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Tues 31st July 2001
Unlucky Break For Giles

Yeovil Town Reserves are playing a friendly at Portland this evening, and an as yet unconfirmed report coming from a reliable source at the ground suggests that last season's reserve-team top scorer Chris Giles has broken his ankle in a training-ground accident today. Depending on the severity of the break he could be out of action for anything from six weeks to 3-4 months. The news is a blow, as Giles has looked particularly sharp in the pre-season matches played so far and the young striker seemed to be on the verge of challenging for a regular first team place when the season proper gets underway. Ciderspace wishes him a swift recovery!

As for tonight's match, Jamaican international triallist Shavar Thomas, Brockenhurst striker Stuart Hussey and Southampton defender Matt Davis are all expected to feature for The Glovers.

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Sat 28th July 2001
Pompey Get The Blues

Yeovil's pre-season build-up continued in impressive vein at a sweltering Huish Park this afternoon when, in temperatures approaching 100 degrees on the pitch, The Glovers put on a splendid exhibition of passing football to thoroughly outclass Division One outfit Portsmouth, winning by 2-1 - a scoreline which in no way flattered the home team.

A strong Pompey squad, featuring the likes of multi-million pound signings Peter Crouch and Lee Bradbury as well as familiar names such as Ex-Tottenham stars Justin Edinburgh and Garry Brady, began brightly and stunned The Glovers faithful in a noisy crowd of just over 1,600 by taking the lead after 60 seconds through Courteney Pitt. Darren Way equalised before half-time with a 30 yard chip, and new signing Colin Pluck sealed the win with a free header from a second half corner. The Ciderspace match report page can be found here.

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Thurs 26th July 2001
Pay To Drink At Huish Park!

Fancy a drink before or after the game at Huish Park? As an ordinary supporter you've got no chance, not unless you are one of the first 100 people to apply for Glovers Bar Gold Membership!

Yes folks, hurry, hurry, hurry - the first 100 applicants will be given exclusive rights to drink and make merry in the Green & White Sports and Social Club before and after home matches this coming season.

And the cost? A mere £50 per person, £25 of which will be refundable after 25 home first-team matches have been played at Huish Park (assuming 25 home matches are eventually played of course!).

Benefits to members will include happy hours at the bar and discounts on Conference Centre bookings, don't all rush at once now. Members can be over 18 only (so forget it if you've got kids) and away supporters, presumably, will also have to find their refreshment elsewhere.

It must be said that we at Ciderspace are not entirely thrilled with the thought of paying out £50 for the privilege of buying a drink, nor were most of the people who expressed an opinion on the matter who we talked to at the Peterborough match last night. Indeed, at the time, not one person we spoke to would commit to buying a membership place. Consider this suggestion from a disgruntled former patron of the club bar however:

The reality is that the few people who would consider spending 50 quid on bar membership are going to be season ticket holders. Occasional supporters will not fork out 50 quid for half a dozen games a season. However, for the price of a season ticket, plus 50 quid bar membership, you could actually more-or-less buy yourself a seat in the Vice Presidents box.

A Vice President gets a nice cushioned seat, a free cup of tea at half time in the Executive Lounge, have the best vantage point for viewing the game in the whole ground AND gets membership of a far more roomier bar where you can mix with players and have standing post-match drink orders to avoid those long queues immediately after the game. The benefits for those buying a standard season ticket plus 50 quid bar membership are only a fraction of what you get as a Vice President. Those considering spending the 50 quid membership on the supporters bar, should therefore seriously consider going into the club and asking for their season ticket to be upgraded.

A suggestion worth considering, perhaps. Of course, if you are disabled or unable to climb stairs then forget either option. Despite many warm words and much talk and promises, the installation of a lift to take wheelchair users and other disabled people to the facilities that most other supporters can enjoy on the first floor of the Main Stand appears no nearer now than when it was first suggested over three years ago - fortunately the local pubs hold more enlightened views than Yeovil Town FC and access to their facilities is easy, and free of charge!

