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Thurs 29th June 2000
Local Press Review

Glovers 'one player short' is the worrying headline in this week's edition of the Western Gazette, with reporter Steve Cotton suggesting that according to manager Dave Webb, Yeovil are only one player away from the team that will start the new Conference season on August 19th. Manfully refraining from pointing out that Conference football is 11-a-side, not 5-a-side, the Gazette quotes the manager as saying, "I feel I have got a team which is maybe one player short of the team I will pick for the first game, and a team that is a winning team. I will not be going out and signing a dozen players." Right, pass the revolver and that bottle of scotch, we are clearly doomed. But wait, what's this?

Why, it's nothing less than Steve 'Smiling' Sowden's Yeovil Express, with the headline, Webb about to make his move. According to the normally downbeat Express the Yeovil manager is 'refreshed and raring to go', and on the verge of signing 'the half-a-dozen or so players he needs'... This time Webb is quoted as saying, "A number of players will be coming in for a few days during training so that I can have a look at them and I will tell them I have got some contracts waiting in the drawer. I'm not going to reveal any names at the moment but I am talking to a number of players and I will let you know about them once I've got some definite news." So there we have it, as clear as mud. With such mixed messages coming out of Huish Park it's no wonder fans are confused...

The Express reports on forgotten man Murray Fishlock's battle to recover from the back injury that threatens his career in football, with David Webb saying, "He (Murray) is still seeing specialists but I have left the door open to him. If he wants to prove his fitness then he can and I will keep the door open to him as long as I possibly can because I gave him my word. He's a lovely lad and I understand he's a decent player as well. The club has stood by him, but I wouldn't want to do anything which might jeopardise his health."

This week's edition of the Clarion 2000 concentrates mainly on the proposed shake-up in the boadroom at Huish Park, claiming that '90% of the board have agreed in principle to the proposed restructuring [but] no final changes had been made yet.' According to the Express last week's board meeting to discuss the proposals was not attended by all board members as some were away on holiday or had prior engagements; another meeting of the full board has now been scheduled for July. Chairman John Fry is again quoted in all papers as insisting that there is no boardroom split over the proposals, whatever they actually are - once again none of the papers have any concrete details about what they actually entail, although the Express suggests that they will give absolute control of the club to money-men Norman Hayward and Jon Goddard-Watts. Fry says in the Express, "We need the money in place now for the football side to allow us to give our full support to the manager and we also need the finance to improve the Huish Park stadium, including the building of the roof over the new terrace. We need to make sure the cash is in place so we can start the season in a comfortable financial situation rather than starting it without any money."

Finally, the Express reports that the club is looking at ways in which it can maximise income outside of football and one idea currently being considered is the possibility of putting a large social club bar for supporters on the ground floor at Huish Park, helping to alleviate congestion which occurs in the small first floor bars. Many supporters would argue that such a move is long overdue - although local pub landlords may disagree!

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John Fry Speaks To Non-League Paper

Last Sunday's Non-League Paper carried a rare article on Yeovil Town - their first article on The Glovers since the first edition of the paper - where they interviewed Chairman John Fry about the lack of signings at Huish Park this summer. Unusually titled Yeovil Back Webb and sub-titled Chairman plans boardroom shake-up, the author Colin Mafham amusingly describes manager David Webb as "under-fire" and describes the dreaded "vote of confidence" as being given to Webb by Fry.

Whether the NLP have completely mis-judged the mood at Huish Park, or whether there genuinely are people calling for Webb's head already away from the internet, it is difficult to say. However, if there is a mood of unrest amongst supporters, it is purely down to the question of whether Webb has got the money to do a good job, not whether he is professionally capable of doing it. It would not be the first time the NLP have got their facts wrong, but the article still makes for interesting reading. Thanks to the typing fingers of Huge Huish Hugh this is the article, reproduced in full:

Yeovil Town have given under-fire manager Davis Webb a public vote of confidence. And at the same time chairman John Fry unveiled plans for a boardroom shake-up to give Webb the backing to help steer the Somerset side into the Football League.

Fry acted to quell unrest among fans at Webb's inactivity in the transfer market and speculation about the club's willingness to pay the wages needed to fund a full-time squad.

With Webb on a three-week holiday [which he has since returned from - Ed] and supporters pointing at rival managers' signings, the chairman went public to assure his former Chelsea, Torquay and Brentford boss that he has a future at Huish Park.

"We selected a manager here who will take us up to Third and Second Division football," Fry insisted. "You have got to have faith in people around you and I have every confidence in David Webb. He has my 100 per cent support and I am not going to put him under any pressure."

"We want the best here and our mission is to get this club into Nationwide League football as soon as possible. We have a budget that is in the top six in the league and David is being proactive in carrying out the policies of the board. It is unfair to say that nothing is happening."

"We're not stupid enough to put out a team that can't compete in the Conference, but we're a business, not a charity. David Webb knows who he wants and is determined that whoever comes in must be committed to the club."

