Posted by sean on February 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm in Bath City with No Comments

Bath City 1-2 Kidderminster Harriers
Conference National
Saturday 25th February 2012 – 15:00

I chose not to blog after Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat to Hayes and Yeading United. It was more of the same. Strikers not taking their chances up front and mistakes at the back leading to a sloppy goal conceded. Some idiotic fans chose not to support their team. Instead opting to moan and abuse the management, chairman and players, before going home to post their usual bullshit on the Bath City forum and social networking websites.

The chances of league survival now appear very slim; although this has been the case for months. However, that is absolutely no reason to stop supporting the club. As far as I am concerned, the season is not over until the last ball is kicked at Alfreton in April.

As fans, we have been spoilt in recent seasons, with the club overachieving on the pitch. Now Bath City are bottom of the league and struggling to win games, the players need all the support and encouragement they can get, and it is at times like these that the “fans” are separated from the “supporters”.

In Adie we trust

So following the Hayes defeat, revelations in the local press from the chairman of being abused at the Ebbsfleet game and a manager also unhappy at some of the fans’ negativity, came the third home game in eight days – against Kidderminster Harriers.

Given Kiddy’s 7th place position in the league, pre-match would suggest this weekend’s visitors would prove to be the most difficult test of the three games. They were. Although despite being an ex-Football League club, with a large fan base and flirting with the play offs, I was not as impressed with the Midlands outfit as I thought I might be.

City themselves had certainly saved their best performance for the last of the three consecutive home games. It was a battling effort, right from the start, when Lewis Hogg leapt in on Kiddy’s Lee Vaughan with an excellent crunching tackle. Vaughan yelled and stayed on the ground. Probably dead. The referee, a Mr. Wigglesworth (not to be confused with the cat from Austin Powers), booked Hogg. This is getting ridiculous now. Football is a contact sport and if challenges like Hogg’s are to be outlawed, we may as well all go home now and play chess.

Kidderminster entered the half time interval 1-0 up thanks to a goal from Jack Byrne. Judging by the reaction of some home fans, the goal may have had a touch of offside about it, but in all honesty from where I was stood I could not tell.

Photo taken during the Hayes game. Thankfully, for the safety of mankind, the cone was still there yesterday.

In the second half, 1-0 became 2-0. A truly fantastic goal from Byrne. It was the kind of strike that if seen on Match of the Day, would be accompanied by the exasperating uproar of John Motson yelling “Drogbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrr!” before retreating to change his underwear. Good goal, Byrney – although you did milk that celebration a bit too much.

City continued to fight. Hogg flying in with another challenge. This time it was mistimed and he was lucky to avoid receiving a second yellow. Mr. Bigglesworth clearly realising his earlier error, so letting Hoggy off with a telling off. Hogg was immediately substituted and told to sit in the naughty corner.

Hilarity followed when the linesman became injured and had to be substituted by the fourth official. Besides an animal running onto the pitch and interrupting a game, an official becoming injured is probably the funniest thing that can happen during a football match.

As the game drew to a close, handbags came out and there was a scuffle on the pitch. All football fans love to see the players have a fight. Some fans will deny this. Those fans are liars. City’s Marley Watkins got booked, although those lucky enough to receive front row seats to the event were surprised that Marley was not sent off.

Sean Canham pulled a goal back for City in the 88th minute, which set up an exciting finale. It wasn’t to be though and we would go back empty handed yet again. There is always next week. A trip to Luton Town.

Hopefully the visit to Kenilworth Road will give me the opportunity to blog more on what I know you all love and read this blog for – service stations, the state of the toilets, humorous notices pinned to walls and funny mascots. I am sorry if recent blogs have concentrated a little too much on football. Who would have thought that from a football blog.

Up the City.

Posted by sean on February 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm in Bath City with 1 Comment

Bath City 2-3 Ebbsfleet United
Conference National
Saturday 18th February 2012 – 15:00

Since Bath City’s last home game, the club have been in the national news yet again. This time it wasn’t for inviting the Polish community to use the club shop for their countries embassy. Nor was it a scandal over a match referee stealing the underpants of the entire youth team.

