Our promotion to the GM Vauxhall Conference in 1994 seems to coincide with the start of a decline in the fortunes of Bath City. After holding their own in mid-table, the Romans slid towards the bottom in 1995-6 season; ending the campaign in 18th. Their fate was sealed the next year; missing out on survival by just one point at the final reckoning.
It meant a return to the Southern League for the first time since 1990. Winning the title in 2007, however, lifted them into the Conference South and – three years later – back into the Conference National. But it’d only last for two seasons; the Romans back in the South division. For two successive seasons (2019 and 2020), they failed in the playoffs to return.
A club older than most, the tale of Bath City doesn’t quite stretch back as far as their Romans nickname might make you think. That said, it is (as we speak) a club 128 years in the making. Had just a few votes gone in their favour in 1978, we could’ve been sitting here talking about an established Football League outfit. Admittedly, however, that means we also might not have been sitting here talking about ’em at all. This is all irrelevant, of course. The Romans were unable to convince other League members they were worthy of election.
Up ’til then, Bath were non-league stalwarts. After forming as Bath AFC, they opted for Bath Railway in 1902 and then Bath City in 1908. It was at this point in time, too, that FCHD’s records swing into action; the Romans joining Western League Division Two for a slice of the competitive football pie. The main (and only?) highlight from their time in the competition, maybe, was finishing runners-up in the season before the First World War One. In 1921, they joined the Southern League English Section – but still competed in the Western League too.
Bath City didn’t kick the Western League into touch for good until 1939.
Here’s a semi-interesting fact for you: the Romans are the only semi-pro side to win a Football League trophy. During the Second World War Two, it appears they took part in a temporary Division Two North with the likes of Liverpool, Man United and Everton. And won it! It was back to the Southern League after the War, however. It took until 1960 for them to win their first proper title; a feat they were to repeat in 1978. After rejection by the League, they joined the Alliance Premier League as founder members; the forerunner to the Conference…
How to get to Bath City – Travel Information – Distance: 135 miles
Go west on the M4 and come at Junction 18, which is 88 miles along from the M25 and takes you onto the A46 for Bath. Take the first exit at the roundabout to make sure you’re Bath-bound. Three miles on, take the third exit at the roundabout for the A420 and then left onto Freezinghill Lane a mile later.
After passing The Blathwayt, turn right onto Lansdown Lane. Bear left around for the High Street at the roundabout and continue onto Crown Road, Weston Lane and Combe Park; coming to the next roundabout by Locksbrook Cemetery. Follow the first exit for the A431 and continue round to the left onto the A4.
Next, turn right onto Windsor Bridge Road and crossing the Avon (A3604). Turn right yet again for Lower Bristol Road (A36) and – by Currys – turn left onto the High Street.
Twerton Park has a car park with space for around 150 cars. If this isn’t available when you arrive, you can try parking on local side streets.
Station: OLDFIELD PARK
Services to: BATH SPA (for LONDON PADDINGTON)
Leave the station and head towards Brook Road, before turning right onto it. Turn left shortly after, taking Bellotts Road and staying on this as you skirt around the edge of Twerton Cemetery. Turn right for Inverness Road and right again onto Burnham Road; next taking a left onto Lower Bristol Road. Then it’s a left again onto High Street.
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