Yeovil Town Story Part 30
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THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 30

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SEASON 1970-71 : YEOVIL'S MOST SUCCESSFUL EVER SEASON GETS UNDERWAY : ARSENAL COME TO HUISH

Paul Gilchrist, with the FA Cup
Paul Gilchrist, holding the FA Cup he helped Southampton win when they defeated Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley in May 1976.
Although the 1970/71 season was ultimately to prove the most successful in the Club's history to date, the build-up commenced on a disastrous note. A Pop Festival was organised at the ground in the summer of 1970 and showed a loss of £470 even after allowing for the 5,000-plus of guarantees from the Directors and Vice-Presidents.

There were other financial successes, however. The successes on the field the previous season produced a profit of £1,117, whilst, in July, Alwyn Lugg, Chairman of the Green & White Supporters' Club, reported at their A.G.M. that £2,475 had been handed to the parent club in the past ten months.

Only two new players had been signed in the close season, Brian Grey and Andy McCluskey, with Ron Bayliss following shortly after. The season got underway on 15th August with a 1-0 win at home to Cambridge City, a Dick Plumb goal sending the 2,344 crowd home happy. By the middle of September Yeovil were in third position behind Hereford United and Chelmsford City.

Then, on 23rd September, Dick Plumb was transferred to Second Division Charlton Athletic for a total fee of £7,000. During his spell at Huish he had scored 53 goals in 111 games. He scored on his debut for Charlton against Birmingham City. Half the fee received for Plumb had to be paid to Bristol Rovers as part of the agreement which brought him to Huish and, as part of the deal, Charlton loaned striker Paul Gilchrist to Yeovil.

At the end of the month, Yeovil turned down an offer for Gilchrist to join the Club on a permanent basis ... and he later went on to play in the First Division with Southampton and was part of the team when they defeated Manchester United 1-0 at Wembley in the FA Cup Final! Gilchrist scored one of the FA Cup Semi-Final goals against Crystal Palace that put the Saints on their way towards their finest hour.

In October the Club became the owners of Huish when Bass Charrington Limited agreed to lift the restrictive covenant. Under the terms of the covenant, the ground had to be sold back to the original vendor for the purchase price of £1,750 if ever football ceased to be played there.

An Arsenal FA Cup 3rd Round Ticket
Although terrace admission was increased from 4s.6d. (22.5 pence) to 15s (75 pence), this ticket could have been sold on the Black Market for £100.
November saw Yeovil's entry into the F.A. Cup, a 2-1 victory at Poole, followed by a 1-0 win against Aveley in the First Round Proper. The match was marred by crowd trouble, Bullock, Aveley's substitute, being laid out by a spectator and the referee was kicked at the end of the game. A man later appeared in court in connection with these offences.

Round Two of the F.A. Cup brought the short journey to Bournemouth, then managed by John Bond. In the previous round, the 'Cherries' had beaten Oxford City 8-1 in a replay, Ted MacDougall scoring seven of them. When he heard Yeovil had a Navy man in the shape of Bev Dixon, Bond suggested it might be wise if he brought along to Dean Court a battleship to block up the Yeovil goal! However, in front of 11,583 spectators, a Cliff Myers goal just before half-time put Yeovil into the Third Round once again. Stuart Housley had a field day and completely took full-back Powell apart. His display led to a £2,000 bid from Bournemouth. This was rejected, the Yeovil Directors asking for £6,000.

The draw for the Third Round at Lancaster Gate, on Monday, 14th December was, as usual, broadcast on the radio. Over the airways came: "Number 62, Yeovil Town, will play ... Number 1, Arsenal". Within a minute the 'phone rang at Huish requesting tickets - the start of three weeks of pandemonium at the Club.

The Directors, in an effort to wipe out the overdraft, increased Terrace prices from 4s. 6d. to 15s., the Stand from 6s. 6d. to 30s., and the Vice Presidents' box to £2. The admission prices became the most expensive in the country for Third Round matches. The Press criticised the Club, but the genuine supporters agreed with the decision.

