During the summer of 1983, Mike Hughes was appointed General Manager and Trevor Finnigan
returned to the Club to become Player Manager. Following Finnigan up from Weymouth were
Gary Borthwick, Kieron Baker and Billy Elliott.
Dave Linney, who signed up for the club in 1983 as a player and is still at the club as the Commercial Manager.
Other summer signings included Nigel Jarvis, Paul Charles, Simon White, Simon Culliford and
Neil Prosser. During the season many other signings were made, some stayed for the season but
many others played just a handful of games and moved on. Those signed during the season were
Jamie Ward, Jess Payne, who returned for a second spell, Grant Northover, Paul McLaughnin,
Kenny Allen, Mick Docherty, Gary Plumley, Kevin Meacock, Marc Bartlett, Stuart Gibson,
Kevin Roberts, Adi Morris, Angelo Paparella and Dave Linney who was on his way down to
Weymouth to sign for them. At the end of the season he was voted Supporters' Club
'Player of the Year'.
After he finished his football career Adi Morris made a name for himself
in the world of rugby playing for Bath, including an appearance for them at Twickenham in the
Pilkington Cup Final. Also in the summer of 1983, the small stand in the corner of the ground
which had been erected for the F.A. Cup tie against Liverpool in 1936 was demolished.
opened full of promise with a new management and a new team, Frickley Athletic being beaten
3-0 at Huish before a crowd of 1,211. By the time of the club's entry into the F.A. Cup at the
end of October, only one home game had been lost, 2-0 to Dagenham, but on the other side of the
coin only one victory had been achieved away from home, 2-1 at Kidderminster.
Progress had been made into the Bob Lord Trophy Second Round for the first time ever with
the defeat of Dagenham (0-0 away and 1-0 at home) and current Champions, Enfield, had been
defeated at Huish 3-2.
On 1st October a most bizarre incident occurred when Steve Ragan, a Barnet striker, broke
one of the goalposts and the match was abandoned. The League fined the club, but in an appeal
to the Football Association the fine was quashed and the game was later replayed.
The small stand at Huish in the process of demolition. The stand had been built in 1935 for the visit of Liverpool
in the FA Cup.
Due to their
poor away record Yeovil were sixth from bottom, six points outside the relegation zone, when
the F.A. Cup came around at the end of October when Minehead were beaten 4-2 after a 2-2 draw at
Huish, but in the First Round Harrow Borough won 1-0 at Huish.
November saw the departure of Mike Hughes, Andy Bell was transferred to Weymouth for
£2,500 and illness forced Keiron Baker to retire from the game. This set off a goalkeeper
crisis which took a long time to overcome. During the rest of the season, Grant Northover,
Kenny Allen, Gary Plumley and Kevin Roberts kept goal with varying degrees of success.
five years Malcolm Gold finally got his name on the Yeovil score sheet when he netted Yeovil's
fourth goal in a reserve team game at Elmore. Two weeks later he scored at last for the first
team in the F.A. Trophy clash against Cheltenham Town.
The arrival of Mick Doherty from Slough in December provided the inspiration Yeovil needed.
The Christmas games saw victories over Weymouth (3-1 away), Trowbridge (3-1 home) and watched by
1911, the best 'gate' of the season, trounced Weymouth 6-3. The gap between Yeovil and the
relegation zone suddenly became five clubs and seven points.
After defeating Cheltenham Town
5-2 in the F.A. Trophy at Huish, another home tie saw Wealdstone as the visitors. They took a
3-0 lead, two of the goals coming from 40-50 yards free kicks taken
by Wealdstone's huge centre half Dennis Byatt. On each occasion goalkeeper Grant Northover
came rushing out of his goal only to see the ball sail over his head and into the back of the net.
Encouraged with his success Byatt went for his 'hat trick' with an audacious 60 yards free kick.
Again the ball flew over hapless Northover's
head, but this time the ball also cleared the cross bar! But in one of the most dramatic fight-backs seen at Huish, Yeovil, with goals from Phil James, Mick Docherty (2) and Jamie Ward,
won 4-3, the winning goal coming in stoppage time, In the next round a 1-1 draw at Dagenham
was followed by a 1-4 home defeat in the replay.
By now Trevor Finnigan had resigned as Player-Manager, but stayed with the club as a
player, Reserve team manager Steve Coles taking over the hot seat. Jess Payne also decided
to call it a day on the playing side. A spell of seven games in February and March sent the team
spinning towards the relegation zone with only Gateshead, Kettering Town, Weymouth, Bangor
City and Trowbridge Town below Yeovil.
Trevor Finnegan resigned as manager, but stayed with the club as a player.
The goal scoring exploits of Mick Doherty - nine goals in
eleven games - gave hope, however. At Runcorn, who were second in the League, Yeovil took a two
goal lead, but were finally pegged back to a 4-4 draw. The replayed match against
Barnet was lost 2-4 and 'gates' were now down into the seven hundreds.
In April the Club
failed to win a single League game and
plummeted to two from bottom, eight points adrift of Kettering Town. Once again, however,
Yeovil were saved from relegation by virtue of the fact that
no club from the Isthmian League wanted promotion.
only success of the season on the field was progress to the
Semi-final of the Bob Lord Trophy. The Semi-Final was
reached by aggregate wins over Dagenham (0-1), Bath
City (3-1) and Kidderminster (5-2). But Scarborough
proved too good for Yeovil, winning the two games 2-0 at
Huish and 5-2 at the Athletic Ground.
The one bright note of a very disappointing season
was the form of Mick Doherty who scored 23 goals in his
30 outings for the club. At the end of the season Trevor
Finnigan was sold to Bath City and Gary Borthwick
returned to Weymouth.