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.
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.
Alan Skirton, pictured during his playing days, joined the club as Commercial Manager, in September 1981.
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
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.
Long time Yeovil
supporter, Roy Pitman, launched a "Buy-a-Player" fund and application forms were printed in
the "Western Gazette".
Local boy Phil James who scored his first goal for the club against Stafford Rangers on April 3rd 1982
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.