31/10/2011 : WWOYTB : We Want Our Yeovil Town Back! - An Introduction
31 October 2011 : We Want Our Yeovil Town Back! - An Introduction
Yeovil Town Football Club has come a long way over the past ten years. Our rise out of non-league football into the third tier of English league football, more commonly known as League One, has taken the club places that back in 2001 we probably would never have envisaged we were capable of. The Glovers have played on some of the country's best known football pitches - The City Ground, Nottingham and Hillsborough in Sheffield are notable highlights given that we have taken on those clubs as equals, and have given our illustrious hosts a shock or two.

There has been a feeling though since the Glovers got into League One, and in particular since the club's peak in May 2007 when it stepped out at the new Wembley Stadium, that it has in some respects hit a plateau and stalled, and in other respects it has been sliding backwards. The club's long term grandiose plans for a Retail Park and a new Copse Road stand, plus the recent mention of an artificial pitch being provided perhaps point at long term visions, but these are a long way down the line, and depend upon planning permission and funding being obtained. They also do not address some of the other issues that have floated around amongst supporters for the past 5-10 years, that have tended to fester and grow without resolution.

A few weeks ago, on the Green Room II fans forum, a discussion broke out around this subject. One poster called James appeared to strike a chord amongst Glovers fans, when he spoke of his frustrations, saying:

"I find myself no longer feeling for the club, as that link between the fans and club has disappeared. I want my football team back, I want to feel the joy of supporting a club, enjoying the highs and lows of following a team and being a part of the football community, which is a fantastic place. I have read and been part of in the past, the great discussions of what is wrong, what we should do to change it, the apathy, the resentment, the shear ‘we’ve tried’ desperation, all deeply valid emotions. But at the end of the day, as said, I JUST WANT MY CLUB BACK."

What was unusual about this passionate plea was that there was a near universal outbreak of agreement. On such emotive subject there's usually a fairly wide spread of views. To cut a long story short, a smaller group of fans decided that the time was right to start up a campaign group. Borrowing from the above posting, the name of We Want Our Yeovil Town Back (or WWOYTB for short) was born.

Having seen a wide range of discussions and ideas floated around on the Green Room II and later on Twitter, those coordinating WWOYTB felt it was important to define a narrow focus, rather than attempt to achieve 101 different things at the same time. A Mission Statement was therefore agreed, and will represent the main focus for WWOYTB for the foreseeable future:

"The relationship between those running Yeovil Town Football Club and some of its supporters is the lowest it has been for some time.

Something needs to be done to make those in charge of YTFC aware of some of its supporters frustrations regarding off the field matters.

This campaign will collate and document these frustrations and provide a focal point for those supporters who want to see some form of change.

The emergence of WWOYTB as a supporters' collective will doubtless provoke questions and misconceptions about its purpose, although hopefully the Mission Statement will make clear some of those. We have seen a few misunderstandings arise though, and it's important to clear those up:

1) WWOYTB is not at present a formally constituted supporters club. We therefore wouldn't claim to speak for all supporters - even a formal supporters club is unlikely to do that at any given time. However, we do find it a concern that Yeovil Town has no formal Independent Supporters Association or Supporters Trust, particularly given recent Government recommendations under the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Committee's investigations into football governance.

2) The WWOYTB name may imply that it is a group seeking to purchase the football club - unless one of us wins Euromillions, that's highly unlikely! The above Green Room II posting hopefully explains the context; it is the feeling of belonging to the football club that we want to bring back to the masses. When the majority of fans feel that way again, we'll know that we've achieved the group's purpose.

In order to establish the direction of any campaigning, we first need to know what supporters are thinking, including those who may prefer to keep a little quieter on forums and social media. Hence we plan around three surveys - the first of which will follow very shortly, and will give us a high level view of how Glovers fans currently see the club.

A second survey will concentrate heavily on attendances at Huish Park. This is a big concern to us, given that for the 2005-06 season we averaged 6,512 spectators, yet we're now down to a running average of 3,611 which is nearly 700 down on last season, despite both Sheffield clubs and Huddersfield having brought decent turn-outs. In four home fixtures this season there's been under 3,000 home fans inside the stadium. Approximately half of the support the club had six years ago has voted with their feet and we need to understand why.

A third survey will probably delve deeper into a couple of the more 'serious' areas of concern raised by supporters from the first two surveys and this will hopefully provide clarity of how fans see the club's strengths and weaknesses.