The tickets were put out on sale at the home game against Worcester City, a match that kicked off at 7.30 p.m. The first to arrive - before dawn - were Yeovil schoolgirls Christine Dunn and Dianne Hewtley, followed shortly after by schoolteachers' John Arscott and Derek Geer. The 'gate' that night was 8,102 and Yeovil Town won 2-0. But could the match against mighty Arsenal produce a similar result?

Arsenal score their third goal in the 1971 fixture
Goalkeeper Tony Clark and full-back Paul Smith can only look on as Ray Kennedy scores Arsenal's third goal.
When the big day came on 2nd January, snow that had fallen during the week was still on the pitch. This caused referee Bill Gow from Swansea to put the match off until the following Wednesday afternoon. The Yeovil officials were furious and Arsenal greatly relieved.

Although the game was to be played with a 2 p.m. kick off, only 30 tickets were returned to the Club (these were sold within minutes) and the schools in Yeovil extended the Christmas Holiday by one day due to the postponement. Yeovil held Arsenal for 35 minutes but eventually went down 3-0 in front of 14,500 spectators.

Yeovil's team that day was: Clark; Herrity, Baylis; Myers, Smith, Hughes; Housley, Weller, Grey, Thompson, Clancy. Harris was substitute.

Arsenal's team: Bob Wilson, Pat Rice, Bob McNab, Peter Storey, Frank McLintock, Peter Simpson, George Armstrong, Jon Sammels, John Radford, Ray Kennedy, George Graham. Sub: Eddie Kelly.

After the dust had settled, it became clear that Yeovil had made £6,000 on the game and £4,000 had been returned to unsuccessful postal applicants for tickets. Chairman Norman Burfield was upset that the Police had limited the crowd to 14,500 and said the spectators could have brought skipping ropes with them as there was so much room on the terraces!

Arsenal went on to complete the 'double' and Yeovil returned to their Southern League programme lying in second position with the F.A. Trophy to look forward to. The first match after the Arsenal game was a great anti-climax, a 3-0 defeat at home to Barnet. Then came the First Round of the F.A. Trophy, when Yeovil defeated Grantham of the Midland League, 3-1 at Huish, goals coming from Bob Moffatt on loan from Dallas Tornadoes and Brian Grey (2).

In the Second Round Yeovil were paired with Weymouth in another home tie. Yeovil made a desperate attempt to postpone the game and manager Mike Hughes went to F.A. Headquarters with medical certificates to show six of his 14 professionals were unfit. His pleas were turned down and Yeovil, with only eight fit men, drew 0-0 before a crowd of 4,889. It was the same team that went to Weymouth for the replay and for 90 minutes it was Weymouth against keeper Tony Clark. He stopped everything thrown at him and Chris Weller got the only goal of the game in extra-time. By the end of February, when Yeovil travelled to Wimbledon in the Third Round of the Trophy, they were in fifth position in the League with games in hand over the leaders. The attendance at Wimbledon was 3,059 and included over 1,000 from Somerset. A train and 18 coaches were organised by the Club. The match ended 1-1. The replay at Huish was a formality, a 'gate' of 5,157 seeing Chris Weller contributing a 'hat-trick' in a 4-0 victory.

Yeovil's 1970-71 squad celebrate winning the Southern League
Chairman Norman Burfield seen toasting the team after their 4-0 win over Hillingdon Borough that clinched the Southern League Championship.
Back Row: Tony Clark, Stuart Housley, Brian Grey, Len Harris.
Front Row: Andy McCluskey, Cliff Myers, Ron Baylis, Ken Thompson, Mike Hughes, Bev Dixon, Maurice O'Donnell and Richard Reynolds.
Stourbridge from the West Midland League came to Huish for the Quarter Final, Yeovil winning 2-0 in front of 6,193 people. The Semi-Final brought an encounter with Telford United at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich Albion's ground. 4,000 Yeovil fans travelled to the match to swell the attendance to 9,111. Yeovil were odds on favourites to win and so earn a trip to Wembley: They had beaten Telford twice already that season and the Shropshire side were fourth from bottom in the Southern League. However, Telford's experience of getting to the Final the year before proved to be the decisive factor, Yeovil freezing on the day and losing 3-1.