This latest piece of media attention has been over the club’s decision to sell the naming rights to the football ground for just £50. That’s right. For just £50, you can win a chance to name Twerton Park for one season. I’m not buying a ticket, but if I were to participate and was lucky enough to win, I would have a tough choice… name the ground The Sean’s Stories Stadium, or perhaps The Ken Bates Out Arena, or maybe just keep it as Twerton Park.

Never wishing to miss a money making opportunity myself, if anyone would like to get the naming rights to my blog for 12 months, I will shortly be running a similar draw. For a mere £5,000 you can name my website whatever you like – suggestions of ‘Blogging Bollocks’ and ‘The Most Boring Blog Ever’ have already come in.

In all seriousness, when I first heard the news, I was against it. Modern day football is generally rubbish, so to follow down the same route as Newcastle United and rename our ground disappointed me. However, Bath City do not have a large fan base or wealthy owner willing to bankroll the club, therefore money has to be made somehow. If this latest money-making scheme does bring in much needed finances, it can only be good for the football club.

Besides the thrilling news that Twerton Park will be renamed, the club was also keen to unveil its recently redeveloped clubhouse, Charlies. I must admit, I was impressed by the new look. Gone is the old tribute to The Phoenix Club. In its place a modern looking bar, draped in black and white stripes, LED lights and flat screen televisions. The place will probably be broken into and have everything stolen within a month, but before Burglar Bill does turn up with his swag bag, I’ll enjoy it.

Bling bling bar. Endorsed by Didier Drogba

To mark the launch of the new bar, there was yet more excitement! “What! More?” I hear you shout, yes more! How I contained myself, I really don’t know. My ears were already close to bleeding due to the hysteria.

The Carling Cup was at Twerton Park. For those slightly older, The Rumbelows Cup. For those older still, The Littlewoods Challenge Cup. Notice something here? Former sponsors of the cup, now out of business. Watch out Coca-Cola, you’re next!

After doing something that Nemanja Vidic, John Terry or Robin van Persie will do this season – lift the Carling Cup – I made my way into the soon to be named Wirral Rubbish Stadium.

Not as good as the Somerset Premier Cup, but better than the Europa League

Manager, Adie Britton has come in for a lot of criticism lately, with certain fans blaming his tactics and 4-5-1 formation for poor results. With strikers Sean Canham and Lee Phillips both starting the game, it would appear they had the ‘would-be-managers’ demands had been met.

Despite the apparent more attacking formation, City fell behind to another early goal. A mistake from goalkeeper Glyn Garner. “What a crap keeper!” a moaner yelled. Moments later Lee Phillips missed an excellent chance to equalise. “Never mind, Lee!” the critical supporter shouted to Phillips “Keep going!” It must be shit being a goalkeeper. Especially at Bath City. One mistake and you’re branded ‘crap’. If you’re a centre forward with a goal tally of 3 for the season, you’re a god, regardless of your cock-ups.

There wasn’t much else to report in the first half. City had a minor shout for a penalty after being tackled in Ebbsfleet’s box. It was a good tackle and certainly not a penalty. Worth appealing though. The referee was Wayne Barratt. The official who gave Braintree a penalty for absolutely no reason last month, so you never know, if you shout for a pen, you might get one with that ref. On another day, if he was feeling more generous, we could have been 10-1 up at the half time interval. Ten penalties.

The second began where the first half finished – with fans complaining. They moan when the team play 4-5-1, they moan when they play 4-4-2. It was suggested 0-0-10 be tried (that’s zero-zero-ten), but that would be stupid; although, I’m all for giving 2-2-8 a go.

Bath City did get an equaliser. Centre back, Gethin Jones charging up field to find the net following a set piece. The moaning turned to cheers and a rare song even broke out. Ebbsfleet’s goalkeeper, Preston Edwards, then decided to help out Bath City’s cause by punching Gethin Jones in the stomach – a straight red card for the England C international.

