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Thurs 28th February 2002
Johnson Confirms Stockport Interest In Tonks

RUMOURS OF STOCKPORT COUNTY'S interest in Glovers defender Anthony Tonkin - rife on the Ciderspace Fans Forum over the last week or so - have been confirmed today by Yeovil manager Gary Johnson. Speaking to the Western Gazette, Johnson said: "The club has informed Anthony Tonkin of the interest [from Stockport] and I have spoken with him. We appreciate the interest but Anthony has decided to concentrate on his immediate future with Yeovil Town."

There's no official confirmation of an actual bid for Tonks from Stockport, but usually reliable sources have indicated that a £50,000 offer has been made, at least on an informal basis. But for now it seems that both the player and the club - and certainly the supporters! - are happy for Tonks to remain at Huish Park.

In other news from today's local press the identity of the mysterious striker on trial for the last week at Huish Park has finally been revealed. He's a Belgium-based Nigerian named Ganiyu Owolabi. 28-year-old Owolabi has recently been playing in the United Arab Emirates and Dubai, and was on Royal Antwerp's books for 4 years. He has a Belgian passport and therefore does not require a work permit to play this country. Speaking to the Gazette, Gary Johnson said: "He [Owolabi] has just come back from Dubai and is not fit. He also has a slight thigh injury so I have sent him back to Belgium and he will come back here in a week's time. Until he is fit I cannot make any assesment of him but he has a good pedigree and is experienced. Whether he is the one for me I will not know until I have seen him play."

The other striker on trial at Huish Park - Bristol City hitman Damian Spencer was expected to have played in the Glovers behind-closed-doors friendly at Exeter City yesterday, a match Yeovil won 3-2, with goals coming from Roy O'Brien, Carl Alford and an as yet un-named 3rd triallist.

According to the Gazette the Yeovil board are set to decide over the next few days as to whether the Reserves will compete in the Screwfix Direct League next season - at least, whether they will use the main Huish Park pitch if they do. Rumours coming from the club have suggested that there is a possibility that the top pitch at the club - used for training and youth team matches at present - could be converted to Western League standard with the addition of floodlighting, perimeter fencing and a small stand. There is a possibilty that community grants could be available to help pay for such work..

Speaking to the Gazette, chairman John Fry said, "I feel completely desperate and frustrated that we had another game called off [vs Canvey Island on Tuesday night] and one of the decisions we may have to make could be that we take the Screwfix football off the main pitch - that is quite logical."

Pitch and weather permitting, the Glovers entertain old rivals Hereford United at Huish Park on Saturday. The virus that has wreaked havoc amongst the Yeovil team over the last couple of weeks appears to have run its course at last - Kim Grant (achilles) and Darren Way (hamstring) are the Glovers only injury doubts.

YOU'RE THE NEW MANAGER

AWAY FROM HUISH PARK, we reported on Tuesday on Stevenage's search for a new manager following the departure of Paul Fairclough. That search is now over with the appointment of former Peterborough assistant boss Wayne Turner to the Broadhall Way hotseat. Stevenage being Stevenage however nothing is ever straightforward, with Turner's former boss Barry Fry accusing the DCB's of tapping up his erstwhile assistant a matter of weeks ago.

"I feel badly let down by Wayne and he has certainly left us in an awkward position as we try and steady the ship," Fry said. "I don't know why Wayne decided to tell the press on Monday that he had not been in contact with any other club. He lost a lot of respect when he said that. He should have been honest from the start and admitted he was talking to Stevenage. I am very disappointed with Wayne's claim to have been left in an untenable position at London Road. He has been speaking with Stevenage for some time and was offered the job a few weeks ago and used this offer to try and secure a longer contract on better money at Peterborough United. Unfortunately, due to the current financial situation we find ourselves in, and with the impending take-over, our chairman could not offer him the contract that he wanted." Sounds to Ciderspace like Wayne Turner and Stevenage Borough is a marriage made in heaven judging by those comments...

Finally, good news for Barnet fans: Plans for a new stadium to replace the shambling wreck that is Underhill have been passed by the local council - this is only the first step along the road with more hurdles to overcome yet, but it's a start. There is a glimmer of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel....

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Tues 26th February 2002
Conference News Round-Up

It's all quiet on the Huish Park front after the postponment of tonight's game v Canvey Island, so with a lack of hard news to report from our beloved YTFC, Ciderspace's intrepid news hounds have been out and about scouring the rest of the Conference and the lower leagues to bring you this round-up of what's been going on elsewhere this week:

YOU'RE NOT THE MANAGER

Never go back, that's what they say to managers returning to old stomping-grounds, as almost without exception past glories are impossible to repeat, Graham Taylor at Watford a couple of years ago being perhaps the exception to the rule. The latest boss to prove the old adage is Paul Fairclough, sacked by Stevenage chairman Phil 'No Publicity Please' Wallace yesterday. Curious timing perhaps as Fairclough had just led the DCB's (as they are affectionately known throughout the Conference and in Torquay) on a run of 5 wins from the last 7 games as well as to the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy, but that's club chairmen for you.... The fact remains that Fairclough wasn't able to re-create the success he enjoyed in his first stint at Broadhall Way and has now paid the price with his job. Early contenders to replace him are said to include Peterborough assistant boss Wayne Turner, former Aldershot boss George Borg, and, inevitably, Gary Mabbutt. Here at Ciderspace we know exactly who our preferred option would be: "Cheer up Georgie Borg, Oh what can it mean...."

