An appreciation of Yeovil Town FC and Len Harris
Sloping Pitch - An appreciation of Yeovil Town FC and Len Harris

Many thanks to forum regular Dellboy for the following article:

(With acknowledgement to Nick Hornby)

Few things in life evoke such passion as sport. For many people it is their sport and their team that provides the vehicles to explore and return to the range of human emotions. No sport has captured more this way than Football and for many of us born south of the Mendip Hills no team has entranced us more than Yeovil Town Football Club.

Unlike those born north of the Mendips there were never the difficult choices to be made about the shape of the ball. In any serious sense Yeovil and its lush hinterland is wedded to the round ball. Not for us the agonising conflict of whether our allegiance was to The "Rec" or Twerton Park, not for us the dilemma of City or Rovers. There was only one Somerset Cathedral of Sport and that was, and is, Huish Park the home of Yeovil Town Football Club.

I began watching Yeovil Town when I was about ten or eleven. I can recall catching the bus to South Street and then moving with the tide of supporters along Huish often having to negotiate the counter currents of the shoppers destined for Denner’s, Boot’s, and Woolworth’s.

With a few breaks caused by education or work, visits to Huish Park have always been part of my life. Much of the time being caught up in the chase for Yeovil Town's destiny and membership of the Football League.

Everyone who has linked their destiny with that of the Club will have their own memories of matches, goals, and players. These can all be evoked in the company of other supporters or through the quiet solitude of the shared moments with the collection of past match programmes, and more recently ‘Ciderspace’. Whenever I return to the "old" Huish Park and look to the Bruton's End dominating our half is the figure of Len Harris.

Len joined Yeovil Town in 1958 from Crystal Palace and between 1958 and 1972 played 691 games for the Club. A record that still stands. History will record these achievements. This has never been that important to me. I cherish the memories of the times when Len would find time to talk to me, as a schoolboy, in the Groundsman's room he shared with "Jasper" Ellery at Yeovil School. I can still capture the essence of our talks. The smell of sawdust and linseed oil, Len's unhurried pace and timing of conversation with the young fan. Above all his willingness to return after Saturday’s away game to the other place of work on a Monday morning with my copy of the away programme from the weekend’s Southern League fixture. In all the commotion and emotion of the matchday Len found time to remember my programmes.

More than any other person Len Harris bound me to Yeovil Town Football Club and I know that I shall never be freed. For all of those who are with the "Glovers" the coming together will have happened in different ways and at different times. What we do share is a common bond that unites irrespective of individual circumstances or position.

Sometimes doubts about realising the destiny return to haunt. Is there still enough collective passion to carry us forward? Then reassurance comes. It comes on crisp February evenings when the moon in a dark Somerset sky seems to resting on the Bartlett Stand; it comes with 8,000 within the sanctuary of the walls and 2,000 without; it comes with the collective Huish roar that lifts the chosen to meet the challenge and carry forward the destiny; it comes over the airways and internet from distant northern towns where lost causes are turned to glory.

Heroes don't have to be afar playing for England or in the Premier league. Heroes can be near.

Dellboy

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