This is it! I thought to myself. Our turning point in the season! We’ll go on to win this and stay up! Sadly, it wasn’t to be. As City pushed men forward, 10 man Ebbsfleet broke and scored a second goal themselves. Cue more moaning.

In an attempt to escape the negativity, I walked to the opposite side of the ground, behind the dugouts. That was even worse. More moaning. More complaining. More idiots. Bath City really do have some stupid fans.

Seven minutes of added time was shown by the fourth official, but any thoughts of a comeback would be short lived when Ebbsfleet got a third. Sean Canham did get a 97th minute goal, but it would just be a small consolation.

At fulltime an elderly fan argued with assistant manager, Lee Howells. While some fans agreed with the moaning supporter, others berated him and applauded Lee.

These are sad times at Bath City. The fans are divided, the atmosphere is as bad as it has been for years, we’re losing football matches every week and the attendance is crap. Despite all this, I still love the football club and will continue to support the players and management both home and away.

The good times will come back, as will the current stay-away supporters; many of whom will claim to be die-hards and sing “City ‘til I die!” on their return. Where these fans are now, I don’t know. Going by the lyrics of their song, I assume they’re dead.

Highlight of the afternoon, besides getting my hands on the Carling Cup before Steven Gerrard – post-match Thatchers Gold cider at just £1.50 a pint.

Posted by sean on February 15, 2012 at 9:47 pm in Bath City, Ventures Outside Of Bath with No Comments

Newport County 1-0 Bath City
Conference National
Tuesday 14th February 2012 – 19:45

With the return of The Champions League this week, came Bath City’s very own international fixture. A trip across the bridge to local neighbours Newport County. However, this wasn’t the first time they tried to play this match… Take #1 – Boxing Day. Postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Take #2 – 17th January. Called off again. Take #3 – 7th February. Game off. Take #4 – Valentine’s Day. Game on (unfortunately).

Due to Bath City’s notorious hooligan element (sarcasm) we were banned from entering Newport’s clubhouse, Bar Amber. A shame. Despite the drinks being poor, in previous seasons we have always received a warm welcome from the home fans and they sell decent, cheap food (I recommend the sausage and chips).

With time to kill, the 30-or-so fans who made the coach trip ventured to a nearby cricket club for food and drink. The venture took us over a stile and a muddy cricket pitch.

The choice of ciders in the cricket club were marginally better than the one on offer in Bar Amber last season (Blackthorn). Olde Dragon was the cider of choice. The logo looked like Olde English. The cider looked like Olde English. It even tasted like Olde English. However, I was told by a fellow supporter that as we were in Wales that it was most definitely Olde Dragon – a traditional Welsh cider (produced in Somerset).

Success comes to the city of Newport

Who said there's nothing to do in Newport?

The away end at Spytty Park has been switched to the opposite side of the ground. A massive temporary stand has been erected (hehehe). Impressive but I would hate to be there in the rain as it is uncovered. Mind you, the away end is at Twerton Park has no roof. I would also be a little worried if I was among a large group of supporters. Had the stand been filled with a thousand Luton Town fans, I would be concerned the lightweight scaffolding could collapse following some passionate goal celebrations.

FASCINATING FACT NO. 57: 3,000 tubes of Pritt Stick were used in the creation of the new statnd

Alas my concerns were in vain. Not only did we not bring 1000 fans (more like 50), we did not have any goal to celebrate. Bath City started the game well. The trouble being, we started the 6-0 massacre against Grimsby well. Like against Grimsby, despite the positive opening play, tons of possession and loads of corners, Newport scored. Typical of the game. Typical of our season.

The 40-something away fans ignoring the request

City fought back well and nearly scored. Lee Phillips forcing an excellent save from the Newport goalkeeper. The loose ball was picked up by Chris Shepherd who somehow managed to miss by inches. It really was one of those where it would have been easier to score than shoot wide.