FANCY PLAYING FOR FARTONIAN FC?

Or possibly Kingston & Farnborough United anyway, should Farnborough Fuhrer Graham Westley get his way. We reported on these pages on the 23rd of January that Westley was becoming increasingly unhappy with the situation at Farnborough: Low crowds, a ground that needs huge investment just to bring it up to Conference standard and a perceived (if not actual) lack of support from the local council. All very dispiriting when your stated aim is to get into the Premiership within ten years! The answer: A proposed merger with Ryman League Kingstonian - this after near-neighbours Aldershot and Woking both rejected ground-sharing deals with Farnborough. The Conference - who have already vetoed Westley's plan to ground-share at the K's - now appear to have said 'no' to the merged clubs playing in the Conference next season, though this has yet to be confirmed officially. Not unnaturally it now appears that Farnborough's supporters are less than happy at the thought of having to travel the 30-odd miles to Kingsmeadow to watch their team (well, some of their team perhaps) play, and all in all the situation appears to be developing into an unhappy mess for all concerned. It remains to be seen where it will all end.

GROUNDS FOR CONCERN

Talking of unhappy messes reminds us of Boston. Flying along in the league, off the pitch the Pilgrims are in financial turmoil. According to a statement from the club, the current owners are "in talks" with Pilgrim Developments Limited, "a group of companies specialising in property and corporate development." PDL have been granted an option to purchase both the majority shareholding in Boston United AND ownership of the York Street ground. The statement goes on to say: "It is anticipated that these options will be exercised during the Summer of this year. In the interim, [PDL] are working closely with the Directors of the club to provide a solution to the ongoing financial crisis. It is envisaged that all creditors will be contacted in the near future in order to seek their co-operation with the club's recovery strategy."

So basically Boston are relying on a property development company to bail them out in the summer, as well as their numerous creditors complete cooperation.... And there's more! The statement goes on to say: "Within the subsequent two years, it is planned to move the club to a new home on the western outskirts of the town and in the longer term, it is envisaged that a commercially regenerated and stable football club could transfer from restricted ownership into the public domain. It is hoped that the local community would demonstrate sufficient support to enable Boston United Football Club Limited to literally become their own club."

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out the implications: PDL buy the club, sell the town centre York Street ground at a big profit, and build a new stadium on the outskirts of town providing the local community demonstrates sufficient support.... And who decides if the local community provides "sufficient support" and what indeed that "sufficient support" entails? Why,the new club owners PDL presumably! Interesting times for Boston fans....

GROUNDS FOR OPTIMISM?

Talking of new grounds, Telford United's Bucks Head is set to be finished at last. For the last season-and-a-half the redevelopment of Bucks Head has been a stuck record - two nice terraced and roofed stands at each end, with a bare open terrace running along one side with a rabbit hutch masquerading as a main stand stuck on top of the open terrace; and nothing at all on the other side of the ground apart from a fence. A proper all-seated Main Stand has now been given the go ahead on the undeveloped side of the ground, work is set to begin shortly.

And still talking of new grounds, weep for the Drill Field. The oldest ground in continuous use in English football will disappear at the end of the season when Northwich Victoria leave to groundshare temporarily with neighbours Witton Albion. The intention is for the Vics to build a new ground for themselves within the next few years.

Not many will miss Underhill however if and when it eventually goes - Barnet's latest planning application for a new stadium goes before a public meeting tomorrow, success being essential for the club's long-term prospects. And in other developments in North London, former Spurs and Sheffield Wednesday boss Peter Shreeves has joined the Bees as head coach, assisted by former Reading assistant manager Martin Allen. Former manager John Still has reverted to his previous role of Director.

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Tues 26th February 2002
Canvey Tie Off

Tonight's FA Umbro Trophy match against Canvey Island has been postponed. It will now take place on Tuesday 5th March 2002 at 7.45pm. This replaces the Nationwide Conference match against Barnet, which will now be played at a later date to be arranged.

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Mon 25th February 2002
FA Trophy 6th Round Draw

The winners of tomorrow night's 5th Round FA Trophy match between Yeovil Town and Canvey Island have been drawn away to the winners of the Northwich Victoria v Telford United tie in the 6th Round of the FA Trophy.

The full draw is as follows, matches scheduled for Sat March 16th (Conference teams in bold):

Margate or Braintree Town vs Scarborough or Morecambe
Northwich Victoria or Telford United vs YEOVIL TOWN or Canvey Island
Stevenage Borough vs Stalybridge Celtic
Burton Albion vs Chester City

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Sun 24th February 2002
Never Say Die

AMAZING. INCREDIBLE. FANTASTIC. ASTONISHING. Add as many of your own adjectives here as you like and they still won't be enough to describe yesterday's events at Belle Vue when the Glovers somehow managed to pull back a 3-0 deficit to triumph by 5-4 in the FA Trophy 4th Round replay against Doncaster Rovers.

