A brief historical look back at Bashley Football Club
Bashley Football Club was founded in 1947 and
joined the Bournemouth League in 1950, progressing
through the ranks before leaving in 1983 to join the
Hampshire League. In 1986 they became founder
members of the Wessex League and won the title for
the first three years they took part, 1986/87, 987/88
and 1988/89. In the 1987/88 season, Bashley came
to national prominence after an incredible run in the
FA Vase, which came to an end they reached the
semi-finals, losing narrowly to Emley in the second
leg of the semi-final after a 0-0 draw at the
Recreation Ground.

Following their third Wessex League title, the club
were accepted into the Southern League Southern
Division and amazingly won the title in their first
season, gaining promotion to the Premier Division.
Things almost got even better the following season
as Bash led the table for a long period of time and
were in contention for promotion to the Conference,
but fell away towards the end to finish in fourth place.
Sadly the meteoric rise of the club came to an end
as a result of relegation two years later back to the
Southern Division.

In the 1994/95 season, Bashley reached the First
Round proper of the FA Cup for the first time, and
won 1-0 at Chesham to set up a Second Round tie
with Swansea at the Recreation Ground. Despite
losing 1-0, Lee Walker hit the post in injury time and
Richie Paskins had a clear chance which wasn't
taken as Bash almost caused a huge upset.

More recently, Bash had established themselves as
a mid-table Southern Division side until August 1997
when ex-European Cup winner Jimmy Case was
appointed as manager and Bash were promotion
challengers during the 1997-98 season, eventually
finishing third and just missing out on a return to the
Premier Division, as well as having our record FA
Trophy run in this season to the last sixteen, losing
narrowly at Conference side Hayes.

Bash came to prominence again when their excellent
young midfielder Wade Elliott signed for AFC
Bournemouth in January 2000 for £5,000, with Bash
receiving further money based on appearances.
Wade then progressed to the Championship with
Burnley and scored the goal at Wembley that took
them into the Premiership and has now moved to
Birmingham City.

The 2001/2002 season was notable for a superb FA
Trophy run, ended only by finalists, Stevenage
Borough of the Conference, with an unfortunate 1-0
defeat. A top six place was achieved in the 2002/03
season, although Bashley were top of the table for a
spell in January and February and but for a five game
spell in February and March from which they took
only one point, would have been challenging strongly
for promotion. The season was capped by a first ever
Hampshire Senior Cup final, secured by two
memorable victories over then Dr Martens Premier
Division side Havant & Waterlooville in the two-legged
semi-final. The night of the final at Southampton s St
Mary's Stadium was another superb occasion for the
club despite an eventual 2-1 defeat to Conference
bound Aldershot Town after taking a first half lead,
and no-one who was there will how close Bash came
to defeating their illustrious opponents.

The 2003/2004 season was a relative disappointment
after the heights of the previous campaign, with Barry
Blankley resigning early on in the season and
leading players Paul Sales, Craig Davis and Aaron
Cook departing for substantial transfer fees. Bashley
narrowly missed out on promotion to the Isthmian
Premier Division under new manager John Robson
and had to settle for a place in Isthmian Division
One, as a result of FA restructuring.

Robson departed as manager at the end of the
season, and Geoff Butler was appointed in the
summer with Ricky Haysom remaining as his
assistant. Bash recovered from losing a number of
players in the close-season and made an
encouraging start to the new season, chasing a play-
off spot and playing some attractive football, but lost
key players during the season and had to settle for a
mid-table finish.

Butler and Haysom departed during the summer of
2005 and Dave Wakefield took charge as
player/manager for the new season. However, after a
poor start to the season, both Wakefield and
player/coach Andy Darnton were relieved of their
responsibilities with Steve Riley taking over as
player/manager, following a short spell as caretaker
manager, with Eddie Harper as his assistant. An
excellent run in the second half of the season took
Bash to just outside the play off places, and gave
hope that the 2006-7 season would be successful. A
number of close season signings gave the Bashley
faithful renewed cause for optimism. They were not to
be disappointed!
At the last moment a major reorganisation with the
broom firmly brushing many players, staff and
helpers into the past which saw Bashley start
season 2014-15 on a zero budget with a team of new
young players and the return of Andy Darnton as
joint manager alongside Graham Speechley-Price.

Darnton resigned his position as manager in mid-
October 2014 with Graham Speechley-Price also
stepping down to allow Martin Spiers take the reins,
Graham concentrated his efforts in a commercial role
within the club. Spiers role only lasted a few weeks
with Dominic Cuncliffe taking over the hot seat
following Spiers resignation towards the end of
November 2014. Cuncliffe assistant was Paul Morris
who doubled up with Tom Prodomo with assistance
behind the scenes from Graham after Cuncliffe
resigned his position out of the blue in December.

At the start of February 2015 Graham was asked by
the Executive to take over as caretaker manager until
the end of the season which resulted in Prodomo
leaving the club. With the zero budget still in place
Speechley-Price battled through to the end of the
season with Bashley generally playing well but losing
due to small mistakes which everyone will have now
learned from. A mighty effort was needed to finish
away from the relegation zone, although some good
bright performances late on in the season but they
were not regular enough, a bottom of the pile and
relegation was the result.

