Posted by sean on September 5, 2020 at 2:48 pm in Bath City with No Comments

I do love how all three trialists in Bath City’s preseason friendly share their names with characters from The Simpsons!

1. Will Henry
2. Callum Evans
3. Freddie Grant
4. Dan Ball
5. Jason Pope
6. Frankie Artus (C)
7. Lloyd James
8. John Frink (Trial)
9. Gary Chalmers (Trial)
10. Ryan Harley
11. Tom Smith

12. Tom Richards
13. Ryan Clarke
14. Frank Grimes (Trial)
15. Leo Eglin
16. Lloyd Land

Posted by sean on July 22, 2020 at 11:00 am in Bath City with No Comments

While I was enjoying a weekend celebrating Leeds United’s promotion, my other club, Bath City, also had a very important event on the Sunday.

Due to finishing the football season in a very respectable fourth place, City were invited to enter a play off competition alongside five other teams.

The prize for winning the play offs is promotion to a higher division; competing with stronger opposition, from all over the country and not just clubs located south of Gloucester.

City won promotion to the same national league exactly 10 years ago, where they spent two seasons – the first allowed me to watch my local side play some incredible football. The less said about the second season, the better.

As well as finishing the regular season between second and seventh place, every club wishing to take part in the play offs must ensure all their players are regularly tested for COVID-19.

Considering how dangerous the virus is and how the nature of football means that it is impossible to social distance, making such tests mandatory is fully justifiable.

The biggest problem was that the cost of regular testing. A sum of £35,000 was required to pay for all necessary tests. Bath City would have to find this figure all by themselves.

While a Premier League player like Jack Grealish only has to tie the laces on his football boots to earn 35 grand, non-league clubs need to beg, borrow and steal to even get close to such riches.

Beg, borrow and steal is exactly what Bath City did. Although I feel I must point out that there was absolutely no use of financial loans or theft when raising the cash. Begging? Some could class it as that…

A ‘Crowd Funder’ page was setup, asking City supporters to donate, in a hope that the £35k target would be reached.

Clearly there was a lot of support for the club competing in the play offs, as money came rolling in from all over the world. The support was so strong that the original financial target was surpassed, with the campaign raising over £52k (at the time of writing).

I am sad to say that I did not contribute. This is not because I am a tight-fisted Cyril Sneer. The reason behind my lack of donation was because I was against the club from entering the play offs at all.

Like everyone on the planet, we are living in very uncertain times, thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Football clubs, especially those at lower levels are under great financial pressure.

Personally, I think that it was wrong to spend such a large sum of money on a competition where success is far from a certain.

My other concern was that in the event of Bath City winning the play offs and therefore promotion, how could the following season be financially funded? A magic money tree?

Sadly, Magic Money Trees do not exist.
Sadly, the fat blonde buffoon does.

Nobody currently knows when the new season will kick off, and even when it does, will fans be allowed to attend? No supporters through the turnstiles means a lot less income.

Based upon City’s national adventure, between 2010 and 2012, travelling to games hundreds of miles away, is a lot more expensive than what the club is used to. Journeys to the likes of North Yorkshire can be exorbitant, especially when you factor in travel costs and overnight accommodation – a luxury currently not required when visiting Hungerford.

This is not to say I lack ambition. I want Bath City to compete at the highest level possible. However, the club’s long-term future should not be put at risk as a result.

City is a club very close to my heart. I have lost count of the number of other football clubs who have gambled on success. When the glory doesn’t happen, or the coffers dry up, these clubs face financial ruin and even extinction. If this happened to my local club, it would be devastating.

While I am traditionally a Leeds fan, I have attended hundreds more live Bath City games than at Elland Road.

I have travelled as far north as Darlington and Barrow; the furthest east as is physically possible without falling into the Channel, at Dover; and not forgetting Truro, the deep south of Cornwall.

Had I travelled any further East, I would have ended up in the sea!

Most importantly of all, I met Claire, the love of my life and now wife at the football club. Staff from the playing and management side even attended our wedding!

I hope anyone who was in doubt, now appreciates how much the club means to me, as well as a large number of other supporters.

This is why I was against any play off participation. It is not to say that I don’t respect those fans who wanted to enter the competition and dug deep to ensure it went ahead. Just because we disagree on some things, there is no reason to fall out. After all, we all want success for Bath City.

So, the play offs themselves…

There will be no further need for coronavirus testing, as City sadly fell at the first hurdle – beaten 2-1 by their opponents, Dorking Wanderers.

As with all football matches in the country right now, no fans were allowed into the ground to watch the game.

The only way of doing so, was to pay to stream the coverage over the internet. We did just that.

The performance of the stream was awful, resulting in frequent freezing and even the BT Test Card being displayed. Despite the poor coverage, the geek in me thought that simply being able to see the Test Card was worth the £5.99 we paid for the useless stream.

Incidentally, I sent an email of complaints and have since been given a refund.

