Thursday, 30 June 2011

Season Preview Part II - Bashley, Bedford and Brackley

Part Two of the pre-season preview of the competition for the 2011/12 season is here! I knew you'd be thrilled. Today the spotlight is on Bashley, Bedford Town, and Brackley Town.


A Brief History: Bashley were founded in 1947 and joined the Bournemouth League in 1950, progressing through the ranks before leaving in 1983 to join the Hampshire League. In 1986 they became founder members of the Wessex League and won the title for the first three years they took part. Following their third Wessex League title, the club were accepted into the Southern Football League Southern Division and won the title in their first season, gaining promotion to the Premier Division where they played for four seasons before being relegated. In the 1994/95 season, Bashley played Swansea City in the FA Cup 2nd round, narrowly losing 1-0 at home. For the 2004/05 season the club moved to the Isthmian League Division One due to league re-structuring, but in 2006 they were moved again, this time to the Southern League. Bashley were promoted to the Southern League Premier Division at the end of the 2006/7 season, after notching up a record 102 points in the Southern League South and West Division.

Ground: Bashley play at the Recreation Ground. But that sounds like quite a dull name, so I prefer the name the fans give it: Bashley Road. The stadium has a capacity of 4,250. According to Wikipedia: "...the refreshments bar sells all snacks and drinks people need at the football." Yet another insight into the wisdom of the sort of people that edit Wikipedia.

Nickname: The Bash. Original. It's the club name, shortened. I like it. Imagine asking someone who they support and getting "We are The Bash!" as a reply. You wouldn't mess with 'em. Alternatively, if you're quite immature and dirty-minded, you might just laugh.

Notable Former Players: Wade Elliot, who scored the winner in the play off final to take Burnley to the Premier League in 2009, played 68 times for Bashley between 1997 and 1999 before moving to Bournemouth and then Burnley, making over 200 appearances for each.

Bedford Town

A Brief History: Bedford Town were founded in 1908. They moved to the Southern League in 1945. In the 50's and 60's, Bedford gained a reputation as prolific 'giant-killers' in cup competitions with victories over the likes of Watford, Norwich City, Newcastle United, Exeter City, Brighton & Hove Albion and Oxford United. Possibly their greatest achievement was to draw 2-2 with Arsenal at Highbury watched by a crowd of over 55,000 in the 1955/56 season. Bedford nearly caused a major shock in the replay, leading 1-0 until 4 minutes from time before losing 2-1 in extra time, as well as having 2 goals disallowed for offside. In 1982 the owners of Bedford's ground terminated the lease and plans for a new ground failed. Bedford Town were shut down after 74 years. The club's last game was a 1-0 defeat away to Nuneaton Borough on 4 May 1982. In 1989 a group of Bedford fans re-formed the club. Bedford were promoted to the Conference South in 2006, but were relegated a year later. They have remained in the Southern League Premier Division ever since.

Ground: Bedford Town play at the 4,000 capacity The New Eyrie. The ground is named so because the club's nickname is The Eagles. The nest of an eagle is called an eyrie. See what they've done there?

Nickname: Oh, I've already given it away.

Notable Former Players: Anthony Elding, of Rochdale and Stockport 'fame', played 4 games on loan for Bedford in 2001/02. Peterborough United's Director of Football, Barry Fry, played for Bedford between 1969 and 1972, and went on to manage the club in 1977/78. Rene Howe, who has played in the Football League with Peterborough, Morecambe, Rochdale, Lincoln, Gillingham and Bristol Rovers, and took part in TV show 'Dating In The Dark' in 2010, (nope, me neither), started his career with hometown club Bedford from 2003 to 2006.

Brackley Town

A Brief History:  Brackley Town were founded in 1890 and were initially a prominent side in the area, but fell away with most of the period before World War II being spent in the Oxfordshire Senior Football League, before a switch to the North Bucks and District League after the war. In 1968 the club moved down to the Banbury & District League. In 1974 they moved back to the North Bucks League and in the same year moved to their current St James Park home. By 1977 the club had stepped up to the Hellenic League. In 1997 Brackley were promoted to the Southern League, but the club was forced into liquidation in February 1999 with debts of over £100,000. The club was saved from extinction but demoted back into the Hellenic League. Brackley made it back to the Southern League and won the title in 2004 and were promoted to the Premier Division in 2007. In 2010 the club finished in 5th place, their highest ever finish in the non league pyramid, but lost in the play-off semi-final to Nuneaton Town.

Ground: Brackley play at St James Park. No, not the big one oop north inhabited by some men dressed as barcodes. This one is much smaller, but a lot more welcoming. The ground has a capacity of 3,500, with seating for 600 spectators. 

Nickname: The Saints. Presumably taken from the name of the ground, St James Park.

