Vanarama National League South
shopping-bag 0
Items : 0
Subtotal : £0.00
View Cart Check Out

The Woodpring Stadium

2000 - Present Day

In the year 2000, Weston secured the purchase of the Westlands Site, only a stone’s throw away from Woodspring Park. The plans were to create a new purpose-built stadium incorporating a 250 seater stand with integral bar and entertainment facilities, with a first class pitch and dressing rooms. 

At the end of October 2001, the board decided that to achieve their ambitions of being promoted to the Dr. Martens League Premier Division, it was time for a new progressive management team. As an interim measure, Director of Football Alan White took over first-team affairs from John Relish and his staff.

The board then appointed Frank Gregan in November, although due to his contract commitments with Aberystwyth Town, he did not take up the position until 23rd February 2002. In the meantime his assistant Chris Smith took control of first team affairs.

In the 2002-2003 season, the club made history when they won promotion to the Dr. Martens League Premier Division, finishing runners up in the Western Division behind Merthyr Tydfil. Weston went up following a 1-0 win at local rivals Clevedon Town at the Hand Stadium.

In the 2003-04 season, the club had a successful first season in the higher division as they finished high enough to gain entry into the newly formed Nationwide Conference South. The team also reached the Second Round proper of the FA Cup for the first time in their history, eventually losing 4-1 at Northampton Town. A tremendous run in the FA Trophy also ended when the team lost 4-2 to Telford United away in the 4th Round. 

August 14th 2004 saw the opening game at the current Woodspring Stadium in a momentous match against Hornchurch, which ended in a 1-0 victory for The Seagulls. In Weston’s first season in the new division they finished a credible 11th with 58 points.

After the 2006-07 season The Seagulls seemed doomed for relegation, the first time in their history. However, Farnborough Town were relegated and Hayes and Yeading merged to form Hayes & Yeading United, leaving the Conference South one team short, earning a reprieve for Weston.

The 2007/08 season ended in a similar way. A 20th placed finish meant the club was eligible for relegation, only to be spared by the enforced demotion of Cambridge City, who failed a ground inspection.

In the 2008/09 season Weston finished a more respectable 17th after an impressive start to the season. But from around November onwards, The Seagulls’ campaign took an uneasy dip towards the relegation zone. Tony Ricketts departed the club and it was left to caretaker-manager Andy Gurney to lift the team to 17th position.

In the 2009/10 season Gurney was named as first-team manager. The start of the campaign started well for Gurney with victories over Worcester City and Weymouth. But again the Seagulls found it difficult to pull away from the bottom half of the table and with the loss of Marc McGregor to Worcester, Jack Compton to Falkirk and Adie Harris to Bath City, it became an all too-familiar tale. With relegation already confirmed Weston travelled to Havant & Waterlooville and were thrashed 6-0, their worst defeat for some 35 years. The following day, Gurney left the Woodspring Stadium and it was left to youth-team manager Ryan Northmore to manage the two remaining games. The 2009/10 season became Weston’s worst on record having won only 5 matches. However, The Seagulls benefited from yet another reprieve due to the financial woes of Salisbury City, meaning Weston were able to stay in the Conference South.

The 2010/11 season began with renewed hope as Craig Laird was appointed First Team Manager, and he brought with him Jon Haile as his assistant. In Laird’s first season, Weston achieved a 12th placed finish with 53 points, whilst going on to win the Somerset Premier Cup for the first time with a 1-0 victory against Yeovil Town at Huish Park, courtesy of a goal from Ben Kirk.

The 2011/12 season was almost replicated with a 13th placed finish on 51 points, and the retention of the Somerset Premier Cup was achieved with a 3-0 victory against local rivals Clevedon Town at the Hand Stadium.

The 2012/13 season saw the highest ever finish for The Seagulls in seventh place and 67 points, a record highest-ever position in the pyramid that remains to this day. Weston only missed out on a play-off place on the penultimate game of the season, a great achievement considering the lowly finishes in previous seasons. 

After Laird and Weston parted company in 2014, Mickey Bell was appointed First Team coach ahead of the 2014-15 season, with Clayton Fortune becoming Player/Assistant First Team Coach. Bell brought in a number of the Weston Academy youngsters who had been on the fringes of the first team squad. 

However, after a string of poor results, Bell was replaced by Director of Football Ryan Northmore at the end of November 2014 with The Seagulls at the bottom of the table. Despite the disappointing start to the league season, Bell managed to steer Weston into the First Round proper of the FA Cup, where they hosted Doncaster Rovers. In front of a record attendance at the ‘new’ stadium of 2,949, Weston were defeated by four goals to one. 

Northmore took the team on a string of unbeaten games, taking them to promotion challenging form. Unfortunately, this didn’t continue and after defeating Bath City at home 4-1 in a rearranged fixture, The Seagulls didn’t win another league game and saw them finish 17th.

The 2015/16 season saw the side struggle to gain a win throughout August in the League, earning just one point from 18, with that point coming at home in the Somerset derby against Bath City.

Through September and October, the side couldn’t maintain a consistent run of form and continued to lay low in the dreaded depths of the relegation zone.

