Town Are Somerset Bound Next Saturday

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Town have announced an additional pre-season friendly away at Yeovil Town next Saturday ( July 6th).

Yeovil were relegated from the EFL at the end of last season and are facing up to life in the National League with a newly appointed manager in the ex-Stevenage boss Darren Sarll.

They are also in the process of being taken over by new owners who have been named as Scott Priestnall and Errol Pope both of which were part of the four man consortium which bought Premiership rugby club Worcester Warriors last October and have since sold it on.

The Town game is doubling up as an Open Day giving Yeovil fans the chance to meet Scott Priestnall, Darren Sarll and the players.

Admission is  £5 for Adults and £3 for Concessions with Under 16’s free.

Town are running a team coach and if supporters wish to travel they should contact Mark Bickley at the Club to reserve a place.

 

 

Pre-Season Fixtures

With the Town squad having returned to training last Thursday the next stage of preparing for the new campaign will be the usual schedule of pre-season friendly  fixtures, and seven have been arranged as under ;-

Tuesday July 9th            –      7.45pm     –     Racing Club Warwick    –    Away

Saturday  July 13th       –      3.00pm     –     Cheltenham Town        –    Home

Tuesday July 16th         –     7.45pm      –     Worcester City                –     Home

Saturday July 20th         –    3.00pm      –       Aston Villa                      –     Home

Saturday  July 27th       –    3.00pm       –      Brackley Town              –      Home

Wednesday July 31st    –    7.45pm       –       Corby Town                   –        Away

Tuesday August 6th        –    7.45pm       –      Evesham United          –       Home

The last two games are intriguingly against the old teams of new Town boss Tommy Wright and the recently appointed Head of Football Operations Paul Collicutt.

Any changes to these fixtures will be announced when known.

 

Tommy Gets Off To A Wright Start At Supporters Meeting

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Although ending in the play off semi final defeat at Kings Lynn last season was Town’s best ever, but since then supporters have been rocked by the departures among others of manager Thomas Baillie, skipper Jimmy Fry, leading scorer Mike Taylor, midfield playmaker Will Grocott and the imposing central defensive partnership of Jamie McAteer and Jordan Williams.

The open meeting with new boss Tommy Wright on Thursday evening was therefore the ideal opportunity for the Town faithful to find out how the new campaign was likely to develop.

Would the heady heights of last season which were built upon the previous six years of progress under Carl Adams be repeated, or where Town going to enter a period of consolidation ?

Tommy Wright was joined by the ex-Evesham United manager Paul Collicutt who has been added to the management team after being approached by Jed McCrory in what was described as “an infectious 30 minute telephone conversation.”

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With a decent and enthusiastic attendance of around fifty the meeting was presided over by Town Director Mark Bickley who began by assuring everyone that in spite of not a lot being publicised plenty had been going on particularly with regard to the Academy.

Mark went on to emphasise that the Club wished to develop the Academy so that players could make the transition to the first team, and the situation in previous years where players from Town’s youth system had not been given any first team opportunities would not be repeated in the future.

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Tommy took over by immediately confirming that he was all in favour of giving young players a chance. He had been handed his debut at Leicester City when only 17 and in was a philosophy he passionately believed in.

The meeting was then opened to questions from the floor all of which were responded to with honesty and in some cases humour.

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A number of questions related to new players coming in and also who were staying on. Mark advised that Ross Oulton and Lewis Wilson were the latest to sign on for the new season following Cody Fisher, Tom Fishwick and Albi Skendi who had already done so. Kynan Isaac was also expected to stay while it was hoped that Wilson Carvalho would also decide to return.

Following the recent arrival of keeper Sam Lomax and winger Kurtis Revan Tommy advised that a number of other new signings were in the pipeline and will hopefully be announced soon, and he answered a specific question by saying that two centre halves were a priority to replace McAteer and Williams.

The subject of Town’s playing budget was inevitably raised with Tommy confirming that it was be the same as last season’s. It wouldn’t be the biggest in the League but he was satisfied that it was competitive and that it wold allow him to assemble a squad that would more than hold its own.