Notable Former Players: Lee Tomlin, who plays for Championship side Peterborough United, played 3 games for Brackley, scoring one goal, on loan from Rushden & Diamonds in 2007. David Oldfield, who played for Luton Town, Manchester City, Leicester City, Stoke City, Peterborough United and Oxford United, ended his playing career with Brackley in 2007 before going on to manage The Saints.


That's all for part two. Tomorrow it's the turn of Cambridge City, Chesham United and Chippenham Town. It's actually worked out perfectly as there are 22 teams in the league. Not including Totton, that's 21. So I can do 3 teams in each article as 21 is divisible by 3. Unless Rushden & Diamonds rock up in the Division and mess my system up. They'll get their own separate article if they do. Isolated from the others. That'll learn them.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Winchester Friendly Rearranged

Good news! The pre season friendly away at Winchester City has been rearranged for Saturday 6th August, with a 3pm kick off. The game was originally planned for Saturday 23rd July but was moved to make way for a home friendly fixture with Farnborough.

So yeah, Farnborough at home: 23rd July, Winchester away: 6th August. Don't get them mixed up. If you turn up at the Testwood Stadium on Saturday 6th August expecting to see Winchester, you're a pillock.

Just saying.

Travel Distances

Evening all. I'm going to just write a quick piece on travel distances for the forthcoming season. Totton are one of only 4 clubs in the Evo-Stik Southern Premier League this season that are SOUTH of London. The other 3 are Bashley, Frome Town and the rather unfortunate Weymouth. So over the course of the season every club should rack up enough Nectar points to exchange for a Thermos flask.

So the distances from Totton to everywhere else in the league this season are as follows:

Arlesey Town 121 miles
Banbury Utd 97 miles
Barwell 148 miles
Bashley 18 miles 
Bedford Town 122 miles
Brackley Town 91 miles
Cambridge City 152 miles
Chesham Utd 85 miles
Chippenham Town 88 miles
Cirencester Town 85 miles
Evesham Utd 126 miles
Frome Town 46 miles 
Hemel Hempstead Town 90 miles
Hitchin Town 106 miles
Leamington 113 miles
Oxford City 72 miles
Redditch Utd 136 miles
St Albans City 91 miles
Stourbridge 145 miles
Swindon Supermarine 72 miles
Weymouth 56 miles

I've got these distances from another source and I can't be bothered to double check them but they look about right. So yeah, quite a lot of travelling to be done next season. Looking forward to Bashley away to be honest.

Season Preview Part I - Arlesey, Banbury and Barwell

In these few articles I thought I'd do a quick overview of the other teams that Totton will be competing with in the upcoming Evo-Stik Southern Premier League season. In Part One we take a gander at Arlesey Town, Banbury United and Barwell.

Arlesey Town

A Brief History: Arlesey Town were formed in 1891 by a group of locals. In 1982 they joined the United Counties Football League, and 2 years later won the Premier Division. The 1990s were a successful period in Arlesey's history. In 1991 the club moved to the South Midlands League, finishing 3rd in their first season. The next season saw a 6th place finish and a Premier Division Cup triumph. The Blues won the league 2 seasons running between 1994 and 1996.The 94/95 season also saw Arlesey Town beat Oxford City 2-1 at Wembley to lift the FA Challenge Vase. The club won the Ryman League Third Division in 2000/01, scoring a league record 138 goals. The Blues also gained the record of being the first club to finish with a 100+ goal difference in the league's 96 year history. In the 2010/11 season the club won the Southern League Division One Central by 1 point from local rivals Hitchin Town, and promotion to the Southern League Premier Division for the 2011/12 season.

Ground: Arlesey play at the oddly named aRMadillo Stadium. Although this name appears to be a club sponsor and not a reference to the local Bedfordshire fauna. The ground has a capacity of 2,920, including a covered all-seater stand, and the site also has a training pitch.

Nickname: The Blues. Self-explanatory. But I'll explain anyway. The club plays in blue, and the badge is blue as well. Elementary.

Notable Former Players: Portsmouth and former Premier League striker with Stoke City and Reading, Dave Kitson, and in-demand Peterborough United hit man Craig Mackail-Smith, both played for Arlesey in the early 2000's.

Banbury United

A Brief History: Banbury started out life as Spencer Villa in 1931. In 1934 the club changed it's name to Banbury Spencer. The club turned professional after the war and finished as league runners-up in 1947/48, as well as reaching the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time, losing 2-1 to Colchester United. In 1965 the club changed hands, being bought by a group of local businessmen. With the new ownership came a new name, the name the club go by to this day, Banbury United. In 1966 the club was elected to the Southern League. From the late 1970's the club's fortunes began to decline. Debts mounted, ground ownership was given up to help with debts, and on the field the club rapidly dropped, culminating in relegation in 1990 for the first time in their history. It was 10 years before the club were promoted back to the Southern League. In 2005 the club won promotion to the Southern League Premier Division after coming from behind in extra time against Sutton Coldfield Town to win 2-1. Banbury have remained in the Premier Division ever since.