Why do we want to do this? Well, without being alarmist, the simple facts are that if the club's current gates continue to erode, then it is unlikely that Yeovil Town will sustain its League One position; hopefully not true of this season, but an ever increasing risk that is being faced. Bums on seats bring in money. Money defines the quality of the first team manager's playing squad.

We fully respect those supporters who have chosen to stay away from the club, whatever their reasons, and those who have cut down on the games they are taking in. Along with those who are regularly attending games at Huish Park but have issues with various matters, we feel it is important that their views are listened to before more drift away.

For those of you who are on social media sites, there are pages set up for you to follow/join on Facebook and Twitter. These are linked below, where WWOYTB will publicise its latest developments, along with associated articles in this new section on Ciderspace.

Link: Twitter : WWOYTB.

Link: Facebook : WWOYTB Group.

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Comments On This Article
Dellboy said ...

Fully behind this initiative but be prepared for it falling on deaf ears. Change at YTFC is likely to be slow and not embraced by the current Board. It works for them so why should they change.
It seems long ago when supporters had access to the Club and felt part of something good. Such a golden opportunity was lost but then success can lead to broader involvement and that can be threatening to those in control.
I get the view that control will continue to override broadening participation. Thus its a good thing that supporters are creating their own space to share thoughts and maybe re-kindle the friendships and fun that many enjoyed a few years back. It will always be our Club, ownership is temporary. This marooned period will pass.
01/11/2011 20:19:45

Fred Few said ...

Fully behind this initiative.

If can help in any way please e mail or call 07xxx xxxxxx

Good Luck

Fred aka Valetta Baby
01/11/2011 20:21:44

Don said ...

Agree with the above but have to say that I really doubt that it will be possible to promote change.
I think that the 'feeling' of disenfranchisement runs extremely deep, perhaps too deep given past experience to redeem.
02/11/2011 08:49:24

Ray Cleave said ...

Good initiative. However, there are quite a few who are fed up with the "three musketeers" currently managing the team. People won't pay hard earned cash when they know that Skivo & Co have no ability in management at all! His record speaks for itself. The only ambition the manager and the board have is to (and this is doubtful this season) is to just stay up.The Board are also totally inept in renewing the managers contract but of course its the "cheap" option. no one else would take the job. Grandiose plans to expand and improve the ground wont get people to come and watch. There needs to be a manager who can produce something called a "win" (remember those?)
02/11/2011 12:44:28

Ian Campbell said ...

I have been coming to Huish Park since before we went down to the Isis League. For many years I took my sons and it was great day out...win or lose. The last 12 years has been fairy tale and I still pinch myself we are in the same league as Charlton and the Sheffield clubs and been to Wembley. I agree things have changed. As fans did we become too accustomed to a winning team playing lower standard football? In recent seasons we have played high standard big budget teams,been competing well and drawing (remember Norwich) or going down narrowly (many!!). Unfortunately occasional fans look at the league table and see we are bottom yet on Saturday we saw the best football for ages and a winning manager saying his team "had got out of jail"...oh for a bit of luck!! We have a small budget and fighting above our weight..how many of our players are on the average salary £75K for League 1 players? We have however seen the cream of young talent on loan, two now regular premier league players and we must have the best goalkeeping scout in the country. Skivo has reintroduced the appreciation to the fans after the game...it is start..let us as fans embrace it and support the lads again through the good and the bad. Yes there will be "Carlisle games" but I know there will be many more "Huddersfield games" to come this season
02/11/2011 17:22:37

Aroundthe worldyeovil said ...

If the club really wanted to show it was serious about bridging the void between the administration and the disenfranchised fan base that WWOYTB reflects it should explore ways in which it can appoint a fan's representative to the board. It would have no impact on decision making - as sadly it is not the Board as a collective body who run the club - but it would acknowledge the problem and be a beginning for meaningful dialogue. If the club was serious about this there are plenty of fans who have the skills and expertise to enhance the Board and it should not be difficult for the club to interview a range of candidates and select one. But sadly fans representation is an absolute no no for JF

Personally 1 I welcome WWOYTB 2 I think that Board level representation should be an aspiration for WWOTTB to aim for - anything short of this will I suspect be sidetracked.
02/11/2011 22:41:37

Nick Rogers said ...

It is important that the club's board recognise the supporters as an essential integral part of the club, and not just an incidental source of revenue that needs to be accommodated. Football may be a business, but it is a business like no other - once hooked its "customers" are wed to its "brand" for life. So you have to make sure they are attracted by the latest version. This can be done by several means - but the most important are feeling part of the club, entertainment, escape from day-to-day life and success.
Don't just assume that everyone in the area is aware of Yeovil Town, get out there in the community and promote the club by doing good things.
From what I can see of the beginnings of WWOYTB, the best way forward is to form a Supporters Trust. I'm involved in the Brakes Trust @ Leamington FC, it's amazing how you can raise the profile of your club by focusing on all three of "Fans, Club and Community" at the same time.