However, toward the end of November, Ryan Northmore’s troops managed to pull themselves up to second in the league’s form table by going 10 games unbeaten in the Conference South.

The side then lost form with defeats coming against St. Albans and Wealdstone. However, over the Easter weekend, the side bagged an important three points over Ebbsfleet thanks to captain Dayle Grubb’s impressive strikes.

This was followed by a tough defeat to relegation rivals Bath City, with Scott Wilson firing in during the 91st minute, but Bath hit back with a penalty in the 92nd minute and the winner from the halfway line in the 94th minute.

During the last month of the season, The Seagulls once again turned on the style and ended the season with six unbeaten games from seven, with Wilson and Grubb netting in a 2-0 win over Maidenhead to spark manic celebrations from the home fans at the Woodspring, knowing that the Seagulls had avoided relegation.

The 2016/17 league season started off promisingly, with three wins and a draw from the first four games, putting Weston at the top of the table. Shawn McCoulsky, who joined The Seagulls on loan from Bristol City days before the season began, scored four goals in the opening four games to see Weston start off stronger than ever expected.

Then, a run of seven league games and a 2-1 defeat to North Leigh in the Second Qualifying Round of the FA Cup saw the sacking of Northmore. His replacement was former Weston player Scott Bartlett, with Chris Barker joining the club as Player/Assistant Manager.

Bartlett and Barker were given the task of keeping The Seagulls in the National League South, and a tricky November saw things look bleaker than before, despite a 4-3 win away to Eastbourne Borough. The defensive signing of Rollin Menayese in December saw an upturn in Weston’s form, with new signing Gethyn Hill poking home away to Truro on Boxing Day for a vital three points.

As we entered 2017, Weston got into their stride thanks to Grubb’s two trademark free-kicks against Truro on New Year’s Day, with the team going on a good run of form to start off the second half of the season, a 3-2 loss away to Dartford in January being the only blemish to their good form.

March saw the games come thick and fast, with the majority of the fixtures against teams at the top end of the table. Weston lost out to Bath 2-1 thanks to McCoulsky’s 88th minute winner for the Romans, but Weston still had survival to secure after the trickiest month the club endured all season.

Grubb turned on the style heading into April, scoring four times in a 5-0 rout against Bishop’s Stortford, before Brad Ash was at the double to relegate Margate on Good Friday, thus helping ensure Weston’s survival. Weston ended the league season with a 5-0 win away to Hemel Hempstead, with Grubb being named the National League South Player of The Month for April.

At the end of the season, Bartlett then took up a full-time role as Forest Green Head of Youth upon their promotion to League Two. Weston appointed a new manager in former player Marc McGregor just two days after Bartlett’s departure. Rob Boyd joined Weston as first-team coach and assistant to McGregor.

The 2017-2018 season didn’t get off to a particularly good start, with The Seagulls losing their opening three league games. Weston started to pick up some form as they headed into September, memorably playing Wealdstone off the park in a 5-1 victory at the Woodspring. Weston’s form continued to improve largely thanks to the form of Grubb, and McGregor picked up the November Manager of The Month for the National League South. Grubb departed for Forest Green Rovers at the start of January, and an inconsistent spell during the second half of the season saw The Seagulls’ play-off push fall away as the season approached the final months. Back-up goalkeeper Liam Kingston was the Somerset Premier Cup semi-final hero, saving a spot-kick in a penalty shootout over Bath City. In May 2018, Weston won the Somerset Premier Cup against Paulton Rovers after going 2-0 down, with Tristan Plummer scoring the winner in added time to spark dramatic scenes on the pitch and in the stands.

In the 2018-2019 season, Weston suffered their first-ever relegation, bringing their 15-year tenure in the National League South to an end. Manager Marc McGregor left the club in March, with coach Mark McKeever taking caretaker charge for the final games. Weston reached the FA Cup First Round proper and faced Wrexham at home, losing by two goals to nil. In the latter half of the season, the Woodspring Stadium name was changed to the Optima Stadium as Optima Care took over as stadium sponsors.

In May 2019, Scott Bartlett returned to the club for his second spell as manager. Bartlett made a key signing by bringing in Scott Laird as player/assistant manager. The Seagulls started the season in good form, before finding the going slightly tougher between September and November. Around Christmas time, results started to improve again. With a push for the Southern League Premier South play-offs firmly in sight, the season was declared null and void due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

At the start of the following season, Weston made another hugely significant signing as Dayle Grubb also returned to the club. The 2020/21 campaign proved to be even more short-lived than the previous one as further lockdowns meant that the season was curtailed in the autumn.

However, the following two seasons were to prove to be far more fruitful for The Seagulls. The 2021/22 season saw Weston qualify for their first-ever end of season play-offs, but Weston were sadly defeated in the semi-final at Hayes & Yeading. 

But Weston went one better in the 2022/23 season, winning the Southern League Premier South championship, the first time The Seagulls had won a league since topping the Western League in 1991/92. Weston went into their final home game of the 2022/23 season knowing a win against Hendon would see them crowned as champions. A goal from Jason Pope and a hat-trick from Marlon Jackson ensured the three points and a much coveted return to Step 2 football. The celebrations at the final whistle then continued long into the night for Bartlett’s talented side.