The afternoon started badly with Kim Grant, Anthony Tonkin and Lee Johnson pulling out of the squad through injury, and with Darren Way and Olivier Brassart having to play even though both were still suffering with the virus that has swept through the squad this week. Things soon got even worse when Donny went into a 2-0 lead by the break with goals from Jamie Paterson and Robert Gill, with Gill making it 3-0 on 49 minutes to apparently dump the Glovers out of the Trophy for yet another season. And then....

What followed was described by one Glovers fan as "The most exhilarating 30 minutes of football I have ever witnessed". The introduction of former Rovers striker Carl Alford was the catalyst for change as the Glovers threw everything forward with a strong wind at their backs in an effort to win some pride back from the game if nothing else. Colin Pluck pulled one back on 57 minutes and Carl Alford got the goal he really wanted aainst his former club on 75 minutes to send a shiver down Rovers' fans backs. Four minutes later and the comeback was complete as Adam Stansfield kept up his stunning recent goalscoring record to level the scores at 3-3. Stansfield sent the 150-odd travelling fans into ecstasy on 86 minutes when he put Yeovil 4-3 in front, but Donny weren't finished yet and 2 minutes from time Gareth Owen levelled the scores at 4-4. Extra-time and penalties beckoned, but there was one last twist left to the tale, Yeovil captain Terry Skiverton rifling home a 20-yard shot in the final minute to send the Glovers through to the 5th Round, the final score ending Doncaster Rovers 4 Yeovil Town 5. The ytfc.net match report is now online.

Unfortunately there's very little time for either the team or supporters to bask in the glory of this incredible comeback however - the draw for the quarter-finals of the Trophy takes place tomorrow (Monday) and after that on the Tuesday (26th February) the Glovers entertain last season's Trophy winners Canvey Island in the delayed 5th Round match. Feet back on the ground by then please!

MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE bread-and-butter that is the Conference, Dagenham & Redbridge extended their lead at the top of the table to 4 points over 2nd-placed Boston and 6 points over 3rd-placed Yeovil after a somewhat fortunate 1-0 win against bottom club Dover. The Daggers still have 3 games in hand over the Glovers, Boston's game yesterday was postponed.

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Thurs 21st February 2002
Phillips A Target?

WEYMOUTH'S 21-YEAR-OLD STRIKER Lee Phillips - 21 goals for the Terras so far this season - could be Yeovil boss Gary Johnson's next transfer target, according to today's edition of the Dorset Echo. "Lee Phillips is a good goal scorer with plenty of pace and I was impressed with what I saw [in the recent match] against Kettering," Johnson said. "But I was there that day to check out a handful of players from Kettering, as well as Weymouth."

The Yeovil boss ruled out an immediate move for Phillips, saying, "We've got a couple of forwards on trial with us at the moment, and I'm not planning to sign anyone until I've had a good look at them. But keeping an eye on players like Lee Phillips is a matter of course for a club like Yeovil and I'll be watching developments at Weymouth with interest over the coming weeks."

According to the Echo several league clubs - including Division One promotion contenders Burnley - have also made enquiries about the striker. The players on trial at Huish Park who Johnson refers to above are an unnamed forward and 20-year-old Bristol City striker Damien Spencer, who is out-of-contract at the end of the season. The flu bug which has badly affected the Glovers camp this week - and has just claimed Gary Johnson as it's latest victim - has also interfered with Spencer's trial at the club. Yeovil were hoping to have arranged a mid-week friendly to run the rule over the player, but levels of illness have meant that a game has been impossible to arrange up until now.

Better news is that both Colin Pluck and Olivier Brassart should have recovered from the flu virus to re-join the squad for Saturday's FA Trophy replay at Doncaster. Striker Kim Grant was substituted at half-time during Tuesday night's match v Doncaster with a hip problem - he's rated as 50/50 for the replay.

TALKING OF WEYMOUTH, THE chickens have very much come home to roost at the Wessex Stadium. It's now been revealed that the Terras are losing £5,000 a week, an unsustainable position. Director of Football Des Bulpin has left the club, non-contract players such as Nikolai Lund and Jason Rowbotham have been released and their entire contracted playing squad has been placed on the transfer-list following the players refusal to accept a 50 percent cut in wages across the board.

And talking of crisis clubs, could the chickens be about to start finding their way home to York Street? Er, not that York Street might be around for much longer, seeing as it seems the prospective new owners of Boston happen to be a property development company. Whilst the football club are going well on the field, off the field Boston's finances are a complete mess, with winding-up orders being issued and creditors up in arms - unsurprisingly, when the club continues to spend money on bringing in new players but not on paying debts. The nightmare scenario for the both the Conference and Boston fans would be for the club to win the championship - and then be refused promotion to the 3rd Division for failing the Football League's financial criteria. For the sake of the credibility of the rest of the Conference let's hope that such a scenario doesn't come to pass.

