Bath City F.C.
|Full name||Bath City Football Club|
|Founded||1889as Bath AFC|
|Capacity||8,840 (1,006 seated)|
|League||National League South|
|2018–19||National League South, 5th of 22|
Bath City Football Club is a semi-professional association football club based in Bath, Somerset, England. They currently compete in the National League South, the sixth tier of English football, and play their home matches at Twerton Park. Their current manager is former player Jerry Gill.
Formed in 1889 as Bath AFC, 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. They changed their name to Bath Railway in 1902 before settling on the name Bath City F.C.
After many years playing in the upper echelons of non-League football they spent a decade in the Southern League after being relegated from the 1996–97 Football Conference. They were promoted to the Conference South by winning the Southern League in the 2006–07 season. They have reached the FA cup third round six times. In 2004 they lost in the FA Cup second round to Peterborough United and in the third round of the FA Trophy to Canvey Island. In 2009, City beat Football League Two side Grimsby Town in the FA Cup first round, only to lose to Forest Green Rovers in the second round. At the close of the 2010–11 season, the club secured a top 10 placing in the Conference National, their highest league finish since 1993, but were relegated back to the Conference South after two seasons.
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  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.
"Big Bath City Bid" – 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 ex-Manchester Utd footballer, Eric Cantona.
On 5 May 2017, the club completed its transition to community ownership.
Bath City play their home games at Twerton Park, Twerton, Bath, Somerset, BA2 1DB.
Twerton Park became Bath City's ground in 1932; it is located in Twerton, a suburb of Bath. It currently has a ground capacity of 8,840 with a seating capacity of 1,006. A record attendance of 18,020 was recorded in 1960 versus Brighton & Hove Albion.
Between 1986 and 1996, Bath City shared Twerton Park with Bristol Rovers, who were a Football League club. It has also hosted Team Bath, who were a full-time professional team playing in the Conference South until their resignation at the end of the 2008–09 season.
On 21 August 2008 Bath City's chairman Geoff Todd stated that "the club held talks with Bath Rugby over a possible ground share at the Rec" meaning in the future, Bath City could move to the Recreation Ground. At the end of the 2011–12 season the club offered the naming rights to Twerton Park for just £50. The offer drew 167 entries from as far afield as the US, Australia, Norway and Singapore which raised £3,850 for the club. Businesses made up 58 of the entries with only a handful of the remaining personalised entries being deemed unsuitable. The winning entry drawn at random was The Mayday Trust, a charitable organisation that helps to rehome vulnerable people.
Bath City's honours include the following:
- Conference South (level 6)
- Play-off winners: 2009–10
- Southern League (level 7)
- Western League
- Western League Division 2
- Champions: 1928–29
- Southern League Cup
- Non League Championship Trophy
- Winners: 1978–79
- Anglo-Italian Cup
- Somerset Premier Cup
- Highest league finishing position: 4th in Football Conference 1984–85
- Best individual league position: 1st in Southern League 1959–60 and 1977–78 (Level 5 in old league system)
- Best FA Cup performance: 3rd round replay, 1963–64 and 1993–94
- Best FA Trophy performance: Semi-finals, 2014–15
- As of 1 August 2019
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Chair of Football and Finance||Paul Williams|
- As of 31 July 2018
- Team management
- Manager: Jerry Gill
- Assistant Manager: Jim Rollo
- Goalkeeping Coach: Matt James
- Academy Coach: Billy Clark
- Physiotherapist: Steve Lock
- "Bath City Football club". City of Bath. Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
- "Bath City History". Archived from the original on 29 October 2008. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
- James Crawley (28 August 2015). "Ken Loach calls on Bath to dig deep for community ownership bid to save Bath City FC". Bath Chronicle. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
- "Ken Loach backs Bath City Football Club buyout bid". BBC. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- "Bath City fans' buyout bid achieves £300,000 target". BBC. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- "Eric Cantona backs fans' buyout bid". BBC News. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
- "Bath City FC completes transition to community ownership (5/5/17)". Archived from the original on 16 March 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
- "Bath City". The Non-League Club Directory. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
- "Players". Bath City FC. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
- "Contact". Bath City FC. Retrieved 31 July 2018.