Reserve League involvement.

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Post by Marc Monitor on Fri May 31, 2019 5:21 pm

When did ew last play a reserve team in a dedicated league? I seem to remember some less than ten years ago but can't remember what the league was called. What were the attendances like? Were low attendances the reason the league folded?
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Post by Paul1978 on Fri May 31, 2019 8:26 pm

We had a reserve team in the Western league division 1. This league has not folded. I think Rovers played at Twerton then so I think reserves played at Radstock Town. Attendances were low as Radstock roughly 10 miles away for home games. It was called the Great Mills league then. Now Toolstation league. Think it was too expensive too run the Reserves. Think we also had Bath City Colts who played in the Bath and District Saturday league which has now folded.
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Post by stillmanjunior on Sat Jun 01, 2019 12:30 am

Last season of the reserves was 2002/03. They won promotion to Western League Premier a season before. In 2003/04 there was a series of fixtures similar to a reserve league but I don’t think it was completed.

2002/03 was the third season of us holding a reserve team in the Western League. I think the club lost a fair bit of money, we only had one player fully progress through it and it wasn’t that well supported. Yet when they folded all hell broke loose.
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Post by Midsomer-steve on Sat Jun 01, 2019 3:03 am

What about that Severnside League? From memory I can recall us playing several games in this one division League on Tuesday evenings, some of them against teams from a higher level than us. I think that we became interested for three reasons - it gave any 'usual' bench players a competitive game - it blooded potential newcomers to the club - and it gave an opportunity to get some match practise into players returning from injury.
I think it ran for a couple of seasons, but I do not know why it folded, although it would be a fair bet to think that its running costs came into the reckoning.
I thought that its creation was a good idea, but it needed to attract more people to watch the matches.
I would think that it might be worth another shot today, or at least in a few year's time, considering our improved fan base, and ground improvements - perhaps a full season reserve team alternating their home games with 1st team fixtures at Twerton Park at football's most attractive time i.e. on a Saturday at 3pm.
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Post by Luton Roman on Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:00 am

Can't see it happening. 4 more league games from 21/22 means squad depth needed and now the loan practice is established both ways to give players better competition. And then there is the costs of an additional team.

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Post by tovid on Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:22 pm

As Jerry says Reserve Leagues are an outdated model. If you can't make the first team pay its way then you aren't going to be able to fund another team.
The Bristol sides hoover up all the available talent so the loan system becomes integral to player progression. And that can mean sending out our own promising youngsters on loan to clubs like mangotsfield.

There are obviously a few that somehow slip through the professional club net - like Cundy and Raynes - but that becomes the exception rather than the norm.

Reserve football is never going to be well supported.
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Post by Midsomer-steve on Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:07 pm

Good, but rather sad points you two.

Re your rather brash last statement Tovid - my thinking behind suggesting such a consideration of reserve football was based on a hopeful scenario of providing football on every Saturday, in the hope that enough of the vast majority of 'home' fans, who do not travel to the 'away' matches, would be more than happy to support a reserve team, and to therefore make it viable financially. Could it not be costed out - by Paul W perhaps?
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Post by Dave on Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:41 pm

Nice luxury to have but I can't imagine there'd be any real benefit to it at all beyond getting the odd player a bit of match fitness here or there, and the loan market is probably sufficient enough for that, eg Dan Ball this season. Would there even be any first team players available to play? We run with a small squad these days and just about fill the bench most weeks. Just off the top of my head the costs would get ridiculous. A manager, assistant manager, physio etc would all be needed, another kit man, more matchday volunteers if current ones regularly travel away. The playing squad would have to be at a decent enough standard for it to be worthwhile, Western League absolute minimum but then why bung recovering first teamers in to matches slugfests at that level. Students won't be a reliable option given they're not around for half the season, it'd have to be permanent squad. Team travel to away games will be a lot more expensive with more and more Cornwall and Devon based sides being placed in the Western League. We'd be obligated to provide catering, produce programmes, etc and all the usual tasks that take up enough of the scarce volunteer time already. We'd need to pay for an extra full set of kits and training gear, match officials' fees, could we attract enough additional sponsorship to cover all of this? I can't imagine it myself but fair play to Bob if we could. Would people really go to the games? Are the youth team matches at Twerton a good barometer of what to expect? Genuine question as I've never been around to attend one when we're away so I've no idea if many attend beyond families of players. I don't imagine I'd ever go down to a reserve game, when those rare free Saturday's come around there's always something else to fill the void and I'd probably rather head to another game at that level or similar than rattle around in a barren Twerts in all honesty. Rambling now, but TLDR it would be a loss making luxury with minimal benefit.
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Post by Corstonian on Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:07 pm

stillmanjunior wrote:Last season of the reserves was 2002/03. They won promotion to Western League Premier a season before. In 2003/04 there was a series of fixtures similar to a reserve league but I don’t think it was completed.

