Month: February 2021

MATCH REPORT | Yeovil Town U18’s 0-4 Plymouth Argyle U18’s

Young Glovers round off their South West Alliance League campaign with a home defeat against the Pilgrims.

Following a tough 3-2 loss to leaders Oxford in midweek, the Young Glovers returned home to face local rivals Plymouth. Setting up with a 4 – 3 – 1 – 2 formation, Yeovil were instantly up against it with the Plymouth striker seeing his goalbound shot expertly beaten out by Smalley in the first five minutes.

Deprived of suspended captain Medrano, Yeovil struggled to contain the pacy Argyle front line and fell behind on 15 minutes when a dubious looking penalty was coolly dispatched to make it 0 – 1.

The Pilgrims continued to press high up the pitch giving the Glovers little time to play on the ball and a deserved second goal came in the 20th minute courtesy of a fast break down the right. Smalley saved the initial shot from close range but the follow up was smashed home to make it 0 – 2.  

Yeovil did create some half chances in attack; Constanza shooting over from 15 yards and Hughes seeing a chip palmed wide for a corner, but it was Argyle who nearly extended their lead when a fine shot from 20 yards smashed against the post in the 40th minute. Hughes saw a stinging shot well saved, but the half finished with a comfortable lead for Argyle.

Head Coach Mark Challen made a change to start the second half with Crane moving up front to replace Shock, but it was Plymouth who had the best of the early exchanges and Guppy was called upon to make a fine block. Aborra and Guppy were combining well and created a couple of useful openings; Guppy seeing a shot blocked and then Aborra taking on defenders with a mazy run before seeing his shot drift wide.

The Glovers best opportunity came in the 65th minute when Crane chased down a pass but couldn’t keep his feet as the keeper spilled the ball in the collision; shouts for a possible penalty came to nothing. Constanza and Andrews were working hard in midfield as Yeovil dug in and put up a second half fight. In the 70th minute Skiverton came on for the tireless Stephen and Hughes dropped back into a holding midfield role.

The final ten minutes saw a flurry of substitutions from both sides, but it was Plymouth who extended their lead in the 83rd minute when a deft flick crept in at the far post, 0 – 3. Substitutes Lye and Crane had chances to reduce the arrears, but it was Argyle who fashioned the final goal after a well worked move to make the score 0-4 at the whistle.    

 

Next up a midweek cup game at Exeter.

The South West Alliance League then splits into a restructured Merit League. More details to follow.

MATCH REPORT | Yeovil Town – Dagenham & Redbridge

Late heroics from Tom Knowles secured victory for Yeovil Town against Dagenham & Redbridge at Huish Park.

In what was Yeovil’s sixth home win in a row, the Glovers were good value for their victory, but Dagenham can feel hard-done-by not to leave with something, striking the bar in the second half.

It was an open game throughout, and a goal seemed inevitable, with Knowles’ stoppage time free kick ultimately separating the two sides come full-time.

After a memorable victory 3-1 over Weymouth in midweek, Darren Sarll opted for the same side which secured three points at Huish Park.

Adam Smith began in goal, with Alex Bradley, Max Hunt, Billy Sass-Davies and Carl Dickinson in defence.

The midfield diamond saw Jimmy Smith continue the deeper role. Josh Neufville and Matt Worthington continued in the wider roles with Albi Skendi at the tip of the diamond.

Once again, Reuben Reid and Rhys Murphy combined up front.

With Yeovil in such good form at Huish Park, the visiting Daggers knew they needed a fast start to get something out of the game, and they did just that, thrusting the ball into the Yeovil half.

It took seven minutes for Dagenham to test A.Smith, after the ball dropped kindly to Paul McCallum, somehow Smith got across to block the former Barnet forward’s effort.

Despite the visiting Daggers’ positive start, chances started to fall for Town as Sarll’s side settled into the game. After some patient build-up between Murphy and Skendi, the towering Albanian eventually found Worthington in the box, but his right-footed effort was well saved by Elliot Justham.

Yet, warning signs continued at the back for the Glovers, with Worthington forced into a goal line clearance on 17 minutes.

This didn’t stop Town flying forward, with the best opportunity of the half falling in the 21st minute. This came in the form of three great chances in quick succession! After Murphy’s effort was saved, Bradley followed in but once again he had his effort saved. The ball then dropped to Reid, but the forward was off-balance and couldn’t direct his effort on target.

As the half progressed, both Murphy and Neufville went close, but once again Justham was equal to their efforts, as the Dagenham backline stood firm.

The visitors defending was bordering on heroic on the 33rd minute as Elliot Johnson denied an almost certain goal with Murphy lining up a first-time effort from around 15-yards out.

At the break, both sides would have felt they had done enough to score, yet it was scoreless as both teams ventured down the tunnel.

The second half began in polarising fashion to the first, with Yeovil this time in the ascendancy.

A trademark Neufville run created Yeovil’s best chance in the opening stages of the second, as he dragged an effort across goal after beating two players on his way into the box.

Yeovil’s pressure did little to dishearten Dagenham, who began to enjoy a lot more of the ball as the grew into the half.

Matt Robinson would have been left thinking, what more did he need to do, as his header came crashing off the crossbar when he was left unmarked at the back-post.

As the game entered its closing stages, it was Yeovil who were turning the screw, Reid forced another brilliant save from Justham as his effort took two deflections on the way to the Daggers goalkeeper.

With stoppage time looming, Yeovil were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead, after Callum Reynold hauled down Reid at the edge of the box and was given his marching orders.

It was always going to take something special to beat Justham in this sort of form, and substitute Knowles provided just that, hammering a free kick beyond the visiting goalkeeper to claim all three points at the death.  

 

 

Yeovil Town: A.Smith; Bradley, Hunt, Sass-Davies, Dickinson (Kelly); J.Smith, Neufville, Worthington (Knowles), Skendi; Murphy (Quigley), Reid.

Bookings: J.Smith, Murphy

Subs: Dagnall, Lee.

MATCH PREVIEW | Yeovil Town – Dagenham & Redbridge

Yeovil Town return to National League action in quick succession as they host Dagenham & Redbridge at Huish Park on Saturday afternoon (3pm). 

After a heroic win over local rivals Weymouth in midweek, the Glovers will be full of confidence going into the game and will be eager to build on a good run of form. 

Star striker Rhys Murphy, who bagged a phenomenal hat-trick against The Terras, will also be looking to add to his tally when the Daggers make the long trip to Somerset.  

 

Darren Sarll’s thoughts 

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Sarll said: “It’s going to be another tough game for us. We know in this league no game is easy and it’s very hard to win football matches in such a competitive division. 

“In the National league a lot of winning is from human desire, dedication, determination and loads more, so we’ve got make sure that we are well prepared for the game.  

Dagenham are side who heavily recruited in the summer and are a team who have a great manager. They’ve got some great players, some players who I’ve also previously worked with, so again we know we’re in for a tough game. 

 

Team News  

Yeovil Town will be without Josh Staunton, Luke Wilkinson and Lawson D’Ath who all remain injured for the clash at Huish Park.  

However, there is some good news for Wilkinson who is expected to meet a consultant on Monday, as he approaches his way back to full fitness. 

Charlie Lee returned to the squad for the first-time against Weymouth, and he is still working his way to back to full match fitness, a player who is eager to make his return to the field.  

Sarll confirmed in his press conference that he expects Murphy to be fit for Saturday’s game after being substituted on Tuesday evening with a groin strain.  

 

A foot in the opposition camp 

Dagenham & Redbridge have had a turbulent first half of the 2020/21 season and currently sit 18th in the National League table – seven points clear of the relegation places.  

Last time out, the Daggers suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Sutton United thanks to a brace from Harry Beautyman who further dampened Daryl McMahon’s side’s recent form 

A win over the Glovers, however, would see them jump up into 17th place and position themselves on level points with Yeovil as both sides approach the business end of the season.  

 

Previous meetings  

The last meeting between the two sides was back in October of 2020, as a ten-man Yeovil Town side battled hard for a point against Dagenham & Redbridge in a game that finished 0-0 at Victoria Road. 

After a positive first half performance from the Glovers, Wilkinson was given his marching orders in the second half. 

However, despite being a man down, Sarll’s side held their own to earn a share of the spoils in a game of very few chances. 

 

Coverage 

Under the current government restrictions, no Yeovil fans are able to attend the fixture, however Glovers fans can watch the game live on the improved YTFC Live service for just £9.99. 

BBC Somerset & Three Valleys will provide live audio commentary as usual along with social media updates available across the Yeovil Town channels. 

Rest in peace, John Sercombe

Everybody at Yeovil Town Football Club is saddened to hear of the passing of John Sercombe. 

John was a well-known supporter with a lot of friends around Huish Park. His life-long affiliation with the football club began when his Grandfather captained the club, with his team photo hanging proudly at Huish Park. 

If those that knew John wish to support with flowers and donations the family have said; “For flowers, we have used Blooming Linda’s in Somerton, and we are advised that donations are to be invited for PCC of Somerton [that is the Parish Church committee].”

The thoughts of all at Yeovil Town F.C. are with John’s family and friends at this difficult time. 

CLUB NEWS | Trials arranged for Elite Player Development Programme in partnership with Yeovil College

Yeovil Town FC are pleased to confirm that another set of trials will be taking place for our Elite Player Development Programme. 

The programme which is jointly offered by Yeovil Town FC and Yeovil College is an exciting opportunity for Year 12 and 13 BTEC students to continue their full-time education within a professional football environment. 

The Football programme training is based at Huish Park with games across the South West, and studies based at Yeovil College offer BTEC Level 2 & 3 options, retakes of GCSEs and opportunities for additional coaching qualifications alongside the BTEC programme. For those exceeding in all areas, opportunities to train with our Under 18 Scholars and play in the EFL Youth Alliance league are also available.