"Wages have gone up 50 per cent over the past two years and we have been paying part-time players full-time wages. David knows it is a recipe for disaster to pay ludicrous money. Now we want players with real ambition."

Fry's pledge came after two players from nearby Dr Martens Premier Dorchester Town turned down a move to Yeovil claiming the pay wasn't good enough. Midfielder Martyn Sullivan signed for Conference rivals Forest Green and striker Danny O'Hagan opted to stay in Dorset because he couldn't afford to move to Huish Park.

The chairman also urged fans to speak to him rather than moan behind the manager's back. "I'm here seven days a week and my door is always open," he promised. "I won't duck any questions - we're a club that listens to its supporters."

Then he revealed plans for a new board structure aimed at reinforcing the drive towards the Football League next season. "As a board we realise a football club is no different from any other form of business - it must be run in a professional way. For that reason I have asked the directors for their views on a new structure."

The board will make a decision on the way forward "to give the club its best chance of achieving Football League status" within the next month said Fry.

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Thurs 22nd June 2000
Local Press Review

This week's editions of the local press have little solid news to carry, but all offer hints that big changes could be on the way at boadroom level at Huish Park.

Fat Harry in the Clarion 2000 gets the ball rolling by suggesting that existing board members will be asked to stand down and apply for re-election, though as the Rotund Harold himself admits, quite how this possible move could offer the so-called 'investment group' more security was not quite clear and at the time of going to press no firm indications for or against this proposal could be obtained by the paper.

Meanwhile, the Western Gazette reverts back to its usual cautious self after last week's outbreak of skepticism by putting the news of any possible boadroom changes, including a quote from John Fry claiming that this will be "the biggest change in Yeovil Town's history" into a small paragraph of it's own away from the paper's main story, which claims that Rushden & Diamonds interest in Yeovil striker Warren Patmore is now at an end following the Northamptonshire club's smashing the Conference transfer record with their £180,000 buy of Justin Jackson from Morecambe.

Ex-West Bromwich Albion manager Brian Talbot is quoted as saying, "We have just signed Justin Jackson and we already have a lot of very good strikers at the club... ...Patmore is not a player we are looking at at the moment." Readers may be tempted to judge how credible the ex-West Bromwich Albion manager's words are by examining this next quote from Mr Talbot in the Gazette: "Yeovil are a very good side, no doubt about that... ...They have a great chance of mounting a challenge... ...they will be among the favourites in my book." Say no more, Brian!

The Gazette quotes chairman John Fry as saying, "On transfer deadline day we received a £90,000 bid for Patmore from Rushden. We could have taken the money and ran - but David Webb wanted to take a look at the player. We will not be tempted to sell our best players by clubs waving money under our nose." That will be a first then.... The Gazette reports that manager Dave Webb is due back from holiday on Monday, with Fry saying, "On his return we will sign up players and ensure the club have a team capable of competing with the best." The best in the Conference one hopes, not the Screwfix League...

And so on to the Yeovil Express which has its own take on the boadroom changes, suggesting that the new structure at the club will give the major investors, Jon Goddard-Watts and Norman Hayward, virtual complete control. John Fry is again quoted extensively, saying of the two wealthy directors, "They have said to me that thay are prepared to back the plans with money. These are the people who are prepared to invest into this club, but they want the security. There is no hidden agenda. We want to push on up, but it is going to take money and money talks."

The Express says that if the boardroom changes do come about then plans to improve the stadium, including the roof over the home terrace, should come to fruition. In an intriguing quote Fry goes on to say, "There will obviously be some directors who will feel aggrieved about the changes, but there are others who will say that it is about time what we are doing... ...I'm not stepping down as chairman. The people who have the majority of the shares have asked me to stay. But I won't be staying on for another three years unless the plans have been delivered. I've been chairman for five years and I think we have come a long way in that time, but football has got to the stage now where you need a large amount of money to do the job."

In other news from the Express, it's that man again as John Fry urges fans' to "keep the faith" despite the lack of transfer activity, saying "The message to the fans is that they shouldn't worry. David Webb knows what he is doing. Last season Colin Lippiatt went out and got players very early on in the summer, this time David is taking his time. David is very experienced and he knows what players he would like to bring in." In this writer's humble opinion it isn't so much who Mr Webb would like to sign that's the problem, it's whether he can afford to offer sensible wages. When players of the calibre of Danny O'Hagan - who, let's face it, has hardly set the world on fire previously - are turning us down, citing poor wages as the reason why, then one is entitled to be slightly skeptical. The paper also reports that reserve team midfielder Leon Hapgood has now left Huish Park after failing to make a first team impression, joining Screwfix League rivals Taunton Town.

Finally, Express sports editor Steve Sowden offers up an in-depth report on the Euro 2000 tournament, but anyone expecting eye-witness comments on the games and atmosphere from Belguim or Holland will be disappointed as the nearest our hero got to the action was... the Armoury public bar. And they say journalists have a hard life...

