The 1938/39 season marked the growth of the Southern League to 23 teams, even though
Ipswich Town had departed for the Football League leaving their reserve side to take their
place. The other newcomers were Gillingham, Arsenal Reserves, Cardiff City Reserves,
Chelmsford City and Worcester City.
At a board meeting held on 7th February 1938, the first of many plans to level Huish
was discussed - the pitch sloped six feet along the halfway line and eight foot from one
corner to another but, as happened so many times afterwards, the practicality and cost of
such a scheme made this impossible.
The Southern League Cup proved to be an anti-climax after reaching the final the
previous season, Yeovil going out in the 1st Round to Swindon Town Reserves at the County
Ground. The F.A. Cup was another story, however, for the Third Round was reached for
the second season in succession. Results:
|4th Qualifying Round
||Barry Town 2, Yeovil 5.
||Yeovil 2, Brighton & Hove 1.
||Folkestone Town 1, Yeovil 1.
|2nd Round Replay
||Yeovil 1, Folkestone 0.
||Sheffield Wed. 1, Yeovil 1.
|3rd Round Replay
||Yeovil 1, Sheffield Wed. 2.
The meeting between Sheffield Wednesday (already three times F.A. Cup winners and six times League
Champions) and Yeovil on Saturday, 7th January, 1939, was the tie that all the country was
talking about that day. The game was almost called off, but scores of men worked on the
Hillsborough pitch throughout the previous day and on the morning of the match shovelling
snow away. Fifteen tons of sand were used and - happily for the 300 supporters who travelled
to Sheffield - the game went ahead.
With the score standing at 1-1 and time running out, Yeovil could have won the game.
Jimmy Graham, the Yeovil centre-forward, raced through Wednesday's defence and - when he
was expected to shoot - he crossed the ball to outside-left Dave Laing, who was standing
unmarked in front of goal. To the horror of the Yeovil team and their supporters, the ball
stuck in the mud between the two forwards and was then cleared. The crowd of 24,466
gave the Yeovil team a standing ovation at the end of the game and the Press was full
of admiration for the way Yeovil had played.
There were amazing scenes in Yeovil for the replay the following Thursday afternoon,
when the winners would earn the right to entertain Chester. All roads leading to Huish
were choked with would-be spectators, thousands of people bringing their mid-day meals
with them, and every inch of accommodation inside the ground was jam-packed long before
the kick-off. Such were the scenes of enthusiasm that there might well have been a tragedy
for, from the Queen Street end, came the ominous rending of timber and metal as the shelter
sagged under the weight of spectators on top. Underneath were packed thousands of spectators
powerless to move. Fortunately the police were able to clear the shelter without any serious
injuries and it was discovered the roof had split from one end to the other!
The match was played on a heavy surface and Yeovil held Wednesday to 1-1 until well into
the second half, when the visitors' stamina turned out to be the deciding factor with Napier
scoring the winning goal. The record crowd of 14,329 left the ground full of praises for
Billy Kingdom and his team ... and a BBC commentator said the Club should change its name
to Yeovil & Peppers United as they were hot stuff!!