So it was back to the League programme with ten games still to play, seven of them at home. April 19th saw the first of five home games in a week, Bedford Town being defeated 2-0. The last match of the sequence was against F.A. Trophy finalists Hillingdon Borough on 26th April when 4,434 people saw Yeovil win 4-0 to become Southern League Champions for the third time in their history.

During their winning spell Mike Hughes pulled off another stroke of genius when he signed Richard Reymolds on loan from Plymouth Argyle. He led the forwards with great flare, scored five goals and put visitors' defences to fright.

The title was eventually won by the margin of two points from Cambridge City and Romford. Although Yeovil played a 4-2-4 formation, only 31 League goals were conceded all season. As part of the Dick Plumb deal, the season ended with a friendly against Charlton Athletic, 3,830 seeing Yeovil win 4-0.

Tony Clark won the first ever Supporters' Club "Player of the Year" award. For the first time ever, Yeovil retained all their professionals. The average League 'gate' was 3,249. The great success on the field produced a profit of £15,781 and the overdraft had been wiped out. 122 goals were scored in all competitions, Grey leading the way with 23 followed by Myers (21), Weller (18) and Clancy (14). Eighteen of the 21 players found the net during the season. The one disappointment was in the Southern League Cup, wins over Folkestone Town and Gravesend & Northfleet being followed by a 2-1 defeat at Margate.

Link: 1970-71 First Team Fixtures And Results.

Link: 1970-71 First Team Scorers.

The 1970-71 Southern League Champions
The 1970-71 Southern League Champions.
Back Row: Paul Smith, Ron Baylis, Richard Reynolds, Alan Herrity, Bev Dixon, Ken Thompson, Chris Weller, Len Harris, Tony Clark.
Second row: Maurice O'Donnell (Trainer), Albert Lukins and Jack Baulch (Directors), Cliff Myers, Mike Hughes (Manager), George Banbury, Tony Coles (Director), Dick Donovan (Secretary), Doug Hunt (Physio).
Third row: Oliver James, Derek Barnett, Bryan Moore, Dick White, Norman Burfield, Ivan Rendall, Cyril Farthing, Edmund Templeman, Ted Mears, Bert Cobb (Director).
Front row: Andy McCluskey, Stuart Housley, Brian Grey, John Clancy.



Season 1970-71 : Southern League Table
Overall
Team P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Yeovil Town 42 25 7 10 66 31 57 +35
2 Cambridge City 42 22 11 9 67 38 55 +29
3 Romford 42 23 9 10 63 42 55 +21
4 Hereford United 42 23 8 11 71 53 54 +18
5 Chelmsford City 42 20 11 11 61 32 51 +29
6 Barnet 42 18 14 10 69 49 50 +20
7 Bedford Town 42 20 10 12 62 46 50 +16
8 Wimbledon 42 20 8 14 72 54 48 +18
9 Worcester City 42 20 8 14 61 46 48 +15
10 Weymouth 42 14 16 12 64 48 44 +16
11 Dartford 42 15 12 15 53 51 42 +2
12 Dover Athletic 42 16 9 17 64 63 41 +1
13 Margate 42 15 10 17 64 70 40 -6
14 Hillingdon Borough 42 17 6 19 61 68 40 -7
15 Bath City 42 13 12 17 48 68 38 -20
16 Nuneaton Borough 42 12 12 18 43 66 36 -23
17 Telford United 42 13 8 21 64 70 34 -6
18 Poole Town 42 14 6 22 57 75 34 -18
19 King's Lynn 42 11 7 24 44 67 29 -23
20 Ashford Town 42 8 13 21 52 86 29 -34
21 Kettering Town 42 8 11 23 48 84 27 -36
22 Gloucester City 42 6 10 26 34 81 22 -47

The Yeovil Town Story : Other Pages

THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 30

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