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Thurs 15th June 2000
Local Press Review - The Gazette

How much are the Western Gazette paying reporter David Coates these days, I wonder? Not that I really want to know, but whatever it is, he's earning it! The sports pages of today's paper are dominated by The Boy Coates, or Action Man as he's otherwise known and that's no bad thing either as a welcome dose of skepticism returns to the Gazette's pages (although we will draw a veil over TBC's eforts to play croquet, of all sports).

Targetman snubs poor wage offer is the main back-page headline along with the totally unsurprising news that Dorchester striker Danny O'Hagan has turned down Yeovil's offer of full-time football, saying, "The money I was offered by Yeovil was not enough for me to move up there and survive. I would have had to live in digs and scrape a living, something I would prefer not to do." So that's two Dorchester players who have turned offers from Yeovil down this week now, yet chairman John Fry is still insisting that the future is bright at Huish Park.

The Gazette quotes Fry as saying, "When we brought in David Webb we worked out a budget which he thought he could work with - it is in the top six budgets in this league. When David first came here he told me, 'I know what I am doing. The fans might get a bit panicky to start with but stick by me and I will build a succesful club to go into the future.' He did not come here to move the club backwards. This is his last big footballing adventure - I am confident he will do the job."

"It is like being in the dentists chair having a tooth out - you feel a lot of pain to start with but after the pain subsides you feel a lot better. We could have dived in and spent £100,000 on a player who turned out to be no better than someone we could have got for next to nothing.

"The list of released players from the PFA has only just come out, and I know David is already looking at it on the internet from his holiday in Portugal. He knows the players he wants, and I am sure he will get them. We are not being left behind by our rivals, in fact we are streets ahead of many of them. When you look at clubs like Scarborough, who are losing thousands of pounds every week, our position is one of the soundest in the league."

Phew, that's alright then. The fact that we evidently can't afford to attract two players from Dorchester - not previously thought of as the highest payers in west country football - is presumably irrelevant. Although it's hard to square the chairman's claim that Yeovil are in the "top six budgets" in the Conference, with the facts that two Dorchester players have turned us down over low wages, as well as Jamie Pitman who it's rumoured is receiving more money on a part-time basis at Woking than he was offered on a full-time basis at Yeovil! The only hope can be that David Webb has been keeping his powder dry and saving the club's money until he is in a position to sign higher quality players from the released list. And obviously those higher quality players will be prepared to wait until he returns from holiday in a couple of weeks to sign for us....

It's encouraging to learn that David Webb has internet access on holiday. Perhaps he will read this and recognise that despite the warm words from his chairman, fans are now seriously concerned about the direction this football club is going in. Even the Gazette is now worried, with a long and thoughtful leader article from Action Man detailing the problems at Huish Park and calling on the board to back the manager with enough cash to aim for promotion. Judging by today's Gazette, it's going to be a long hot summer.

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Wed 14th June 2000
Local Press Review - The Clarion

The disadvantage of publishing a clear 2 days before your competitors is that occasionally one can miss out on news that comes along later in the week - expect this week's Clarion 2000 to be similarly disadvantaged on Thursday as the Gazette and Express publish pictures of Yeovil's new kit tomorrow, too late in the week for the Clarion to run them. However, publishing early also has its advantages - as Fat Harry shows this week with his exclusive news that the Yeovil board are to make sweeping changes to allow the investment of up to £1.5 million in the club.

According to the Clarion the major decisions at the club are at present taken by an executive committee. Chairman John Fry has now said that he wants the people providing the investment funds - directors Norman Heywood and John Goddard-Watts in the main, the so-called 'Investment Group' - to have far more say in how the money is spent and that it is necessary for fundamental change at boadroom level to accomplish that before any more money is invested. The paper doesn't go into detail as to how this change will be managed, nor what it entails, nor how the rest of the Yeovil board will react to the changes; but points out that with rumours of Yeovil's curent wage structure being simply too low to attract quality players spreading, the changes envisaged could be "just in time" to save the situation. Indeed, but sometimes the devil is in the detail...

In other news the Clarion reports that Mr Fry is to meet the designers of the proposed new home terrace roof next week, and it is hoped that positive news will be forthcoming then. The paper reveals that the administrative change from the Football Trust to the new Football Foundation, the body providing a grant of £168,000 towards the roof and other projects at Huish Park, has delayed the arrival of funds, though the actual grant itself is apparently not in doubt. Added to that the Somerset FA has now approved the club's new Centre Of Excellence for funding, and plans are still being made to attract a big club to Huish Park on Sat 8th August, the 10-year anniversary of the opening of Huish Park.

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Wed 14th June 2000
Reserves League Expanded, Les Phillips Cup Draw

Five new sides will compete in the Screwfix Western League next season - the competition which Yeovil Town Reserves compete in. The league is being expanded to include 20 clubs in both divisions, and with runners-up Mangotsfield being successfully elected to the Dr Martens Midland and West Division, this means that no sides will be relegated from the Premier Division. This allows First Division champions Devizes Town and runners up Welton Rovers to take the two vacant slots.

