A tribute to Alan Skirton
Alan Skirton - An Appreciation

Alan Skirton, in a picture taken last season
Alan Skirton, in a picture taken last season
Photo © 2002 Ciderspace/Tim Lancaster
When Alan closed the door on the commercial office for the last time recently it brought to an end 21 years as one of the Yeovil Towns club's longest serving and influential employees.

Alan joined Yeovil Town Football Club on 14th Sept 1981. Chairman David Hawker and Director Bryan Moore had heard of his work at Bath City and persuaded him to make the move to South Somerset. An offer from Bristol City was also on the table, thankfully Alan made the right choice. On his arrival he found the club's Lottery in a poor state and set about introducing a door-to-door sales team that would prove to be very successful. Years later the introduction of the National Lottery meant that changes had to be made, but the Lottery Office still continues to raise important funds for the football club. Through various advertising and sponsorship schemes several million pounds have been raised. But his most successful scheme has undoubtedly been the Patron Scheme that has allowed businesses large and small to become involved with the club. Alan has often been given the credit for introducing the Patron's Scheme, however he is quick to point out that it was Tony Williams, a director of the club at the time, who came across a similar scheme at Bognor Regis Football Club and thought it would be beneficial to Yeovil Town. Alan's hard work ensured this to be the case, it not only brings substantial funds into the club but at a time when cash flow is notoriously poor - the close season.

Alan was born in Bath in 1939 and it was at Bath City where he started in football, a career that would fill his working life. His early days at Bath City had the scouts flocking to Twerton Park, a short spell working for Bath Council, followed by National Service delayed his entry into Professional Football. But when Arsenal made him an offer a 19 year old Alan headed for the capital. Unfortunately Tuberculosis halted his Arsenal career before it had hardly started, but 18 months later he began 6 years in the Arsenal team which would bring 154 first team appearance and 54 goals, quite an achievement for a winger playing at the highest level. In fact he is among a select ban of wingers who have scored 100 league goals. A £30,000 transfer to Blackpool followed where Alan stayed for 3 years, once again scoring a goal every three games. A move back south to Bristol City, and then Torquay followed before Alan ended his playing days at Weymouth. He even managed to fit in a short spell winning the League title in South Africa playing for Durban City with Johnny Haynes and Budgie Byrne.

Alan Skirton is on the top row, second left, in this Arsenal team photo
Alan Skirton is on the top row, second left, in this Arsenal team photo

Alan's discipline on the field was excellent, in fact he was never even booked when playing for Arsenal, although many Yeovil fans will recall an incident with Yeovil goalkeeper Tony Clark that should have seen a 'veteran' Weymouth winger being reprimanded by the referee!

As Alan's playing career was coming to an end he saw how the then Weymouth Commercial manager, Alec Jackson, earned his living and felt that this could be his own future, he assisted in the commercial department at Weymouth during the latter days of his playing career. He then moved back to his hometown club Bath City to become the Commercial Manager and stayed for 10 years, even reviving his playing career and playing a few games for them in the Southern League. When Yeovil Town stepped in he could see the potential in South Somerset and set about a task that would lead to him being one of the most successful Commercial Managers in Non League football.

For 21 years Alan has been the face, and voice, of Yeovil Town Football Club. Businesses near and far have been persuaded to sponsor the club or advertise in one way or another. Match day at Huish Park without Alan on the microphone will never be quite the same, although the power in the voice has meant that the assistance of amplification has not always been necessary in the confines of the Vice Presidents lounge. His talents will not be entirely lost as the club intend to call on him in a consultancy basis from time to time and he will still be watching from the main stand as the pursuit of league football continues. It would be fitting if as his work ends its ultimate purpose were achieved.

I am sure that everyone connected with the Football Club wish Alan and his wife Jane a long and happy retirement, may they never be strangers at Huish Park.

John Baker, October 2002

Alan Skirton - bottom right in the Blackpool team photo - shortly before he departed for Ashton Gate
Alan Skirton - bottom right in the Blackpool team photo - shortly before he departed for Ashton Gate

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Last Updated : 11th October 2002
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