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Thurs 26th July 2001
Not So Posh As All That

Yeovil's unbeaten pre-season friendly run continued last night at Huish Park with a 0-0 draw against 2nd Division Peterborough Utd. The Glovers dominated much of the game but, one 89th minute disallowed effort from Michael McIndoe apart, weren't able to get the ball into their opponents net. Again though, this was a game where the performance was more important than the actual result and Gary Johnson must have been encouraged with what he saw from Yeovil last night. Ciderspace's match report page can be found here.

Transfer listed Posh striker Howard Forinton played the 90 minutes for Barry Fry's team, but it must be said didn't do a great deal to impress on the night, strike partner Jason Lee looking far more of a threat.

Yeovil's next game is at home to Portsmouth on Saturday afternoon (28th July), 3pm kick off. Once again, both terraces will be closed to supporters. Portsmouth fans will use the Bartlett Stand, while Yeovil fans will be accomodated in the Main Stand.

In other news from the club, Brockenhurst striker Stuart Hussey, formerly of Bristol City, who impressed in The Glovers 3-1 win over his side a fortnight ago, is spending the week at Huish Park training, as is Southampton defender Matthew Davies.

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Tues 24th July 2001
FA Confirm: No Play-Offs This Season

Doubtless John Fry and the majority of Conference club chairmen will disagree, but common-sense rules again today following the FA's confirmation of the decision to reject the proposed plans to introduce an end-of-season play-off to decide which team would be promoted from the Conference to Division 3.

The Conference appealed against the FA's initial rejection of the plans to the FA League Sanctions and Registration Committee which met yesterday, but again the plans were rejected.

A statement from the Conference reads: "Members clubs are bitterly disappointed that once again they are unable to control their own competition with the intervention of the governing body of football.

"The board of directors and member clubs will now discuss the implications of the FA's decisions at meetings to be held in the immediate future."

Meanwhile, Conference chief executive John Moules told Radio 5 Live, "Football is about principals and the FA is telling us that champion clubs should always be promoted. [not just the FA saying that John! - ed]

"We quite agree with that, but when you only have one place for going up that makes it very difficult for the competition to last the full nine months of the season.

"We are probably the most sanctioned competition under the FA. We're only allowed one up but we have to relegated three clubs. What we're trying to do is to take the national game forward but with only 22 voices to be heard, it's very difficult."

The FA's role in this whole shambolic affair needs investigating. As correct as they were to reject the play-off proposal, why then did they not intervene when the Football League chairmen rejected the Conference's 2-up/2-down proposals, the catalyst for this whole sorry mess? It seems that the FA are all too willing to throw their weight around amongst the so-called lesser leagues, but not when the bigger guns come into play. Their stewardship of the national game leaves a great deal to be desired and given their failure to act one wonders now if legal action against the Football League will be the Conference's only sensible option in the fight to get increased promotion places in the future.

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Tues 24th July 2001
Dave Piper Signs For Woking

Right-back David Piper has finally made the long-signalled move from Huish Park to Kingfield, signing a 2 year-contract for Colin Lippiatt's side. Yeovil received a "small fee" for the player - no word as too how much that actually is yet, but Paul Steele's £20,000 move to Surrey was similarly described in May of this year.

Piper will find plenty of familiar faces at Kingfield, with ex-Glovers Paul Steele and Jamie Pitman regulars in the Woking team alongside former loan signing Charlie Griffin. Ex-Glover Matt Hayfield is also at present a member of Woking's squad, though his position may be under threat following his decision to join the British Universities squad touring China. The Surrey outfit are also coached by former Glovers defender Kevan Brown and managed, of course, by Colin Lippiatt.

Dave Piper signed for Yeovil in February 1998 and went on to make the right-sided defensive position his own, firstly as a wing back under Colin Lippiatt, then as an orthodox right-back under Dave Webb. He made a total of 149 appearances for The Glovers, 118 in the Conference, and scored 6 goals.

As the last part-time player left at Huish Park, both Dave and manager Gary Johnson found his position becoming increasingly untenable and a parting of the way's became inevitable once Piper had refused the option of becoming a full-time footballer. The best of luck to him in the future, we'll remember him fondly at Ciderspace as one of the best attacking full-backs we've seen in the green-and-white shirt. Woking have got (yet another) good 'un!