All upcoming trials will take place with the latest social distancing measures enforced, ensuring all applicants and club staff are operating within a safe environment.

Our next set of trials will take place on the following dates:  

Tuesday the 6th of April at 14:00
 
Thursday the 8th of April at 14:00
 
Tuesday the 13th of April at 14:00
 
Thursday the 15th of April at 14:00
 

First team manager Darren Sarll has given the scheme his personal backing, commenting when the scheme was launched, “At 16 I got the biggest knock back of my life. Within days I agreed to partake in the very same scheme, and I found my calling and future trade, in coaching. 

“This scheme gave me the platform to qualify, train every day and practices my trade as a coach. I have overseen many of these programmes since and have ex-students who are now Physio’s, Head of Analysis, Heads of Coaching and most importantly players who all live in the EFL and Premier League. 

“These are wonderful programmes that I am looking to build at Yeovil Town FC to ensure we give focused, young, determined people the best possible chance to achieve their life goals. I want this football club in partnership with Yeovil College to be the hub of creating really positive futures for this community and Somerset area.” 

To book your place at upcoming trials please email:  info@ytfc.net 

CLUB STATEMENT | An update from Scott Priestnall

Dear Glover’s Fans,

It’s been a difficult time for everyone, for every industry, for every worker not being able to go to work and for our children not being able to go to school.  The pandemic has effected everyone and my heart goes out to all those that have lost loved ones.

It almost hasn’t felt right that Football has continued while there is still so much tragedy still in the world.  Hopefully our increased performances on the pitch of late and with it our new viewing platform has improved spirits.

I appreciate it was been since December that I last gave you a formal update, but a lot has been going off in the National League from funding issues to a league resolution voting on ending the season and public rows over grants versus loans.  A lot has had to be discussed and allowed to play out before I could give you the clubs position in all this.

I want to start by thanking my team in Huish Park who have had to juggle lockdown restrictions with their families at home, while keeping the football club operating and fulfilling our crowded fixture schedule.  The same goes for our management team and players who have numerous protocols to follow to ensure training and matches continue.  Their continued commitment to this football club is a credit to this community.

I will take this opportunity to announce that David Mills, Chief Operating Officer, has left the club.  David is an incredibly well-liked guy, with great integrity and I wish him well in the future.  David and his family will always be welcome at Huish Park and I know he’ll be cheering the team on when it is safe to get everyone back into the stadium.  I am pleased that David will remain as Chairman of Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust.

 

Alliance Meeting Notes

I want to apologise for the lateness in issuing the notes from the last Supporters Alliance meeting, it was delayed my end with the amount of work I’ve had since the start of the year, I will ensure this doesn’t happen in the future but unfortunately they’ve been further delayed by one of the supporters group finding discrepancies in the notes.

National League and Funding

The well documented league vote was concluded last week that saw the National League continue while North and South divisions came to an end.  It was certainly a difficult vote to be part of considering we have not received any funding since December and with our cash reserves now depleted, like many clubs, it became more of issue of survival rather than a desire to actually finish the season.  My view has always been to continue to the season, we are a football club, this is our job and we’re lucky we’ve had the luxury of being able to continue, albeit in a restricted capacity that is heavily regulated, however, we could only continue if we had a responsible funding line in place to continue.  I won’t go over the Loans versus Grants row that has featured heavily in the press, what I will say is that all clubs at our level have been hugely effected by the lack of clarity in funding when we restarted the season and now actually find ourselves in a worse financial position than if we hadn’t started the season.  To give you an idea the club this season is forecasted to lose over £1m in revenue as a result of the pandemic and supporters not being allowed in stadiums.  This is in comparison to the £285k received during October, November and December from Camelot in order to restart the season.

Make no mistake, no club at this level can survive a season without the revenues generated from supporters and commercial partners when supporters are in stadiums.  As a result we are now in a position where we have been offered a loan from Sport England, via support from the DCMS, to complete the season.  The club are currently exploring this offer with our legal team and hope to have a resolution in place by 1st March.  I am confident at this stage that an agreement will be satisfactory to both sides, but I should say, as sad as it is, should we not be able to finalise the loan, the club will not be able to complete this season.  Our players and staff would be placed on furlough.

 

Current On-Field performances

On a more promising note our performances and results on the pitch have improved over the last month or so and we now find ourselves just seven points off the playoffs, giving us the opportunity to fight for a playoff place.  I’m pleased with how our new additions to the squad have settled in and delighted with the balance we now have of young, ambitious players and experienced heads.

 

The Glover’s Trust Position

I have deliberately kept myself out of the very public way The Glover’s Trust have dealt with myself since invoking the ACV.  Contrary to what The Glover’s Trust may have you believe I did cooperate with them regularly before Christmas, both with the previous board and the new board; with John Oakes, Interim Vice Chairman, by phone once, Brendan Owens, Interim Chairman, by phone four times and then at a meeting with their new board on 21st December 2020.  I have also spoken to Brendan Owen twice since they invoked the ACV.

I will make no secret of my disappointment of their handling of the situation and their continued lack of respect towards myself.  I believe this relationship has become very one sided where The Glover’s Trust demand answers and information from myself, yet offer the football club very little in return, especially when you consider the hard work and support other groups from the Supporters Alliance offer the club.  As one of the Glover’s Trust board members confirmed at the last Alliance meeting, that at the meeting on 21st December 2020 the majority of the new Glover’s Trust board were in support of the SSDC deal.  I have found it incredible that between then and the 1st January, the board members felt that they were in a position to make such a drastic change in decision at short notice, effectively against the clubs wishes, without any substitute offer of financial support to the club, credible evidence towards their decision, clear and effective consultation with supporters, and without any consultation with myself since 21st December.  After publicly demanding a meeting with me, a meeting I should say I had already agreed I would accommodate before the public demand, I didn’t even get a phone call to discuss the lack of information they portrayed to have received or to inform me that they had made the decision to invoke the ACV, until an email was received from Brendan Owen on 2nd January where he sent me a copy of the letter triggering the ACV, without any explanation.

I like to think I had a good relationship with the previous chairman Stuart Burrell and the previous board, whom confirmed they would not have invoked the moratorium period, which was also confirmed to me by interim Chairman Brendan Owen, before the new board was appointed.

Contrary to The Glover’s Trust position on a lack of information provided, I have given the Glover’s Trust board actual lost revenue numbers this financial year due to the pandemic, our current creditor situation, monthly cash flow shortage as a result of the National League distribution of National Lottery funds and explained our cash requirement from January 2020 until the end of the season.  As you would never see a business divulge this kind of sensitive financial information or a football club to a supporters group for that matter, plus the reassurances I gave around directors loans, previous owners liabilities, having a leadership group in place to oversee the SSDC deal and development potential, having had meetings with SSDC directly, I fail to understand what information they were lacking, it still hasn’t been clarified to me as I write this. 

The Glover’s trust have constantly tried to use their status as nominee of the ACV right to bid to gain a seat on the football clubs board.  As I said at the meeting on 21st December 2020, I will not be strong armed into giving a seat on the board, unless that person or organisation brought commercial benefit to the football club. I did, however, agree to consider one or two members of the Supporter’s Alliance joining the board, by way of a voice for supporters, which potentially could be one of Glover’s Trust members.  This would be judged on its own merits and something I have discussed with Supporter’s Alliance Chairman Rich Rendell.

 

Glover’s Trust Questions

I did discuss The Glover’s Trust questions at the last Supporter Alliance meeting and I made The Glover’s Trust aware that supporters questions should be directed to the Supporters Alliance meetings as to include all groups and all supporters.  A forum is being organised at the next Alliance meeting so questions can be presented.

 

Land Update and Investors

As had been suggested by Glover’s Trust board members they would introduce potential investors to the football club.  None so far have been introduced.  Neither have they engaged with me further on their right to bid on the land at Huish Park since they invoked the ACV.  While they have until the end of May, they were fully aware of the clubs financial situation from January onwards, so I’m surprised they have chose to attempt to shame me on social media regarding questions, a lot of which they have previously asked and have answers to, rather than work with me, as is their Right To Bid, to safeguards the clubs future.

I have stated before that we have commercial offers for the land and therefore, other options to the SSDC deal. I have spent the time publicly, on social media and with supporters groups to put my view forward that this is what is best for the future of the football club.  I understand and appreciate some supporters will not share that view and not be happy with the strategy I put forward but unfortunately, I wasn’t going to please everyone.  The fact is we do now need to make a decision and move our land project forward.  While I have had many emails and messages of support, The Glover’s Trust stated they have received hundreds of letters against the proposed SSDC deal.  On such an important matter to the future of the football club, I have made myself accountable for my decision, we made the council meeting public, I spoke to the press and did Q and A’s with supporters.  I feel The Glover’s Trust should also be accountable for their decision and requested to see the letters.  I spoke with Brendan Owen directly by phone and at the last Supporters Alliance meeting was told I could receive them, I still await the letters and in a letter to Brendan Owen today have stated we will be prepared to work on ensuring we comply with data protection.

It’s disappointing that with all the good work that member groups of the Alliance do for our football club, that we have one group who rather than be part of the team and work together would rather breed negativity and attempt to create a divide between the club and its’ supporters.

I will not comment publicly again on The Glover’s Trust online activities to shame me and hope that as the spectacle it has become, is now concluded so I can focus my intentions on safeguarding the clubs financial future, working with Darren and Terry on our promotion push, and dealing with matters relating to the land.  I will continue to keep supporters updated as best I can over the coming months as well as supporters groups through the Supporters Alliance, of which The Glover’s Trust remain part of.

