Yeovil Town Story Part 44
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THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 44

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SEASON 1987-88 PART TWO

January 1988 opened in disastrous fashion with a 0-3 defeat at Wokingham, then the eyes of the nation were focussed on Yeovil as the television crews and press arrived in town for the FA Cup tie against Queens Park Rangers. The only disappointment in a wonderful day was the 3-0 scoreline to QPR, which in no way reflected the closeness of the game or the tremendous performance given by the Yeovil players.

Referee Lester Shapter has to sort out a difference of opinion during the FA Cup match against QPR
Referee Lester Shapter has to sort out a difference of opinion during the FA Cup match against QPR.
By the end of the month Yeovil had moved up to 4th with Bromley the league leaders. The only blemish during the month was the 3-1 exit from the FA Trophy at a cold and wet Witton Albion. All round it was not a happy trip as the central heating system at the overnight hotel broke down on one of the coldest nights of the year, the players spending the night huddled under the bedclothes!

The only upset in February was a 0-1 defeat at Welling in the GMAC - a home tie against Weymouth was the reward for the winners. During the month Yeovil reached the final of the AC Delco Cup with victories over Kingstonian and Hampton. Every team, including Champions, go through a tricky spell once in a season and, for Yeovil, March was that period, a 0-1 defeat, before a crowd of 166, at Leytonstone llford got the month off to a bad start. A 1-1 draw at Dulwich Hamlet was followed by a 2-0 home win over Hayes and a 0-0 draw at Hendon. Then came two more shocks, Tooting and Mitchem took away Yeovil's unbeaten home record and the following Saturday, mid-table Bishop's Stortford returned to Hertfordshire with a point. However, thanks to some even worse results by all the nearest rivals, Yeovil ended the month still in second place, 2 points behind Bromley and with 3 games in hand.

April opened with a fine 1-0 away win over one-time league Champion contenders, Farnborough. Hopes were dashed, however, two days later when, on an awful pitch and with a gale blowing from end to end, Yeovil lost 1-2 to lowly Leyton Wingate. The following week two very important games were played - in mid-week we returned from Hayes with a very valuable point following a 0-0 draw. At that time Hayes were on a charge and a win would have put them just two points behind Yeovil. On the Saturday, Bromley came to Huish and were beaten three goals to nil, Mick Doherty scoring a hat-trick. This, again, was a very important win and it closed the gap to just one point, Yeovil still having a cushion of a two game advantage.

April continued with revenge victories at Bishop's Stortford and Tooting and Mitcham followed by a 3-1 win over Croydon in the last home game of the season, watched by a crowd of 3,823. Another important point was earned at Carshalton with a 0-0 draw and on Thursday 28th, April, Yeovil became Champions without kicking a ball that night when Wokingham, the only team left who could catch them, lost at home to Tooting and Mitcham.

Phil Ferns receives the Vauxhall Opel League silverware from Isthmian chief Alan Turvey
Phil Ferns receives the Vauxhall Opel League silverware from Isthmian chief Alan Turvey. Yeovil Town Chairman Gerry Lock can be seen in the background applauding.
Photo © 2003 Ciderspace

April ended with the Championship Shield and Cup being presented before championship performance at Hitchin and a fine 4-0 win, two goals each coming from Jimmy Quinn and Paul Randall.

Paul Randall catches the Hitchin keeper out of his goal as he nets in Yeovil's landmark 4-0 win at Hitchin
Paul Randall catches the Hitchin keeper out of his goal as he nets in Yeovil's landmark 4-0 win at Hitchin.
Photo © 2003 Ciderspace

In the two games played in May, Yeovil carried off the 'double' at Basingstoke by beating Hayes 3-1 in the A.C. Delco Cup final. Delighted Yeovil fans saw skipper Phil Ferns receive the second trophy from the league Chairman, Alan Turvey, within the space of 48 hours.

Brian Hall and Paul 'Budgie' Rodgers show the AC Delco Cup to the Yeovil supporters at Basingstoke
Brian Hall and Paul 'Budgie' Rodgers show the AC Delco Cup to the Yeovil supporters at Basingstoke.
Photo © 2003 Ciderspace

The season ended with yet another trip up the A303 and M3 to play at Harrow. The pitch was in perfect condition - the 0-1 defeat, however, was not so perfect. Although the final battle was lost, the team had done more than enough in the 41 previous league games to win the war. Yeovil, after three long years, were Champions and back in the G.M. Conference for the 1988-89 season.