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Wed 20th February 2002
The Result No-One Wanted

IT WAS INEVITABLE IN hindsight. After three postponements the FA Trophy 4th Round tie between the Glovers and Doncaster Rovers finally got played at an appropriately wet and windswept Huish Park last night - and ended in a 1-1 draw to leave the result of the tie still unresolved and 5th Round opponents Canvey Island still waiting to see if they face a trip to Somerset or Yorkshire next Tuesday evening.

Yeovil dominated the first half yesterday evening but it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play, Paul Barnes netting on 16 minutes. The balance of the game was more even after the break with chances falling for both sides. Adam Stansfield, with his 9th goal in 15 appearances, grabbed the Glovers equaliser with 10 minutes left. The Ciderspace match report page is now online. The replay will be at Belle Vue this Saturday 23rd February, 3pm kick-off. Extra time and then penalties will decide the result should the scores be level after 90 minutes.

The winners will be at home to Ryman League promotion contenders Canvey Island in the 5th Round of the Trophy, match to be played next Tuesday evening, 26th February, 7.45pm kick-off.

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Sun 17th February 2002
Dutch Caps

The possible International fixture reported on this site on January 26th has now been confirmed. The England National Game XI will play Holland on Wednesday 24th April at Huish Park, kick off 7.30 pm. Further details can be found on the Official Site.

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Sun 17th February 2002
Making The Grade

It is that time of year again, when grey-suited committee men are in their element: counting washers, measuring the knee space in the directors' seating, and sniffing the ladies toilets (the last is a hobby rather than a requirement we suspect). Yep, it's Ground Grading Time.

Boston were inspected last week, and await the results to see if their drive for the Championship is wasted effort. Apart from perhaps a few cosmetic alterations and improvements we presume there will be no problems with York Street. Tomorrow it is the turn of Wincham Park to be examined for lead content in the paintwork and the height of door handles. Northwich Victoria have put aside £ 12,000 for the expected work that will be needed on turnstiles and floodlighting before they are allowed to groundshare with Witton Albion whilst their new ground is being built.

In the feeders to the Conference some of the contenders for promotion are facing a sweaty time as they try to meet the deadline of March 31st. In the Ryman outsiders Aldershot, in third place, have already got Conference grading, but the title really lies between Canvey Island and Gravesend & Northfleet. Gravesend have met the criteria and the Conference has confirmed their eligibility for promotion; but Canvey have terracing, turnstiles work on emergency exits to complete.
In the Unibond it is hard to see anyone catching Burton Albion. Their Eton Park ground already meets requirements. Giant Axe, home of second place Lancaster City, however has major shortfalls to upgrade in terracing, floodlighting, fencing, and that most important criteria of all as far as these committees seem to see it - the facilities for directors. Altrincham, a long way back but with sufficient games in hand for an outside challenge, have Conference grading as might be expected from a side so recently relegated.
The Dr. Martens is the most open race, with perhaps six clubs still feeling they are in it. Leaders Tamworth have around £ 100,000 worth of improvements on the go and are "hopeful" that they will meet the dealine. Kettering Town and Crawley Town, second and third respectively, are in the comfortable position of having Conference grading in place. However Tiverton Town who are on a great charge up to fourth have no chance of being eligible for promotion. Their meteoric rise since they left the Screwfix as recently as 1999 means that Ladysmead is a long way short of requirements - though any Yeovil fan who made it into their excellent clubhouse would say sod that, and welcome them in! Chairman Dave Wright has big plans to develop the ground, but it won't help them this season. Havant & Waterlooville in sixth place, but with useful games in hand if only they could recover their early season form, need only minor improvements to West Leigh Park. Our friends from the South coast managed to lose 7-1 to the mighty Moor Green on Saturday and look a spent force in the title race, but the Wessex Stadium supposedly meets the necessary standard - the only doubt being whether they will have a ground or any football club (such as it is) at all soon, such are the gloomy prognostications drifting on the wind from Weymouth way.

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Sun 17th February 2002
Mason's Rules Are A Mystery To Everyone

BOTH YEOVIL AND DAGENHAM & Redbridge came to play a game of football in front of the biggest crowd of the season at Huish Park yesterday afternoon, 4,458, and just about managed to accomplish that aim in an exciting 3-3 draw despite yet another dreadful performance from the man in the middle - this time the hapless and hopeless Mr Mason of Bolton - valiantly aided and abetted by his equally hapless and hopeless assistants. Nine players booked (count 'em!) in a game that barely featured one bad tackle is a joke, but nobody here is laughing; the constant stop-start nature of the game thanks to the officials whistling and flag-waving prevented what could have been a classic contest really taking off, and the final straw for home fans came in the second half when an Olivier Brassart strike following a corner was ruled out, apparently for offside (how can you be offside from a corner?), though it was difficult to be sure exactly why.

