Weston-Super-Mare: History Breakers and History Makers-The Recent Years

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Weston-Super-Mare currently compete in the Vanarama Conference South. The Somerset club have been competing in the league ever since it was formed in 2004, and the side have battled with relegation and have also been a mid-table side on other occasions. Weston have had the luck of the sword on 3 separate occasions, when they were relegated in 2007, 2008 and 2010 but were lucky enough to stay up due to other clubs folding, going into liquidation and failing ground inspections. Weston are known to have a fierce rivalry with Clevedon Town and Bath City, who recently made national history for an extroadinary comeback against Weston on Derby Day, and Weston have won the Somerset Premier Cup twice in their history in 2011 and 2012 where they beat Yeovil Town and Clevedon respectively. And then times seemed to be on the up after Craig Laird’s appointment in the year of 2010.

Craig took Weston to the two cup final wins, led Weston to their highest ever position of 7th in the league and built a successful Weston side. Craig loved looking to Weston’s U18 side, where he brought through regular first teamers Syd Camper, Luke Purnell, Jake Mawford and most importantly recent Barnsley signing Brad Ash. Fan favourite Laird was however sacked after the 2013-2014 season due to a reported row with the board over finances and contractual issues. Only 2 months after his sacking at Weston, Laird moved on to become assistant manager at Weymouth Town under Jason Matthews, where Craig’s son Jamie played at the time, but less than a year later, Laird and former Weston assistant Rob Boyd took up their positions at Yate. But almost a year after the pair had joined, they both resigned due to Yate not having been on target to meet their targets.

Next up to take charge of the Weston reins was Mickey Bell. Bell joined Weston from Clevedon Town, Weston’s main rivals, originally on a one-year contract in May 2014. Bell’s 1st game in charge was a pre-season friendly against Bristol City at the Woodspring Stadium, which ended in a 2-1 win for the Seagulls. As the season drew on, Weston battled through to the FA Cup 1st round. Weston drew Doncaster Rovers to face at The Woodspring Stadium. With 2,900+ people packing out the stadium for the clash, Bell and his troops failed to live up to the hype surrounding the clash and lost 4-1 despite Weston putting in a hard-working shift. Bell’s Weston were struggling in the league but stormed through the FA Cup Qualifying Rounds, where they faced Doncaster Rovers in the 1st round at The Woodspring Stadium. In front of a 2,900+ capacity crowd under the floodlights, Bell and his Weston troops were unable to secure themselves a shock result and unfortanately fell down 4-1 despite the south-west town having battled for the entire 90 minutes. However, this history-making game for Weston was unfortanately to be Bell’s last, when he agreed to mutually terminate his contract with the club lying second-bottom of the league table and struggling to go anyway.

Weston Director of Football Ryan Northmore then took over the interim services of the first team for the rest of the season. During Northmore’s playing career, he represented Torquay United, Team Bath, Woking, Bath City, Yeovil Town, Dorcester Town and Weston, who he made 223 appearances for. Northmore’s new Weston role was his first ever managerial role in football and it was one Weston fans took with great optimism. Northmore instilled a period of success on the Weston team, which
saw his new team take up explosive play-off chasing form during the new year of 2015. However, Weston managed to finsih 17th in the league that season before Ryan was appointed the first-team manager role permanently. Pre-Season came and went for Weston, with captain Tom Jordan departing as well as Exeter loanee and March League 2 Player Of The Month Ollie Watkins returning to Devon. Pat Keary joined from Bath and being regarded as the best bit of transfer business in possibly Weston’s history, striker Scott Wilson signed for the club from Paulton Rovers. Weston lost their first 5 games of the league season until a late Ollie Barnes header secured a point at home to Bath City in the derby. Weston then began to pick up form in September when they beat Bishop’s Stortford 1-0 away but failed to collect a win from the other league games in the autumn month. Weston picked up their first home win of the league season in November when Weston crushed fellow relegation candidates St.Albans 4-1. This kick-started Weston’s campaign when they went on a 8-game unbeaten run in the league which ended in February with a 2-0 loss to Hayes & Yeading. The form then dropped slightly but Weston recorded a famous win over league leaders Ebbsfleet at home 2-1 to put a dent in Ebbsfleet’s league challenge. But, Weston players, management, board and the fans were all left shocked and heart-broken as Weston fell to a crucial 2-1 loss away to Bath in the Somerset derby. Despite taking the lead in the 90th minute, Bath struck through a penalty in the 92nd minute and a minute later, Plymouth loanee Tyler Harvey lobbed Weston’s keeper, Luke Purnell, from half-way, a goal which made national news, to leave the whole of Weston distraught at full-time. However, after this tough loss, Weston have collected 7 points from a possible 9 to leave themselves 17th, 2 points above the drop-zone, with 4 games remaining. And with Weston travelling to 4th-placed Truro City tonight, Weston face a fight to get away from the relegation zone. Weston’s season has been dented by the loss of wonderkid Brad Ash to League 1 Barnsley during the winter transfer window but it is pleasing to see striker Scott Wilson step up.
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Weston, however, have the history of being the biggest town in England to never be represented in the football league and are one of 2 teams (MK Dons) to never be relegated in their history. With Weston’s fanbase constantly growing over the previous weeks and more people backing the team, Weston look set for a bright future and Weston hope to continue to stamp their mark on the history books.

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