With regards to rumours of potential new investors, I have mentioned in the past I would always be open to discussions and there is an interested party.  This will be on the basis of investing equity into the club in return for shares.  Nothing has been finalised and I will keep you updated once I know more.  I will also confirm, although it has been incorrectly reported that I have been introduced to a potential takeover through Jed McCrory, Jed has introduced a potential investor who is known to some supporters, although I haven’t actually spoken with them yet or received evidence of funds.  For some reason, there are a few on social media that want to keep dragging Jed into takeover/ownership talks.  Jed is a friend who has offered to introduce a potential investor.  In these difficult times, all options have to be explored.  I have other friends in football who have offered assistance to the club in various ways and I’ve also been helping other clubs, as is the way it should be.  The football community is pretty small, and we are all working to get through this without any of us going out of business, nobody wants to see any club disappear because of this pandemic.

On land matters, we are still exploring the SSDC deal and have kept dialogue open with them.  We also have offers to sell the land when the moratorium period ends.  A decision will be made once the Sport England loan position is finalised as to our next step with regards a full planning application.  I will keep you updated as we get closer to an outcome.  Be assured I will discuss developments at Supporter Alliance meetings.  Also be assured that even with the ACV activated, I still want what is in the best long term interests of the football club and have been working hard to resolve our short term financial difficulties in order to give us the best possible future.  Obviously, as I’ve stressed, we’re in difficult times but you will be kept updated.

 

Personal Note

This is both a long and not completely positive update.  It is one of transparency.  When I took over the club it was something supporters yearned for, desired even.  To feel like they were part of their club again.  I have tried in all my communications to be open with you but it hasn’t always gone in my favour.  I get abuse for launching a Crowdfunder, at supporters request, which showed true supporters in their greatest light, then I get questions posed constantly about supporters buying shares or local business owners buying the club.  I have said for some time I would listen but no one has called.  Don’t also forget that there are some 300 shareholders in Yeovil Town Holdings Ltd.

I may not be someone who lives or was raised in the area, I may not be the wealthiest football club owner, even at this level, but I believe I can make a difference to this club, I believe I already have, not only steering this club through the most difficult time in our economy since World War 2, and we still have a long way to go, but we have improved links to the community, given supporters a voice and put a team together on and off the pitch to make Yeovil Town Football Club competitive again.

I may not have been born a Yeovil Fan, I haven’t done all the highs and lows you’ve encountered over the years, I haven’t had the issue of where and when you can get a beer on match days, but I am a supporter now and I am working on solutions and improvements all the time to make this club better and that includes listening to you.  We changed the shirt, we’ve been dealing with the alcohol covenant, we improved the streaming, we built a new online shop.  Trust me, I listen to your criticisms and I want to improve your experiences. 

If you have an idea or concern or improvement use your supporters groups and get it brought up in the next forum.

I want this club to succeed and I will do everything in my power to make that happen, on and off the pitch.

Take care everyone, keep getting behind your team and help me and the team at Huish Park to make this club great again.

 

Stay Safe

Scott

Your Chairman

 

INTERVIEW | Darren Sarll delighted with derby day win

Darren Sarll was left delighted that his side were the winners of the second consecutive derby between Yeovil Town and Weymouth since 1999. 

A hat-trick from Rhys Murphy unfolded a new page in the history books as his stunning goals sealed an emphatic win over the Glovers’ archrivals at Huish Park 

Speaking to BBC Somerset post-match, Sarll said: “It was a very good evening all round for us and I’m absolutely delighted with the result. I thought the players had great attitude, and full credit to Rhys [Murphy] who got his deserved hat-trick. 

“I think you could see even from home that we could have scored a lot more and could have been four up at half-time. I thought we were brilliant during first 15-20 minutes in particular and I think we had a spell where we regained our composure in the second half.  

We’re going to have moments like that as we’re a very young squad but like I said I thought we were fantastic in the early parts of the game, played some incredible one and two touch football, were very clever in our play, showed some great energy and now we’ve just got to try and stretch those periods out.  

There was a lot of frustration in the changing room after the game actually as we didn’t score and dominate the game more. I get that, but like I keep saying we’re a young squad and those young players will need that reassurance from time to time but I thought everyone’s attitude and application was spot on tonight.”

He continued: “I always back my side after 60 minutes as I think if we’re still in the game after that period then we can go on to do something in the game as we know of the quality that we’ve got. There were some excellent performances out on the pitch tonight especially Adam Smith, who I thought was excellent when called on.

I thought it was a real good performance and a big win over a huge rival. I’m always apprehensive before these games because we all know as a manager what can come out on the other side of the camera if you don’t win these crucial games. 

We spoke to the players before the game about the feeling at Plainmoor that we had on Boxing Day, and we spoke to them about having that self-motivation in a game as big as this because we tonight we played for the whole town not the football club, the whole town because I know how much this victory will mean to the people of Yeovil.”

He finished: “It was a massive win and I love winning derby games. I’m just gutted that the fans weren’t here tonight because the Thatcher’s End would have erupted, however we all know that we’ve got to be patient until we can share those memorial times again.”

Rest in peace, Jimmy Quinn

Everybody at Yeovil Town is saddened to hear of the loss of Jimmy Quinn. 

Jimmy was the club’s resident comedian and a recognisable face to all around Huish Park.

During our 2013 League One play-off campaign, Jimmy recorded our official song with players and staff, which can be watched above. 

Outside of the football club, Jimmy was a well-known face all around the town and beyond, as an excellent stand-up comedian and compere. Jimmy previously hosted at events for the likes of George Best, Ian Botham and Geoff Hurst.

Terry Skiverton, who knew Jimmy well said; “I just wanted to write this message to talk about some of my fond memories of Jimmy. As long as I’ve been at the club Jimmy has been a massive part of it. 

“I’ll always have great memories after winning trophies and championships, Jimmy would be holding court, hosting the after parties and always being the life and soul of them. 

“Every time he ventured to Huish Park, Jimmy was taking the mickey out of all the players and staff, all-in good-natured fun and lifting the spirits of all around him.

“Jimmy is embedded into not just the football club, but the town itself, by all he is known as a family man who gave his life to putting a smile on the face of others, he will be truly missed by all.”  

Jimmy will be sorely missed by all those at Yeovil Town Football Club. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. 

MATCH REPORT | Yeovil Town – Weymouth

Rhys Murphy stole the show as Yeovil Town completed the double over Weymouth at Huish Park.

After taking an early lead through Murphy, Yeovil were penned back by Weymouth as they struck against the run of play.

Coming out the traps in the second half, Murphy scored twice more to complete a memorable night for the Yeovil Town number nine.

Darren Sarll kept the diamond formation that has helped the Glovers improve their form in recent weeks.

Adam Smith began in goal, with Alex Bradley, Max Hunt, Billy Sass-Davies and Carl Dickinson starting at the back.

The midfield diamond comprised of Jimmy Smith at the base, Josh Neufville and Matt Worthington in the wide positions and Albi Skendi at the tip. Murphy and Reuben Reid combined up front.

Murphy has had an instant impact in his last two appearances at Huish Park, and he managed more of the same when starting against the Terras. After Neufville’s cross was spilled by Ethan Ross in the second minute, under pressure from Reid, Murphy needed no invitation to strike Town ahead from close range.  

The advantage could have been extended in the early stages on multiple occasions, with the best chance falling to Skendi on 17 minutes as he burst beyond the Weymouth defence, but this time Ross was able to turn the ball wide.

Against the run of play, Weymouth equalised in the 23rd minutes as Jacob Mensah turned home a free kick to turn the game into a contest.

After scoring, the visitors sparked into life, enjoying the better of the chances as Jordan Ngalo forced a great save from A.Smith after drilling an effort into the bottom corner.

Yet, as the half progressed, Yeovil steadied the ship, with the game finely in the balance at half-time.

The second half saw the Glovers come out the traps fast once again, forcing the game onto the young backline. Ultimately this pressure would pay dividends in the 53rd minute, after Reid’s initial header was saved, Murphy pounced turning the ball home to regain the advantage.

The Arsenal academy graduate wasn’t done there either, with 82 minutes on the clock he completed his hattrick. After missing a 1v1 moments earlier, he was played through by substitute Tom Knowles. The Yeovil forward didn’t need second invitation to shoot and hammer an effort off the post to become the first Yeovil player since Brian Grey to score three times in the derby.

Yeovil Town: A.Smith; Bradley, Hunt, Sass-Davies, Dickinson; J.Smith, Worthington, Neufville (Knowles), Skendi; Murphy (Quigley), Reid (Dagnall).

Bookings: J.Smith

Subs: Kelly, Lee.

 

 

MATCH PREVIEW | Yeovil Town – Weymouth

Yeovil Town host Weymouth at Huish Park for the first time since 1999 on Tuesday evening (7:45pm). 

After early season struggles, both sides look to be on the up with positive results since the turn of the year. 

For Yeovil, Darren Sarll’s side have enjoyed an unbeaten start to the new year at Huish Park, whereas Weymouth have picked up seven points from their last five games. 

 

Team news

Yeovil Town will be boosted by the return of Lee Collins on Tuesday night, after missing four matches due to suspension and COVID issues, the club captain returns for the derby. 

Luke Wilkinson, Josh Staunton, Lawson D’Ath are all likely to sit out. 

In last week’s press conference, Sarll confirmed Emmanuel Sonupe was stepping up his road to recovery, but Tuesday’s game may come just too soon for the former Tottenham youth player. 

 

A foot in the opposition camp

Recent loan signing Dominic Revan has revitalised the Terras’ defence. After making his Aston Villa first team debut against Liverpool in the FA Cup, the defender surprised many by heading south to join Weymouth on loan just days later. Revan was featured in the National League’s TOTW after Saturday’s draw with Solihull Moors. 

Manager Brian Stock was under pressure after defeat to Yeovil in January, but picking up ten points from six games has settled nerves on the South Coast. 

