rooney
1991–1996 Tony Ricketts
1996–1998 Steve Millard
1998–2001   Paul Bodin
2001–2003 Alan Pridham
2003–2005   Gary Owers
2005–2008   John Relish
2008–2012 Adie Britten
2012–2016   Lee Howells
2016–2017   Gary Owers
2017–   Jerry Gill

Shirt sponsorsEdit

Period Kit Supplier Shirt Sponsor
1985–1987 Umbro Avon Graphics
1987–1988 Diners
1988–1989 Beazer Homes
1989–1990 Spall Rajani
1990–1992 Umbro Design Windows
1992–1993 Activity Bath Advertiser
1993–1996 Vandanel
1996–1997 Bath Chronicle
1997–1998 ICiS
1998–2000 Vandanel
2000–2002 Branded Technic-Cal
2002–2003 Bentley Jennison
2003–2006 Errea Bath Chronicle
2006–2007 John Crick
2007–2008 Sports Italia Tilley's Bistro
2008–2010 Joma SN Scaffolds
2010 Inter Payroll
2010–2014 Moore Stephens
2014–2015 Jako Tilley's Bistro
2015–2016 Errea Midland Car Company
2016–2017 Sitec
2017–2018 Vass of Bath Ltd
2018–2019 Bristol Airport
2019–2020 Bristol Sport
2020–2021 Errea BWW Communications
2021–Present Errea Rocketmakers

RecordsEdit

Most appearancesEdit

As of 21 December 2020[38]
# Player Period Appearances
1 Dave Mogg 1982–1988; 1992–1997 515
2 Tony Ricketts 1979–1986; 1988–1996 506
3   Tony Gough 1956–1957; 1963–1970; 1972–1974 502
4   Jim Rollo 1997; 1999; 2002–2012; 2013–2016 484
5 Dave Palmer 1980–1993 445
6 Dave Singleton 1981–1993 415
7 Paul Gover 1971–1982 398
8 Keith Brown 1981–1986; 1989–1993 394
9   Tony Book 1956–1964 387
10 Sekani Simpson 2006–2016; 2016-2017 383

Most goals scoredEdit

As of 21 December 2020[39]
# Player Period Goals
1   Charlie Fleming 1958–1965 216
2   William Hyman 1900–1902; 1903–1907; 1908; 1910–1911 134
3   Martin Paul 1996–2001; 2005; 2007–2008 115
4   Paul Randall 1989–1993 112
5   Graham Withey 1980–1982; 1986; 1986–1988; 1991–1993; 1995–1997 109
6 Len Pickard 1955–?? 95
7 Dave Singleton 1981–1993 93
8   Dave McCulloch 1944; 1946–1949 88
9 Ernie Coombs 1933; 1934–?? 84
10 Jimmy Newman 1950–?? 83

HonoursEdit

Bath City's honours include the following:[40]

ReferencesEdit

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SourcesEdit

External linksEdit