Bath City FC. As an exiled West Ham fan in the West Country I'd turned into somewhat of a ground hopper, touring all the local grounds within easy rail travel distance in the search of some footballing thrills.
But then one fateful Saturday in September I bit the bullet and went along - and it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. It was a meat and spuds early season game against the now sadly demised Kings Lynn, who held City to a slightly undeserved draw. But there was something about the ground, the players, but most of all the fans - seemingly sparse as they were - that instantly got under my skin... and as Jimmer warned, I was hooked.
Blue Square South league - the second tier of Non-League football in England - I was even going to the away games too.
It was a great season to start following them, and the more I went, the more I discovered what in interesting club they were.
They formed way back in 1889 as Bath AFC, having a brief spell as Bath Railway before settling on the name Bath City for keeps a few years later. For much of their history Bath City have been in the upper echeolons of the non-league system, narrowly missing out on election to the Football League proper on a number of occasions - most notably in 1977 when as Southern League champions they missed out on a place in the big 92 by three measly votes to a little outfit called Wigan Athletic.
Charlie Fleming, a Scottish international who had spells at Sunderland and East Fife, who scored a club record of 216 goals in 300 appearances. Former Blackpool and England ace Stan Mortensen had a spell in Twerton at the end of his career, and Jason Dodd, Tony Book, Paul Bodin and former Lavian international captain Andrejs Štolcers have also graced the hallowed turf.
There was also a young chap called Bobby Zamora, who spent an exciting month on loan to us from neighbours and one-time tennants Bristol Rovers back in the year 2000. His run of six games saw him bag eight goals, and marked him as true star for the future.
Eric Cantona, visit the club in 2009. Sadly he didn't pull his boots on, but came to promote his film Looking For Eric, directed by staunch Stripes fan Ken Loach, who frequently holds premieres, benefits and film nights for the club.
For a little team who never quite made the big time Bath City have a long and proud history, and one of the most loyal, supportive and, to be fair, slightly bonkers fanbases in the country. If you're ever passing through town and there's a game on, make sure you get yourself down to Twerton Park. You might not see the kind of Rolls Royce football you see on the telly, but you'll experience a team with passion and grit, and share the terraces with a right friendly bunch.
Come on you City Boys!
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