All five new sides will play in the First Division, and therefore are only likely to trouble the Glovers' Reserves in cup competitions. They are Cadbury Heath (Gloucestershire County League), Worle St John (Somerset Senior League), Team Bath (the University of Bath side for which Paul Tisdale is their Head Coach, and Ellis Wilmot plays regularly for), Bath City Reserves and finally Hallen (Hellenic Football League). Hallen's acceptance is conditional on some ground improvements being carried out by the end of the month.

The Screwfix League 2000-2001 Season starts on 12th August 2000 - one week earlier than the Nationwide Conference.

Meanwhile, the Preliminary and First Round draws for the Les Phillips Cup have been announced. Yeovil Town Reserves won the competition thirteen months ago, but went out to Backwell United in the first round last season.

The Glovers have received a bye in the Preliminary Round (due to be played on 4th November 2000) and join the competition four weeks later with a home tie against Pewsey Vale. Their opponents finished 14th in Division One last season, meaning that Yeovil should be favourites for the tie.

There is no exception from the Preliminary Round meaning that cup holders and FA Vase finalists Chippenham Town plus League Champions Taunton Town have to battle it out through an extra tie whilst three of the five newly elected sides receive automatic routes through to the First Round!

The full First Round draw, to be played on December 2nd, is as follows:

Barnstaple v Welton Rovers
Bideford v Chard Town
Bishop Sutton v Dawlish Town
Bridgwater Town/Calne Town v Minehead Town
Brislington v Bridport
Corsham Town v Melksham Town
Devizes Town/Frome Town v Bristol Manor Farm
Elmore v Odd Down/Taunton Town
Hallen v Chippenham Town/Warminster Town
IlfracombeTown/Cadbury Heath v Keynsham Town
Larkhall Athletic v Exmouth Town/Bath City Res
Street/Paulton Rovers v Team Bath
Wellington/Bitton v Torrington
Westbury United v Backwell United
Worle St Johns v Clyst Rovers
Yeovil Town Res v Pewsey Vale

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Tues 13th June 2000
Yeovil Miss Out On Sullivan

Yeovil Town have lost out on the chase to sign highly-rated Dorchester midfielder Martyn Sullivan.

The 25-year-old former Plymouth Argyle star, who had been with the Magpies for five years, has signed a two-year contract with Yeovil's nearest Conference side Forest Green Rovers.

As well as interest from the Glovers, Rovers boss Frank Gregan secured Sullivan's signing ahead of interest from Plymouth Argyle. Both Argyle and Yeovil had offered him a full-time contract.

David Webb had been reported as asking Sullivan to wait until after he returned from his holidays to make his decision, but it appears that the player was unwilling to risk missing out on the deal on offer at The Lawn.

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Mon 12th June 2000
Piper Signs A Two Year Deal

Right-back David Piper has signed a new part time contract with Yeovil Town that will tie him to the club until the end of the 2002 season.

Sources within the playing camp have told us that the 22 year old signed up around the time that manager David Webb commenced his holiday, although there has been no official confirmation of this via the club's Official Site.

The deal is expected to commit the former Southampton man to two days a week training with the rest of the full time squad.

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Sun 11th June 2000
O'Hagan Future Decided Soon

According to an article in the Dorset Echo Dorchester striker Danny O'Hagan has now definitely made up his mind to leave the Avenue Stadium - with either Yeovil or Weymouth as his final destination.

The paper quotes O'Hagan as saying, "The situation with Weymouth is that I've spoken to Andy Mason (Weymouth manager) a couple of times and I'm due to have another chat with him and that will probably be tonight. I've also talked things over with Dave Webb at Yeovil, and from that side I'm just waiting for him to come back with a finalised offer. But whatever the outcome of these conversations, things will need to be set into motion fairly quickly and I'd predict that I'll be in the position to make a decision within the next couple of days, with money and the prospects of success being the key factors."

O'Hagan became a free agent this summer after budget constraints forced Dorchester to offer him a new contract under reduced terms, which the striker rejected. He was the Magpies leading scorer last season and scored a total of 42 goals in just over 100 games for the Dorset club.

In the meantime BBC Ceefax is reporting that Yeovil have missed out on another of their transfer targets, with former Plymouth Argyle right-back Jon Ashton signing a contract with Exeter City, subject to a medical. Yeovil are still to sign a player on a permanent basis from outside the club since Dave Webb took over, with strong rumours suggesting that Webb is refusing to offer signing-on fees to players he is interested in. With signing-on fees now being part and parcel of post-Bosman Ruling football, Webb's policy clearly puts Yeovil at a competitive disadvantage, and once again backs up rumours of a substantially reduced playing budget.