2002/03 was the third season of us holding a reserve team in the Western League. I think the club lost a fair bit of money, we only had one player fully progress through it and it wasn’t that well supported. Yet when they folded all hell broke loose.

Wasn't there also a dislike of having reserve teams in the Western League because every now and then, say as a kind of punishment for an early FA Cup exit, we would field more or less our first team, and naturally if that cost the opposing side important points they felt they were not being treated fairly - especially if the following week one of their rivals stuffed the real reserves.

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Post by Midsomer-steve on Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:10 am

Mmmn - Thanks for the latest comments from Palms and Corstonian. If your views are endemic amongst our loyal fan base generally, then I guess it is not worth progressing the idea further.
Perhaps I was too intrigued by the initial posting in this thread, as to think that the writer was stirring us into thinking along the lines of considering such a venture of creating a reserve team. It definitely stimulated me to think that time has moved on from those Severnside League days, let alone the venture into the Western League, as the Club today is much bigger in stature - is more known throughout Bath today, and, thanks to some serious publicity, has increased its fan base, and therefore attendance levels, significantly. Ah well.
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Post by Major Icewater on Sun Jun 02, 2019 8:04 am

At the current stage of affairs, even with increased attendances and sponsorship, we are still experiencing significant losses. Unfortunately running a reserve side would only add to those losses so is not a viable consideration. Should all the development financial gains come to fruition then it might be a possibility in the future.

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Post by comrade powell on Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:12 pm

Steve, I think there's less chance of this happening than our move into National League North Wink

Others in this thread have outlined most of the stumbling blocks and I'm sure Paul Williams would list several others.

As far as I can remember the Western League changed its rules of entry soon after we resigned and clubs can no longer enter reserve teams. And I wonder if there's any interest in revisiting the idea of a Severnside League.

You suggest there may be an appetite amongst our supporters for a second team to use our pitch - you must be aware of the poor state of many grass pitches we've played on which are used by more than one club. One is just a few miles up the A4. Of course things will change in this regard once the 3G pitch is installed but before that happens we will see a season away from Twerton Park - we're hardly going to fork out for renting two grounds.
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Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:29 pm

All of which begs another question that would probably be worthy of a thread of its own - when we do eventually have to play away for a season, what ground do you reckon we'll use?

Is Hardenhuish Park already too busy? Would Rovers want to repay the favour and offer us agreeable rates? Do any of the local university or college grounds have decent enough facilities to enable us to play there for a season or so? Or would the league allow us to nip over to somewhere like Keynsham or Paulton for a season?

And indeed, does anyone know if such plans are being made yet, and if we've got anywhere in mind? I'd be fascinated to discover what kind of places are being considered.

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Post by LB on Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:45 pm

Roy D Hacksaw wrote:All of which begs another question that would probably be worthy of a thread of its own - when we do eventually have to play away for a season, what ground do you reckon we'll use?

Is Hardenhuish Park already too busy? Would Rovers want to repay the favour and offer us agreeable rates? Do any of the local university or college grounds have decent enough facilities to enable us to play there for a season or so? Or would the league allow us to nip over to somewhere like Keynsham or Paulton for a season?

And indeed, does anyone know if such plans are being made yet, and if we've got anywhere in mind? I'd be fascinated to discover what kind of places are being considered.

As I understand it the groundshare arrangement between Chippenham Town and Chippenham Park ceased at the end of last season, so Hardenhuish Park would be available on alternate Saturdays. It does seem the most obvious place for us to play during our year away from Twerton Park, as it has the right grading and is pretty easy to get to from Bath (15 minutes on train and not too far to walk from station).

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Post by comrade powell on Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:01 pm

Roy D Hacksaw wrote:All of which begs another question that would probably be worthy of a thread of its own - when we do eventually have to play away for a season, what ground do you reckon we'll use?

Is Hardenhuish Park already too busy? Would Rovers want to repay the favour and offer us agreeable rates? Do any of the local university or college grounds have decent enough facilities to enable us to play there for a season or so? Or would the league allow us to nip over to somewhere like Keynsham or Paulton for a season?

And indeed, does anyone know if such plans are being made yet, and if we've got anywhere in mind? I'd be fascinated to discover what kind of places are being considered.