The fans responded with a rendition of “The stripes are staying up!” before becoming less optimistic and more realistic by singing to home supporters “Down with the City! You’re going down with the City!” Perhaps the most depressing song of the night was following a terrible miss by Newport’s Gary Warren, where Bath City fans taunted the home defender with “You haven’t scored, you must be shit!” Embarrassing because that is the very same chant Weymouth supporters sang to us a few years ago when they were at their most beleaguered state.

The referee for the game was Stephen Bratt. Ring any bells? No? Really? Remember this? I didn’t forget and am sorry to report that the hooligan in me broke out “You’re a crap referee, Bratt!” I yelled at him when he came close to where I was stood “Hey Bratt! You’re crap!” Then I noticed a couple of Welsh policemen at the corner of the stand so shut up. Next time I’ll stick to writing letters on my blog. I’m not cut out for this hooligan lark.

As usual, my blog offers the highest quality match photos

Despite still losing, City continued to play well, but simply could not score. Certain fans cried out for a change for formation to good old “Four, four fucking two!” Clearly against 451. We have won playing 451 this season. We tried 442 in the early months and lost. It won’t help. The chant for 442 was almost as ridiculous as the shouts for Jamie Cook to come on.

The game was played out with no more goals. Joe Burnell nearly scored an impressive strike. Sadly, had it gone in the letters OG would be next to his name.

Overall, a game played by two poor sides. One who dominated, yet couldn’t score for shit (Bath City). One who took the chance they were given, but then chased the ball for the rest of the night. Both clubs could go down, but most likely one of them will be saved as Kettering, Darlington and Glasgow Rangers will go pop.

The match was typical of so many games this season – Bath City with most of the possession, yet doing nothing with it. So what’s gone wrong? I cannot fault the team for effort, all manner of formations have been tried, with 33 different players used; yet the team which did so well last year has been propping up the table for the vast majority of the season and look likely candidates for relegation.

Despite the poor season Bath City are having, one thing I will fight passionately for is the management. Adie Britton and his assistant, Lee ‘Archie’ Howells have performed miracles during their time at the club. With the resources available, Bath City had no right to win promotion in 2010. As for a mid-table finish the following season, that was just unbelievable.

If the worst were to happen, and Bath City went down, Adie and Archie would be the best team to get the club promoted again. One thing is for sure, if the club keep the faith in Adie, he will put things right. Of that I am certain.

Posted by sean on February 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm in Bath City with No Comments

Bath City 1-2 Grimsby Town
FA Trophy – Round 3
Tuesday 7th February 2012 – 19:45

This latest blog from Sean’s Stories relates to Bath City’s FA Trophy fixture against Grimsby Town. Originally scheduled to be played on Saturday 4th February, but called off due to a frozen pitch, only to be rearranged for Tuesday 7th February. The lateness of this blog is due to a frozen keyboard (and laziness).

To coincide with the fixture, the evening saw the much anticipated launch of the Bath City Rosette. Available from the club shop dog food marquee for a mere £4.00. Not since 2010, when the famous fridge magnets went on sale, has there been so much hype around an item of merchandise. I am sure most will agree, a great way to celebrate finishing 16th in the FA Tinpot Trophy.

I’ll be honest. I did not know what to expect from the game. I was one of the poor souls who made the trip to Grimsby a few weeks ago, only to see City lose 6-0.

As I watched the match from the terrace, Mike York approached. You’ll never find a supporter more pessimistic and scaremongering. Every club has at least one fan like him. Despite this, “Yorkie” is one of the most dedicated and loyal supporters the club has. It is a shame there are not more like him. The fact he has watched Bath City for over five-decades has probably caused him to adopt the “we’re all doomed” attitude. Can’t blame him.