 

Previous meetings

We first met Weymouth this season in January, and it was a great night to be a Yeovil fan. Goals from Josh Neufville, Albi Skendi and Joe Quigley secured a 3-0 win for the Glovers at the Bob Lucas Stadium. 

The last time we played Weymouth at Huish Park, it was a similarly successful days work, but this time in the FA Trophy. After drawing at the Bob Lucas Stadium, the Terras travelled to South Somerset and were swiftly knocked out by Steve Thompson’s side. 

Looking back over the 204 fixtures between the two sides, Yeovil have the more positive record, winning on 89 occasions, drawing 36 times and losing 77, however the goal difference between the two sides is a little tighter, with just an eight-goal swing, with Yeovil netting 321 to Weymouth’s 310.

 

Coverage

Under the current government restrictions, no Yeovil fans are able to attend the fixture, however Glovers fans can watch the game live on the improved YTFC Live service for just £9.99.

BBC Somerset & Three Valleys will provide live audio commentary as usual along with social media updates available across the Yeovil Town channels. 

MATCH REPORT | Yeovil Town U18’s 2 – 1 Swindon Town U18’s

The U18 squad hosted Swindon at a wet and blustery Somerton in search of a positive result after recent impressive performances.

Continuing to adapt to a new diamond system under Head Coach Mark Challen, the Glovers were quick off the blocks earning an early penalty for a clumsy challenge. Lloyd saw his spot kick saved but Haste was on hand to stab the ball home for a 1 – 0 advantage.

Yeovil continued to impress and dictate with Hughes instrumental in a new deep-lying midfield role. Indeed, the Glovers doubled their lead after 25 minutes when Constanza played a smart pass through to Lloyd who saw his initial shot saved before calmy curling in from an acute angle to make it 2 – 0.

The home side could have put themselves further ahead, but Lloyd put an effort just wide and then Stephens saw a turn and shot sail over before seeing a later effort smash off the crossbar.

A smart volley from the edge of the box narrowly missed as Swindon pressed for a foothold in the game but the defensive unit held firm and a fantastic block from Corrbridge brought an end to an impressive half.

Swindon started the second half on the front foot, but the Glovers were able to repel any danger in the opening exchanges. The game entered a sloppy period for both sides with possession given away cheaply before Challen opted for a couple of attacking changes. Aborra and Shock entered the fray, but it was Swindon who began to control matters; some good interplay and a shot just wide before an excellent save from Smalley from close range.

Bright entered the game to help shore up the defence, but the Glovers were now struggling to contain the visitors. The Glovers picked up a couple of bookings for dissent and delaying a free kick and had a lucky escape when the young Swindon sub saw a header fly narrowly over from a promising position.    

With less than 5 minutes remaining, Swindon scored the goal that their second half performance deserved to make it 2-1. In the ensuing melee to restart the match, Swindon had two players sent off and the Glovers received two yellows, but it was the home team who hung on for the 2 – 1 victory.

Next up a midweek trip to Oxford, before a final South West League home match versus Plymouth Argyle on the 27thFebruary.

INTERVIEW | Hartlepool defeat a difficult one to take for Darren Sarll

Yeovil Town suffered a late sucker punch as Hartlepool United won 2-1 at Victoria Park in dying embers. Manager Darren Sarll admitted it was a “big blow” for his side after their good recent spell of form.  

A magnificent strike from Tom Knowles in the second-half gave Sarll’s side the lead, but a goal from Luke Armstrong and a late strike from Gavin Holohan in stoppage time shattered Town’s hopes of picking up a big away point at one of the promotion hopefuls in the National League. 

Speaking to BBC Somerset after the game, he said: “The winning goal was obviously a massive sucker punch and a big blow for us. A point would have been brilliant result in a game which I thought we performed quite well in again.  

“I thought we played particularly well in the first-half, but with four minutes of play to go the decisions we made we absolutely hideous and ultimately cost us the game in the end.

“A point away from a side as good as Hartlepool would have really stitched things together nicely in terms of our form and momentum, and it would have meant going into Tuesday’s game a little more upbeat and positive. 

It was a difficult one to take especially when we’ve dominated a team for 60 minutes, who have been sitting comfortably in the play-off positions for the majority of the season. However, we’ve got to take full responsibly for our mistakes and try and move on from this now. 

The frustrating thing looking back is that it was a 700-mile road trip for nothing. I don’t want to take that away from Tom Knowles because his strike was absolutely magnificent as it was his first goal for Yeovil and also the team’s efforts, but as everyone knows in this game it’s all about the winningthe points, the promotions and of course the trophies. Again, I don’t want to take anything away from our performance but in my eyes a victory will always surpass an individual or team performance.”

With Saturday’s defeat at Victoria Park marking the half-way stage of the National League season for the Glovers, Sarll is hoping that his side can but a big run of games together in hope of making a late swoop for the play-offs. 

Looking back the first half of season has obviously been really poor there’s no doubt about that.” He added. “The first quarter of it was as bad as we’ve ever hoped, and I think the second quarter has showed some real promise and the growth of the team.  

We’ve got to try and build some momentum going forward now. We can’t go anywhere or even if we’re home and throw away the opportunities that we did today at any point. All we have to do over the course of the season is perform consistently because it’s a marathon not a sprint as we start to pall points. If we do stop palling points, then we’ll be ok but if we don’t gain that momentum and only win a couple – draw a few – lose a few – then we’re just going to flout in mid-table. 

“I don’t want that, I still want the second-half of the season to be a real positive one and I still think that we can get in there if we put our minds to it.”  

MATCH REPORT | Hartlepool United – Yeovil Town

Yeovil Town suffered a late sucker punch as Hartlepool United won 2-1 at Victoria Park.

After a quiet first half, the game burst into life in the second as Tom Knowles scored a stunning goal from 30-yards out.

However, Hartlepool fought back scoring twice, the second coming in stoppage time to complete a late turnaround.  

Darren Sarll was forced into one change from Tuesday’s win over Boreham Wood. Despite expecting to be fit, Billy Sass-Davies missed out with Matt Worthington came into the team in his place. 

This meant the Glovers began as follows; with Adam Smith in goal, and a back four of Carl Dickinson, Max Hunt, Albi Skendi and Alex Bradley. 

The midfield diamond comprised of Jimmy Smith at the base, Worthington and Neufville in the wide positions and Knowles at the tip. 

After their goal scoring performances against the Wood, Rhys Murphy and Reuben Reid starting up front for Yeovil. 

Typically, of two competitive sides, the fixture began in quite a tense fashion, with a real battle in the midfield for supremacy.

The first opening of the afternoon fell to the hosts on four minutes, as Luke Armstrong picked up the ball in the box, it caused havoc amongst the Yeovil defenders, with midfielder Knowles eventually forced to clear from within the six-yard box.

Following the early scare, Yeovil began to find their rhythm, the channels were a profitable route behind the Hartlepool defence.

Following an effective short goal kick routine, Hunt quite brilliantly found Neufville bursting down the left hand side, the Luton loanee then played a well-weighted pass into Murphy’s path. With Murphy picking the ball up on the edge of the box, it allowed the hosts’ defence to adjust and block the Glovers’ number 9’s first shot, but Reid was proactive, snatching a chance himself which was also heroically blocked. Eventually, the ball fell to Murphy once again who had his effort well saved by Harry Killip in goal for Hartlepool.

With that, Yeovil were in the ascendancy, controlling much of the ball in the Hartlepool half, yet in terms of chances, very little fell as the hosts 3 at the back formation put a strong wall for the visiting green and whites to break down.

As the half came to a close, Hartlepool looked the brighter of the two sides, but like Yeovil, did little to test A.Smith in goal, as efforts from the edge of the box were blocked by the likes of Hunt and Bradley.

At the break, neither side had really done enough to stamp their authority on the game to take the advantage.

The second half saw the game burst into life, and that was largely thanks to a stunning opening goal which came on the 54th minute. After A.Smith punted the ball up field, Reid dropped the ball into Knowles’ path who kept the ball under control and hammered the ball into the top corner from 30-yards out.

Knowles’ confidence only grew, and Town were seemingly denied a penalty on 61 minutes as the pacey midfielder was hacked down inside the box, yet the referee instead gave a corner.

As the half grew on, so did Hartlepool, largely thanks to a change of system which saw the hosts adopt a back four.

The extra body in attack ultimately paid dividends on 72 minutes, as Luke Armstrong capitalised on A.Smith mishandling to level the affair.

In the closing stages, Town seemingly looked like they were going to hold on, but the Pools had other ideas, countering a Yeovil free-kick, Hartlepool attacked down the flanks, with Gavan Holohan eventually turning the ball in at the back post to claim all three points.

 

Yeovil Town: A.Smith; Dickinson, Hunt, Skendi, Bradley; J.Smith (Dagnall), Worthington, Neufville, Knowles (Warburton); Reid, Murphy (Quigley).

Subs not used: Evans, Kelly.

MATCH PREVIEW | Hartlepool United – Yeovil Town

Yeovil Town travel to Victoria Park on Saturday afternoon (3pm) to face high-flying Hartlepool United.

After back-to-back wins, Darren Sarll’s Glovers will be full of confidence going into the National league clash with Dave Challinor’s side. 

After a flying start to 2021, Hartlepool most recently suffered a defeat on the road to Eastleigh on Tuesday evening, losing 2-1 at the Silverlake Stadium. 

 

Darren Sarll’s thoughts

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Sarll said; “I think our strike force has been fantastic in the last couple of games. The great thing about our attacking players is that they are all very different, are in different stages of their career and offer a variety of different aspects to the team.  

“One player who doesn’t receive the credit he deserves often enough is Chris Dagnall. No one has a bigger influence on our play than him. He is a brilliant professional footballer and is a serious character amongst the dressing room.  

“Reuben on the other hand has been brilliant since he came in and has really shown his leadership skills. He needed that goal on Tuesday and hopefully he can thrive off that and both score and contribute to more in the coming games.” 

