Bassett set for prestigious Forest Green friendly

Friday 28th June 2024

Royal Wootton Bassett Town will finish their preparations for the 2024-25 Hellenic League Premier Division campaign with a high profile friendly at home against Forest Green Rovers.

The fixture will take place at the Sustain Stadium on Saturday 27 July (3pm kick off).

Admission is set to be £8 for adults, £5 for concessions and free for RWBTFC youth members.

The contest will pit Bassett against National League opposition and will therefore be a serious test of Sam Collier's side's quality and fitness as the team tune up for the new season.

Despite the gulf in level between the teams, both Bassett and Forest Green have big ambitions as they aim to finish at the top end of their respective divisions.

Bassett will be striving to build on consecutive top five finishes as they push for another playoff finish and a tilt at promotion to the Southern League.

With the experienced Steve Cotterill at the helm, Rovers go into the season seeking an immediate return to the EFL after consecutive relegations saw them slip from League One into to the National League. Signalling their intent, Rovers have made numerous impressive signings over the summer.

Commenting on the fixture, Bassett manager Sam Collier said: "When Forest Green contacted us about organising a friendly, it was an easy decision to say yes."

To have the opportunity to test ourselves against a club of their stature is going to be great for the team and myself - and it will be a fantastic challenge to end preseason with."

"We're really looking forward to welcoming Steve Cotterill and his players. It will be a great opportunity for our lads to show what they are about and a great opportunity for the club to showcase our excellent facilities against a National League club."

Chairman Paul Gerrish added: "We're delighted to have been offered the chance to host such high profile opponents in what will be the highlight of preseason for our Men's First Team."

"Forest Green are a big, unique club who have gained international acclaim for their commitment to sustainability."

"To have a club of their stature coming to the Sustain Stadium is a real honour and privilege for us."

"We look forward to welcoming them and hope to see a big crowd for the game."


Four levels may separate Royal Wootton Bassett Town from Forest Green Rovers (a figure that was six just two seasons ago). But there are plenty of links between the two clubs.

Having previously served in the role for the club's reserve team when they finished as unbeaten champions of Hellenic League Division Two West in 2000-01, Mike Byrne was Bassett's Men's First Team assistant manager during Pete Yeardley's time in charge from 2001 to 2004. Byrne then moved to Forest Green, forming part of Rovers' First Team coaching staff from 2004 to 2010. He is now back with the New Lawn club as their Head of Academy Coaching and Lead Academy Goalkeeper Coach.

Four former Forest Green players - including two Rovers greats - also have ties with Bassett.

Striker Paul 'Oggy' Hunt helped Forest Green to back-to-back promotions as Rovers reached the Conference (now the National League) for the first time in 1998. Hunt also was part of the Forest Green sides that reached the 1998-99 and 2000-01 FA Trophy finals. Overall, from 1996 to 2001, he appeared in 116 games for Forest Green, registering 52 goals. Hunt later had a brief spell with Bassett, scoring nine times in Hellenic League Division One West in 2008-09.

While Hunt's time with Bassett was towards the end of his playing days, Paul Stonehouse featured in blue and yellow at the start of his. From the town, the dynamic full back featured for Bassett's Under 18 Floodlit team in 2002-03 and 2003-04. Stonehouse earned a contract with Forest Green in 2005 and, during a spell that lasted until 2010 when he moved to Mansfield Town, became Rovers' youngest ever player to reach 100 National League appearances. Stonehouse played 177 times in total for Forest Green, scoring seven goals.

Sam Collier's former assistant Matt Bulman spent time with Forest Green during his playing career too. The 'keeper was with Rovers from May 2011 to January 2013.

Jon Holloway - a defender who featured for Bassett in their 2009-10 Hellenic League Division One West promotion-winning campaign - also had a brief spell with Rovers in 2004.


There will be a second friendly between Royal Wootton Bassett Town and Forest Green Rovers on Sunday 25 August when the clubs' Women's sides face each other at the Sustain Stadium (2pm kick off).

Last modified on Wednesday 17th July 2024 at 18:50.