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Fri 9th June 2000
Erection 2000 News

A reminder that the Erection 2000 Appeal Fund Committee, in conjunction with Westland Sports & Social Club in Yeovil, are holding a Las Vegas Night tomorrow evening, Saturday 10th June, with all the money raised going towards the Appeal goal, a roof over the home terrace at Huish Park.

The Las Vegas Night will be held on Saturday 10th June, from 8pm at Westlands Sports & Social Club. Tickets are priced at £15 and are still available to purchase.

In keeping with the Las Vegas theme, those wishing to have a bit of a flutter can have a go on the Roulette and Blackjack tables and have the chance to win prizes. In addition Tom Jones and Madonna tribute acts will be appearing during the evening along with Westlands resident DJ who will be on hand throughout the night for dancing, promotions, prizes and giveaways. And from midnight to 1:00am a full English breakfast will be available for those feeling hungry after a night's entertainment.

The £15 admission includes tickets for the gaming tables as well as the full breakfast.

Although recent reports have revealed that GKN Westland Helicopters have boosted the E2000 Appeal Fund with a £50,000 sponsorship deal, the work of the Erection 2000 Appeal Fund continues in trying to raise enough money to make sure the long awaited roof over the home terrace goes ahead.

The event has been organized by Westlands complex manager Ian Woodward and E2000 Treasurer John Hall. For more details of the Las Vegas Night phone the Westlands Sports & Social Complex at Westbourne Grove, Yeovil, on 01935 703810; or John Hall at John Hall Financial Services in Bond Street, Yeovil on 01935 472774; or Steve Sowden at the Yeovil Express, Princes Street. Yeovil on 01935 479811. Tickets are available from all three outlets.

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Local Press Review - The Clarion and The Express

This week's edition of the Yeovil Express leads with the headline 'Fry delighted about Shield place for Yeovil next season'; the story concentrating on the news that Yeovil, along with 7 other Conference clubs, look like being invited to compete in next season's Auto-Windscreens Shield competition. The Express quotes chairman John Fry as saying, "It has got to be cleared by the FA, but it's good news. That competition needs freshening up and this will do it, but it also gives us another decent competition to look forward to." In other general news the Express reports that the chairman still "hopes" that the new roof over the home terrace will go up "sooner rather than later", perhaps to coincide with a special friendly match yet to be arranged to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the building of Huish Park, sometime in the 2000-01 season.

Elsewhere in the Express, sports editor Steve Sowden compares the lack of transfer-market activity at Huish Park with other similarly-ambitious Conference clubs, citing Doncaster, Rushden, Nuneaton and Boston as examples of clubs actively recruiting players. Sowden points out that since Dave Webb took over in March, Yeovil have released Tony Pounder, Matt Hayfield, Kevan Brown, Steve Stott, Dean Chandler, Rob Cousins and Jamie Pitman [not to forget Paul Tisdale and Phil Simpson -ed] with the promise that they would be replaced with better players; yet with the exception of the promotion into the first team of promising reserve and youth team players, and the month long loan signing of Barrington Belgrave from Plymouth, no new faces have yet been forthcoming. Sowden goes on to complain about the lack of news coming from the club, observing that the club's telephone hotline hasn't been updated for over a month, that news on the club's official website has been scarce and that it has been difficult to contact the club's full-time manager on a day-to-day basis.

It seems however that the chairman is unworried by the many disquieting rumours flying around Yeovil these days. Talking about David Webb in the Express, Mr Fry says, "I have got absolute trust in this bloke. He is totally commited and he knows what he is doing. He looks upon this job as his last great adventure of trying to get Yeovil Town into the Nationwide League and beyond. It's his final challenge."

This week's edition of The Clarion takes a similar line to the Express (or should that be the other way around, seeing as the Clarion is published first!), with Fat Harry commenting on the lack of new signings, "With so many places still to be filled, is this just a tactical move by the club to get the players desperate and on the cheap or is it that all approaches so far have been turned down due to the pitifully low wages on offer?" Both the Clarion and the Express now seem resigned to losing striker Warren Patmore before the start of the season; the Express saying that 'most supporters' are coming to the conclusion that is 'only a matter of time before he leaves for pastures new', and the Clarion saying of Wazza, 'Logic would surely dictate that a big money move to Rushden must surely figure highly in the minds of the Yeovil hierarchy.' Although now that Rushden have signed Justin Jackson from Morecambe for a reported £180,000, perhaps their interest in the Yeovil forward will have abated somewhat?

Despite all the speculation surrounding him, plans for Wazza's testimonial are proceeding with The Clarion reporting that a Golf Day at Yeovil Golf Club is being looked at, featuring teams of local golfers supplemented with past and present Yeovil Town players; a dinner and dance and a Race Night, along with the main event, a friendly against a big name club. West Ham, Middlesboro, Blackburn and Birmingham City are amongst the teams being mentioned as possible opponents, though a final decision on a date and opponents has yet to be made.

