Posted by sean on April 4, 2012 at 10:11 pm in Bath City with 3 Comments

Last night, Bath City were relegated. Relegated without even kicking the ball, due to Newport County beating York City 2-1. While disappointing, it wasn’t surprising. With the relegation, questions over the future of manager, Adie Britton, have emerged from supporters. Many, myself included, are in full support of Adie and believe he should retain his job. A few fans are less supportive. In this blog, I hope to detail why Bath City must retain Adie – both for the club’s future and because the great man deserves to keep his job.

After Bath City’s promotion and successful debut season in the Blue Square Bet Premier, Adie attracted interest from many bigger football clubs. While it was never confirmed, one of these was rumoured to be a Football League side. It is a credit to Adie that he has not once been tempted away from Twerton Park for success and riches, despite not taking a wage himself. In fact, Adie has invested vast amounts of his own money into the side, given up thousands of hours for the club and even climbed a mountain (literally and metaphorically) for Bath City. During one period of his reign, he also took it upon himself to chair the club; such is his love and dedication to Bath City. It could be argued that he was fortunate to be given the managerial position following the resignation of former boss John Relish in 2008, given the fact he had never previously managed a football club of Bath City’s size or level, but the Twerton Park faithful must show Adie the commitment and loyalty he has shown to the club.

Adie joined Bath City in 2005, as the assistant to newly appointed manager, John Relish. At the start of the 2005/06 campaign, Bath City were about to enter their ninth season in the Southern League, following relegation from The Conference in 1997. The duo had a successful first season at Twerton Park, only missing out on the championship and promotion to a big-spending Salisbury City side. The following season, Bath City won the league comfortably. While Adie was still in an assistant-role during championship season, the manager at the time, John Relish, was very open in the fact that Adie was an essential figure in winning the title. Following a pleasing first season in the Conference South, where Bath City narrowly missed out on a play-off spot, Adie took the manager’s role in October 2008 and yet again kept the Twerton Park side in contention for a top 5 finish during the majority of the season. Although one of Adie’s biggest achievements would come in his first full season at Bath City – the 2009/10 campaign, which saw the part-time Somerset side beat League Two opposition in the FA Cup, before winning promotion through the play offs in May 2010. A remarkable feat, as even at Conference South level, Bath City had a vastly smaller playing budget than many of their rivals, some of whom were fulltime outfits. The season which followed is classed by many as one of the greatest in the club’s history. Competing in a division which was effectively an extension of the Football League, Adie guided his part-time team, on a shoe-string budget, to 10th place in the Blue Square Bet Premier, finishing above, and beating, some famous, wealthy and well supported clubs such as Cambridge United, Grimsby and Mansfield. While this season has been a massive disappointment, it cannot be ignored that Adie and Bath City have had to compete against clubs with millionaire owners, teams who attract average gates in excess of 5,000 fans and clubs with a set up more suited towards The Championship than non-league. While everybody connected with Bath City is upset at the results this season and subsequent relegation, the situation Adie has had to deal with must have been extremely difficult and one which any manager, regardless of experience and ability, would struggle to overcome. Adie has shown during past seasons that he is more than capable of coping with life in the Conference South next year and there is no reason why he will not bring back success to Twerton Park.

Quality of Football
I have been watching Bath City for many years and I am sure there are a huge number of fans who have been watching football at Twerton Park a lot longer than me. There has been a lot of poor football witnessed at that fine old ground, a lot of which from the home side! However, the quality of football played by Adie’s teams, on the whole, has been a joy to watch. The stereotypical view of non-league football is that the ball spends the majority of the time being hoofed into the air. Adie’s Bath City side plays football. The ball is kept on the ground and his players are encouraged to pass it smoothly. Granted, things have been difficult this season and perhaps the attempts to play attractive football have even worked against Bath City at times, but I am sure I do not just speak for myself when I say I would rather watch a team play with an aim to make football pleasing on the eye than one who is just content to unimaginatively hoof the ball into the skies above Twerton and hope it lands at the feet of a striker.

Long Term Plans
When Adie joined Bath City with John Relish in 2005, both managers promised the club would be promoted to The Conference within five seasons. In May 2010, Adie proved he was a man of his word, as Bath City beat Woking 1-0 in the Play Off Final. The following season, the aim was to avoid relegation, which the club more than surpassed. This seasons aims were sadly not met, however in all areas of life you sometimes need to take a step backwards before you can continue progressing. I have no doubt in my mind, that between Adie, his assistant Lee Howells and the chairman Manda Rigby, new plans will be in place for the club and the direction it should take. On the whole, Adie has met his past targets set at Bath City. Not only would it be fair to allow him to set and carry out new aims, but it would be in the best interest to the football club.

