2012 has overall been a torrid year for Bath City. Getting tonked by Grimsby in January, relegated in April, knocked out the FA Cup by lower league opposition in October and beaten in the FA Trophy, again by a team from the lower leagues, in November. Bath City had one final kick in the teeth for its fans, when on New Years Eve, the club announced that defender Jim Rollo would leave.
The term “legend” is used all too often these days in football and is nearly always unjustified. In the case of Jim Rollo, however, no status is more fitting. Signing for the club in 2002, after making numerous loan appearances in the late 90’s, it is fair to say Jimmer has been at Bath City for longer than many of the supporters.
A leader on and off the pitch. An inspiration to both players and fans. Always giving everything for the cause. I could go on…
But everything has to come to an end, and sadly so has Jim Rollo’s time at the club, as he departs for Chippenham Town. That said, I’m sure he’ll be back.
Thanks for the memories, Jim.
Simon has recently re-introduced me to Goodnight Sweetheart. A comedy which ran throughout the 1990’s featuring Nicholas Lyndhurst who shares a modern day life with his wife, while secretly travelling back in time to have an affair with a barmaid in wartime London. I have fond memories of this series, watching it throughout my youth.
Despite the storylines heavily based around Lyndhurst ‘s character, Gary Sparrow, committing adultery with two pregnant women, it’s actually a really nice comedy (although thinking about it like that, it seems horrendous). The comedies on TV these days are generally filled with effin’ and blinding, or if family friendly, feature someone very unfunny and very annoying – naming no names *cough* Miranda Hart. Yes, the days of Gary Sparrow, Victor Meldrew and Basil Fawlty are long gone.
I am currently working my way through the mammoth Goodnight Sweetheart box set, comprising of six series and 58 episodes. It’s very addictive. If you’re too tight to buy the DVDs yourself, you can find them on YouTube somewhere.
My next craze and bulk DVD purchase will be the works of David Attenborough – a remarkable man who truly fascinates me. If in my lifetime I see just one-percent of what he has witnessed in his, I will die very happy and fulfilled, having seen millions of the world’s wonders. I could listen to Attenborough all day. Again, much of his work can be found on the internet. So if instead of an amusing time-travelling comedy, you would rather see something factual which will blow your mind, check out some of his videos.
Until next time, goodbye.
Leeds United bought me an awful Christmas present today. A 4-2 defeat against Nottingham Forest. If they wanted to get me something shit, they could have just sent me Ken Bates’ autobiography.
After that disappointment, I walked down to Twerton Park, for Bath City’s Boxing Day West Country derby against Weston Super Mare. This is a traditional fixture. Part of the tradition involves Bath City winning. However, today things changed. Somehow Weston won the game. I don’t really want to talk about it, however will congratulate them on winning the 2012 FIFA World Cup – at least they celebrated like they had won it at full time.
If watching your team lose to someone rubbish wasn’t bad enough, standing in a monsoon made it worse. It rained. A lot. I don’t think I’ve ever been so wet in my entire life. In fact, had I fallen into the river on the way home, it wouldn’t have been possible to get more soaked. I also discovered that my coat is not rain-proof, having the water-retention of a menopausal woman. My coat must have doubled in weight, it was that sodden.
To round of what was an utterly shite day, I saw that Manchester United won. The winning goal was scored in injury time. I haven’t seen it, but imagine it was scored in the 121st minute, was offside, handball, after the attacker elbowed his defensive marker in the head. The ball probably didn’t cross the line either.
Yes, that’s right, the rumours were true. I have re-re-re-re-re-re-launched my blog. I know I have said that more times than Phil Mitchell has promised to give up drinking, but I will hopefully give it a go this time.
I used to blog very regularly, but since the popularity of Twitter, it has become easier to tweet what’s on my mind, instead of blogging about it, which is a shame as I think a blog is a lot more personal and something which can be looked back upon.
There is an awful lot which I could recap on, especially as I haven’t blogged in ages, and those posts I did make were Bath City related. I will try to go over old, important, unimportant, amusing and probably overall downright boring topics over the next few days, before returning to normality in the new year and blogging bollocks. At least that’s the plan. Unless I get bored again, or lured into the seedy world of Twitter – @seankuk by the way – follow me!
Oh, and finally, considering it is 25th December, HAPPY CHRISTMAS to you all!
Gosport Borough 3-1 Bath City
FA Cup – 3rd Qualifying Round Replay
Tuesday 9th October 2012 – 19:45
When the draw was made for the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Cup a few weeks ago and Bath City were handed a kind home tie against lower league opponents, Gosport Borough, I had a sneaky feeling we would draw the game. So much so, I booked time off work to attend the replay. The 1-1 score line on Saturday proved me right.
It was almost a game I didn’t attend, but not due to the inevitability of a draw on Saturday. Bath City’s poor season meant very little interest from fans to attend the replay and therefore the chance of a supporters’ coach being run was slim.
A bus did run, but again the match was in doubt after rain showers throughout the day. The game went ahead. Some would say, ‘unfortunately’.
We were, in fact, treated to one of the posh buses, with tables and even a microwave! This was one of only two highlights of the entire evening. I should have known things were going to be bad, as we sat in what seemed like a never-ending traffic jam, somewhere outside of Gosport, in heavy rain, while anxiously checking internet forums for announcements on pitch inspections and match postponements.
