Following our successful visit to Willand on Tuesday we now travel to Bowdens Park on Friday, kick off 7:45pm.
We travelled to Cheddar for a friendly way back in 1984 but in fact our reserves played them at about the same time in the Somerset Senior League and more recently our Under 18s played Cheddar in 2005.
The Cheesemen were promoted to the Toolstation Western League in 2012 and last season finished fifth in the First Division. There was talk a few years ago of the club being relocated to accommodate a supermarket but they are now staying put for the time being.
Taunton Town manager Leigh Robinson commented: “We are looking forward to our visit to Cheddar after an enjoyable run out at Willand on Tuesday. Certainly on the ball I never ask or expect too much from the players at the first friendly as it’s more an exercise of getting the rust off after 3 months without a game but we were pleasantly surprised with what the players produced on the night. Hopefully we can take everything one step further forward on Friday in terms of fitness and cohesion.
We are likely to field the same team as Tuesday as there are no injuries or unavailablilities. There are likely to be less trialists as we look to build up the minutes on the pitch for the first team”.
The Peacocks commence their pre-season schedule tomorrow evening (12th July) when they make the short journey to Willand Rovers, kick-off 7.45pm. It is a safe bet that the Devon side have been one of our most common friendly opponents in recent seasons – indeed we first played there under the management of Keith Bowker when Willand were in the Devon and Exeter League. They were one of the founder clubs of the Devon League in 1992 which in 2007 merged with the South Western League to form the South West Peninsula League. After many successful years in the Devon League Willand joined the Western League in 2001 and were promoted to the Premier Division in 2004 where they have played ever since.
The club was managed for many years by former Taunton Town Under 18 player Clive Jones who is now on charge at Wellington – the present manager is Russell Jee who has put together a useful side which will no doubt give us a competitive game. Willand won the Les Phillips Cup in for the second time in 2015 and went to last season’s final at Welton Rovers as holders but were beaten 2-1 by Division One side Hengrove Athletic. They finished sixth in the Premier Division last season.
Following the departure of several players during the close season this will be the first opportunity for fans to see the new Town signings in action. Manager Leigh Robinson said:” As always at this time off year, everyone is really looking forward to the friendlies starting rather than constant training. Tomorrow we will have plenty of first team players involved but also many trialists who we will give a run out to at some point so there will be plenty of chopping and changing as we look to finalise the squad in the next two weeks. As per normal, we won’t be concerned with results in pre-season. As we have experienced players at this level, everyone knows what to expect come 6th August so we’ll use pre-season to get the new players to gel on and off the pitch and get the system nailed down.”
With preparations for the new season gathering pace, Chairman Kevin Sturmey and Manager Leigh Robinson both caught up with us for a Q & A session. To read about their thoughts for 2016-17, please click HERE for the Chairman's outlook and HERE for the Manager's views.
The draws for the FA competitions had a very familiar look about them when they were issued today (8th July). In the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup, Town will entertain old rivals Tiverton Town at the Viridor Stadium on Saturday 20th August, with the victors having to wait to find out their next opponents as the draw has not yet been made for the following round. The Peacocks will also host opposition from the South and West Division of the Southern League in the Preliminary Round of the FA Trophy in the shape of Larkhall Athletic who visit on Saturday 8th October. The winners of this tie will have home advantage in the 1st Round Qualifying on Saturday 29th October against either Slimbridge or Swindon Supermarine (two more sides from our division!) Taunton Town Under 18’s did not enjoy the luck of a home draw but instead will have to travel to either Radstock Town or Brislington in the 1st Round Qualifying of the FA Youth Cup during week commencing 19th September.
Town have fixed up another friendly ahead of the new season which begins in four weeks’ time. Peninsula League champions Bodmin Town will travel to the Viridor Stadium on Friday 29th July, kick-off 7.45pm. The game will be the Peacocks’ second home warm-up game, coming on the heels of their meeting with an Exeter City XI three days earlier. It is hoped to arrange one more home friendly in the week before the big kick off on 6th August.
The Evo-Stik League Southern launched a new website yesterday (7th July). Further information can be read in the official press release HERE. Meanwhile it is hoped that Taunton Town FC’s new website will be up and running during the next few weeks. More news as we have it.
With the first pre-season friendly at Willand Rovers only one week away, the Peacocks have secured the signatures of several players who have agreed terms at the Viridor Stadium for the upcoming season. Among those who have put pen to paper from last season’s squad are goalkeeper Lloyd Irish, Jordan Rogers, Charlie Hitchings, Brett Trowbridge, Josh Searle and Matt Villis along with former Under 18 players Max Dyer, Charlie Bridges and Callum Mooney, all of whom featured in the senior squad during last term. Details of other players to re-sign plus new signings will be announced soon. Jamie Short though has decided to end a lengthy career with Taunton and join Tiverton Town along with Jamie Price, and the club thanks both players for their service.
