Yeovil Town Story Part 37
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THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 37

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SEASON 1980-81

Malcolm Allinson had a brief spell as first team manager during early 1981
Malcolm Allinson had a brief spell as first team manager during early 1981.
During the summer of 1980, Barry Lloyd signed Steve Ritchie, Gary Borthwick, Andy Leitch, Andy Bell, Jeremy Brown, Tony Levy and Kim Book - all on free transfers. He also recruited Brian Durbin from Bath City for £5,000 and Brian Ashton from Salisbury for £1,000. During the season he also secured Jamie Ward from Glastonbury for a fee of £1,000.

The season opened with a 2-1 victory at home to Barrow, five of the new signings making their debuts. By the time Yeovil entered the FA Cup, they were in a mid-table position with 11 points from 11 matches.

Thanks to good runs the previous two seasons, Yeovil were exempt until the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. Drawn away to Hayes, a goal four minutes into injury time by Clive Green earned Yeovil a replay, which was won 2-0. Farnborough Town came to Huish in the First Round Proper and were defeated 2-1. In the Second Round, Yeovil travelled to Colchester United and once again were on B.B.C.'s "Match of the Day".

The 3,394 spectators at the game - plus the whole nation - nearly saw yet another famous victory. With just four minutes remaining, Yeovil were well on top and leading by a single goal, but Colchester broke out of defence to force a replay. The winners of the replay at Huish were drawn to play Watford in the Third Round and their manager, Graham Taylor, was in the 5,803 crowd who saw Colchester win 2-0. Despite their defeat, Yeovil Town had once again obtained national publicity and Lloyd was selected as one of the joint managers of the Alliance Premier League representative team.

At the turn of the year, Yeovil were still holding a mid-table position in the A.P.L. with results being very up and down. This period saw the start of the team's involvement in the FA Trophy with a First Round meeting at Badger's Hill against Frome Town. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, but Yeovil won the replay 2-1. The very next day manager Lloyd was dismissed by the Club. He, in turn, sued the Club, the matter later being settled out of court.

Malcolm Allison was appointed manager on a temporary basis to replace Lloyd. His arrival caused national interest and 'gates' both at Huish and away rose dramatically. Before he came, Yeovil had drawn 1-1 at home to Hastings in the Second Round of the Trophy and his first game in charge was the replay in Sussex. Hastings' attendance for the replay was five times their average and they won the match 2-1. Allison was in charge for three other games - a 4-3 defeat at home to Stafford Rangers, a 4-4 draw at Barnet (when Yeovil were leading 4-0 with only 25 minutes left) and a 4-2 defeat at Maidstone United.

Jimmy Giles was the third manager of the 1980-81 season
Jimmy Giles was the third manager of the 1980-81 season, but even he would have been wise to have not given up the day job!
The Club's third manager of the season, Jimmy Giles, was appointed on 16th February, 1981. He had been part of the Exeter City squad who, earlier in the season, had had a great FA Cup run during which they had defeated Newcastle United before going out to Spurs. Yeovil had previously approached Larry Lloyd of Nottingham Forest, but he accepted an offer from Wigan Athletic in preference to non-league football. Giles' first game in charge was at Greavesend, when 'Keeper Brian Parker was taken off injured and Nigel Ryan took over in goal. The result was a very creditable draw.

By now, Yeovil were in the bottom three and relegation was a distinct possibility. The battle continued until the end of the season and, in the end, Yeovil finished fourteenth out of twenty. Altrincham won the Championship with Nuneaton Borough, Wealdstone and Bangor City relegated.

Yeovil also reached the final of the Somerset Premier Cup only to lose 6-0 on aggregate to Bath City. Only 794 spectators turned up for the two games.

Meanwhile, the Reserves had a good season to finish sixth in Division One of the Western League, much of the credit going to their manager, Tony Cottle.

The season had not been a happy one for the club, both on and off the pitch. The Club was not happy with their professional fund raisers and the association with them was terminated. Attendances had slumped as the novelty of new teams coming to Huish wore off and shareholders were shocked when it was reported the Club made a loss of over £51,000 on the season to go with a loss of £6,460 reported the previous year.

For the second season in succession, Green was leading goalscorer with 22. Durbin was transferred to Minehead for £1,000 with Ryan Leitch, Mark Williams and Parker all leaving the Club on free transfers.

