Yeovil Town Story Part 49
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THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 49

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SEASON 1990-91 PART ONE

The final act at Huish took place on 7th July 1990 when supporters, from far and near, turned up to an auction when much of the furniture and fittings from the stadium were sold off.

On the playing front, the only newcomers were two 19 year olds, Richard Ford who came to the club via Nottingham Forest and Torquay United and Paul Luck who had been at Arsenal and Reading. Barry Blackman was sold to Wealdstone. A loss of £62,894 was reported for the 1989-90 season.

The Newcastle and Yeovil players line up for the first ever game at Huish Park
The Newcastle and Yeovil players line up for the first ever game at Huish Park
Photo © 1990-2003 Ciderspace

The match ball for the Newcastle game was parachuted into the stadium!
The match ball for the Newcastle game was parachuted into the stadium!
Photo © 1990-2003 Ciderspace

Tiv Lowe covers in defence against Newcastle
Tiv Lowe covers in defence against Newcastle.
Photo © 1990-2003 Ciderspace
At last the big day had arrived - Saturday, 4th August 1990 - Yeovil's first game at Huish Park, against Newcastle United and the crowd of 5,093 went home happy, the result did not matter, the occasion was tremendous and had etched a further notch in the history of the club. To Andy Wallace went the honour of scoring Yeovil's first goal in the new stadium.

The season got under way on August 18th, when relegated Colchester United were beaten. Mickey Spencer scored the first competitive goal at Huish Park after twenty minutes play followed by a Peter Conning goal after 75 minutes, the 'gate' of 4,169 being, eventually, Yeovil's best of the season. This match was followed by a 2-1 win at Telford and another 2-0 home win, this time against Kidderminster Harriers.

September opened with a home game against Boston United which resulted in a 1-1 draw. Only three points were picked up in the next three games. At Merthyr and Gateshead the results were 1-1 draws but the biggest disappointment of these two games was the points dropped at Gateshead when Yeovil missed one of the two penalties awarded.

The third draw was 0-0 at home to Stafford Rangers in very depressing game. Joe Jackson, signed during the week from Worcester City for £15,000, made his debut, coming on as a 23rd minute substitute. To make way for this signing, Derek Dawkins moved to Gloucester City for a £2,000 fee. A disappointing month ended with three successive defeats and without a goal scored. Yeovil's first defeat of the season came on September 22nd, 0-2, at Northwich Victoria and this was followed three days later with a 0-1 defeat at Sutton United who were relegated at the end of the season. It was back to Huish Park at the end of the month for a game against top of the table, and unbeaten, Kettering Town. The visitors scored an early goal and then withstood tremendous Yeovil pressure to hang on to their three points. Had Yeovil taken just two of the four clear-cut chances they created, Kettering's unbeaten run would have come to an end and Brian Hall's Villains' would have been 'heroes'.

Clive Whitehead was a controversial replacement for Brian Hall in October
Clive Whitehead was a controversial replacement for Brian Hall in October.
October turned out to be one of the most traumatic months in the history of the club. It started with a 2-2 draw at Altrincham, Mickey Spencer scoring what was just about Yeovil's best goal of the season as Altrincham were outplayed. Ironically, this was not only the start of Altrincham's unbeaten run of 28 league matches which did not end until 24th April 1991, but it was also the last match of Brian Hall's managership at Yeovil. On Friday 12th October he was controversially sacked and 'Budgie' Rogers took over for the game against Runcorn the following day when a Steve Rutter goal gave Yeovil the points. Watching the game was Clive Whitehead who, by the Monday morning, had been manoeuvered into the manager's chair.

His first match was at Fisher Athletic who were three from bottom having had just one victory from their eleven games played. The manager made his one and only appearance for the club before limping off to be substituted by Tiv Lowe, Yeovil lost 1-2. Two days later, Keynsham Town, who were one position above Yeovil's reserve team in Division One of the Great Mills League, came to Huish Park and drew 2-2 in the Somerset Premier Cup. The month ended with a 3-1 win against Marlow Town in the FA. Cup and a 6-1 victory in the Somerset Premier Cup replay.

During the month Steve Harrower became Clive Whitehead's first signing. In November only three games were played, all three were lost and not a goal was scored. To start with, Yeovil suffered their first ever league defeat by Wycombe Wanderers when they went down 0-2 at the Wanderers' new stadium, Adams Park. A week later Yeovil made their 42nd appearance in the First Round of the FA. Cup when they travelled to Griffin Park only to be thrashed 5-0 by Third Division Brentford. This was Yeovil's third biggest defeat ever in the FA. Cup, the others being 0-8 v Manchester United and 1-7 v Colchester United. The month ended with a single goal defeat at Barrow.

