Posted by sean on October 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm in Bath City with No Comments

Taunton Town 2-1 Bath City
Somerset Premier Cup – Round 1
Monday 3rd October 2011 – 19:45

Just because something puts the word ‘premier’ in it’s name, it doesn’t necessarily make it any good. Take Premier Inn (despite how much Lenny Henry likes it), Carling Premier (fizzy rats piss, only with extra alcohol) and the Premier League (rubbish since Leeds were relegated).

Unlike those three examples, the Somerset Premier Cup is not crap – far from it. There are only a few things that get the good old folk of the West Country together – Wurzels concerts, tractor racing and The Somerset Premier Cup – a highly prestige competition, where the finest football talent Zummerzet all compete to win £100,000,000. I lie. The prize is an old battered trophy and probably a glass of cider.

Despite being able to compete against the superpowers of Welton Rovers and Bishop Sutton, for some unknown reason Bath City never seem to take the competition that seriously, which is a shame. This year however, there was more interest amongst City fans; mainly because we haven’t won a competitive fixture since April and were hoping to change this with victory over Taunton Town.

So keen were the City faithful to witness a win that 3 full coaches were run to the game. I’m a liar. 1 coach. I still lie. A minibus. Half empty. Still, that is more than the usual turnout for this tournament.

After work, I made the mad dash for Fortress Twerton, via my flat to shower and change, before boarding our transport to Taunton. I am all too familiar with this minibus. Last season I went to Darlington and back on it – twice. Someone yesterday pointed out the rather depressing fact that I have spent 24 hours of my life on it. Make that 27 after last night.

I don’t drive. I’m learning to. However I know a little bit about directions. I know there are such things as motorways. I know there is one called the M5. I was therefore puzzled why the minibus driver refrained from using this route, instead opting to give us a tour of the entire county of Somerset during the trip to Taunton. All very pretty, but I would rather get to the game.

After taking in the sights of Radstock, Wells, Street, Glastonbury and Blackpool (we took a wrong turn), we eventually arrived at the home of Taunton Town, Wordsworth Drive. It atmosphere was electric – like a Champions League evening at Anfield. It always is for Somerset Cup games. What’s more, it was a Monday, which meant Monday Night Football. I tried to look for the Sky cameras, but couldn’t see any. Shame.

The Sky TV cameras missing fromthe gantry

Having visited Lincoln City’s Sincil Bank Stadium at the weekend, Wordsworth Drive brought me down to earth a little and gave the harsh reality that we could be visiting places like this a lot more should we be relegated.

Sincil Bank – tinpot…

… unlike Wordsworth Drive

One really nice thing about the ground though was the outside bar. The clubhouse had burnt down in the summer – I don’t know why, maybe as a result of hooligan violence between Taunton and Tiverton fans. That rivalry is nasty and makes The Old Firm look like a playground scrap. The temporary bar did allow me to enjoy an ice cold pint of Thatcher’s Gold cider while watching the game. You would never get this in the Blue Square Bet Premier… perhaps going down is a good thing?

As it was the evening, I had to eat. Football grounds are not the best of places for catering and Taunton’s catering department is in much need of a visit from Gordon Ramsey and his Kitchen Nightmares crew. On the menu last night was sausage bap, bacon roll or burger. I went for the burger. I am very hygienic, probably too much. Therefore I wasn’t happy to see them reheating the pre-cooked burgers, ready to feed to me. I had a decision to make. Risk dying of E.coli or risk death by starvation. I ate the burger. I’m still alive and didn’t get ill – the burger even tasted quite nice.

Lovely food. Not what was on offer last night.

I was quite happy at this point. I had received a guided tour of The West Country, drank some cider and eaten a burger. My joy couldn’t last could it? Nope. The game started.

City fielded a very strong side. Whether the players out there took it as seriously as a league game, who knows; but these were no academy players from the youth team. The first half ended 0-0. City had been evenly matched by a team three divisions below them. Summer signing, Jamie Cook, who in February played against the likes of Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford for Crawley Town must have had a reality check.

Glamour Tie

I was a tad worried and went to find a toilet. Presumably all the original toilets were in the old burnt down club house. Therefore Taunton had installed temporary facilities – the kind you see at Glastonbury festival. I did my business in there, making sure I was quick. One miss kicked ball into the platstic WC and the whole thing would have fallen over, with me inside, covering me in faeces. I would have been in more dog doo than the football club.

The second half was much of the same. Then something happened. Something which has not happened since last season. Bath City scored a goal AND took the lead. I was so amazed, I didn’t know whether to faint or invade the pitch in a mad celebration of glory. I did neither. Instead I just clapped and cheered a little – woop woop.

As the game progressed it looked like Bath City were going to get their first win of the season. That evil witch who put the curse on the club back in the summer must have had the night off. Or so I thought. The witch obviously had fallen asleep, but was soon awoken. Seeing Bath City had taken the lead, she demanded normal service be resumed. The referee swiftly awarded Taunton a penalty, which their GOALKEEPER scored. Taunton then snatched a second, minutes later, to condemn us to another defeat.

It was depressing. Very depressing. The team left to chants of “Sacked in the morning” directed at Bath City’s manager. Luckily these came from the Taunton fans. Had any City supporter dared react in that manner, I would not be writing this blog right now, instead standing trial for murder.

Even the flag felt flat after that defeat

If the fulltime whistle and reaction of the home fans was depressing, the minibus trip back really made me want to O.D. on Calpol. The older fans on the minibus, began the inquest into what happened, most of whom demanded the City manager be sacked. Some of the comments were laughable “The board are scared of him” came one outburst, followed by “He’s unsackable”. For the second time in one evening, I was tempted to commit mass murder.

I made it back to Bath without killing a pensioner, was offered a lift back home by the Bath City chairman, but had already agreed to share someone’s taxi. I arrived at my flat shortly before midnight, went to bed and was up a few hours later to go to work. What a wonderful world.

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