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.

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