A tribute to Colin Addison
Colin Addison - An Appreciation

Colin Addison showing his true colours at Huish Park
Colin Addison showing his true colours at Huish Park
Picture © Clarion 2000

Colin Addison was on a hiding to nothing when appointed manager of Yeovil Town in early October 2000, replacing Dave Webb who had walked out on the club to go to Southend a fortnight before. The Glovers were top of the league, albeit after only 14 games had been played, and flying. Addison kept the club at the top for almost another 5 months before eventually finishing 2nd, masterminded an FA Cup run which saw two more Football League scalps added to Yeovil's belt and presided over what is, by any standard, easily the best season Yeovil Town have achieved in the modern era.

Ironically Addison didn't apply for the Yeovil job, he was head-hunted by chairman John Fry. After resigning from cash-strapped Scarborough the previous summer the 63-year-old was coasting into semi-retirement when Fry approached him with an offer. At the time, Fry said: "The man we have appointed has played and managed at the highest level. He has top quality coaching skills and is very much in touch with the game. We want someone who can carry on in the same vein as the last man, so that it is almost as if Dave Webb never left the club. Even though Dave will be a hard act to follow, I believe our new man can do just that."

And right up until the New Year it looked as if Fry's description of the new man was uncannily accurate. The Glovers went from strength to strength in the league consolidating their position at the top with a fine 2-1 win at Nene Park over Rushden, and in the FA Cup thrashed 2nd Division Colchester 5-1 before winning 1-0 in a mud-bath at 3rd Division Blackpool in a game shown live on Sky TV. At one point in January Yeovil were 7 points clear at the top of the Conference with 2 games in hand on 2nd-placed Rushden. At home we were not only unbeaten, we were the only professional club in the country to have a 100% winning record. The chant 'we are top of the league, say we are top of the league' rang around Huish Park at every home game and confidence amongst players and supporters was at an all-time high.... And then...

....And then, we lost it somehow. The team was cruelly knocked out of the FA Cup at 1st Division high-flyers Bolton by an injury-time goal which, despite a superb performance, seemed to dent confidence somewhat. Various key players were injured around now, and the smallness of the squad - seen as a strength before for the team spirit it engendered - was now a liability. Heavy pitches following months of incessant rain didn't help our passing style. The 100% home record was lost to Southport and all of a sudden the wheels were starting to come off.

Addison responded by bringing in some more experienced players in Simon Betts from Scarborough and Marcus Jones from Cheltenham, though both found it difficult to win over the Huish Park faithful. Winger Michael McIndoe was signed for a club record fee from Hereford. Addo was also linked with various different strikers and made offers for Drew Broughton and Ritchie Hanlon of Peterborough though both deals fell through. Alex Meechan came on loan and then went again, as did Martin Gritton from Plymouth, before he finally signed former Glovers hero Howard Forinton on loan, along with Plymouth Argyle playmaker Martin Barlow for the final run-in.

Yeovil's and Addison's luck deserted us at the death. Both Barlow and Forinton barely played before succumbing to injury, though both showed glimpses of how important they would have been had they remained fit. Going into the crucial final weeks Yeovil had only 1 fit striker available for selection and were forced to play central defenders Paul Steele and Terry Skiverton in attacking roles. Even then, just one more win would have taken The Glovers into the final game of the season as masters of their own destiny, but it wasn't to be, and the more consistent Rushden were, in the end, deservedly promoted.

Addison inherited a very young and small squad from David Webb and took them to the brink of promotion, falling only at the very last hurdle. What the club have achieved under his leadership, and in their first year of full-time football is, in the opinion of Ciderspace worthy of great praise and commendation. No club is 'entitled' or 'deserves' to win any league - you need the right players, the right set-up, the right manager, backing from the board, and last - but not least - a little bit of luck. Yeovil had all of these factors this season, all except the last, crucially, when it mattered.

But this is Yeovil! We should be celebrating our most successful season ever and looking forward to building on it and going one better next season. Instead, thanks to boadroom impatience, the man who took us so close to our dreams has gone and we will have to start again from scratch with our 6th manager in 2 years. To Colin Addison we at Ciderspace would like to say thank you - thank you for keeping our season alive after Webb left and thanks for the superb memories you left us with. After such a good season and only seven months in charge you deserved much, much better than to be savaged on the radio and in print by the chairman.... But this is Yeovil - you're probably better off out of it. Us fans don't have that choice! The very best of luck to Colin in the future.

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Last Updated : 5th May 2001
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