Meanwhile Bashley Reserves under the guidance of
Andy Howard took the 2014-15 Wyvern League title
in fine style showing there is promise ahead for the
New Forest Club and an exciting 2015-16 season for
the reserves.

The FA gave Bashley a reprieve in May 2015, rather
than a drop down to the Wessex League. Southern
League football continueed at Bashley Road in the
South and West Division for the 2015-16 season. A
new management team was appointed late June
2015 with ex-Chelsea, Millwall and Leyton Orient
player David Stride arrived as manager, assisted by
his brother Glen an ex-Bournemouth player. These
appointments lasted just a month.

Following the Clubs AGM a new Executive
consisting of four life vice-presidents and new
Chairman elected to bring in their own new
management team. This meant a return to Bashley
Road for Steve Riley taking over the first team hot
seat and Damian Locke the reserves.

Following a run of 15 league defeats Riley resigned
his position leaving Bashley to look for a new
manager.

After a brief spell during the 2014-15 season Tom
Prodomo was asked to return to head the first team,
towards the end of November. Several good
candidates were considered but Prodomo’s
appointment by the board was considered the best
for the future of the club.
As a result of further FA restructuring, Bash found
themselves transferred back into the Southern
League South and West Division, and enjoyed an
unforgettable record-breaking season, winning the
league by an incredible 28 points and achieving a
rare double century of 102 points and 111 goals,
including a spell of 27 League matches unbeaten
from October 27th 2006 to March 31st 2007, which
was broken only after the league title had been
secured. Promotion was an all-round team effort,
Bash having the most prolific attack and the meanest
defence in the league. Richard Gillespie finished up
with 41 goals, the highest total in any of the
Southern League divisions, and along the way broke
the club all time goalscoring record held by Colin
Cummings, which had stood for over thirty years.
Bashley acquitted themselves very well in the
Southern League Premier Division the following
season, and finished in fifth place at the higher level,
despite long term injuries to key players. The 2007-
08 season unfortunately ended in disappointment
with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Team Bath in the
play-off semi-final, a result that was particularly harsh
on Bashley. Again, Bashley's defence was one of the
best in the league, whilst Richard Gillespie and Ryan
Moss both finished in the top 10 goalscorers in the
division.

Moss moved on to Conference South side
Dorchester Town, but manager Steve Riley brought in
a number of new signings, which allied to the
retention of most of the side who had been so
successful in the previous two campaigns, left
Bashley quietly confident of mounting another
assault at the top of the table. Unfortunately, 2008-9
was to be a very different season. For long periods
during the winter, Bash were in the bottom four,
although a run of five straight wins right at the end of
the season led to a final position of 14th, well clear of
the relegation zone.

The summer of 2009 saw the departure of club record
top scorer Richard Gillespie to Blue Square South
side Eastleigh, having scored 173 goals in 308
appearances. Steve Riley appointed long serving
defender Chris Ferrett as player-coach to replace
assistant manager Martin Doolan, who had
immigrated to New Zealand, whilst the signing of
striker Mark Gamble from Farnborough ensured that
Bash could enter the 2009-10 season with renewed
hope of being competitive in a strong League.

Bashley exceeded expectations in the 2009/10
season, briefly topping the table after a 5-0 win at
Tiverton in October. They spent the vast majority of
the season in a play-off place, only to surrender their
grip on a top five finish on the final day of the season
with defeat at Nuneaton. An impressive FA Trophy
run saw Bash through to an encounter with
Conference National side, Crawley Town, who edged
the tie at Bashley Road by the odd goal in five. The
campaign provided some tremendous entertainment
and although they lost a number of key players at
the start of 2010-11, Bash rallied to secure a top half
finish by the end of the season, meaning that they
could look forward with quiet confidence to the start
of the 2011-12 season.

After a good start, however, Bash struggled during
the middle of the season and suffered losses to lower
ranked opposition in all four cup competitions. A
solid run towards the end of the season ensured
Premier Division survival, although Steve Riley and
Chris Ferrett left the club during the summer to take
up similar roles with AFC Totton. Bash appointed the
former Basingstoke Town management team of
Frank  Gray and Gerry Murphy for the 2012-13
season but the side struggled in the lower reaches of
the division finishing in 17th place and again going
out of all Cup competitions at the first round stage. 

2013-14 Major changes within the club structure and
a degree of uncertainty led to Club stalwarts Paul
Gazzard and goalkeeping legend Stewart Kearn
being given the daunting task of re-building the team
which necessitated a series of budget cuts. Alas
results mainly went against Bashley, several players
moved on to pastures new after a mid-season
restructuring which also saw Stewart Kearn step
down from his management position. Shortly
afterwards the experienced John Pyatt from
Brockenhurst FC filled the vacant position to
undertake the hard task with Paul Gazzard trying to
steer the New Forest side away from the relegation
zone, with just a handful of wins the club was
relegated to the South and West Division.

The exit of players together with a lack of club
executives and sponsors put the club in a perilous
position. Bashley, despite the actions of loyal fans
and supporters who contributed to a ‘Save Bashley’
appeal which allowed the club to see out the season
were very close to being wound up.
BASHLEY FOOTBALL CLUB
(A Members Club Founded 1947)
Bashley Road | Bashley | New Milton | Hampshire | BH25 5RY
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