 

Team news

Despite serving his suspension, club captain Lee Collins will be unavailable for Saturday’s trip to Hartlepool due to a positive COVID case within his household. 

Emmanuel Sonupe has returned to training but is unlikely to be fit enough to play a part at Victoria Park. 

Josh Staunton, Luke Wilkinson and Lawson D’Ath remain injured. 

Sarll confirmed in his press conference that he expects Billy Sass-Davies to be fit for Saturday’s game after being substituted on Tuesday evening. 

 

A foot in the opposition camp

Hartlepool United have enjoyed a promising first half of the 2020/21 season and currently sit in the play-offs.

Since taking over in late 2019, Dave Challinor has revitalised the Pools, seeing them climb the table into real promotion contenders.

However, on Saturday the hosts will be without midfielder Nicky Featherstone who will be injured for the National League clash. 

Last time out, the Pools suffered defeat at the hands of Eastleigh with Joe Grey pulling back a consolation goal for a 2-1 defeat at the Silverlake Stadium.

 

Coverage 

Hartlepool United will be providing a live stream for the fixture, linked HERE. 

Radio commentary will be provided by Three Valleys Radio and BBC Somerset. 

Live updates are available across the Yeovil Town social media channels. 

 

INTERVIEW | Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll looking to keep momentum building

Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll hopes to keep his side’s momentum building as the Glovers head to Hartlepool United on Saturday afternoon. 

After to back-back victories against Altrincham and Boreham Wood in the National League, Sarll believes that his side are back to their best and hopes to extend the good fortune when they make the long trip to Victoria Park on the weekend. 

Speaking during his pre-match press conference, he said: “I think we are back hitting good form again. When you look back at the last two games prior to the wins, I thought they were very close games and we done well in them, so we’ve hit a good bit of form recently. The two wins have been really good for us, and we’ve played some great football at times.  

What I’ve liked about our performances especially in midweek was that everyone wanted to get on the ball and play. There was a lot of believe amongst the players which was great to see.  

Over the past few games, we’ve looked good up until the 60th minute mark. After that you can see we have those periods where we can’t quite maintain those standards, but I’ve been really pleased with our performances over the last couple of weeks and hopefully we can build on that.  

It’s a new team and a very young one too so you can expect us to drop our standards from time to time but based on our performance on Tuesday night I believe we are getting closer and closer to reaching that level of consistency.” 

He continued: “I think we’ve moved up seven or eight places over the last couple of weeks – a couple of wins – a couple of draws – and a few loses which shows that we are a progressing side. The good thing is that we are climbing up the table gradually and are full of confidence at the moment. 

Three first-half goals from the trio strike force of Rhys Murphy, Reuben Reid and Josh Neufville all but assured that Town left Meadow Park with all three points on Tuesday evening, and the boss has been particularly impressed with his sides attacking display over the past few games. 

I think our strike force has been fantastic in the last couple of games. The great thing about our attacking players is that they are all very different, are in different stages of their career and offer a variety of different aspects to the team.  

One player who doesn’t receive the credit he deserves often enough is Chris DagnallNo one has a bigger influence on our play than him. He is a brilliant professional footballer and is a serious character amongst the dressing room.  

Reuben on the other hand has been brilliant since he came in and has really shown his leadership skills. He needed that goal on Tuesday and hopefully he can thrive off that and both score and contribute to more in the coming games. He gives players such a wonderful platform to work off and has been one of the best players that I have worked with in terms of his build up play, his ability to hold off players and his overall quality in front of goal. 

“Hopefully they can all continue their good form and help drive the team up the table in the coming weeks.”

NATIONAL LEAGUE | Outcome of Written Resolutions

Earlier this month, The National League distributed four resolutions for Member Clubs to consider the outcome of the 2020/21 season.

Further information can be found here.

With relevant voting thresholds now met for each resolution, The National League can confirm the outcome of this process as follows.

 

Resolution One

In summary: Step One and Two to be split in deciding the outcome of 2020/21 Playing Season. As a Special Resolution, a voting percentage of 75% or higher was required to pass.

 

National League: (for) 21- (against) 0

National League North: 16-6

National League South: 9-12

 

Result: Passed

 

As a result, Resolution Four is disregarded.

 

 

Resolution Two (National League only)

 

In summary: The National League 2020/21 Playing Season (Step One) to be declared null and void. A minimum 51% majority was required for Resolution Two to pass.   

 

National League: 7-13

 

Result: Not Passed

As a result, the National League National Division will continue to operate for the remainder of the season

 

Resolution Three (National League North and South only)

 

In summary: The National League North and South 2020/21 Playing Season (Step Two) to be declared null and void. A minimum 51% majority was required for Resolution Three to pass.  

 

National League North: 15-7

National League South: 9-12

 

Result: Passed

Resolution is passed and consequently the season at Step Two is null and void.

 

Note – There are 2 votes from the National Division that have not yet been cast, however, the outcome of the resolutions cannot be affected by these votes, however they are cast.

 

With the voting procedure now closed, National League North and South fixtures will cease with immediate effect.

 

The Board will take the resolution outcome to The Football Association for ratification. This will include dialogue regarding promotion and relegation.

LOTTERY | Week 1-3

 Week One

1ST  PRIZES     AG3725            MR J  WHITE               SHERBORNE,    WINNING  £100

 

2ND   PRIZES      AF8743             MR  A PENNY              SHREBORNE      WINNING   £50

 

3RD     PRIZES       AG2740            MR G FINCH                YEOVIL               WINNING  £25

 

Week Two

 

1st     MR CLIVE CHARLES           WINNER                       YEOVIL. £100  

 

2ND  MRS CHRISTINE  RUDD      WINNER                       YEOVIL £50    

 

3RD   MRS BEV HERRIDGE         WINNER                        FROME   £25    

 

Week Three 

 

1ST       winning  NO AG8983             MRS W PARSONS                      WEST CHINNOCK,    £100

 

2ND       WINNING NO AH6909       MRS BETTY WELLMAN            CREWKERNE,   £50

 

3RD      WINNING  NO AH 0762       MR OLIVER DOWDING             SHEPTON MONTAGUE,     £25

INTERVIEW | Darren Sarll pleased with ‘wonderful’ performance

Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll paid tribute to his side’s ‘wonderful’ performance after their 3-2 victory over Boreham Wood in the National League. 

First-half goals from Rhys Murphy, Reuben Reid and Josh Neufville at Meadow Park secured a three-goal advantage for the Glovers at the break, before surviving a scare late on after two goals from Luke Garrard’s side reduced the score line.  

The result represented an impressive response to Town’s recent outing in the National League against Eastleigh a week ago and secured back-to-back victories for the side from Huish Park in their serge to move up the table.  

Speaking to BBC Somerset after the game, Sarll said: “I thought the first-half performance from us was absolutely wonderful. 

I thought we played with such energy, freedom and fearlessness all night and thoroughly deserved the win in the end. 

I think Max Hunt set the tone showing his composure early on in the game, which gave the players the confidence and believe that they were here to play tonight and showcase their qualities. 

We wanted to really pass it around tonight because we knew if we tried to go toe-to-toe with a very animated Boreham Wood side then we would be in for a very difficult evening. 

It was a bit nervy in the second-half as expected, but to be honest, I don’t think they really troubled us through the two goals.  

They scored a very good free-kick and the referee who I must say owned up to his mistake after the game cost us the other goal. Apart from that I don’t think they really played through us at any point.”  

Murphy returned to the side for the first time in a number of weeksafter showing some great form coming off from the bench and Sarll was full of praise for his forward and the rest of his attacking force. 

“Murph [Rhys Murphy] is looking sharper and sharper each week and thoroughly deserved his place in the starting line-up tonight. He usually does things in flurries, and now he’s showing signs that he’s coming back into really strong form. 

It’s the fittest I’ve seen Rhys since I first arrived at the club 20 months ago and I think he just thrives off the intelligence of Reid, Quigley and Dagnall 

I thought our attacking force was brilliant tonight. I could see Reuben needed a goal after the bits of pressure that have been laid on him recently, so he stood up and took that moment composedly.  

“And obviously Neufville’s goal was truly down to his athleticism and quality. Between his goal and winning the penalty for us – he had a great night at the office.  

“We’ve got to move on from this now and re-focus ahead of another tough game against Hartlepool United on the weekend.”

MATCH REPORT | Boreham Wood – Yeovil Town

Yeovil Town secured back-to-back wins on Tuesday evening with a victory over Boreham Wood at Meadow Park. 

Three first half goals through Rhys Murphy, Reuben Reid and Josh Neufville built a comfortable lead for Town, but the hosts still had a part to play in this affair.

Coming out for the second half with real belief, Luke Garrard’s side struck twice but it was not enough to turn the game around for the South Hertfordshire side.

Darren Sarll made one change to the side which beat Altrincham at Huish Park on Saturday. After his goal from the substitutes’ bench, Rhys Murphy returned to the forward line to partner Reuben Reid. 

The rest of the team comprised of Adam Smith in goal, with Carl Dickinson, Max Hunt, Billy Sass-Davies and Alex Bradley starting in defence. 

It was a midfield diamond once again, as Jimmy Smith began deepest, with Josh Neufville and Tom Knowles adding width and pace to the side. Albi Skendi started in his regular position at the tip of the midfield diamond. 

The visiting Glovers began with real intent and enjoyed a lot of pressure down the left flank, with Murphy and Neufville drifting into the position to find themselves in acres of space.

It was through that left hand side where Yeovil would make the best chance of the opening ten minutes as Reid played the ball across goal to find Skendi but some last ditch defending denied the Albanian his sixth goal of the season.

However, it wouldn’t be long before the Glovers struck ahead, as Murphy scored a sublime goal on 15 minutes. After turning the Wood defence inside and out, the Yeovil number nine found himself through on goal and fired beyond Nathan Ashmore to claim the lead.