The Glovers were forced into 3 changes before the game, Tonkin, Pluck and Thompson succumbing to a virus sweeping the Yeovil camp and being replaced by White, Skiverton and Way respectively. The Glovers opened the scoring on 24 minutes with a Michael McIndoe header, the visitors equalising through Steve West 5 minutes later. Adam Stansfield restored Yeovil's advantage on 30 minutes. Daggers equalised through Lee Goodwin just after half-time,and then came Brassart's controversial ruled-out effort, which would have put Yeovil 3-2 up had it been allowed to stand. Instead it was the visitors who took the lead on 79 minutes through the inevitable Mark Stein, with super-sub Chris Giles rescuing a point for the Glovers with 5 minutes remaining. The Ciderspace match report page is now online.

If you're serious about winning the league you simply have to win your home games: Two more dropped points at home yesterday illustrated neatly why Yeovil will fall slightly short this season. Doncaster gained ground on the top three with a 1-0 home win over Margate. All eyes now will be on Sky Sports tomorrow night when 2nd-placed Boston entertain lower-mid-table minnows Hereford United. Never thought I'd say this, but "Come on you Bul..." no, sorry, can't finish that sentence.

Top of the table, 17th February 2002
Home Away
Team P W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1. Dagenham & Redbridge 27 7 6 2 24 17 8 4 0 27 15 55
2. Boston United 26 8 3 2 34 14 8 3 2 22 12 54
3. Yeovil Town 31 4 6 5 22 24 10 4 2 31 19 52
4. Doncaster Rovers 29 6 5 3 26 18 6 7 2 22 12 48
5. Southport 31 7 6 3 28 17 4 6 5 10 13 45

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Fri 15th February 2002
Volunteers Needed For Sunday!

THE FOLLOWING PIECE COMES from the club's official website:

The club are asking for volunteers to help re-lay the new covers on the pitch on Sunday, following tomorrow's home match v Dagenham, to help ensure next Tuesday's FA Trophy 4th Round match v Doncaster Rovers goes ahead as scheduled.

Volunteers are asked to attend Huish Park at 3pm on Sunday (17th Feb). Obviously the more people that attend, the quicker the work will be done - it's estimated that if 20 people turn up it should take around an hour to an hour-and-a-half to completely cover the pitch.

Please don't leave it to someone else - if you are free on Sunday afternoon and want to help get the Doncaster match played then the club will be grateful for your assistance. If you are able and willing to help, please email Shaun Small at the club to let him know you'll be coming, or pop into the club offices before or after the game tomorrow and inform the staff there.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

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Thurs 14th February 2002
Dig For Victory!

CLUB CHAIRMAN JOHN FRY has told supporters that the Huish Park pitch - the subject of huge criticism this winter - will be completely dug up and re-laid in the summer in an effort to cure the problems caused by waterlogging once and for all.

Speaking to the Western Gazette Fry said the cost of the project would come to around £200,000, of which the Glovers - providing grant money from the Football Foundation was approved - would have to contribute around 35 per cent of the total, or around £70 - 80,000. Representatives from the Football Foundation will visit Huish Park within the next fortnight to see the state of the pitch for themselves and the club are seeking quotes from construction companies who have experience in curing problem pitches.

"The people who laid the pitches at places like Charlton, Ipswich and Birmingham will give us a quote of the cost of doing our pitch and drains from top to bottom," Fry said to the Gazette. "That is the answer and long-term solution. Work has to start on May 1st so we have to put the order in as quickly as possible. The grass will need 3 months to grow and it will mess up our pre-season friendly arrangements."

The future of the reserve team's participation in the Screwfix Direct League next season may also be in doubt, at least from their Huish Park base, with Fry admitting that the club are "seriously having to consider" their position in regard to home league games. The chairman went on to say, "The pitch is a priority and the board is aware of the need for a good playing surface. I know the supporters want a supporters bar and they have formed a committee for that. But I know I'm correct in saying they would all say the priority is the pitch. If we want to go for the Championship next season we have got to really focus on doing the job."

It's good to see that the club recognise that the pitch has to be made the priority for spending money on, but forgive us for being slightly skeptical - we've been here before. Nearly a year ago Mr Fry made the following statement to the club's official website: "We've signed up with a contractor for the work to be done over the summer, which will be a big improvement to the drainage and will undo the problems that we've got and also to refurbish the playing surface. It's being done with a specialist contractor from Hook, near Basingstoke. We've agreed terms with them and that will put the pitch out of commission between the middle of May and the middle of July. It's a big problem because there needs to be drainage on the outside of the stadium to take the water away as well as on the inside of the stadium. It's a 180,000 pound problem!" The intentions were doubtless good at the time and we understand that the work would have gone ahead had a grant not unexpectedly been refused at the last minute. Nevertheless, such work that was eventually done has in hindsight certainly not improved the situation and may even have made the pitch even worse! The road to success is a rocky one and good intentions on their own won't get the job done. Let us hope that this time around grants required are approved on time, all monies are in place and that work on digging up the Huish Park swamp does indeed begin on May 1st.

BACK TO MORE IMMEDIATE concerns anyway and the little matter of this weekend's six-pointer when the Glovers entertain 2nd-placed Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday. The Daggers relatively poor recent run continued on Tuesday evening when they could only draw 1-1 at home to struggling Hayes, who had their goalkeeper sent off early in the second half. The result left the Essex club, like leaders Boston, 3 points ahead of Yeovil and still with 4 games in hand - nothing less than a win will do for the Glovers on Saturday.