Good luck , and I'll continue to support from afar - even if it means just catching the occasional match - like home to Carlisle!
03/11/2011 10:36:30

Andy Spiller said ...

As a supporter of YTFC for some 45 years now, I'll put in my 10p's worth. What do I want to see?
The Manager given the 3G playing surface he desires for his sides to place attractive entertaining football on.
The Manager be given a reasonable budget for player purchases/loans etc

I was always told that if you get things right on the park, then those matters off the park will take care of themselves. Well to do the 2 points above you need INCOME GENERATION. Who generates that income - The Supporters! Therefore:

The Supporters need a purpose-built Supporters Club outside the ground (for home and away) with profits going back into the Club to support my 2 points above.
The Supporters need catering/drink facilities inside the ground that will rival other Lge 1 Clubs and again those profits can be put to use supporting the Manager.

The project that will see the visitor's end finally covered can't come too soon, but will inevitably improve the atmosphere inside the ground. YTFC support has been fickle over many years. When we are doing well they come out in their droves, when they do not only the hard core remain. The novelty of league football has worn off and dreams of Wembley again are pie in the sky at this moment in time. However, I would bet that, IF we can get to Rnd 3 in the FA Cup and get drawn at home to one of the 'big boys' in the Prem , then HP will be filled once again.

We can all dream - can't we?

03/11/2011 13:00:28

Iain Covell said ...

I Fully support this initiative and would like to offer any help or advice I can give. While I'm sure there's a range of opinions from supporters, there will also be some pretty big things that we agree on, and behind this initiative these can be voiced to the club, with them hopefully listening in return.
17/11/2011 16:16:56

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Other Entries In The WWOYTB Section.
Date Title Author Link
01/03/2012 SUBJ1 WWOYTB Link
09/01/2012 Update Bulletin No.2 WWOYTB Link
03/01/2012 WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Appendix B : Additional Comments Made WWOYTB Link
03/01/2012 WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Conclusions And Next Steps WWOYTB Link
03/01/2012 WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Other Issues For Discussion WWOYTB Link
03/01/2012 WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Relationship Between Supporters And Club WWOYTB Link
03/01/2012 WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Transparency Of Information From The Club WWOYTB Link
03/01/2012 WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Feelings About The Direction Of The Club WWOYTB Link
03/01/2012 WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Ratings Of Matchday Experience WWOYTB Link
03/01/2012 WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Ratings On Commercial Attributes WWOYTB Link
03/01/2012 WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Overall Off The Field Performance WWOYTB Link
03/01/2012 WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Introduction And Background WWOYTB Link
22/12/2011 Update Bulletin No.1 WWOYTB Link
08/12/2011 Food Store Exhibition Feedback WWOYTB Link
17/11/2011 Food Store Exhibition WWOYTB Link
03/11/2011 Supporters Survey No.1 WWOYTB Link
31/10/2011 We Want Our Yeovil Town Back! - An Introduction WWOYTB Link
Other Entries By WWOYTB.
1/9/2012Update Bulletin No.2WWOYTBLink
1/3/2012WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Appendix B : Additional Comments MadeWWOYTBLink
1/3/2012WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Conclusions And Next StepsWWOYTBLink
1/3/2012WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Other Issues For DiscussionWWOYTBLink
1/3/2012WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Relationship Between Supporters And ClubWWOYTBLink
1/3/2012WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Transparency Of Information From The ClubWWOYTBLink
1/3/2012WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Feelings About The Direction Of The ClubWWOYTBLink
1/3/2012WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Ratings Of Matchday ExperienceWWOYTBLink
1/3/2012WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Ratings On Commercial AttributesWWOYTBLink
1/3/2012WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Overall Off The Field PerformanceWWOYTBLink
1/3/2012WWOYTB Survey No.1 Report : Introduction And BackgroundWWOYTBLink
12/22/2011Update Bulletin No.1WWOYTBLink
12/8/2011Food Store Exhibition FeedbackWWOYTBLink
11/17/2011Food Store ExhibitionWWOYTBLink
11/3/2011Supporters Survey No.1WWOYTBLink
10/31/2011We Want Our Yeovil Town Back! - An IntroductionWWOYTBLink
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