The club can also announce that Brett Trowbridge will be first team captain for 2016-17. Midfielder Trowbridge (pictured) who returned to the Viridor in February from Yate Town after playing for the Peacocks in the preceding campaign commented:” 'I am delighted Leigh has asked me to be the captain of Taunton Town for the coming season. I am really looking forward to the challenge ahead in what will be a very competitive league.” Manager Robinson added:” I’m very pleased that Brett has agreed to be captain this year. He's very professional, highly respected by everyone at the club and will be a great influence both on and off the pitch. He's been a great asset to us in the past couple of seasons and with added responsibility this year, I am sure he'll reach another level.”
The Peacocks have added two more new faces to their squad as pre-season preparations get into full swing. Midfielder Adam Kelly and left back Callum Martindale have signed for Town, with both present at last night’s (30th June) second training session of the summer. Kelly (pictured below left) began his career at Tiverton Town before going on to play for Bashley, Poole Town and Salisbury City amongst others. A return to Tiverton in 2013 was followed by two years at Weymouth before rejoining Salisbury for the last two months of 2015-16. Highly rated Martindale (pictured below centre) meanwhile arrives at the Viridor Stadium from Plymouth Parkway where he was a regular member of their side which finished fourth in the Peninsula League last season. Manager Leigh Robinson remarked:” They are two really good signings for us going into the new season. Adam has played plenty of football in the leagues above and will give us great quality, creativity and influence on the pitch. Callum came highly recommended to us and is very hungry to prove himself at a higher level. Crucially Callum will also give us a natural left footer at left back, something we’ve struggled to find in the last few seasons, often having to play a right footer there. We welcome them both and look forward to seeing them in action in the coming weeks.” Kelly and Martindale join other new signings to date Jake Cox from Yate Town and Matt Wright (pictured below right) from Truro City.
We are pleased to confirm that Karl Lindsay will remain with the club for the coming season. Karl joined the Peacocks as Head Coach for the Under 18 side two years ago and has since gone on to assume the roles of Kit Manager and Assistant Coach for the first team, as well as now becoming the permanent Head of Football Development after inheriting the position on an interim basis during last season. He commented:” After a summer of deciding I`m really pleased to be reappointed at the club in various roles for another year. Despite a couple of other opportunities presenting themselves to me over the last couple of months I felt I owed myself one more year fulfilling my role with the youth and as Head of Football Development. I`m really happy with the backroom team I have appointed this season, with Anthony Cornish remaining as physio for the Youth team and Paul Mooney coming in as Assistant Manager. The squad is still at the trial stage but again, there is a really exciting group of players being assembled. The bridges we are building with local clubs and our own Development centres makes it an exciting period with Taunton. None of it would be possible without the great partnership we have built with Richard Huish College who have been a great support with facilities and personnel to make it all happen. To avoid any further confusion, our Development centres which are not in any way a money making exercise have no connection with Taunton and District Schools who are a separate organisation.”
Season ticket and admission charges for Adults and Concessions will remain unchanged for the 2016-17 season at the Viridor Stadium. Early Bird offers are again available for supporters who purchase season tickets up to and including 31st July, with discounted prices available of £128 for Adults, £96 for Concessions and £48 for Juniors. A pass to bring a guest free of charge to one Evo-Stik League game of their choice will also be given with all Early Bird purchases. Prices will rise from 1st August onwards to £144, £108 and £54 respectively. A season ticket entitles the holder to free entry to all first team home games in the Evo-Stik League Southern plus all home pre-season friendlies and all Under 18 home matches in the Somerset Floodlight Youth League.
Matchday admission prices will stay at £8 for Adults and £6 for Concessions although there are other slight amendments being introduced. Finance Director Alan Slade explained:” After the Club's most successful season in the Southern League, we are holding season ticket prices for Adult and Concessions at the same level as last year. The admission charge for Juniors is increasing from £2 per game to £3 per game but to compensate for this increase the Club is now allowing children under 14 to gain free entry to all games and the Junior qualification will cover ages 14 to 18 inclusive rather than Under 16 as in previous years. This change has been made to encourage our younger fans to remain loyal from their 'mascot years' through the whole of their education and into adulthood. The other change within the season ticket price is a company membership fee. This fee is a condition of the Club's 'Company Limited by Guarantee' status and the payment entitles the company member to attend and vote at the Company's General Meetings.'
A season ticket order form can be downloaded by clicking HERE. The completed form can be sent to the club at the Viridor Stadium, Wordsworth Drive, Taunton TA1 2HG along with the relevant payment and copy of concessionary qualification if appropriate, and tickets will then be posted out. Alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org, ring the office on (01823) 254909 or call into the ground in person.