The goal did spark some life into Boreham Wood, with Kabongo Tshimanga firing wide on 30 minutes, but Sarll’s side did well to marshal the hosts throughout their periods with the ball.

When Yeovil attacked, it was with pace and vigour, eventually winning a penalty following Neufville’s driven run into the area. Reid stepped up and emphatically hammered home his first goal in green and white since returning to Somerset.

As the half entered its closing stages, the left flank would prove deadly once again as Neufville found the back of the net himself. Cutting in onto his right on 41 minutes, the Luton loanee fired an effort on goal, and with the help of a deflection, gave Yeovil a three-goal advantage.

The second half was played in polarising fashion to the first, with the hosts bringing the game to Yeovil.

Garrard’s side got off to the best possible start, after winning a penalty, former Glover Tshimanga stepped up and converted from the spot to reduce the deficit.

After the goal, the game largely became a midfield battle, with heavy challenges flying in from both sides. Such was the nature of the game that Sass-Davies was forced off through an injury, with Skendi moving into the defence to cover for his absence.

As the minutes ticked on, nerves began to build for fans watching at home as Boreham Wood enjoyed longer spells of possession.

The hosts’ pressure eventually told once again on 78 minutes as Gus Mufuta fired a free kick into the top corner to set up a grandstand finish at Meadow Park.

On 86 minutes, the hosts were a matter of inches away from a miraculous comeback, after Tshimanaga struck the crossbar, all Femi Ilesanmi had to do was hit the target, but he spurned his effort over the bar.

With the minutes ticking away, Yeovil became more assured in possession, limiting the hosts to long ball football as it became last chance saloon.

Ultimately, Yeovil’s stunning first half performance was enough to secure back-to-back victories ahead of a trip to title challengers Hartlepool United.

 

Yeovil Town: A.Smith; Dickinson, Sass-Davies (Dagnall), Hunt, Bradley; J.Smith, Knowles, Neufville (Worthington), Skendi; Reid (Quigley), Murphy.

Bookings: Neufville. Knowles, Dickinson, Murphy, Skendi, A.Smith

Subs not used: Kelly, Warburton

MATCH PREVIEW | Boreham Wood – Yeovil Town

Yeovil Town travel to Hertfordshire on Tuesday evening (7:45pm) to face Boreham Wood for the first time this season.

After a victory on Saturday afternoon against Altrincham, Darren Sarll will be hoping for more of the same at Meadow Park. 

Luke Garrard’s Boreham Wood have endured a mixed start to the season, but with play-off ambitions, the hosts will be looking to kick on as we approach the half-way point this season. 

 

Darren Sarll’s thoughts

Speaking after Saturday’s victory over Altrincham, reflecting on the game, the boss said: “What I really liked is the way, Max Hunt and Carl Dickinson combined in the second half to relieve pressure, rather than just scarring it up the pitch.

“It looked a little bit more like what we’ve been rehearsing, Billy (Sass-Davies), is still a little unknown to us, he’s a quiet ladybug he has been faultless in two games as a defender. 

“Both the centre backs were excellent, good in both boxes. We should praise our young ones, especially when they’re good. We need to build them, give them confidence which will give them belief that’s they can go and do it when they want to.” 

 

Team news

Lee Collins will serve the final game of his three match suspension on Tuesday evening. 

Long term absentees including the likes of Lawson D’Ath, Luke Wilkinson and Josh Staunton remain unavailable. 

Midfield options will be boosted by the return of Matt Worthington who served a one-match ban on Saturday after accumulating five yellow cards in the National League this season. 

 

A foot in the opposition camp

Garrard’s Boreham Wood have built a reputation as a tricky National League side, beating League Two Southend in the FA Cup earlier this season. 

Tuesday’s hosts have provided to be stern opposition for Yeovil in recent times,  drawing and losing to the Wood in last season’s league games. 

At Huish Park, former Glover Kabongo Tshimanga snatched a last gasp equaliser for Luke Garrard’s side. 

For the away fixture, Tshimanga was involved in the scoring again, as his second half strike edged a tight game in Hertfordshire. 

 

Coverage

Boreham Wood will be live streaming the fixture, linked HERE. 

There will be radio coverage by BBC Somerset and Three Valleys Radio. 

Yeovil Town will provide updates via our social media channels. 

MATCH REPORT | Yeovil Town – Altrincham

Yeovil Town bounced back from two consecutive defeats with a 2-0 victory over Altrincham at Huish Park

After a rather flat first half where Yeovil thought they took the lead through Joe Quigley, they eventually did in the second as substitute Rhys Murphy fired an effort into the bottom corner.

Not resting on their laurels on a cold afternoon in Somerset, Chris Dagnall added a second ten minutes from time to cap off what was a strong showing from Darren Sarll’s side.

Following defeat on Tuesday evening, Sarll made four changes to his side. Adam Smith remained in goal, but there was a return for Carl Dickinson, who captained the side in Lee Collins’ absence. Max Hunt and Billy Sass-Davies began in the middle with Alex Bradley in the right full back spot. 

Jimmy Smith returned to the side in a holding role, with Josh Neufville, Tom Knowles and Albi Skendi ahead of him. Reuben Reid and Joe Quigley led the line. 

It was a cagey opening, with both sides struggling to stamp any real authority on the fixture.

Set pieces provided the best openings, but neither keeper was tested, the first real sight of goal came when Ryan Colclough hammered his free-kick narrowly over A.Smith’s bar.

Yeovil’s first opportunity came on 28 minutes, after Dickinson’s corner caused havoc in the box, the visitors scrambled to clear, with Anthony Thompson eventually punching the ball wide.

After what was a rather drab first half, Quigley thought he had snatched the opener with just two minutes of the half remaining. A brilliant cross from Knowles on the right flank excellently found Quigley but he was adjudged to have pushed his marker as he powered the ball home.

The second half saw Yeovil begin to pick up the pace, and it didn’t take long or this to lead to chances either, with Knowles again involved, firing an effort over the bar after he capitalised on Thompson’s wayward clearance.

As the half progressed, Sarll looked to his bench for fresh impetus, with Rhys Murphy taking to the pitch on 57 minutes.

It wasn’t quite a 20-second impact like he managed against Dover, but Murphy only needed four minutes to make his presence known. After Dickinson drilled the ball into his feet, Murphy produced an excellent first touch to beat his marker and then finished excellently with a clean strike on his left foot to open the scoring.

With confidence on the rise, chances continued to fall. The always bright Knowles fired a stinging shot into Thompson’s gloves after an excellent run from Skendi just moments after the goal.

Searching for a second, Sarll made another attacking change, this time bringing on Dagnall, who only needed seven minutes to open his account for the season. After continually pressing the Altrincham backline, Skendi refused to let the attack go to waste, finding Bradley bursting through the right channel. The young full-back then played a deft cross with pinpoint accuracy to find Dagnall for the easiest of finishes at the back post nine minutes from time.

The green and whites remained forward thinking throughout the dying embers, almost adding a third through former Altrincham man Sass-Davies who had his header cleared off the line.

Ultimately, it would remain a two-goal cushion as Town battled for a richly deserved victory on a cold afternoon at Huish Park.

 

Yeovil Town: A.Smith; Bradley, Hunt, Sass-Davies, Dickinson; J.Smith (Warburton), Neufville, Knowles, Skendi; Quigley (Murphy), Reid (Dagnall).

Bookings: Neufville, Dickinson, Bradley, Knowles

Subs not used: Evans, Kelly

MATCH PREVIEW | Yeovil Town – Altrincham

Yeovil Town will be looking to put Tuesday night’s disappointing defeat at Eastleigh behind them when they host newly promoted Altrincham on Saturday afternoon (3pm).

The visitors have enjoyed a strong start in their return to the Vanarama National League and currently sit in the play-offs.

On the other hand, Darren Sarll’s Glovers will be looking to start pushing themselves up the table following back-to-back defeats and can rise to as high as 16th with a win on Saturday.

 

Darren Sarll’s thoughts

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash, Sarll said “They’re a good team, a lot of teams in our division are part-time and full-time and Altrincham don’t play like a part-time team.

“They play like they train every day, they’re a good side and I’ve been very impressed watching them.

“They’ve got good momentum, they’re in a good position in the league, it’ll be a really tough game and they deserve to be where they are.”

 

Team News 

Yeovil will once again be without Lee Collins who will continue his suspension following his straight red card received in stoppage time against Stockport last weekend.

Injuries mean Sarll will be without the likes of Luke Wilkinson, Emmanuel Sonupe and Josh Staunton who continue their road to recovery.

 

A foot in the opposition camp 

Since taking over in 2017, Phil Parkinson has overseen a turnaround at Altrincham. Parkinson became manager as the club were relegated to the Northern Premier League, yet Parkinson and Altrincham bounced back at the first time of asking, and just two years later won promotion to the National League by beating Chester, York and Boston in the play-offs.

Goals from influential striker Josh Hancock have helped Altrincham find themselves in 6th place, two points inside the play-off positions.

This Altrincham side boasts a wealth of National League experience, with the likes of captain Richie Sutton, who was promoted to League Two with Tranmere in 2018.

 

Coverage

Under the current government restrictions, no Yeovil fans are able to attend the fixture, however Glovers fans can watch the game live on the improved YTFC Live service for just £9.99.

BBC Somerset & Three Valleys will provide live audio commentary as usual along with social media updates available across the Yeovil Town channels. 

MATCH REPORT | Eastleigh FC – Yeovil Town

Yeovil Town fell to defeat in Hampshire as Eastleigh won 1-0 at the Silverlake Stadium.

After a largely positive first half where Yeovil failed to take their chances, Eastleigh took the one that fell to them as Ryan Hill tucked home the only goal of the game.