Andy Stone, seen here in the London Marathon, had a testimonial game in October
Andy Stone, seen here in the London Marathon, had a testimonial game in October.
The only bright spot during the month was the visit of Sheffield United who brought their first team to Huish Park to play in the Andy Stone Testimonial. Both Andy and Brian Hall, who came back for the game, were given a great reception by the crowd of 3,602 before the game and Andy received a cheque for over £12,000.

Paul Hirons was given a contract after a trial period and goalkeeper Len Bond went to Gloucester City on loan. Jeff Sherwood was sold to Gloucester City for £15,000, Miguel DeSouza joined the club for £2,000. Mark Sale, on loan from Stoke City, made his debut at Barrow. Howard Pritchard was signed from Maidstone United for a fee of £5,000 and, former Exeter City player, Richard Cooper joined the club from near neighbours Weymouth. Also at Barrow former Arsenal winger, Brian McDermott, who had signed for Yeovil at a fee of £10,000 from Exeter City, made his debut coming on as a substitute.

Due to the lack of games played during the month, and the lack of success in the games played, Yeovil slumped to 18th position in the league. An offer of £6,000 for Robbie Carroll from Bognor Regis was turned down. All the new players signed during the month were full time and so started an expensive era in the club's history.

December also proved to be another disappointing month on the playing side, the only victory being at Paulton Rovers, 3-1, in the Somerset Premier Cup, Brian McDermott scoring a hat trick. The month opened with a 1-4 thrashing at home by Barnet when Tony Lynch scored a hat trick for the visitors. Yeovil's first league goal in six weeks came from Robbie Carroll in the 90th minute but a big blow to Yeovil came in the 11th minute when Mark Shail hobbled off injured. Nine days later, Yeovil, the Bob Lord Trophy holders, were beaten 3-2 by Kidderminster Harriers, the team they had beaten in the final the previous season. Seventeen year old Mike McEvoy made his debut in this game and became the youngest ever Yeovil player to play at that level.

Joe Jackson was a club record signing of 15,000 pounds, but didn't last long
Joe Jackson was a club record signing of 15,000 pounds, but didn't last long.
A 0-2 defeat at Slough saw the return of Simon Gowans to the team after having time off to continue his studies. Also in that game former Welsh International, Nigel Stevenson, signed from Merthyr Tydfil for £5,000, made his debut.

A week later Yeovil produced their best football since the arrival of Clive Whitehead and were desperately unlucky to go down 2-3 at home to Altrincham, the winning goal coming just five minutes from time. Ian Willmott, on loan from Bristol Rovers, made his first appearance for the club and Len Bond was back in goal following his return from Gloucester City. By now Neil Cordice had left the club for Wealdstone for a fee of £2,500.

Boxing Day saw the first Yeovil v Bath City derby match for several years when Yeovil travelled to Twerton Park. Yeovil supporters were astounded to see 'Player of the Year', Tiv Lowe, run out in the City colours - he had been sold for £4,000 just prior to Christmas. The game ended in a 2-1 defeat. The last game of the month saw the visit of Wycombe Wanderers to Huish Park. Two goals, one apiece from Nicky Dent and Brian McDermott gave Yeovil their first point in eight games and stopped a run of seven successive league defeats. Yeovil ended the year in 18th position just two points from the relegation spot.

There was a great deal of unrest in the dressing room and 14 players felt so strongly about this, they wrote a joint letter to the board complaining about the manager's lack of man management and other matters.

The New Year opened with Yeovil's first league win since October 13th when Bath City were beaten in the return holiday fixture. Yeovil, playing with a gale force wind in their backs, were three goals ahead at half time and hung on to win 3-2. Yeovil's winning form continued at the end of the week when they recorded their first away win since the second game of the season, with a fine 3-0 victory at Welling United, the goals coming from Paul Hirons (2) and Nigel Stevenson.

Any hope of a reversal of fortunes was short lived - a week later Yeovil were dumped out of the FA. Trophy 0-1 at Beazer Homes League, Gloucester City. Due to a managerial error Yeovil started the game with only one substitute on the bench.