It's not all gloom and doom in the freebies this week however. The Clarion cheers us up by saying that another youngster from the Tottenham Youth team, Stuart Thurgood, is reportedly entering into talks with the club (Glen Poole came to Huish Park via the same route) and, best of all, Fat Harry has at last finished his epic Season Review.... There is a God.

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Thurs 8th June 2000
"Psycho" Takes Over At Shaftesbury!

Former Yeovil Town defender Neil Coates was yesterday appointed as player manager of Dorset Combination side Shaftesbury.

The 32 year old left Dorchester Town last month after clocking up over 500 appearances for the Magpies and says in the Dorset Echo, "It's fantastic news and I'm really looking forward to the challenge. I said all along that I wanted to try my hand at management and this gives me the ideal opportunity. I'm a little bit nervous about the prospect, but I've played for some great managers in my time and I'm sure that if I ever needed their help or advice, I'd only have to pick up the phone."

Dorchester are still planning to honour Coates' testimonial committments which will include a forthcoming testimonian match against League opposition. The Yeovil player, who will be remembered for the goal that knocked Hereford United - then a Football League side - out of the FA Cup in 1992 adds, "Whatever happens, I'm going to enjoy myself and I'll certainly be giving the job everything I've got. It's a good set-up, run by good people, and I'm convinced that we can be very successful."

The Gillingham based player's testimonial benefits continue this Sunday at the Victoria Hotel, Dorchester, on June 11, at 6pm with an auction of football memorabilia. More than fifty items are up for grabs, including shirts signed by David Beckham, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Liverpool and England. Advance reserve prices can be made via the internet on the Dorchester Town Web Site, by going to their special auction page here.

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Local Press Review - The Gazette

Today's Western Gazette leads on the possibility of Dorchester Town's out-of-contract striker Danny O'Hagan signing for Yeovil (see news story below) alongside teammate Martyn Sullivan, though the paper claims that Sullivan is more likely to join Forest Green Rovers as he is unwilling to move into full-time football. The Gazette says that O'Hagan has been in talks with assistant boss Steve Thompson and that Yeovil is the striker's preferred choice of club. He is quoted as saying, "I want to make sure that what I get is enough for me to leave my job in Plymouth because I do not want to move up there and struggle to make ends meet." The striker has also been offered a part-time contract by Weymouth.

The Gazette also reports on the proposals reported below concerning allowing 8 Conference clubs into next season's Auto-Windscreens Shield, plus the possibility of increased promotion/relegation places between the Conference and Division Three.

John Fry's back from holiday! And with his return comes a new initiative! Except it's not new at all... On the 29th of July 1999, Mr Fry announced the formation of the Official Yeovil Town Supporters Association, a body intended to draw all the various supporters associations together, plus other groups using Huish Park on a regular basis, such as the Green and White Supporters Club (G&WSC), the Yeovil Town Independent Supporters Association (YTISA), hockey clubs, womens clubs and disabled groups. Such was the plan at the time at any rate, in the event it seemed to be quietly dropped and no more was heard about... Until now.

In today's Gazette the chairman has announced the formation of a similar body, except that this time around it is to be known as the Yeovil Town Official Supporters Club. Fry is quoted as saying: "All the official groups within the club will be represented within the group that will incorporate the Green and White Supporters Club and the sports clubs who use the facilities at Huish Park. The group will control any matters that concern supporters of the club, which includes the travel club, the Junior Glovers scheme, the ticketing for big match games and much more. They will be the official fans' voice."

No mention of the YTISA then in the participating groups this time around, despite them being the largest of the supporters organisations. It remains to be seen if this attempt will be any more succesful than last season's abortive effort to set up a similar group. Here at Ciderspace we're not holding our breath - nor do we see such a group retaining any credibility without the participation of the ISA.

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Shail Signs For Harriers

Yeovil Town have missed out on an opportunity to re-sign former favourite Mark Shail. According to the Official Kidderminster Harriers Web Site, Shail has favoured a move to the Conference Champions, and therefore the opportunity to extend his playing career in the Nationwide League.

Last month, Shail was released from Bristol City and The Glovers had hoped to lure him back with the prospect of rejoining the club he left seven years ago. But Shail also has roots in Worcestershire, having joined Yeovil from Worcester City in 1991, and this has doubtless influenced his decision, along with the opportunity to remain in League football.

The failure to tempt Shail to return to Huish Park leaves David Webb still waiting to make his first signing. Recent rumours have also linked Exeter City goalkeeper Jason Matthews - formerly of Taunton Town and Salisbury City - with the club, amongst other players. But even though Webb's assistant, Steve Thompson has reportedly been given authority to complete deals, it seems unlikely that any such signings will be made until Webb returns from his three week holiday, thereby running the risk that Matthews - like Shail - will find another club who requires his services.