Speaking to the Yeovil Express, manager Gary Johnson said, "Whoever hits championship winning form between now and the end of the season will win the league and deservedly so. We've had to hit winning form to get where we are now with the performances at places like Hayes and Morecambe, but we've now got to start afresh and do it all over again starting with Dagenham on Saturday."

The Glovers boss appealed for the fans to turn out in force on Saturday, saying: "We have had our 2,500 to 3,000 supporters who have stuck with us through thick and thin all season. Now what I would like to see is that extra 1,000 or so, because to have them would really be like having an extra man."

A CORRECTION TO A story from last week: On Saturday 9th February we reported on the plans for a new social club at Huish Park, giving it's proposed location as the back of the away terrace - in actuality we now understand that we were misinformed, the proposed location is in fact at the back of the Bartlett Stand. It's hoped that an announcement will follow from the steering committee in charge of the project within the next week or so.

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Thurs 14th February 2002
Poole Makes Loan Deal Permanent

THE CLUB HAS ANNOUNCED that 21-year-old midfielder Glenn Poole, who has just completed a loan spell at Ford United, has now signed a permanent deal with the Ryman League Division One promotion contenders. It's not thought that a fee was involved.

Glenn, who first came to Huish Park in 1999 from the Spurs youth set-up, was out-of-contract at the end of the season. A prolific scorer for the reserves, he made a total of 31 appearances for the first team, scoring 3 times. The best of luck to him at his new club.

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Sun 10th February 2002
Shrimps Potted

SOMETHING HAD TO GIVE yesterday when the Glovers took on high-flying Morecambe at Christie Park - it was a showdown between the team with the best home record in the Conference this season versus the team with the best away record in the Conference this season, and it was the visitors who emphatically came out on top with a superb 5-1 victory.

Perhaps the scoreline flattered the Glovers a little, but the consensus from the travelling faithful was that this was Yeovil's best performance so far this season and it now seems that the luck in front of goal which had completely deserted the side at the start of the season has now come back in spades. The Glovers scorers yesterday were Michael McIndoe, Kim Grant with a brace, Lee Johnson and Adam Stansfield; the ytfc.net match report can be found by clicking here.

Eleven unbeaten league games in a row for the Glovers after yesterday's result then, seven of those straight wins. Yeovil consolidate their hold on 3rd place in the table and are now only 3 points behind leaders Boston, whose game at Scarborough was postponed yesterday, and 2 points behind 2nd-placed Dagenham who beat Farnborough 2-1 at home. Both Boston and Daggers still have what seem to be hundreds of games in hand over the Glovers however - the destiny of the title is still very much in both of those teams hands.

Doncaster Rovers are also still keeping pace with the top 3 in 4th spot after their 2-0 win at Forest Green Rovers yesterday - if Donny win both their games in hand then they will overtake Yeovil with a superior goal difference. By coincidence Doncaster are the next visitors to Huish Park this coming Tuesday evening when the teams attempt to play their outstanding FA Trophy 4th Round tie after two previous postponements for a waterlogged pitch. The good news is the club have invested in a cover for the pitch to protect it from the rain (see news story below), the bad news is that heavy rain is forecast over the next couple of days in the Somerset area. Will the match be on? Let's hope so....

Top of the table, 9th February 2002
Home Away
Team P W D L F A W D L F A Pts
1. Boston United 26 8 3 2 34 14 8 3 2 22 12 54
2. Dagenham & Redbridge 25 7 5 2 23 16 8 3 0 24 12 53
3. Yeovil Town 30 4 5 5 19 21 10 4 2 31 19 51
4. Doncaster Rovers 28 5 5 3 25 18 6 7 2 22 12 45
5. Southport 30 6 6 3 26 17 4 6 5 10 13 42

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Sat 9th February 2002
New Social Club Back On The Agenda?

MORE ON THE GLOVERS stunning 5-1 win at Morecambe to follow later, but it emerged today that plans for a badly-needed brand new social club are back on the agenda for Huish Park.

The need is obvious: The current facility is far too small and is inaccessible to a whole section of supporters, including away fans. The club is losing thousands and thousands of pounds a season to local pubs and clubs because the facilities as they stand at Huish Park are totally inadequate.

Plans for a new supporters bar first emerged last year, focusing on the possibility of building a facilty behind the Westland Stand, but never got beyond the discussion stage - and then appeared to be quietly dropped. Sources now say that the plans are to be revived, but with some major differences.

The new plans are for a fully-fledged social club with all the facilities one would expect from a top-notch club, rather than a simple bar as was planned previously. The location has changed too, from behind the Westland Stand to the back of the current away terrace. The cost has been estimated at approximately £200,000 to £250,000 - it's hoped that a large part of this sum can be taken up by inviting bids from breweries interested in supplying or perhaps even sponsoring the facility; the rest raised by supporters and supporters groups as with the Erection 2000 fund. An announcement is expected soon, watch this space.....