The Development Squad
One of Adie’s long term plans was for Bath City to improve its youth structure. Since his appointment, the club have made a partnership with the University of Bath to form the Under 21 Development Squad – a programme with various aims, one of which to develop young players capable of being used in the first team. Adie has at times been criticised for his reluctance to field younger players, instead opting for older and more experienced talent. However, with the ever-improving Development Squad, which Adie himself has been involved in, there is reason to believe that fresh, youthful players could play a part in the Bath City first team in the future.

Football is in a big mess. Clubs are folding all the time. Take Kettering and Darlington for example. Not only does it appear they will be relegated along with Bath City, but their fans may not even have a club to follow next season. Luckily, this is not the case for Bath City. While the club have stated that further cuts will need to be made to the playing budget, Adie has shown during his time as manager that he is more than capable of working with limited financial resources, while still providing competitive and even silver wear winning football. If Adie was to leave, not only would a replacement manager have to be paid (remember, Adie doesn’t take a wage), but there is nothing to suggest that his successor would be able to make vast improvements with such limited resources. As I have mentioned earlier, Adie has in the past set himself and the club targets, which have been met. If financial aims can be set and achieved, Bath City will be in a much better position both on and off the field. I believe with his football and financial knowledge, Adie can play a huge part in helping the club move forward.

Deserves Time
Adie has been wonderful for Bath City. With the exception of the supporters, he is the club’s biggest asset. He has gone above and beyond the call of duty for the football club, for all the reasons I mentioned and many more I have no doubt forgot. He is a gentleman; a kind, caring man, who always has time for the supporters. His football brain and knowledge is unsurpassable. It could be argued Bath City have underachieved this season, but so have so many other clubs. With all Adie has given to Bath City, he deserves the time and support from all connected with the club to help rebuild the team and bring back success to Twerton Park.

3 Responses to In Adie We Trust

  1. John

    April 5, 2012 - 12:02 pm

    While I don’t think the automatic response to failure should be to sack the manager, something has to change if results are going to be improved.

    In my opinion, Brtitton has made some serious errors of judgement. Failing to replace Kaid, relying on too many old ex-pros and not giving younger players a chance (Egan), signing Jamie Cook instead of a striker who plays with a bit of conviction, playing with one up front time after time even though it was failing to get results. All this you can blame on Adie.

    I don’t think he has to go, but he has to make changes or we will be headed for the southern league.

  2. sean

    April 5, 2012 - 8:18 pm

    I totally agree something must change. We will be forced to change players in the summer. In all Adie’s seasons in Conf South, he has manage to put together a squad more than capable of competing. He needs to do the same this summer, even if it involves lots of players leaving (the budget will force many to go anyway).

    Kaid could not be replaced. He is on a par with the likes of Jon Shaw at Gateshead. In today’s money £50,000-£100,000. There is absolutely no way we can compete with that. It is a credit to Adie that he put the faith in Kaid when nobody else would. If striker’s of Kaid’s quality were available everywhere and affordable, all clubs would be after them.

    Jamie Cook was possibly a mistake, granted. That is not a dig at Cook, more the fact he is not an traditional forward. Egan looks very talented and will have a great future. He’s a good impact player. I don’t think we can start with him every week as he easily gets out muscled. If I were to disagree with Adie over one younger player we let go, it would be Hector Mackie who I believe had the physical strength and ability to compete.

    Disagree that ALL the blame can be put on Adie. Some of it, but not ALL. Has ever player given 100% every game? I’m not naive enough to say Adie is blameless, but is not fully responsible.

    Finally, during our games against Dover and Chelmsford this season, both very strong Conf South sides, we picked up two away victories. Maybe it is just that we are more suited towards that league?

    • John

      April 5, 2012 - 11:38 pm

      I agree with your point re Kaid. He was classy at times, probably horrible to manage. I imagine Britton was glad to be shot of him. But he was a play maker, we have not had one of those all of this season.

      Thinking back to the start of the season, Phillips had a head injury, I don’t think he was match fit. We didn’t have any other strikers though (apart from Cook, he doesn’t count). But the fans loved Phillips, because he was strong. He just didn’t get the service he needs this season. Playing good football is preferable to hoofball, but staying up is more improtant. we’ve been beaten by crap teams like Alfreton, maybe we need a 18 stone centre back. who puts the elbow in.

      I love this club and I hate to have to criticise the team, but I want them to suceed. If I knew what we should do I’d do the manager’s job for free. I appreciate thast we’re working on a small budget, but we need to aim higher. Saying conference south is our level and not aspiring to bigger things is not good enough. There’s a lot of dead wood on the squad that needs to be cleared out, and some good players who will be offered contracts by conference teams and need to be replaced. We will be watching a very different team in August.

      Sorry for the rant. I think Adie deserves a chance. He has done great things in the past, I’m sure he has it in him to do them again. But if I see the same tired team selection and the same poor results in the first few games next season, I’ll be calling for his head.

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