Both Mark and Tommy were keen to emphasise that Town would operate strictly within their means and that they “would not be breaking the bank” to pay over the odds just to get a particular player in. Some clubs were known to be offering “silly money” but Town were not going to be one of them.

With regard to formation Tommy advised that he knew Thomas Baillie had used 4-2-3-1 last season but that he favoured 4-3-3 and he promised supports that his team would play would play pacy attacking football which e hoped the fans would appreciate. Players would also be played in their correct position when reference was made to the number of positions filled by Lewis Wilson under the previous regime.

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When pressed on what Town’s ambitions were for the coming season Mark stated that the Board were looking to advance to the next level but that it was realised that such progress might take three to five years to achieve, and he again emphasised that the focus was on developing the Academy in conjunction with the Youth team and FC Stratford and being financially stable.

A positive meeting ended with Mark, Tommy and Paul being thanked for their time, and preparations for the new season will now step up a gear with training commencing next Thursday (June 27th).

Disabled supporters facilities- Can you help?

The Supporters Association are looking for practical help from local businesses to improve facilities for disabled supporters at the Arden Garages stadium. Through activities such as the successful 50/50 match day draw the association have already raised funds for projects such as a new public address system and are now turning their attention to making sure wheelchair users can enjoy live football in their community.
Funds are in place for this ambitious project but we require help from companies with the engineering skills to turn the vision in to reality. Whilst companies that provide off the shelf covered spectator shelters, and wheelchair ramps exist, we cannot seem to find any company who can combine these two elements in to one integrated solution. We therefore feel that we need to work with partners on a bespoke design that fulfils this brief. The below picture is just an example to give people an idea of roughly the kind of thing we had in mind but we are open minded and hope to be guided by the experts as to how we best meet the requirements of wheelchair users.

Richard Underwood standBy working together with companies on this project we hope to generate positive publicity for all and highlight the positive role that the association and Stratford Town play in the local community. If you are interested in helping us with this great project please contact us at stratfordtownISA@gmail.com

Sharif becomes a Puritan

Banbury United have announced that much travelled striker Nabil Sharif will be joining them for the new season after two spells at the Arden Garages stadium last term. Sharif made a total of 31 appearances for Town finding the net on five occasions.

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Mikey Follows Will To The Glassboys

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Exactly a week after confirming that Will Grocott had become a Glassboy Stourbridge have followed up by announcing today (Sunday) that Mike Taylor has also made the same move.

Hugely popular among the Town faithful and revelling in the nickname of “the Beast” Mike joined Town at the start of the 2016/17 season from Redditch United and made 32 appearances scoring 11 goals.

The following campaign saw him add 13 goals in  48 games, but he reserved his best for last season when in spite of switching briefly to Tamworth and then Leamington halfway through he ended as Town’s top scorer with 20  from 39 appearances which included 11  from the subs bench.

Probably his most memorable strike was his 94th minute winner against South Shields which propelled  Town into the First Round Proper of the F A Trophy for the first time ever, while his final goal gave Town a half time lead came in the play off match at Kings Lynn before the Linnets hit back to win.

Town may have had more technically gifted strikers but surely never any with a bigger heart, and he leaves with our thanks for all his tireless efforts in a Town shirt.

TOMMY COMES TO TOWN

Ex Darlington and Corby Town boss Tommy Wright has been appointed the new Town manager to take over from the departed Thomas Baillie.

A former England Under 19 and Under 20 international he began his professional career at Leicester City and went on to represent Barnsley, Blackpool and Brentford amongst others before dropping into Non League at Darlington with whom he won the F A Trophy in 2011.

He then became player/manager at Corby Town in September 2013 and steered them to the Southern League Premier Division Championship in the 2014/15 season.

He subsequently moved to Nuneaton Town for the 2016/17 campaign and then rejoined Darlington this time as manager in October 2017 where he stayed until the end of last season.

Town supporters will wish Tommy all the best in his new role at the Arden Garages Stadium, while it has also been confirmed that Paul Davis is to stay on as Assistant Manager along with Steve Walker as First Team Coach.