In other news, the club has invested in a semi-permeable cover for the pitch in an effort to prevent further postponements from bad weather, particularly heavy rain. The cover, which apparently covers 70% of the pitch, allows light through but keeps water out according to the club's official site and while it won't cure the underlying problems with the pitch it will hopefully enable the club to get games played which otherwise would have been postponed.

Encouragingly it seems that the club are planning to take drastic action (and spend some serious money) in the summer, chairman John Fry telling the official site, "This is a short term solution and is the only thing we can do to stop us from losing matches and revenue. The club is currently exploring options for a long term solution that will be implemented over the summer but this is a problem that has been with us since the ground opened. It will probably cost between £150,000 to £200,000 to solve the problem and with the type of football that Gary Johnson's teams play it is essential to have a good playing surface."

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Thurs 7th February 2002
Stansfield Extends Contract

STRIKER ADAM STANSFIELD HAS become the latest member of the Yeovil Town squad to sign an extended contract, tying him to the club - like the rest of the players recently signed up - until the end of the 2002-2003 season. Speaking to today's Western Gazette Stansfield said, "When I first signed the manager told me I had 6 months to prove myself, so to be given a year-and-a-half contract after only 3 months, I am really proud of myself and how quickly I have managed to do it.... I have managed to keep up from the start and I am really enjoying the lifestyle. But my main aim is to keep improving and I certainly will not be resting on my laurels."

Manager Gary Johnson commented: "Since the day he [Stansfield] came into the team he has kept his place. He deserved a new contract and now he knows where he will be for the next couple of seasons so he can settle down. I have been a little bit surprised by him but he has backed our judgement and bringing him in has also coincided with the lads hitting a bit of form. As a striker he is different to what we already had and his workrate is phenomenal. I have never worked with a striker who can physically work as hard as he does and he will only get better the more he trains."

The local press reports that Johnson is still looking around for new players to bring into the squad. Frome Town striker Giuseppe Sorbara recently spent a week training at Huish Park and has now gone on to do the same thing with Bristol Rovers; and according to the Yeovil Express both Johnson and player-coach Steve Thompson went to spy on south coast minnows Weymouth last weekend, with 20-goal striker Lee Phillips said to be their main topic of interest.

In team news for this Saturday's potential six-pointer at 5th placed Morecambe, midfielder Darren Way is expected to return to the squad, which will mean one of the squad on duty for the 2-2 home draw v Forest Green dropping out. "I am discussing with the staff who needs a game in the reserves rather than travelling to Morecambe and not being involved," Gary Johnson told the Gazette. Roy O'Brien will make his comeback game following his recovery from a broken leg for the reserves at Bideford on Saturday, and Jon Sheffield will also resume his comeback with the second-string after needing 12 stitches having been kicked in the head at a friendly fixture v Exeter last week. Following on from last week's speculation concerning the future of midfielder Glenn Poole it now seems that the player is set to link up permanently with Ryman League Division One side Ford United, where he is currently on loan.

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Mon 4th February 2002
Donny Game Is Off - Again

TOMORROW EVENING'S FA TROPHY 4th Round clash with Doncaster Rovers has been postponed for the second time following 72 hours of rain, rain and yet more rain. The match has now been rearranged for a week next Tuesday at Huish Park, 12th February 2002, 7.45pm kick-off.

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Mon 4th February 2002
Home Internationals Revisited

FOLLOWING ON FROM YESTERDAY'S news story (see below) about the revival of the Home International Tournament for non-league players, the following press release has been issued by the Welsh FA:

Four Nation's Semi-Professional Tournament

The Football Association of Wales is pleased to announce that it will be taking part in a Four Nation's semi-professional Tournament in May 2002. The tournament will be hosted by England and will comprise teams also from Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.

The proposed schedule of matches is as follows: -

Tuesday, 14 May
England v Wales
Scotland v Republic of Ireland

Thursday, 16 May
England v Republic of Ireland
Scotland v Wales

Saturday, 18 May
Republic of Ireland v Wales
England v Scotland

The venues for the above matches will be publish at a later date.

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Mon 4th February 2002
Yeovil Or Donny To Face Holders In FAT5

EITHER YEOVIL OR DONCASTER ROVERS will face current holders Canvey Island at home in the 5th Round of the FA Trophy following this morning's draw. Canvey are currently 2nd in the Ryman Premier League, 1 point behind leaders Gravesend.

The full draw is as follows, ties to be played on Saturday 23rd February (Conference teams in bold):

Barnet or Scarborough v Morecambe
Gravesend & Northfleet or Hendon v Mangotsfield United or Stalybridge Celtic
Margate v North Ferriby United or Braintree Town
Stevenage Borough v Forest Green Rovers
YEOVIL TOWN or Doncaster Rovers v Canvey Island
Farnborough Town or Burton Albion v Woking
Chester City or Solihull Borough v Hereford United or Hampton & Richmond Borough
Northwich Victoria v Telford United

Heavy rain since Saturday's postponement has left tomorrow's rearranged 4th Round tie at home to Doncaster in severe doubt again - it's too early as yet to have definite word from the club, but given today's rainfall already and with more forecast it would seem highly unlikely that the tie will be played tomorrow evening as the pitch is already saturated. If the tie is postponed again it will almost certainly be rearranged to Tuesday 12th February, 7.45pm kick-off, though this has yet to be confirmed officially.