It would be very unfair for me to comment on the Bath City players’ performance, simply because during the first half, the frequent freezing and lack of signal made the entire thing unwatchable.

BT Sport appeared to step up to the mark in the second half of the game, as did the City players. We managed to watch the final 45 minutes without interference, freezing and (unfortunately) test cards.

The players certainly looked a lot better after half time, managing to score a late goal, resulting in an exciting end to the match.

Alas, it was too little, too late.

I don’t know what could have been done differently. I respect anyone who contributed towards the Crowd Funder page.

I also appreciate how tough it must been for the players, considering they hadn’t kicked a ball in a competitive match for four months. This did show at times, but they also worked bloody hard.

Hopefully it won’t be too long until the 2020/21 season can start – WITH fans in the ground.

I think pre-2021 could be a tad too soon for me to go to a match, as I intend to keep my distance from any form of crowd until I know it’s safe…

See you in 2032, then?

Posted by sean on May 9, 2020 at 2:28 pm in Bath City, Leeds United with No Comments

Leeds promoted on the Saturday. Bath City promoted on the Sunday.

Anyone who thinks it must have been fun, clearly isn’t a football fan. One of the most stressful weekends of my life!

Posted by sean on March 31, 2020 at 9:34 pm in Bath City, Non League with No Comments

Now, children, this is what grownups call a cop-out…

The National League Board met earlier today and has reviewed its prior decision to suspend the competition until at least 3rd April 2020.

In consideration of the very serious and unprecedented national public health emergency caused by the coronavirus, the Board has taken the decision to suspend the National League, National League North and National League South competitions indefinitely.

The National League is currently obtaining specialist legal advice, is consulting regularly with The Football Association and other stakeholders, and is committed to involving its member clubs in a pending decision on how best to conclude the 2019/20 season.

Those responsible for making the decisions must have very sore bottoms. Their rear ends will be full of splinters, after sitting on top of that fence for so long.

Posted by sean on March 11, 2020 at 3:49 pm in Bath City with No Comments

March 11th 2020 will forever go down in history as one of the most important dates in the history of Bath City Football Club.

This afternoon, representatives from the club met with the Bath & North East Somerset Planning Committee, to put forward their plans to redevelop the Twerton Park football ground, as well as the neighbouring high street.

Following lengthy negotiations, the planning committee made the decision to reject the proposals put before them.

This is naturally a massive blow for many connected with the football club, not least all the individuals who worked tirelessly, for over two years, planning what looked like a project not just beneficial to fans of Bath City, but residents of Twerton, Bath and beyond.

Today’s meeting was streamed live over the internet, so I was able to hear arguments for and against the redevelopment.

Personally, I want the best for Bath City Football Club and know how important the redevelopment was to its longterm future.

There were aspects of the plans that I did not like – most notably, the use of an artificial football pitch, instead of grass. I am aware that many other supporters shared this particular view.

Despite feeling strongly against football being played on any surface that isn’t grass, I was prepared to accept the major change if it was to allow Bath City to develop competitively.

Many of the other concerns relate to the student accommodation and the impact it would have on the local area.

I do not know if student accommodation was included in the plans as a means of funding the redevelopment. If this was the case, I can see why the decision was made to do so.

If the project could have been executed without catering for an ever-growing student population, I believe that would have been wise.

I am also no hypocrite and know that thousands of Bath citizens are concerned about the number of students in the city. It is no surprise that many residents of Twerton were concerned about introducing more students, right onto their doorstep.

I live in Lower Weston. A delightful area of Bath. I have fields behind my house. How would I feel if a block of student flats were built close to my home? I would be devastated.

I can therefore understand the reasons why there have been worries from those whose homes are in Twerton.

It would be wrong of me to think differently and I am certainly not one of those people with the mentality of “I’m all for it, but not in my back yard!”.

I didn’t want to post my thoughts anywhere before today’s decision had been made, for fear that my views may jeopardise the outcome – despite it being unlikely that anyone would read them.

I am also aware that students were not the only concern raised today and am certainly in no position to say whether or not the plans would have been approved without their controversial inclusion.

As a City fan, I hope and pray that another solution can be found, which will secure Bath City’s future for generations.

Where the club go from here, I do not know. It would certainly be unfair if I was to speculate on what Bath City will do next.

The official Bath City website did publish a statement prior to the redevelopment meeting, including what would happen should the plans be rejected…

Risk Bath City leaving the city and leaving Twerton and the stadium site to an uncertain future, without the positive influences of the Club – there is no guarantee we can try again

To me, this doesn’t sound good news at all, and there could be worrying times ahead at Twerton Park.

Finally, as a City fan, I would like to thank every single person involved in preparing and presenting the redevelopment plans. Thousands of hours of work must have gone into the project and it is a massive shame that an agreement with the planning committee could not be reached.

Hopefully next time, we’ll have some better news.

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