SEASON 1981-82

In his first summer in charge of Yeovil Town, Jimmy Giles signed four players, Peter Hawkins (from Weymouth), Roy Ireland (Exeter City), Glyn Jones (Bristol Rovers) and Jimmy Scott, who had spent the close season with Exeter City and Torquay United after playing for Newcastle United the previous season.

The season opened encouragingly with a 2-2 draw at Scarborough, the team being: Glyn Jones, Roy Ireland, Steve Ritchie, Clive Westlake, Jimmy Giles, Andy Bell, Dave Platt, Jamie Ward, Clive Green, Peter Hawkins, Jeremy Brown and Brian Ashton.

Alan Skirton, pictured during his playing days, joined the club as Commercial Manager
Alan Skirton, pictured during his playing days, joined the club as Commercial Manager, in September 1981.
As the season progressed, the squad was to change considerably. Ashley Griffiths (Bristol Rovers), Steve Langley (Larkhill Athletic), Malcolm Beck (Walten Rovers), Bobby Andrews (Clandown), Phil James (Kenton Mandeville), Terry Woodward (Clandown) and Terry Francis (Westlands) also signed for the club, whilst three of the close season signings did not see the season out - Jones, Ireland and Griffiths moving on after only a short spell with the club. Also leaving the club were Clive Westlake, Jamie Ward, Clive Green (to Maidstone for a fee of £8,000) and Brian Ashton.

The club's finances were still in bad shape and in an effort to raise additionsl income, the club dispensed with the services of fund-raising company Goldline and engaged Alan Skirton as Commercial Manager. He joined the club in September, 1981, and by the end of the season the profit on the Lottery rose to £40,000. The new competition, with a £1,000 first prize, proved a great success.

At the end of October, when the club was enged in the FA Cup again, the team was in sixth place in the Alliance Premier League only two points off the leaders, Bath City. The League had adopted a new points system - three for a win and one for a draw. Yeovil had collected 27 points from 15 games, but had made a first round exit from the Bob Lord Cup, losing 2-0 on aggregate to Gravesend and Northfleet. At this stage of the season, the average league attendance was 1,179. T

The F.A. Cup brought a Fourth Qualifying Round visit from MerthyrTydfil and attracted 1,873 spectators. Goals from Ward (2) and Green gave Yeovil an away tie at Dagenham. This match saw Yeovil up at half-time (Green and Brown), but Dagenham came back to level the match. Near the end, Platt almost won the game when his shot cannoned off the underside of the bar. The winners of the replay were drawn at home to either Millwall or Portsmouth in the Second Round. 3,816 people turned up for the game and saw Yeovil lose to an extra time goal.

Exit from the F.A. Cup set Yeovil on a disastrous run, the next victory not coming until 10th February when Worcester City were beaten 3-0 at Huish. During this period bad league defeats were sustained at Boston (5-0) and at home to Weymouth (1-4), whilst, in the F.A. Trophy, Bishop's Stortford (the holders of the trophy having defeated Sutton United 1-0 at Wembley the previous May) took a 3-0 lead and finally won 3-2.

It was now a "Backs to the wall" job with Yeovil only five points away from the relegation zone. The club had made many cutbacks in a attempt to stabilise the serious financial situation. Overnight stops to distant away games ceased and, for the visit to Frickley, the coach left Huish at 7.00 a.m. and did not return until 1.30 a.m. the next morning.

Local boy Phil James who scored his first goal for the club against Stafford Rangers on April 3rd 1982
Local boy Phil James who scored his first goal for the club against Stafford Rangers on April 3rd 1982
Long time Yeovil supporter, Roy Pitman, launched a "Buy-a-Player" fund and application forms were printed in the "Western Gazette".

Clive Green made an early return to Huish when Maidstone came in February. Also included in their squad was former Yeovil player Brian Thompson. However, an Andy Bell goal sent the Yeovil fans home happy. Playing in Yeovil's team that day (and making his only appearance for the club) was former Bristol City captain Geoff Merrick.

Despite a 7-1 reverse at current champions Altrincham in mid-April Yeovil won their fight against relegation by finishing in thirteenth place, thirteen points above the bottom three with Runcorn taking the Championship.

The season ended as it had started with a game against Scarborough. On this occasion the team was: Langley, Giles, Ritchie, Jess Payne, Andrews, Bell, Woodward, James, Wayne Woollard, Hawkins, Brown and Glyn Broom (sub).

Long serving Tony Cottle, who had been in charge of the reserve team, left the club, the directors making a presentation to mark his many years with the club. Also stepping down at the end of the season was Chairman David Hawker.

The Yeovil Town Story : Other Pages

THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 37

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