At the end of the season John McGinlay was fined two weeks wages for breach of contract and released together with Neil Coates. The last game played at Huish that season was a friendly against Barnet who had just failed, by 2 points, to win promotion to the Football League. Manager Barry Fry delighted the crowd of 2,106 by playing the whole game, but the biggest cheer of the night came 15 minutes from the end when Yeovil manager, Brian Hall came on as a substitute, Yeovil won the game 3-2.

STATISTICS FOR 1987-88

P66 W41 D9 L11 F105 A55

First Team Appearances: (substitute appearances in brackets) 66 Phil Ferns, 64 Jeff Sherwood (from Bath City), 62(1) Andy Wallace, 59 Tony Ricketts, 57 Bob Iles (Weymouth), 55(9) Gerry Pearson, 54(1) Steve Rutter, 53(1) Gary Donnellan, 48(17) Paul Randall, 33(14) John McGinlay, 26(6) Wayne Noble, 23(10) Neil Cordice (Wealdstone), 23(2) Jimmy Quinn (Bognor Regis), 22(8) Ricky Chandler, 16(7) Neil Coates and Paul Thorpe, 14(1) Mike Doherty (£11,000 - Maidstone), 9 Dave Walter, 8(3) Martyn Grimshaw (Bath City), 8(1) Dave Linney, 3 Tom Ritchie, 2 Andy Ford and Darren Shepard, 2(1) Nick Marshall, 1(1) Steve Tapley (3,000 - Enfield), (3) Dean Graves, (1) Andy Stone.

Goalscorers: 19 Paul Randall, 15 John McGinlay, 14 Gerry Pearson and Andy Wallace, 9 Phil Ferns, 8 Garry Donnellan, 5 Mike Doherty and Steve Rutter, 4 Tony Ricketts, 3 Neil Cordice and Paul Thorpe, 2 Jimmy Quinn, 1 Ricky Chandler, Neil Coates, Martyn Grimshaw and Wayne Noble.

Steve Rutter won the Western Gazette "Merit Marks Award" and Jeff Sherwood was the Supporters' Club Player of the Year.

Highest home attendance - 6,079 against St. Albans City.

Gordon Prosser joined the club in October as groundsman
Gordon Prosser joined the club in October as groundsman
After a run of three seasons Yeovil failed to be the best supported non-league club in the country. Top three clubs were Lincoln City (3,762), Barnet (2,665) and Yeovil Town (2,245), of the 21 League games played away, 13 clubs had their biggest League attendance of the season for the visit of Yeovil.

Off the field, at an E.G.M. held on 25th August 1987, shareholders gave the go-ahead to "conclude negotiations with F. R. Bartlett Limited for the sale of Huish and to negotiate the development of the Houndstone site". The voting was 14,431 for and 1,356 against, giving a majority of 13,075, representing 91% in favour. On 15th September, the Public Enquiry began which was to delay the proposed move for a long time, two days later the final agreement was signed.

Early in October, Mrs Vera Masters left the club and on 26th October, Roger Brinsford was appointed General Manager. On the same day the club made another good "signing" when Gordon Prosser took up his duties as groundsman. Also at this time Alan Skirton introduced a new competition, "The Private Members Club".

Prior to the Q.P.R. game £12,000 was spent on new crash barriers which pushed the attendance limit of Huish up to 9,950. Also at this match the Supporters' Club sold a record 8,000 programmes. Although promotion had been achieved and gates were up, the Club lost £13,035 on the season.

1987-88 Vauxhall-Opel League Champions and AC Delco Cup Winners
1987-88 Vauxhall-Opel League Champions and AC Delco Cup Winners

Back Row: Jeff Sherwood, Paul Thorpe, Andy Wallace, Steve Rutter, Bob Iles, Tony Ricketts, Martyn Grimshaw, Jimmy Quinn, Paul Randall.
Front Row: Tony Rafferty (Physio), Steve Ritchie (Res. Team Manager), Wayne Noble, Phil Ferns, John McGinlay, Dave Linney, Gerry Pearson, Mick Doherty, Paul Rodgers (Coach), Paul Hillard (Asst. Manager).



The Yeovil Town Story : Other Pages

THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 44

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