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Sun 3rd February 2002
You're The Manager Sacked

The show that according to Stevenage Borough chairman Phil Wallace was going to revolutionize the relationship between the media and football, put the Conference into the living room of every home in the land, make Stevenage famous throughout the known Universe and possibly cure all the diseases in the World is....... off.

Always a controversial idea because of the interactive element, which was already being watered down some weeks ago, yet again Mr. Wallace gives the appearance of someone who can't resist trumpeting news as signed and sealed long before the i's have been dotted and the t's crossed. One of the prime motivators behind the play-offs fiasco, this is now the second egg-on-face embarrassment of his season. Once may be excusable, twice is smacking of carelessness.

The Stevenage Official Site quotes Wallace on the collapse of You're The Manager thus: "The 6 week series would have raised the profile of the Conference to a level never seen before, but I understand the concerns of the competition and fully support any decision made. The Conference has 22 members and if our fellow clubs are not happy with the detail of this series, we'll respect that. This episode is over now but Stevenage Borough are a progressive club and will always be prepared to look over the edge to see what's out there. It's my belief that interactivity between fans and clubs will continue to force it's way into football at all levels and sooner or later somebody will do this. We could have been the first and it's been very exciting having TV cameras here for 3 months, but we'll get on with our lives now and continue to try and improve our league position and endeavoring to reach the final of the FA Trophy."

It is possible that the series will be replaced by a one-off documentary on Stevenage Borough. There is a lot of footage already in the can as the cameras have been following them since before Christmas and............ nah, don't bother C4, we've already fallen asleep.

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Sun 3rd February 2002
Remember The Home Nations?

Fans of a certain age will remember the Home International Tournament: an annual affair where no one cared about anything except trying to beat England, and the whole of Scotland was drunk dry on the rare occasions they defeated the auld enemy. The full competition ended in the mid-eighties, and the match against the Jocks a few years later. That was at Senior level. At the semi-professional level there was often talk of having a similar competition, but the closest achieved was a Four Nations tournament between England, Scotland, and amateur Dutch side and Under 21s from Italy's Serie C, which lasted from 1979 to 1987.

Since then the semi-pro International arena has seen only a couple of one-off games each season. Now however a proper competition is being planned. Between the end of the domestic season and the start of the World Cup in June the 'Home' Nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Republic of Ireland will play in a tournament. The F.A. is currently in discussions with Conference and Third Division clubs to sort out venues. Don't expect any matches at Huish Park if they have seen our pitch though.

England, or should we say the ridiculously named England National Game XI, will prepare for the tournament with a fixture against an American representative side. The United States team will be made up of players from the United Soccer League, and the match is scheduled for Wednesday March 20th at The Stevenage Stadium, Broadhall Way.

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Sun 3rd February 2002
End Of A Beautiful Friendship?

Ex-Yeovil Town manager Colin Lippiatt has expressed bitterness over the way long-time colleague and friend Geoff Chapple "looked after his own interests" when Lippiatt was sacked by Woking two weeks ago. The friendship between the two goes back over twenty years, and both are on frequent record as saying they had spoken every day since then, even when their career paths saw them at different clubs.

Big Col says he now regrets advising the Woking board to bring Geoff Chapple back into football, when it appeared no one else was interested in giving the man popularly known as the BFG a job months after his sacking by Kingstonian at the end of last season.
"The club say I was sacked because of results, so if that is the case surely Geoff, as manager, should have gone too? Results have got worse since he came."
"If the roles had been reversed and Geoff had been sacked I would have quit in protest."

Lippiatt also revealed that the arrival of Chapple had cost him financially. Another former Yeovil figure may be having a cynical chuckle at the way events have turned out. Kevan Brown, assistant manager at Woking when the move to bring back Chapple was made, was cast aside without ceremony, although there is little sign from Colin that he sees the irony: "It meant my assistant manager Kevan Brown had to go. His wages were added to mine and the total was split between Geoff and myself, so I was taking a substantial pay cut."

Lippiatt gave up his job to go full-time with Woking last year, but has now returned to his former employment. He says he will not return to a full-time post in football again, and that the Conference has lost him for good: "There are so many politics involved, and the pressures on managers at this level are enormous." However he is already looking to get back into the game at a lower level, and reports suggest that he has submitted his C.V.to Aldershot following the resignation of George Borg last Thursday. The game without Colin's trainers would be a poorer place, but the 'Sh*ts?! Don't do it Col.........

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Fri 1st February 2002
Donny Match Is Off

TO NO-ONE'S SURPRISE, tomorrow's FA Trophy 4th Round match v Doncaster Rovers has been postponed beause of a waterlogged pitch. The match has been rearranged for this coming Tuesday 5th February, 7.45pm kick-off

Better news for Gary Johnson this morning: Yeovil's boss has been named as Conference Manager of the Month following an unbeaten run in January when his team picked up 10 points out of a possible 12 in the league and won away at Tiverton in the FA Trophy. Congratulations to Gary, well deserved!

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Last Updated 28th February 2002


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