After getting through the longest traffic jam of all time, we were greeted by the sight of the sea. As anybody who doesn’t live near a beach will testify, it is customary (and I think the law), to get excited when you spot the sea. The second and final highlight of the evening.
It was still raining when we got to the ground. I bought a programme and pin badge from the club shop. I’m not one of those collectors of other team’s badges, but I liked the ship on Gosport’s crest. A pre-match drink of Olde English cider was drank in the clubhouse, while sheltering from the persistent rain.
The first half of the match was OK. Not bad, but not good. We stood behind the goal which we were attacking (we’re not at Kenilworth Road anymore, so can do this), undercover from the elements. City created various chances on the home side’s goal and when Sean Canham (yes, he’s come back), opened the scoring, things appeared to be looking up. I even started to dream of the next round – an away trip to Slough – which would inevitably have resulted in a blog with various references to The Office.
From then on, despite City’s best efforts to increase the lead, the vital second goal never came. In fact, Gosport nearly equalised on a number of occasions. Perhaps a warning of what was yet to come.
Although a goal down, the home fans continued their support for their team, singing the local sea-shanty sung by all Hampshire-based football clubs “Play up”. In this case “Play up, Gosport. Gosport, play up”
The Gosport players themselves refused to give up the fight and continued to battle for every ball, while their goalkeeper, with a hairstyle almost as impressive as Kurtis’ yelled instructions at his defence, in between profanities far too rude to mention on this family blog. A shout of “You won’t get that kind of language in The Conference” came from one group of home supporters.
The comedy moment of the night came towards the end of the first half, when both Aaron Brown and the foul-mouthed goalkeeper challenged for the ball. Due to the water-sodden pitch, the keeper fell to the ground, skid off the grass and into a puddle which would be better described as a small pond.
I decided to watch the second half from the stands; mainly because there was no roof behind the other goal. I realised this was a mistake when Brian York sat next to me and his brother, Mike, behind. Gosport started the second half well and Mike annoyingly pointing out “They’ve come out a different team”.
Mike’s comment may have been annoying but it was correct. Gosport looked good and not long into the second half, the inevitable happened. A scramble in the box and a goal for Gosport. Poor defending.
It really pains me to write this, as I very rarely give up on a game and believe that there is always a chance of a comeback, right up until the final whistle. However last night, when that goal was scored, despite it only being an equaliser, I knew that was it. The cup dream over. Indeed, 10 minutes of madness followed, where Gosport tore through our weak defence, scoring another two goals, leaving the club mortally wounded as if being stabbed in the heart.
It was awful to watch. The players’ heads had dropped. They had already gone down at the equaliser. Some would say at half time. Club legend, Jim Rollo, refused to give up, didn’t stop running and, along with a small pocket of supporters, tried to rally the team. You can’t stop encouraging your team, even though the result is inevitable.
With less than 15 minutes to go, a group of elderly supporters, renowned for their bitterness towards manager, Adie Britton, over many seasons, woke up and started to complain. Not prepared to listen to them lambast my club any further, I moved behind the goal. The rain had stopped, but I would have still walked off, even if there had been a monsoon.
We were soon followed by the Last of the Summer Wine cast, who continued past the goal, heading for the dugouts. It was clear of their intentions. To verbally attack the team and their hate figure, Adie.
I can understand their frustrations at the defeat and recent form – all Bath City fans are suffering, but to verbally assault your team is unacceptable behaviour. Those “supporters” will argue they have been attending Twerton Park for over 50 years. Whether a fan has been attending 500 years, or if it is simply their first match; abuse or intimidation towards another human-being, yet alone your own team, is beyond appalling.
On the pitch, things were not much better. Gosport had stopped their attack, instead reverting to a committed and organised defensive style of play; something we have been missing. City created a few chances themselves, but nothing to get excited about. The damage had already been done.
Full time came, amidst mass cheers from the home supporters. They deserved it. It was their moment. We have had ours and been giant killers in the past – just ask Grimsby Town. Yesterday was Gosport’s night. I hope their fans enjoyed it and I wish them all the success in the next round.
As for my beloved Bath City, where do we go from here? Something is clearly not right at the football club. I have always felt that even in our promotion season, three years ago, we were not one of better teams technically in the division. Our success was built on team spirit and hard work. The club were living off the wonderful 2006/07 Championship-winning season and a team built by both Adie and former-manager John Relish. In my eyes, the spirit has gone, along with many of the players who were part of, what the management team previously referred to as “the bubble”. That bubble burst some time ago. We have been left with a squad of individuals, who at times have underachieved and must take a degree of responsibility themselves. Granted, the club have been unlucky with injuries and we have not been blessed with a wealthy financial backer, but can everyone at the club honestly say they have done their best, every game?
Is anybody to blame for this? Maybe. There is no doubt a hangover from last season. What should be done to stop the rot? I simply don’t know. Do I want Adie and his assistant, Lee Howells, to leave? I am well aware I am the minority, but I would say no. I would like them to rebuild a team. Whether they feel they are able to, or be given the opportunity to do so, is a very different matter.
By the time I had reached the dugouts at fulltime, Adie had disappeared into the changing rooms. Along with a small number of other supporters, I met with Lee Howells for a sombre post-match chat. I hope it wasn’t a ‘good bye’, but worry it may have been just that.
On this website, you’ll find me blogging (almost) daily about everyday life, living in Bath, working with computers, and the occasional bit of football stuff thrown in.
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