Creating little of note in the second, the hosts were able to control the affair and see out a victory.

With numbers at the back dwindled, some last-minute recruitment allowed Darren Sarll to play a defence back four of players comfortable in their position. Crewe loanee Billy Sass-Davies made his debut at centre back, as he partnered Max Hunt for a youthful pairing in the middle. The theme of youth continued on the flanks continued as Alex Bradley and Michael Kelly began in the full-back roles. Adam Smith retained his place in goal.

The midfield saw a return from injury for Charlie Lee, he played alongside Matt Worthington, Josh Neufville and Albi Skendi in the midfield roles. Rhys Murphy partnered Reuben Reid to lead the line.

It was a relatively slow start from both sides, yet Yeovil created the better of the opportunities in the opening stages with January’s National League Player of the Month Skendi firing wide from the edge of the box.

Just minutes later, Reid also went close after he worked some space for himself inside the box, but the hosts did well to turn the ball wide.

The Spitfires were dangerous on the break, and caught Yeovil napping on 30 minutes as Sam Smart pounced on Kelly’s indecisiveness but fired wide from an acute angle.

Straight up the other end, Yeovil felt hard done by, with Skendi finding Murphy in the box, the Glovers number nine was seemingly hauled down as he tried to get a shot off, but the referee was left unmoved, allowing play to continue.

As the half-time break approached, Eastleigh took the lead, as former Hampton & Richmond Borough man Hill fired a driven effort beyond A.Smith into the bottom corner.

At the break, Darren Sarll was given his marching orders by the referee, it was unclear as to why this had happened at the time, but in his post-match interview, Sarll confirmed he was sent off for saying “you owe us a penalty now.”

The late first half goal seemingly knocked the stuffing out of Yeovil for the second half, with chances few and far between.

The substitutions attacking substitutions Matt Warburton, Joe Quigley and Chris Dagnall did thrust Yeovil further forward, but did little to find any real cutting edge.

In terms of chances, the best fell to Eastleigh on 89 minutes as Joe Tomlinson’s free-kick forced a save from A.Smith.

Ultimately it was another frustrating night for Yeovil, falling to back-to-back defeats for the first time in 2021.

 

Yeovil Town: A.Smith; Bradley (Warburton), Hunt, Sass-Davies, Kelly; Lee (Dagnall), Worthington, Neufville, Skendi; Murphy, Reid (Quigley).

Bookings: Worthington

Subs not used: Dickinson, Knowles.

SIGNING | Billy Sass-Davies boosts defensive options

Yeovil Town are delighted to confirm the loan signing of defender Billy Sass-Davies from Crewe Alexandra on a short term basis. 

With numbers reduced at the back, Sass-Davies boosts the options that Darren Sarll has to choose from within his rearguard. 

At just 20-years-old, the defender has already enjoyed his fair share of mens football, making his professional debut against the Glovers in April 2019. 

The Wales U19 defender is familiar with the non-league circuit too, having already enjoyed seven loan spells with six clubs throughout the pyramid, most recently with fellow National League side Altrincham in late 2020.

Sass-Davies played just six times during this loan spell as he was recalled by Crewe following several injuries at his parent club.  

The young central defender will now be looking to get some more first team minutes under his belt, starting with the Glovers’ trip to Eastleigh. 

Everybody at Yeovil Town would like to wish Billy a warm welcome to Somerset and hope he enjoys his spell here. 

MATCH PREVIEW | Eastleigh FC – Yeovil Town

Yeovil Town will be looking to put Saturday’s defeat to Stockport County behind them with trip to Eastleigh on Tuesday evening (7pm). 

The hosts have enjoyed a positive start to the season, and sit just two points outside the play-off places. 

Whilst Yeovil began the season slightly off the pace, the Glovers have begun to turn things around and a victory against the Spitfires could send Town up to 16th if other results are favourable. 

 

Darren Sarll’s thoughts 

Speaking after Saturday’s defeat to Stockport, Sarll said:

“I think Tuesday is a great game for us to put things right”

“I had no qualm or doubt about the players attitude and enthusiasm today, but I felt we lacked that bit of composure and experience especially in the first-half. 

“We’ve just got to move on from this now and ensure that we are well prepared for another tough test on Tuesday.”  

 

Team news

Yeovil Town will certainly be without Lee Collins who has a three match ban following his late sending off against Stockport. 

Injury issues also continue to cause a selection headache at the back for Sarll, as the likes of Luke Wilkinson and Josh Staunton remain unavailable. 

 

A foot in the opposition camp

Since taking charge in 2018, Ben Strevens has sustained the Spitfires in the National League and even mounted a play-off push in 2018/19.

This season, the goals of October’s ‘Player of the Month’ Ben House have propelled Eastleigh to tenth, just two points outside the play-off places. 

The hosts’ forward line also boasts the experience of 35-year-old Tyrone Barnett who enjoyed spells in the Football League with clubs such as Peterborough, Bristol City, AFC Wimbledon, Port Vale and Cheltenham Town. 

 

Coverage

Radio coverage will be provided by Three Valleys Radio and BBC Somerset. 

Live updates will be provided across the Yeovil Town social media feeds. 

To watch the game via Eastleigh’s live stream, follow this LINK. 

CLUB NEWS | Albi Skendi wins National League Player of the Month

Yeovil Town’s dynamic midfielder Albi Skendi has won the National League’s player of the month award for January. 

A key component of Yeovil Town’s return to form, Skendi scored three goals in the Glovers’ four games in January for a strong start to 2021. 

Despite defeat, the towering Albanian put in a performance to remember against Maidenhead United, scoring twice on a cold night at York Road. 

However, for all Yeovil fans, the goal that will be remembered most fondly is his thunderous strike against Weymouth in the derby. It wasn’t just his goal that stood out that evening either, Albi was instrumental to all of Yeovil’s attacks that evening, with the green and whites comfortably winning the derby 3-0.

All at the club would like to congratulate Albi on his well deserved award! 

INTERVIEW | Darren Sarll reflects on Stockport defeat

Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll said his side must take the positives from their defeat to Stockport County on Saturday evening. 

The Glovers fine run of form came to end at Edgeley Park after Alex Reid’s first half strike was enough to see Simon Rusk clinch his first home victory in charge of Stockport, in front of BT Sport TV cameras.  

Despite a much-improved second-half performance, the green and whites failed to find their cutting edge in the final third.

Speaking to www.ytfc.net  post-match, he said: “I thought we started very slow today and were very physically dominated in the first-half.  

I think we looked like a young team playing against well-established group of players, and the goal was another mistake from us which has been a main contributing factor all season. 

The game in my eyes was a very competitive one and one that deserved a much classier goal given the approach from both teams.” 

He continued: “I thought in the second-half we much better physically. I thought we dominated large proportions of territory and it was a shame that we couldn’t find that bit of quality in front of goal. 

On a positive note, I thought the players attitude was spot on throughout the game and I thought they tried their hardest to get the win which was a pleasing thing to see.”

A trip to in-form Eastleigh is up next on the horizon for Yeovil Town and Sarll is eager to see a positive reaction from his side.  

I think Tuesday is a great game for us to put things right, he added.  

I had no quarm or doubt about the players attitude and enthusiasm today, but i felt we lacked that bit of composure and experience especially in the first-half. 

We’ve just got to move on from this now and ensure that we are well prepared for another tough test on Tuesday.  

INTERVIEW | Reuben Reid frustrated by defeat to Stockport County

Reuben Reid was left disappointed by his side’s performance in their 1-0 defeat at Stockport County, but believes that his team are eager to rediscover their consistency 

The Glovers‘ fine run in the National League took a blow at Edgeley Park on Saturday night and Reid admitted that he was frustrated that he and his teammates were unable to build on a good weeks worth of preparation.  

He told www.ytfc.net: “It was a very disappointing evening for us. After a good week of preparation, we came into the game with high spirits and a lot of optimism but unfortunately, I didn’t see the side that trained all week perform out on the pitch today.  

The first 45 minutes was probably the worst it got, and one of worst since my early days in football, so all in all it was a very disappointing first-half performance. 

In the second half however, I thought we came out and showed a great reaction. There was a still few things missing in the second-half, little pieces of play that were nearly finished off but seem to peter out all the time. 

The league position shows that this type of thing has been a recurring theme all season, but not to get too down beat since I first arrived here, the two performances against Weymouth and Dover have showed me that there is a lot of potential in the group and it’s only a matter of time before we rediscover that consistency.” 

The Glovers entered the game on weekend on the back of winning five of their last seven games, and Reid insists that his side have a great opportunity to put right the wrongs and create a new spark of momentum when their visit Eastleigh at the Sliverlake Stadium in midweek.  

The silver lining thing in this league is that the games come thick and fast and on Tuesday we will be looking to put things right. It’s going to be another tough game for us, but one that I’m we will all be up for. 

“We’ve got a great chance to re-create some momentum again and hopefully we can do that. 

 “The main thing between now and then is that we focus on our recovery as everyone will be needed on Tuesday and over the coming weeks. In such a busy schedule it’s important that we have as many bodies as possible in order for is to have a successful few weeks.”  

MATCH REPORT | Stockport County 1 – 0 Yeovil Town

Yeovil Town suffered another defeat in front of the TV cameras as Stockport County were the 1-0 victors as Edgeley Park.

Alex Reid’s first half goal capitalised on Yeovil’s slow start to earn the lead.

Improvement came in the second half as experience came to the fold, but ultimately it did little to change the score as the Glovers were defeated.

Darren Sarll opted for an unchanged eleven after a positive performance against Dover last weekend.

Adam Smith began in goal, with Alex Bradley, Max Hunt, Lee Collins and Michael Kelly starting in defence. 

In the midfield, Yeovil’s diamond comprised of Matt Worthington, Tom Knowles, Josh Neufville and Albi Skendi. Leading the line for Town was Reuben Reid and Joe Quigley. 