A week later the visit of Merthyr Tydfil resulted in a 3-3 draw and in midweek Yeovil went out of the Somerset Premier Cup 3-4 at Ashton Gate against Bristol City, fighting back from being 4-1 down early in second half. Paul Wilson returned to the team after a two month injury. Yeovil returned from Boston United on the end of a 0-4 thumping and found themselves still in 18th position but now five points from the relegation spot.

Gerry Lock was forced out of the club in February after he received a vote of no confidence from his fellow directors
Gerry Lock was forced out of the club in February after he received a vote of no confidence from his fellow directors.
Photo © 1988-2003 Ciderspace
February was another poor month on the pitch and was also an eventful one off it. The month opened with what was probably the worst performance of the season, a home 0-1 defeat by Fisher Athletic. Fisher, eventually finishing bottom of the league, in fact they only won five games during the campaign, two of those against Yeovil, who started the match with only one player who was in the starting line-up for the opening game of the season against Colchester - Paul Wilson.

Snow caused the postponement of the away game against Runcorn. The following week, Steve Rutter requested a transfer joining quintet of Yeovil players already in that position. He was also on the short list for the manager's job at Dorchester. During the temporary lull in the season Gerry Lock was asked to stand down as Chairman and was subsequently voted out of the Chair. He resigned from the board followed by Vice Chairman, Geoff House and Alan Bergman. Three days later Tony Williams joined the board. The bank overdraft had now risen to £325,000 and it was estimated the club were losing £5,500 per week.

It was back to football again on 16th February and, in the match against Northwich Victoria, Yeovil went ahead after only 40 seconds with a goal from Robbie Carroll. An equaliser, however, just before half time meant Yeovil had dropped two more precious points. The gate of 1,879 was the lowest for four seasons. This was the last game for unsettled Joe Jackson who was transferred to Dover Athletic for £10,000.

A week later. Yeovil travelled, like lambs to the slaughter, to North London to play second placed Barnet. The game turned out far different than expected however, and a fine, gutsy performance could well have brought a sensational victory. Barnet scored two late goals to maintain their promotion surge and, at the same time, send Yeovil deeper into relegation troubles. A great 4-0 home mid-week victory against Cheltenham gave Yeovil their biggest win of the season to date.

March was a mixed month with one win, three defeats and one draw from the five games played. The month opened with a goalless draw at Kidderminster, followed by the inevitable defeat by Barrow, 0-3 at Huish Park. In fifteen games between the two clubs Yeovil had only ever recorded one victory over the Cumbrian club. A 0-1 defeat at Cheltenham and a 1-2 home reversal against Telford pushed Yeovil into deep trouble. In the final week of the month Paul Batty signed from Exeter City, beating the transfer deadline by only hours. Mark Boulton became a full professional being the first Y.T.S. product to come through the system.

Paul Wilson gets stuck into the mudbath that was part of Yeovil's 7-2 win over Slough. Photo (c) Nigel Andrews
Paul Wilson gets stuck into the mudbath that was part of Yeovil's 7-2 win over Slough.
Photo © 2003 Nigel Andrews
A busy week ended with a sensational win at Colchester, Paul Batty scoring on his debut. This was Colchester's only league defeat at Layer Road all season. Steve Rutter was made captain and the team responded in magnificent fashion. However, there was still great unrest in the dressing room and with only 3 wins, and just 13 points from the 20 games under the leadership of Clive Whitehead, relegation was staring the club in the face.

After the 2-1 win over Sutton United, the club parted company with the manager and appointed Steve Rutter as manager in a caretaker capacity. His brief was simply; to keep Yeovil in the G.M. Conference.

He must have wondered what the mystique of being a manager was all about when he lead his team to a 7-2 home victory against Slough Town. Playing with a force nine gale in their backs Yeovil built up a 5-1 interval lead. In the second period Yeovil played some superb, controlled football into the teeth of the gale and went off the pitch to a standing ovation from the crowd of 2,311. Not only was there great relief at the result but also that the referee had allowed the game to go the full ninety minutes. At two minutes to three it started to rain and by 4.15 the pitch was waterlogged. David Fry scored Yeovil's second goal when his huge kick down field bounced once and flew over the head of his surprised opposite number at the other end of the pitch. He rounded off an unusual match by also saving a penalty.

Other Pages of Interest

GMVC League Table; First Team Goals; First Team Appearances; First Team Results; GMVC Top Scorers; GMVC Top Crowds; GMVC Average Crowds.

The Yeovil Town Story : Other Pages

THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 49

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