12:56 12 October 2012
By Anthony Pilkington
A very brief look at the History of Yeovil Town.
Yeovil Town Football Club are the only Somerset-based club in the Football League, they play their home matches at Huish Park, built in 1990 on the site of an old army camp and named after their former home the Huish, itself famous for the notorious pitch, which had an 8-foot sideline to sideline slope. The club play in League One after having won the League Two championship in 2004–05.
The club was founded in 1895 but took 108 years to enter the Football League when they were promoted from the Football Conference as champions in 2003. Having long been established as the most successful non-league team in the FA Cup – having defeated major Football League teams, most famously Sunderland in the 4th Round in 1949, going on to play in front of more than 81,000 against Manchester United at Maine Road.
Since entering the Football League FA Cup results have deteriorated having only reached the 3rd Round twice most famously in 2004, against Liverpool for which the club released a record prior to the tie sold only in shops in the town, "Yeovil True" reached 36 in the UK Singles Chart.
The only other successful performance since then was in 2005 when they reached the 4th Round drawn away against then Premier League side Charlton Athletic where they narrowly lost 3–2.
Yeovil Football Club was founded in 1890, and shared their ground with the local rugby club for many years. Five years later they were renamed Yeovil Casuals and started playing home games at the Pen Mill Athletic Ground. In 1907 the name Yeovil Town was adopted, which on amalgamation with Petters United became Yeovil and Petters United.
The club came to national attention as 'giant-killers' during the 1948–49 FA Cup, in which they defeated Sunderland 2–1 in the fourth round, in front of a record home attendance of 17,000. They were defeated 8–0 in the following round by Manchester United at Maine Road
Between 1955 and 1973 they were champions of the Southern Football League three times, with the runners-up spot being reached on two occasions. During this period, Yeovil Town applied for election to the Football League on a number of occasions, coming within a few votes of being elected in 1976. In 1979 the Glovers were founder members of the new national non-league division, the Football Conference. In 1985, they were relegated to the Isthmian League. Yeovil won that championship in 1988 and returned to the Conference.
There was success in the Bob Lord Challenge Trophy in 1990 and three years later Yeovil finished fourth in the Conference, their best finish ever. In January 1995, former Weymouth and Spurs player Graham Roberts was appointed manager, but demotion back to the Isthmian League soon followed. Yeovil secured promotion back into the Conference in 1997 after winning the Isthmian League with a record number of points – 101.
Colin Lippiatt became manager 1998 – 1999 and brought Terry Skiverton,to the club as a player. Gary Johnson took over as manager in June 2001 and Yeovil won the FA Trophy in his first season in charge with a 2–0 victory over Stevenage Borough in the final at Villa Park – the club's first major trophy. Yeovil Town earned promotion to the Football League in the following season, by winning the Football Conference by a record 17 points margin, accumulating 95 points and scoring 100 goals, remaining unbeaten at Huish Park. Their team included many top players, some of which went on to play Premier League football. Notable players include Gavin Williams who moved to West Ham United, Lee Johnson, Chris Weale, Darren Way and Adam Lockwood.
Reaching the Football League
Yeovil's first game in the Football League was a 3–1 away win over Rochdale. The Glovers finished their first season in eighth position, and reached the third round of the FA Cup before losing 2–0 at home to Liverpool. The following season Yeovil finished as champions of League Two with 83 points, earning promotion to League One.
Part way through the season the club was sold by Jon Goddard-Watts to David Webb, taking over the role of Chief Executive from Chairman John Fry.
At the beginning of the 2005–06 season manager Gary Johnson left Yeovil for Bristol City, after having turned down job offers from both Plymouth Argyle and Derby County. He was replaced by his assistant Steven Thompson, and Kevin Hodges was appointed as his number two.
At the season's end Thompson was demoted to first team coach and he was replaced by Russell Slade. Around this time John Fry had bought all Dave Webb's share of the club, becoming Yeovil Town's new owner.
Yeovil finished the 2006–07 season in fifth position, qualifying for the League One play-offs. In the semi-final Yeovil beat Nottingham Forest in the two-legged match 5–4 on aggregate, after losing the first home leg 2–0. Yeovil met Blackpool at Wembley Stadium in the final, but were beaten 2–0.
The 2007–08 was less successful, as Yeovil finished 18th in League One with 52 points. Russell Slade continued as Yeovil manager into the 2008–09 season, but he left the position in February 2009. After 1 game with Assistant Manager Steve Thompson acting as caretaker manager, club captain Terry Skiverton was announced as manager until the end of the 2009–10 season, with Nathan Jones as his assistant.
]The duo had to wait seven games before their first victory, which came against Swindon Town. The one-nil victory was vital considering Swindon were also flirting with relegation and it started a good run of form with two more wins and a draw against difficult opposition.
Yeovil secured their League One status with a 1–1 draw against Tranmere Rovers on Saturday 25 April, an achievement which may not have been possible without the loan of Jonathon Obika from Tottenham Hotspur.
It was Obika's four goals that kept Yeovil up. At the end of the season, Terry Skiverton had to discuss contracts with players such as Terrell Forbes and Lee Peltier. Securing these players was considered vital if Yeovil were to remain in League One in the future.
Yeovil made a good start to the 2009–10 season with a 2–0 win over Tranmere but then went 7 league games without a win. After this they went six games unbeaten including victories over Brentford, Carlisle United and Bristol Rovers before this was ended by a 4–0 drubbing away at leaders Leeds United, on 31 October 2009. The return of fans' favourite Gavin Williams, on a loan spell from Bristol City, helped Yeovil to end the season strongly.
Yeovil's first half of the 2010–11 season was horrendous and saw them bottom of the table at Christmas. However, new signings like Max Ehmer and Paul Wotton helped turn the season around starting with an unbeaten run in January which saw Terry Skiverton nominated for Manager of the Month and Paul Huntington, who had scored three goals during the month, win Player of the Month.
In March, Yeovil recorded their highest away league victory with a 5–1 win over Leyton Orient. A six match unbeaten run at the end of the season including wins over Notts County, Colchester and Carlisle helped Yeovil finish the season in 14th, their second highest league finish. Dean Bowditch was again Yeovil's top scorer with 15 goals (7 in the last two months of the season) and Andy Welsh, who moved onto Carlisle United at the end of the season finished with the most assists.
The 2011–12 season again started poorly, and Yeovil found themselves in the relegation zone at Christmas for the second consecutive season, and this prompted a change of manager. On 9 January 2012, the club announced the re-appointment of Gary Johnson, with former manager Terry Skiverton becoming assistant.
Yeovil made their best ever start in the 2012–13 season, picking up 10 points from their first 4 games. However the unbeaten run came to an end on 8 September as they suffered a 1–0 home defeat at the hands of local rivals A.F.C. Bournemouth.
Yeovil hosted Premier League side West Bromwich Albion F.C. in the second round of the Football League Cup and although they took the lead early on, they ended up losing 4–2 after conceding 2 late goals courtesy of Shane Long and Yassine El Ghanassy.
The season went into a disastrous run of six defeats on the spin before a 3-1 win over Colchester halted the slump. The 2-1 victory at Fratton Park over Christmas proved to be a significant day as the team went on a run of eight straight wins lifting them right up the table.Victory at Stevenage secured a Play-Off place against Sheffield United.
A 1-0 defeat at Bramell Lane followed by a memorable 2-0 victory saw the Glovers return to Wembley to face Brentford in the League One Play-Off Final. Goals from Paddy Madden and Dan Burn won the game for the Glovers despite a Brentford reply from Dean to see the club promoted to the second tier of English Football for the first time ever.