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Tues 6th June 2000
2-Up/2-Down Could Be Coming - But Not Next Season

An article in Non League On The Net is claiming that the proposed increase in promotion/relegation places to 2-up/2-down between the Conference and Division 3 will be accepted by League chairmen - but that the change will not be made in time for next season, the 2001-2002 season being the more realistic time-frame. Divison 3 chairmen will be meeting to discuss the changes later this month.

NLOTN is also claiming that the top seven Conference sides from last season, plus the winners of the McMillan Trophy and the relegated Division 3 club from last season, will all receive invitations to enter the Auto Windscreens Shield next season, the midweek competition for current Division 2 and Division 3 sides, whose final has in the past been held at Wembley, although a new home will be required for the next few seasons due to Wembley being rebuilt.

The competition's sponsors plus the FA are still to approve the scheme according to NLOTN, but if it does go ahead then the clubs taking part will be: Rushden & Diamonds, Morecambe, Scarborough, Kingstonian, Dover, Yeovil Town, Doncaster Rovers (Macmillan winners) and Chester City (relegated), plus the automatically promoted Kidderminster Harriers.

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Conference Awards : Wazza in Team of the Season

Yeovil striker Warren Patmore has been picked in this season's Conference Team of the Season, according to an article on the Kidderminster Harriers Official Website. The annual awards, held on the 3rd June, were dominated by the promoted team with Kiddy picking up the Manager, Player and even Programme of the Season Trophies and supplying two of the Team of the Season. The awards in full:

Mail on Sunday Manager of the Year:
Jan Molby (Kidderminster Harriers)

Mail on Sunday Player of the Year:
Mike Marsh (Kidderminster Harriers)

Mail on Sunday Goalscorer of the Year:
Justin Jackson (Morecambe)

Mail on Sunday Programme of the Year:
Kidderminster Harriers

Mail on Sunday Team of the Year
Adam Sollitt (Kettering Town)

Tarkan Mustafa (Kingstonian - now Rushden & D)
Adie Smith (Kidderminster Harriers)
Ian Wright (Hereford United)
Paul Underwood (Rushden & D)

Mike Marsh (Kidderminster Harriers - now Southport)
Geoff Pitcher (Kingstonian)
Stewart Drummond (Morecambe)

Carl Alford (Stevenage Borough - now Doncaster R)
Justin Jackson (Morecambe)
Warren Patmore (Yeovil Town)

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Trig Goes To FGR, More Players Linked With Yeovil

Rob Cousins
Rob Cousins - signed for Forest Green Rovers
Former Yeovil Town midfielder/defender and current England semi-pro squad member Rob Cousins, controversially released by the Glovers at the end of the season, has signed for Conference rivals Forest Green Rovers, according to Forest Green Online, the official FGR website. Rob had been linked with many different clubs including Woking and Ryman Premier outfit Slough Town, but in the end opted to link up with former Glovers team-mate Dave Norton at Forest Green, the nearest Conference club to his Brislington home.

In other news there is more speculation about players being linked with Yeovil Town. Rumours surfacing last night suggested that former Plymouth Argyle youngsters Barrington Belgrave and defender Jon Ashton are on the verge of signing full-time deals at the club, though this has yet to be confirmed officially. And according to posts made to the Dorchester Town Fans Forum, highly rated Magpies midfielder Martyn Sullivan, now out of contract at the Avenue Stadium, will be playing in the Conference next season - though it's not yet clear at which club. The rumour is that Forest Green Rovers have made him an acceptable contract offer, but that the player is to wait for Yeovil manager Dave Webb to return from holiday and hold talks before he decides on his future. Watch this space.....

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Thurs 1st June 2000
Shail and Hewlett in Talks

According to BBC Ceefax Bristol City duo Matt Hewlett and Mark Shail are being linked with a move to Yeovil Town. The pair are out of contract at Ashton Gate and will not be offered new deals by the club.

Matt Hewlett : The Bristol born midfielder has reportedly attracted Dave Webb's interest
Matt Hewlett : The Bristol born midfielder has reportedly attracted Dave Webb's interest
Photograph © BUP/Chris Selby 2000
Ceefax add that Bristol born Hewlett has also been tipped for a move to America, with agents currently recruiting in this country. He is a 24 year old midfielder recruited through the club's youth team and stands at 6ft 2ins.

Hewlett had a short loan spell with Burnley in 1998 but otherwise The Robins have been his only club. He has made around 150 first team appearances for the Second Division side. He has represented England at Youth level, and was also selected for an England Under 21 party, although missed out on the final squad.

Central defender Shail is a far more familiar face to most at Huish Park, and the Ceefax report is strengthened by recent sightings of the Stockholm born 32 year old in Yeovil town centre.

Shail joined Bristol City from Yeovil Town on March 25th 1993 for an initial fee of £45,000 after a highly successful two year spell at Huish Park that saw him capped for England. He joined The Glovers from Worcester City in a £5,000 deal after being spotted by the late Brian Hall.