Despite playing with real vigour last weekend, the first half distinctly lacked that for Yeovil Town, with Stockport much the better team.

The hosts were able to win a vast amount of the second balls, penning the Glovers into their own half.

Stockport’s pressure would pay dividends on 23 minutes, as Reid capitalised on Collins’ weak header to open the scoring.

The goal did click Yeovil up a gear somewhat, with Kelly forcing a save just one minute later as he fired first time from the edge of the area.

It took until stoppage time for the green and whites to test Ben Hinchcliffe again, with full-back Bradley sending a driven effort goalbound, but another strong hand kept the Hatters ahead.

After a poor first half, Sarll’s side came out with intent in the second, with Skendi firing over on 49 minutes after pressure from Neufville won the ball back.

The right-hand side was Yeovil’s best attacking output, as Neufville continually had the beating of his marker, however when his best effort came in the 66th minute, Hinchcliffe was more than equal to it.

As the half rolled on, the Glovers’s chances became few and far between as frustrations began to grow.

In the dying moments, these frustrations hit boiling point as Collins’s cynical foul left the referee with no choice but to give the Yeovil captain his marching orders, effectively killing the game as a contest.

Yeovil Town: A.Smith; Kelly, Hunt, Collins (SENT OFF), Bradley (Dagnall); Worthington, Knowles (Warburton), Neufville, Skendi; Reid, Quigley (Murphy).

Bookings: Knowles, Bradley, Kelly, Worthington, Collins (RED)

Subs not used: Dickinson, Smith

MATCH PREVIEW | Stockport County – Yeovil Town

Yeovil Town travel to Edgeley Park for the second time this season to face Stockport County in National League action (5:20pm). 

After an enthralling affair in the FA Cup which saw the Hatters edge Yeovil out in extra time, Darren Sarll’s side will be looking to exact some revenge in front of the BT Sport cameras on Saturday. 

The Glovers won’t be short of confidence either, winning five out of their last seven league games, most recently beating Dover 3-1 at Huish Park thanks to a Joe Quigley double and Rhys Murphy’s second half strike. 

 

Darren Sarll’s thoughts

In his weekly press conference, Sarll described Saturday’s hosts as a “different” challenge after recently sacking manager Jim Gannon. 

“They’re a highly resourceful club with an expensively assembled squad, which often counts for nothing as Sutton showed on Tuesday night.

“It’s a group of solid men, when you walk down the tunnel at Stockport, especially this group, it’s a big group of men. There aren’t many learners and projects in the team either, they’re all established and they pay for that.”

 

Team news

Yeovil Town will certainly be without Josh Staunton, Luke Wilkinson, Lawson D’Ath and Emmanuel Sonupe who are all injured for Saturday’s game.

The fixture provides a return opportunity for Carl Dickinson who was suspended for last weekend’s fixture against Dover Athletic. 

 

A foot in the opposition camp

After recently parting company with Gannon, there’s a a new man in the Stockport dugout in the form of former Brighton coach Simon Rusk. 

Adjusting to life in the National League has led to mixed results for Rusk, most recently falling to a defeat to Sutton United. 

The star man for County is John Rooney, after a spectacular season with Barrow last time out, the Hatters spent big in the Summer to bring the attacking midfielder to Edgeley Park and ignite their promotion push. 

This week, Rusk was able to make an impact on the squad himself, confirming the signing of former Brighton youth player Will Collar after a spell in the SPL with Hamilton Academical. 

 

Coverage

There will be no live stream of Saturday’s game, with the fixture shown live on BT Sport. 

Radio coverage will be provided by Three Valleys Radio and BBC Somerset. 

Live updates will be provided across the Yeovil Town social media feeds. 

NATIONAL LEAGUE STATEMENT | Written Resolutions

The National League has distributed resolutions this evening for Member Clubs to consider the outcome of the 2020/21 season.

The resolutions are formed of four parts: one Special Resolution and three Ordinary Resolutions based on the outcome of the first. A Special Resolution requires a 75% majority to be passed, whereas an Ordinary Resolution requires a more than 50% majority. Resolution 1 and 4 votes will be counted under prescribed voting conditions. Resolution 2 and 3 will be counted with one vote per Member Club.   

Should Resolution 1 pass, Resolution 2 and 3 will be counted, with Resolution 4 disregarded. Should Resolution 1 be voted against, Resolution 4 will be counted, with Resolution 2 and 3 votes disregarded.

Under the National League’s Articles of Association, Member Clubs have 28 days to return voting submissions.

The resolutions are as follows:

Resolution 1 (All Clubs)

That Resolution 2 about whether to end the 2020/21 Playing Season of The National League (Step 1) be taken only by Clubs in the National League and that Resolution 3 about whether to end the 2020/21 Playing Season of the National League North and the National League South (Step 2) be taken only by Clubs that play in the National League North or the National League South with votes cast for Resolution 3 being counted on a one member, one vote basis for National League North and National League South Clubs.

Resolution 2 (National League Only)

That, conditional upon Resolution 1 being passed, the 2020/21 Playing Season of the National League (Step 1) shall immediately end on the date this Resolution 2 is passed and be declared null and void and subject to the approval of The Football Association, those Regulations that provide for promotion and relegation to and from Step 1 be suspended for the 2020/21 Playing Season.

Resolution 3 (National League North and South Only)

That, conditional upon Resolution 1 being passed, the 2020/21 Playing Season of the National League North and the National League South (Step 2) shall immediately end on the date this Resolution 3 is passed and be declared null and void and subject to the approval of The Football Association those Regulations that provide for promotion and relegation to and from Step 2 be suspended for the 2020/21 Playing Season.

Resolution 4 (All Clubs)

That, conditional upon Resolution 1 being passed, the 2020/21 Playing Season of the National League North and the National League South (Step 2) shall immediately end on the date this Resolution 3 is passed and be declared null and void and subject to the approval of The Football Association those Regulations that provide for promotion and relegation to and from Step 2 be suspended for the 2020/21 Playing Season.

STATEMENT | Scott Priestnall issues an open letter to supporters

Yeovil Town chairman Scott Priestnall has issued an open letter to supporters.

Dear Glovers Fans,

As you may be aware there is a resolution being sent to all clubs to vote on the whether to end the season or not.  Many clubs will be feeling financial hardship at this current time, due to not receiving any central funding income or grants for January.  It is my belief that clubs should hold off voting at this time to allow a new PR campaign, that has been sanctioned by the National League board, to take effect.  This campaign includes interviews with BBC, ITV, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Associated Press, Press Association and others to be shortly confirmed.  The message is simple…

1 – Loans endanger our leagues.  Grants are required.

2 – Moving the goal posts at this stage of our season with contractual obligations in place is catastrophic for the game at our level.

3 – Taking loans just delays the pain and financial difficulty down the road.  Plus some clubs can’t take loans as part of their corporate structure.  Therefore, it is not a solution that fits all.

4 – Denying grants would be devastating to local communities who not only utilise our facilities but offer a real community hub and has the capability to improve peoples’ mental health in these difficult times.

Let me make my personal position clear.  We are not looking for a hand out from the tax payer.  The proposed grants will cost less than the potential cost to the public purse if our game is ended for the season and our players and staff are furloughed.

Ourselves at Yeovil Town FC are extremely grateful for the government COVID support grant of £10m for 66 clubs in October, which enabled our clubs to start the league season and continue to play a valuable role in the heart of the community, especially when so many local people are suffering due to the pandemic.  This essential grant was life-support funding as we battled the impact of Coronavirus with the loss of fans attending matches.  Quite simply without fans and the revenue they bring each week, we could not exist.

Throughout the entire process the offer of government support was framed as a COVID response grant and in no written or verbal communication were the terms of the extended period amended to become loans, loans simply don’t work and as part of discussions with National League clubs, 82% voted against taking on loans.

National League clubs are different to the vast majority of the domestic sports ecosystem that would have access to the Sport Winter Survival Package.  I can’t think of another sport where clubs are professional at level 5 or 6. Most low league/amateur sports clubs charge their members and players to play. National League clubs have a wage bill and we pay our players and staff from the revenue we generate.  This is an important distinction from other sports and clubs.

Should the league vote to close the current season, the players and club staff would be placed on the government furlough scheme. It has been calculated for National League clubs for the three months January to March 2021 would be a £14m cost to the public purse: £3m MORE than an appropriate grant. Plus clubs would still need to access Sport England loans to cover operating costs for the remainder of the season. 

We welcome the support of the Leader of Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, and the Shadow Sports Minister, Alison McGovern, who attended meetings with the National League clubs: “Labour is clear: no community should lose a much-loved football club because of Covid” [Sir Keir Starmer, via Twitter – January 29th 2021]

Sports Minister Nigel Huddlestone has said: “If clubs… can demonstrate it needs grant funding urgently to survive, we will ensure that option is available. We will not let clubs go to the wall.” [via Sky Sports – January 27th 2021: https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/12202150/national-league-17-clubs-group-together-to-call-for-season-to-be-curtailed-unless-covid-funding-is-found]

The National League throughout this has been in open dialogue with the government on a long-term, sustainable plan that ensures the viability and longevity of the National League and I urge Mr Huddlestone to fulfil his promise as our clubs can only survive on grants – not loans, and he now risks many club going to the wall this month if help is not received.

I ask our community and supporters to get behind the new petition.  Please sign it and spread across social media.  This is about 66 community clubs working together.

Part of the National League campaign includes establishing an online petition on Change.org. The link for this online petition can be found below.

Link: http://chng.it/9xsdbMMyBc

The effect that this pandemic has had on all our 66 community clubs is immeasurable and we’re now only asking the government to extend the support that they originally offered. 

My best regards to you and your families in these most difficult times.

Remain Safe.

Scott Priestnall

Chairman