During the summer of 1984, Yeovil Town were looking for another manager. A short list of
three was drawn up to appoint the Club's 21st manager since the war. On 21st May, Graham Carr
(then of Nuneaton Borough), failed to turn up for his interview and Ian MacFarlane finally got
the nod over Gerry Gow.
Ian MacFarlane landed in the managerial hotseat in May 1984.
Within two weeks, MacFarlane had dispensed with the services of long-serving trainer
Despite Yeovil's appalling previous season's record, new manager Ian MacFarlane only made
one summer signing, Shaun Wolff from Shepton Mallett Town. He joined the following squad of
players who had been retained:- Grant Northover, Richie Horton, Mick Doherty, Jeremy Brown,
Clive Green, Billy Elliott, Jamie Ward, Phil James, Malcolm Gold, Dave Linney, Marc Bartlett,
Stuart Gibson, Nigel Jarvis, Paul Barber, Tony Pounder, Mark Williams, Chris Card, Andy Stone,
Paul Charles and Paul Muir.
Others to join the club during the season were:- Dave Platt (back from Weymouth),
Alan Slough (Luton), Steve Smith (Trowbridge), Dave Roberts (Trowbridge), Alan Butler (Burnley),
Paul Thorpe (Bristol City), Paul Cheesley (Bristol City), Chris Lilygreen (Newport),
Jon Economou (Bristol City), Dean Holtham (Weymouth), Wayne Hughes (Paulton Rovers),
Tom Ritchie (Bristol City), John McGinlay (Nairn County), Martin Tooze (Heavitree United),
Colin Barnes (Torquay), Ian Davies, Lou Chappie and Ian Botham.
The only pre-season friendly's were against Avon (Bradford), Taunton Town, Yeovilton and
Minehead. Several players were in dispute with MacFarlane. Meanwhile, the League had obtained
a sponsor and it was renamed The Gola League, the Club's first benefit from the arrangement
being a £1,000 cheque presented at the League's A.G.M. The newly formed Gola League
carried on the points scoring system from the Alliance Premier League - 3 points for an away
win, 2 points for a home win and 1 point for a draw. The Club had also obtained its own
sponsor, Marney's Sports.
Paul Thorpe joined the club from Bristol City during the season.
The season opened with a 4-2 defeat at home to Boston United. Eleven days later, on 29th August,
MacFarlane announced his resignation, taking up a coaching appointment at Burnley two weeks later.
Five days later, Gerry Gow was appointed Player Manager.
The season saw many comings and goings, forty players turning out for the first team. The
first eight matches were all lost so that, by the time Yeovil defeated Maidstone 3-0 at Huish
on 22nd September, they were stranded at the bottom of the table with relegation staring the
Club in the face, for the third season in succession.
In the F.A. Cup, Yeovil defeated Witney Town 3-1 at Huish in the Fourth Qualifying Round,
but went out 2-0 at Torquay United in the First Round Proper. The 'gate' at Plainmoor was
only 2,617. After early successes in the Bob Lord Trophy against Dartford (3-2 on aggregate)
and Worcester City (3-2 at Huish) Yeovil went out of the competition 3-1 at Maidstone in
the Third Round. The F.A. Trophy was another disappointment, Yeovil losing 2-0 at
Gloucester City in the Third Qualifying Round. But Yeovil did reach the final of the
Somerset Premier Cup, which Bath City won 4-1 on aggregate.
Before Christmas striker Mick Doherty was sold to Weymouth for £8,000 following a transfer
request. But Billy Elliott was still in dispute with the Club and was finally sold to Poole Town
for £1,000 in March 1985.
At the turn of the year, Yeovil's league position was desperate - one from the bottom with
only 11 points from 23 games and 13 points below Frickley Athletic, who were fourth from
bottom. The arrival of cricketer Ian Botham on a non-contract basis saw a 'gate' of 2,099 for
the visit of Northwich Victoria on 26th January. Other clubs, too, reported a big increase in
attendances at their games when Botham was in the Yeovil side. His last game for the Club was
at Frickley on 23rd March, just twelve hours before flying out with Somerset for their tour of
the West Indies.
Ian Botham signed for the club in January and is pictured with Gerry Gow and Gerry Lock.
January also saw the start of negotiations to sell Huish and move to a new stadium at
Despite the occasional success offering hope that relegation would be avoided, only one
point was picked up from the last seven games. The final match of the season at Barrow,
where Yeovil had played their first match in the old Alliance Premier League, marked the
end of an era, Yeovil being relegated with just six wins and 25 points - a massive 17
points from safety.
The only pleasing features of the season (promising hope for the future),
was the wonderful support the Club received through the turnstiles. The league matches
attracted an average 1,296 spectators - better than any other club in non-league football,
and the signing of a young Scot, John McGinlay, on the recommendation of former manager Cecil Irvin.
Rumours abounded that Wycombe Wanderers, who had qualified for the Gola League from the
Vauxhall-Opel League, would not accept promotion, but they proved unfounded. And so started a
new era for Yeovil Town in the Vauxhall-Opel League - and they were relegated for the first time
in their history.