Mark Shail : Could the Ex-Huish Park favourite be on his way home?
Mark Shail : Could the Ex-Huish Park favourite be on his way home?
Photograph © BUP/T. Melville 2000
Following his move to Ashton Gate, Shail was heavily linked to a top flight move to Coventry City, with a 1.5 million pound transfer fee being touted. But the transfer broke down, as did Shail's knee, and following a series of bad injuries, despite once holding the captaincy, he has been unable to break into the first team for some time.

Shail made around 150 appearances in a City shirt, and surely would have gone further, had injury not stalled his early career progress. During the past few seasons, he has been frequently cited as a potential player/coach, and would provide a much needed morale boost to Glovers supporters who have been waiting a month for some good news on the playing front.

In other news, Warren Patmore has, as scheduled, held his head to head with manager David Webb. And Ciderspace understands that the situation is still 'business as usual'. At this stage it looks likely that the pair will meet again shortly before pre-season training.

Finally, according to ITV Teletext Saturday August 5th is being set aside for a major pre-season friendly at Huish Park. No club has been confirmed as yet, but the match will be used to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Huish Park. If true, then exactly how they fit in Warren Patmore's testimonial match as well is anyone's guess. The tenth anniversary match was also touted as a means to open up the new terrace roof, although hopes for that have long since gone.

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Local Press Review

There's not a great deal new to talk about in this week's local newspapers. All three lead on the 'clear-the-air' talks held this week between manager David Webb and goalkeeper Tony Pennock and all three broadly welcome the news that the pair have kissed and made up, so to speak. The news that David Piper now seems likely to sign a new 2-year part-time contract is also welcomed in all three publications.

The Yeovil Express puts the news of Steve Rutter's call up by Kevin Keegan (see the May news & gossip page) on its front page, whilst the Western Gazette confines itself to using a paragraph on its back page. As far as any possible new signings are concerned, the Gazette informs us that Webb has had talks with 80-goal Andover striker Andrew Forbes and former Plymouth frontman Barrington Belgrave, though the paper doesn't say if these are new talks, or the talks reported a couple of weeks ago, nor do they report any outcome to the talks.

Both the Express and The Clarion speculate that Warren Patmore's days at Huish Park might be numbered, with both papers suggesting that Rushden & Diamonds could be on the verge of making another big money bid for the Yeovil striker. The Express goes on to say: "With only one year still remaining on his (Patmore's) contract it would surely be logical business sense for Yeovil to sell him at a decent price rather than let him leave as a free agent at the end of next season."

The Clarion's mammoth review of the season, now beginning to resemble 'War And Peace' in both length and scope ploughs on into the month of February and recall's Napolean's retreat from Moscow, erm sorry, I seem to have become confused... David Webb's first abortive spell at the club as 'Director of Football' I meant to say. With another 3 months of the season left to chronicle bets are now being taken as to whether Harry can finish his review of the old season before the new season starts.

Finally, it's evident that Fat Harry has been doing a spot of overtime, and for rival paper the Yeovil Express at that, as the following headline from a letter to the paper praising David Webb will prove: "Webb's made a professonial (sic) start" it reads. Not that yoo'll find bad speelings or typpo's on Ciderspace, oh kno....

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Erection 2000 News

The Erection 2000 Appeal Fund Committee, in conjunction with Westland Sports & Social Club in Yeovil, are to hold a Las Vegas Night later this month, with all the money raised going towards the Appeal goal, a roof over the home terrace at Huish Park.

The Las Vegas Night will be held on Saturday 10th June, from 8pm at Westlands Sports & Social Club. Tickets are priced at £15.

In keeping with the Las Vegas theme, those wishing to have a bit of a flutter can have a go on the Roulette and Blackjack tables and have the chance to win prizes. In addition Tom Jones and Madonna tribute acts will be appearing during the evening along with Westlands resident DJ who will be on hand throughout the night for dancing, promotions, prizes and giveaways. And from midnight to 1:00am a full English breakfast will be available for those feeling hungry after a night's entertainment.

The £15 admission includes tickets for the gaming tables as well as the full breakfast.

Although recent reports have revealed that GKN Westland Helicopters have boosted the E2000 Appeal Fund with a £50,000 sponsorship deal, the work of the Erection 2000 Appeal Fund continues in trying to raise enough money to make sure the long awaited roof over the home terrace goes ahead.

The event has been organized by Westlands complex manager Ian Woodward and E2000 Treasurer John Hall. For more details of the Las Vegas Night phone the Westlands Sports & Social Complex at Westbourne Grove, Yeovil, on 01935 703810; or John Hall at John Hall Financial Services in Bond Street, Yeovil on 01935 472774; or Steve Sowden at the Yeovil Express, Princes Street. Yeovil on 01935 479811. Tickets should be available from all three outlets by tomorrow (Friday 2nd June).

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For current news direct from the club go to the official site news page.

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This Page Written By Martin Baker/Jon Morgan
©Ciderspace 1999-2000
Last Updated 29th June 2000

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