Bath City

Bath City Football Club is a semi-professional association football club based in Bath, Somerset, England. Formed in 1889 as Bath AFC, the club is affiliated to the Somerset FA and currently compete in the National League South, English football's sixth tier.

They play their home matches at Twerton Park, wear black and white striped shirts, black shorts, and white socks and are traditionally called "The Romans" or ‘The Stripes". Their current manager is former player Jerry Gill.

Bath City's history is entirely in non-league football, missing out on election to the Football League by a few votes in 1978 and again in 1985. The club have a good history with the FA Cup, reaching the Third Round no less than six times, and have beaten league sides including Crystal Palace (in 1931), Cardiff City and Millwall.

History

In 1889 Bath City were formed as Bath AFC and began to play at the Belvoir ground. In 1908 they commenced playing competitive league format football, joining the Western League Division Two. For the 1921–22 season they moved up to Southern League, English section. Here they remained until the Second World War when they were by chance accepted to join the temporary Division Two Northern Division competing with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton, finishing the eventual champions, thereby becoming the only semi-professional side ever to win a Football League trophy. After the War they were forced to resume playing in the Southern League which they won in the 1959–60 season. A year later they were runners up in the same league.

Over the next thirteen years they were three times relegated into and again promoted from the Southern League Division one. In the 1977–78 season they won the Southern League title for a second time. For the next season they fell short of election to the Football League by a narrow margin [1] so they became founder members of the Alliance Premier League, now the Conference National. They finished runners-up at this level in 1985 but champions Wealdstone did not meet Football League stadium capacity requirements, so Bath City were allowed to apply for election to the Football League Fourth Division (the election system was in its penultimate season before the introduction of automatic promotion and relegation). They narrowly missed out on election to the Football League.

In 1989 however they were relegated back to the Southern League but were promoted back next season. Here they remained until they were relegated once more to the Southern League in 1997.

They narrowly missed out on promotion to the Conference South in the season 2005–06 season finishing second in the Southern League and lost to Bedford Town. However the following season they won promotion as winners of the Southern League in their second season under manager John Relish.

They finished in 8th position in the Conference South in the 2007–08 season. In the same season they developed a local arrangement to establish a junior footballing set-up called Bath City Youth. This set-up is now being developed into a football academy and in October 2008 manager John Relish moved aside from managerial duties to concentrate on creating this. He was replaced by his former assistant Adie Britton.

On 9 May 2010 Bath City won the Conference South Play-off final against Woking 1–0 and returned to the Conference Premier for the first time since 1997.

On 25 November 2010 Bath City's away game in the Conference against Histon was televised on Premier Sports where Bath City won 2–1 making it Bath City's second live televised football match after the FA Cup Tie v Hereford United shown on BSkyB on 5 December 1993. Their 3rd live televised match was in 2011 when Bath city lost 3–1 a.e.t against Dagenham and Redbridge on ESPN. However, ESPN did not play the extra time, instead cut back after the end of the match.

In the 2011–12 season, Bath City had a terrible run of bad results, therefore being relegated from the Conference National, needing 17 points from the remaining five fixtures to stay up. They were the first football club in the top five divisions of England to be relegated. They are currently playing in the Conference South following this relegation.

The club's performances have been mixed since, with the club just three points from the play-offs in the 2013/14 season. They did have success in the 2014/15 season, reaching the semi-final of the FA Trophy, beating Dover Athletic, Altrincham FC and local rivals Bristol Rovers, en route to losing on penalties to eventual winners, North Ferriby United.

Community ownership

In June 2015 "Big Bath City Bid" was launched by filmmaker and Bath fan Ken Loach to turn the club into a community-owned, ‘one member one vote’ club, in an effort to develop the club and clear its debts. In September 2016 the appeal achieved its £300,000 target to turn the club into a community-owned asset. The community ownership received backing from around the world, including ex-Manchester Utd footballer, Eric Cantona. On 5 May 2017, the club completed its transition to community ownership, and the major shareholder is Bath City Supporters Society Ltd with 54.6%.

COVID-19 pandemic

On 16 March 2020, the National League Board announced the suspension of all National League football until at least 3 April, due to the rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic. On 31 March, the suspension was extended indefinitely and, on 22 April, all remaining league matches were cancelled. Following a vote by National League member clubs, it was agreed that final league tables would be compiled on an “unweighted points per game” basis and that end of season play-offs would proceed. City finished in 4th place, the club's highest league finish since 2012. Supporters donated £53,025 to the club to help cover the extra costs of participating in the playoffs, such as COVID-19 testing for all players and backroom staff. City were beaten 2-1 by Dorking Wanderers in the play-off eliminator at Twerton Park.

The 2020–21 National League South season did not commence until 6 October 2020, following confirmation of financial support from the UK Government to compensate clubs for having to play 'behind closed doors'. The club established a livestreaming service, allowing supporters to remotely watch games played at Twerton Park. The season was disrupted by a number of fixture postponements caused by positive COVID-19 tests within the City squad and National League South opponents. On 22 January 2021, with increasing uncertainty about continued financial support for National League member clubs, the National League Board announced that the National League South would be halted immediately for a two-week period. On 18 February 2021, following a vote by National League member clubs, National League South was declared null and void with immediate effect. City were in 18th position at the time, having played thirteen games.

This page also has a version in other languages:  Бат Сити (russian)

Bath City