Ground: Banbury play at the Spencer Stadium. The name presumably comes from the club's original name of Spencer Villa FC. The club have played here since 1934, 3 years after it was formed. The ground has a capacity of 2,000, with a 250 seater stand on one side and slightly towards one end. The club have applied for permission to build a new stadium.

Nickname: The Puritans. There is a picture of a stereotypical Puritan on the club crest. I imagine there is a connection.

Notable Former Players: Howard Forinton. Played in the Football League with Birmingham City, Plymouth Argyle, Peterborough United and Torquay United. Looking at his Wikipedia page, he appears to have got about a bit.


A Brief History: Barwell were formed at the start of the 1992–93 season as the result of a merger between Hinckley of the Midland Football Combination and Barwell Athletic, who had previously played in the Leicestershire Senior League. The new club initially played in the Midland Football Combination before becoming a founder member of the Midland Football Alliance in 1994. In 2006 Barwell won the Midland Football Alliance League Cup beating Leamington 3–1. In the 2009/10 season the club reached the semi finals of the FA Vase, losing to eventual winners Whitley Bay. 2010 saw them promoted to the Northern Premier League Division One South as champions of the Midland Football Alliance. They followed this by winning the 2010–11 Division One South and gaining promotion, following which they were transferred to the Southern League Premier Division.

Ground: Barwell play at Kirkby Road. It has a capacity of 2,500, including a 256 seater cantilever stand. The area also includes a cricket pitch and bowling facilities. Barwell have played at Kirkby Road since the club was founded in 1992. At the time, most of the seats were taken from the old main stand at Leicester City's Filbert Street ground when The Foxes built the new Carling Stand.

Nickname: The Kirkby Roaders. Again, this one seems pretty obvious. The team play at Kirkby Road, so naturally they call themselves, rather unoriginally, after the ground itself. It even says 'The Kirkby Roaders' on the club crest. Maybe it's all just a massive coincidence.

Notable Former Players: Not much to say here. Lee Colkin, I suppose. Former Northampton Town, Leyton Orient, Morecambe and Burton Albion defender. Spent more than half of his career in non-league football. Nothing to write home about anyway.


So there we go. 3 down, urm.....18 to go! I think. My maths was never brilliant. Tomorrow we'll have a look at Totton's closest rivals for this season, Bashley, as well as Bedford Town and Brackley, who are both much further away. As is the case with most of the teams in the league this season. Cosmic.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Pre Season Fixture Change

Just a quick one.

The away fixture against Winchester City on Saturday 23rd July will make way for a home game against last season's Conference South playoff finalists Farnborough FC. The date for this game remains the same.

It is apparently hoped that the original game at the Denplan City Ground will still go ahead if a rescheduled date can be agreed with Winchester.

Evo-Stik Southern Premier League Clubs 2011/12

Here is the line up for the 2011/12 season in the Southern Premier League:

AFC Totton

Arlesey Town

Banbury United



Bedford Town

Brackley Town

Cambridge City

Chesham United

Chippenham Town

Cirencester Town

Evesham United

Frome Town

Hemel Hempstead Town

Hitchin Town


Oxford City

Redditch United

St Albans City


Swindon Supermarine


Note: Rushden & Diamonds may join the league if they meet financial criteria set out by the league and fail with an appeal against their expulsion from the Blue Square Premier.

Pre Season Friendly Fixtures

The following friendly matches have now been confirmed for AFC Totton:

Tuesday 12th July: Blackfield & Langley (Away).
Wednesday 20th July: Southampton Under 21s (Home).
Saturday 23rd July: Winchester City (Away).
Tuesday 26th July: Salisbury City (Home).
Saturday 30th July: Bemerton Heath Harlequins. (Home) (Linden Homes Tournament).
Sunday 31st July: 3rd/4th place play off or Final of Linden Homes Tournament. (Home).

The other teams in the Linden Homes Tournament are Totton & Eling, Thatcham Town and Bemerton Heath Harlequins.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Poole Pounce for Price

AFC Totton winger Tom Price is on the brink of leaving the club and signing for Zamaretto League South & West Division newcomers Poole Town.

The Price Is Right
Price, 20, has not found it easy to get games at Totton since moving to the club from Christchurch because of the excellent form of Jon Davies and Mike Gosney. He spent some time on loan at Gosport Borough last season and Gosport boss Alex Pike had expressed an interest in bringing Price back to Privett Park, but The Dolphins appear to have beat off the competition to sign him on a two-year deal for a nominal, undisclosed fee.

Poole manager Tom Killick was present at the Hampshire Senior Cup final at St Mary's Stadium on May 25th where Price helped Totton beat Sholing 3-1 to lift the trophy.

Price scored 2 goals in 7 starts in all competitions this season for The Stags, with both his goals scored in Hampshire Senior Cup victories against Romsey Town and Winchester City en route to the final.