To answer the last question first, we've been in exploratory discussions with several clubs but you'll understand that I can't disclose which ones. Hopefully the redevelopment planning process will give us the go ahead to start work at the completion of next season so we'd be looking to relocate for 20/21. So all being well I guess that firm discussions should commence before Christmas.

Obviously supporters will be looking at this from their point of view depending on where they live and their favoured way of travelling*. But there are additional considerations for the club, the main one being that the ground meets league requirements. Additional ones will include facilities at the relocation, condition of pitch, size of rent etc. You mention universities/colleges - I don't think any would have the required facilities for this level let alone the one above.

You've also got to look at it from the other club's angle. It was interesting to read LB's comment about Chippenham Park - Chipp are apparently doing a lot of work on their pitch this summer suggesting that a better surface is seen as a priority. Would they want to groundshare again?

And while Rovers fans may have fond memories of their time at TP and feel they owe us a favour, I believe that the club itself is much changed.    


* one thing I can disclose is that the Supporters Club have agreed to organise coach transport for those supporters who don't want to travel independently to wherever we play.
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Post by Twerton Parker on Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:06 pm

One other thought: if we get promotion next season then we'd have to find a National League venue for 20/21 and this will presumably rule out a move to Chippenham or anywhere similar unless their ground meets the appropriate standard. What grounds are available that could accommodate us if we make it to the National League?

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Post by yuffie on Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:32 pm

I might be wide of the mark here but as Tottenham are finally in their new ground it seems a certain stadium is now free most Saturdays.

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Post by Midsomer-steve on Mon Jun 03, 2019 3:09 am

comrade powell wrote:Steve, I think there's less chance of this happening than our move into National League North Wink Thanks Martin - I'll take that hit - but not as hard as I hit the bloke that told me  Smile  Smile

Others in this thread have outlined most of the stumbling blocks and I'm sure Paul Williams would list several others.

As far as I can remember the Western League changed its rules of entry soon after we resigned and clubs can no longer enter reserve teams. And I wonder if there's any interest in revisiting the idea of a Severnside League.

You suggest there may be an appetite amongst our supporters for a second team to use our pitch - you must be aware of the poor state of many grass pitches we've played on which are used by more than one club. One is just a few miles up the A4. Of course things will change in this regard once the 3G pitch is installed but before that happens we will see a season away from Twerton Park - we're hardly going to fork out for renting two grounds.
Yes - a very good point - we take great pride in the quality of our grass pitch - but I did say "or at least in a few year's time, considering our improved fan base and our ground improvements" in my first posting in this thread, so maybe I covered myself Smile

Anyway, this thread has moved on - and I am just as intrigued as others are as to where we will be playing during the ground improvements period.
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Post by LB on Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:45 am

Martin has said that one of the considerations in any groundshare will be the size of the rent. While obviously this is a factor, I thought that as part of the redevelopment agreement the developer would meet the cost of this.

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Post by comrade powell on Mon Jun 03, 2019 2:39 pm

Yes, that's correct but I don't think we'll be following up on Yuffie's suggestion!
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Post by tovid on Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:35 pm

Melksham have a good ground the capacity is 3000. There of some good photos of it being built on the website.
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Post by romanoyd on Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:24 pm

Good call tovid, have to say its a venue a bit off my radar but if we're heading towards the plans for Twerton going as projected with a sustainable pitch this could be a no-brainer in terms of preparation for the future
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Post by stillmanjunior on Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:59 pm

I went there for their first ever league game.

It’s a bit like Slough apart from less cover, and not as much room behind either goal. Massive car park. It’s nowhere near the centre and, presumably, not great for public transport, but happy to be proved wrong. Wouldn’t be my choice personally, but glad I’m not involved in the final decision.

Glad we aren’t in the same boat at Gloucester, basically. Two seasons at that soulless place in Evesham would drive me mad.
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Post by LB on Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:09 pm

I think Mark is right, the Melksham ground is a fair way out of the town, but is I think near a new housing development so there might be some public transport although I doubt it. Also, I have a feeling that there was a suggestion that the ground would be shared with the rugby club.

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Post by Beau Nash on Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:53 am

Is Odd Down FC up to Conf standard?

If so, it must be the best option:
Proximity to Twerton Park.
Pitch has a slight slope.
Park and ride (is it FREE to park?).
Buses from bus station every few minutes or so, journey c.10 minutes.
Bus, no.4, direct from Weston Village, journey <30 minutes.
Ease of access for a certain Frome resident Very Happy (and others from south of Bath).
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