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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Sunday, July 8th 2018

Preview: Bitton AFC v Bristol City (Community Match)

City's pre-season kicks off with their annual community fixture, which this year is with South Gloucestershire side Bitton AFC.

The day is a special one in the City calendar. It's a day which not only indicates a new season being on the horizon, but it's it's one where everyone gets involved for a great day out.

It's the community who will be the winners for today's (Sunday, July 8th) event, regardless of what happens on the pitch.

That's because all proceeds raised from the day, which is sponsored by ETM Recycling, will be split between the the Robin's official charity, the Bristol City Community Trust and Bitton AFC.

The match at the WDS Associates Legal Services Stadium (BS30 6HX), where the capacity has been set to 2,000. kicks off at 2pm. Any remaining tickets can be purchased today, by cash only.

The Community Trust will be at the venue from 12noon, delivering a range of football-fun activities, free of charge, to supporters of all ages and abilities ahead of kick-off.

City head coach Lee Johnson watches his players on their first day of pre-season training

LEE JOHNSON: 'THE PERFECT WAY TO KICK-OFF PRE-SEASON'

"Hello and a warm welcome to this afternoon’s annual Community Match – a marker that the new football campaign is just around the corner.

"These fixtures are always one I look forward to and I believe they are the perfect way to kick-off our pre-season calendar.

"The proceeds raised from today will be equally split between Bristol City Community Trust and Bitton AFC.

"The Trust will invest the funds into their award-winning project delivery, education courses and holiday camps, while our welcoming hosts will benefit from a financial boost.

"Bitton are a fantastic club, we thank them for agreeing to this fixture and our Community Match will no doubt be a great opportunity for both sets of players to be put through their paces ahead of their respective upcoming seasons.

"But it’s also a chance for you, the supporters, to enjoy a great day out (hopefully in the summer sunshine), welcome back the team and get to know a few new faces too!

"With that in mind, it has been a busy summer period to date. While we have witnessed a few departures, I’m delighted with the arrivals of Marley Watkins, Adam Webster, Hakeeb Adelakun, Andreas Weimann and Jack Hunt – our five summer signings at the time of writing.

"I have no doubt that their combined experience, work ethic and undoubted quality will help us in our challenge to constantly improve and reach new heights.

"I am also delighted that Zak Vyner and Lloyd Kelly, both Academy graduates, have penned new deals in BS3. The pair have big futures and are fully deserving of their new contracts.

"Going back to today’s game, we saw a record crowd at last year’s Community Match, over £10,000 was raised and hopefully we can embrace similar success this afternoon.

"It’s important not to underestimate the importance and power of this annual game. We are a family club and it’s crucial we work with other local teams to put on a pre-season show, promote our Community Trust and bring the fans and players together – all in one day!

"Enjoy your afternoon."

BITTON CHAIRMAN & DIRECTOR, JOHN LANGDON : 'THIS IS CLUB HISTORY'

"A warm welcome is extended to everyone in attendance today and in particular to the officials, management and players of Bristol City who have given up their time to support this event and the popular work of Bristol City Community Trust, of which we are truly grateful.

"I am sure today will go down in the history of Bitton AFC as ‘one to remember’. We are embarking in our 126th year of football as a grassroots club but we have the ambition to continue our progression through the FA Pyramid system.

"The deputy chairman of the GFA Roy Schafer will today present Bitton AFC with an FA 125 Year plaque to commemorate this landmark achievement, which is
a great testament to all previous and present committee members, managers, players, volunteers and sponsors. I thank you all.

"Revenue raised from today’s events will enable us to continue ground improvements and rid ourselves of the small outstanding balance on our clubhouse rebuilding deficit, which marks another memorable milestone.

"On the pitch, while I am sure the score will go in favour of Lee Johnson’s Bristol City, without doubt it’s going to be a great occasion for all Daniel Langdon’s Bitton players. Regardless of the result, we will all end up winners.

"A massive thanks go to Lee, Bristol City Community Trust’s Dan White and Billy Bond, Bitton’s Shaun Honour and all of today’s volunteers for making this happen."

Bitton AFC

ABOUT BITTON

Bitton AFC about to embark on their 126th season of football at the Recreation Ground, their original home when they were founded in 1892, but now known as the WDS Associates Legal Services Stadium.

From 1945 up until the late-1980s The Ton ran teams in the Bristol and District Football League but had to wait until 1989/90 before reaching the league’s Senior Division.

After going up two years in succession, Bitton started the 1991/92 season in the Bristol Premier Combination. Three years later the club won the GFA Senior Amateur Cup and achieved the runners-up spot in the league, winning promotion to the Gloucestershire County League.

A further promotion to the Western League First Division followed a couple of years later where, after seven seasons, they continued their rise by reaching the Premier
Division in 2004.

In 2008/09 Bitton achieved the double by being crowned Western League champions and lifting the GFA Challenge Trophy in the same season. But, despite winning the title and later nishing second in 2010/11, the Ton were unable to gain promotion as their ground facilities did not satisfy Southern League standards.

Since then, however, their Bath Road home has been developed into a 1,000-capacity stadium with a new stand built to seat 50 fans, as well as a covered section for 150 people. In February 2001, Conference-standard floodlighting was installed and a dressing room block, boardroom and floodlight multiple-use games area opened in 2004.

During the summer of 2011 chairman John Langdon invested significantly into the club’s facilities to ensure they will meet Southern League standards should they be promoted again.

Korey Smith looks to find his shooting boots in pre-season

City's Pre-season schedule:

Sunday, July 8th (2pm) v Bitton AFC (A)
Tuesday, July 10th (7.30pm) v Cheltenham Town (N)
Saturday, July 14th (1pm) v Shrewsbury Town (H)
Tuesday, July 17th (8pm local time) v Real Balompédica Linense (A)
Saturday, July 21st (8pm local time) v Rayo Vallecano (A)
Friday, July 27th (7pm) v AFC Bournemouth (H)

*Estadio Municipal de La Línea de la Concepción, Av. Príncipe de Asturias, 230, 11300 La Línea de la Concepción, Cádiz, Spain
**Marbella Football Centre, Finca el Potril, Urbanizacion La quinta Golf, Finca el Potril, s/n, 29670 San Pedro Alcántara, Málaga, Spain

As reported on bcfc.co.uk last week, our fixture with Newport County (originally scheduled for Wednesday, July 11th, 7.45pm kick-off) will now be played behind closed doors.

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