Bath City started with Exeter City loanee, Chris Shephard. Standing at just 4 foot 6, Shephard is officially the smallest player in The Conference. “He’s a midget”, Yorkie shouted as he noticed the winger’s stature. He was right. In Bath City’s ever increasing hunt to score a goal from a corner, the thought of signing a friend of Warwick Davis, did little to make me believe a goal from such a set piece would come anytime soon.

City had started the game well and were creating many chances. Lee Phillips forcing an excellent save from the Grimsby town goalkeeper. We began brightly in our last encounter though and lost that 6-0. Mike was worried “If they score, it’ll be an avalanche!”, before making one of his now infamous predictions. An 8-0 defeat.

Bath City wouldn’t lose 8-0. Mainly thanks to the fact Chris Shephard scored a decent opening goal to send the 464 Bath City fans who had braved the cold weather into a mass of subdued celebration. Why was the joy so restrained? Maybe due to the fact it was the FA Trophy. Maybe due to the fact everyone secretly feared defeat. More likely was the fact it was freezing cold and the symptoms of hyperthermia were beginning to kick in.

Following their opening goal, Bath City created yet more chances, Grimsby shot-stopper James McKeown, possibly proving Mike York right in his assessment that he is “the best goalkeeper in the league”. City’s very own Number 1, Glyn Garner, made his bid for the much-converted ‘Yorkie Best Goalkeeeper Award’, by pulling off an excellent save himself.

Half time came. Freezing cold, but 1-0 up, one hand on the FA Trophy and the dreams of a trip to Wembley Stadium still alive. Time for a hot chocolate and doughnut.

Shortly into the second half, Grimsby won a free kick. In a desperate attempt to prevent them from scoring, Glyn Garner ran to collect the ball, only to collide with teammate Sekani Simpson. Mariner’s striker, Anthony Elding, gratefully accepted the gift of the loose ball and equalised. That was harsh to take, especially as I have previously seen Elding play for Leeds and he was rubbish. The goal excited Yorkie, who announced, almost with delight “They’ve scored”, before making his way round Twerton Park to inform everybody that Bath City would go on to lose the match 14-1.

By the time Mike had made his way around the entire football ground. Bath City had nearly taken the lead again. Paul Stonehouse, one of my new favourite players, creating a great chance which was sadly deflected. While Stonehouse’s defensive qualities are at times questionable, his presence going forward should be commended and I would like to see him used in an attacking role more often.

Even Jim Rollo nearly scored for Bath City – his header cleared off the line. Probably a good thing the attempt didn’t go in. Had Jimmer scored, it would have sparked a mass pitch invasion; such is the love for the City legend.

Both sides created further chances to win the game, with Grimsby’s goalkeeper continuing to do himself proud, pulling off a number of fine saves. “Well done goalie!” Mike York shouted from the Popular Side after one particular impressive stop. A number of fans did offer to escort Yorkie to the away end, to watch the remainder of the match with his fellow Grimsby-supporters, but he declined.

The game looked set to finish a draw. Bath City fans began to discuss the possibilities of a replay the following week. Even Yorkie had hope of a draw, especially when Liam Hearn, the hat trick hero from the 6-0 defeat and the subject of a £500,000 bid from Peterborough United last week, was substituted.

Then, as has been the case so much this season, Bath City conceded another goal to lose the game. Robert Duffy, ironically the substitute for danger-man Liam Hearn, winning the game for his side and sending the 82 hardy Grimsby Town faithful into delight and a rendition of “Wemberleee, Wemberleee…”

It was a sad way to exit the Trophy, but a very encouraging performance from Bath City, especially given the absence of four first team players (three of which still banned following referee Stephen Bratt’s mare).

In recent years, after numerous encounters, I have found that I’ve grown fond of Grimsby Town, I wish them and all their supporters well. Hopefully they will keep up their excellent form for the remainder of the season and win the FA Trophy, promotion and perhaps most important of all, The Lincolnshire Senior Cup.

As for Bath City, its back to the league and survival. At least manager Adie Britton can say he has something in common with Fabio Capello –he won’t be leading his team out at Wembley this year.

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