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Fri 20th July 2001
Three Out Of Three For Johnson's Men

Three wins out of three now for Gary Johnson's team as Yeovil comfortably defeated 3rd Division Exeter City 2-1 at St James's Park last night in The Glovers latest pre-season friendly fixture. A crowd of approximately 1,200 watched the game, 250-odd travelling from Somerset.

Carl Alford opened both the scoring and his Yeovil goal tally as early as the 4th minute in a half dominated by the away side. Exeter rang the changes at half-time and pulled back an equalizer after the break through Marcus Gross, but Barrington Belgrave restored the lead with a fine individual goal with 5 minutes to go, to give The Glovers a well-deserved win. Ciderspace's match report page is here.

Yeovil's next pre-season game takes place at Huish Park next Wednesday 25th July v Peterborough United, kick-off 7.45pm. Don't forget that a discounted ticket can be bought for all 4 of Yeovil's home friendlies giving a saving on average of £8 over all 4 games - tickets available from the club office at Huish Park. The club have informed us that unfortunately the Westland Terrace will be closed for the Peterborough match - the closure is expected to be purely temporary as unfinished safety work is completed.

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Thurs 19th July 2001
Forinton Not Wanted At Posh

Former Yeovil striker Howard Forinton, who spent the final month of last season on loan at Huish Park, making only 2 appearances because of injury, has been placed on the transfer list by current club Peterborough United. Howard cost Posh £250,000 when they bought him from Birmingham 18 months ago, but it's fair to say that persistent injuries since have undermined his undoubted ability. According to the Peterborough website posh.net, Yeovil are favourites to sign the striker, but we would take that with a fairly huge pinch of salt.

In other news, today's Western Gazette claims that Danish midfielder Tommy Schram could be on his way to Huish Park after all, despite signing for Icelandic club IB Vestmannaeyar. Manager Gary Johnson told the paper, "The Icelandic season finishes in September and Tommy said he wants to come and play for us then. If I find someone in that time who fits the bill then we will not require him. If I have not, I would be interested in talking with him in September."

The Gazette also claims that Yeovil and Woking have now agreed an 'undisclosed' fee for right back David Piper, who is expected to complete his transfer to the Surrey club by the end of the week. As far as a replacement for the popular full back is concerned it seems that Johnson believes that there may well be someone already at the club who could fulfill that role, and neither has he dropped his interest in former Exeter defender Jon Ashton, who is spending the week on trial at Sheffield United having spent last week training with Yeovil.

The remaining out-of-contract trio left at Huish Park are all expected to sign new contracts at the club shortly. Chris Weale, Andy Lindegaard and Chris Giles are the players concerned. "I have spoken with all of them and told them I want to keep them," said Johnson. "They are all players for the future and exactly the type I want to keep at the club. It is my fault that they have not signed. We have been so busy with training and friendlies we have not had time to sit them down and sign. Something is imminent."

And finally, it is with a heavy heart that Ciderspace says goodbye to one of our favourite reporters in the whole wide world. Yes, David 'Action Man' Coates, or TBC* as we prefer to call him, is leaving the Gazette to do some proper work, and go to university - though he'll still be occasionally employed as a 'correspondent' whatever one of those does. Fortunately Steve Cotton is taking over on the sportsdesk, so expect the standard of reporting generally to rise. Only kidding Dave!

*TBC = The Boy Coates

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Wed 18th July 2001
Glovers Knock Eight Past Chertsey

Yeovil's pre-season programme continued in torrential rain at Alwyns Lane last night as The Glovers, fielding two separate teams in each half, beat hosts Chertsey, of Division 2 of the Isthmian League, by 8-1, the goals coming from Barrington Belgrave, Terry Skiverton, Andy Turner, Lee Johnson, Chris Giles with a brace, Andy Lindegaard and last but not least, Glenn Poole.

A full match report, with details of the 2 teams used by Yeovil can be found by clicking here.

The Glovers now travel to Devon tomorrow (Thursday 19th July, 7.30pm kick-off) for an away match versus Division 3 outfit Exeter City. Glovers fans are reminded that the game is all-ticket for some reason to Yeovil supporters, tickets available from the club office at Huish Park.

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Tues 17th July 2001
Piper To Get His Cards

Yeovil full-back David Piper is on the verge of joining Conference rivals Woking, according to today's edition of the Clarion. The paper claims that Yeovil and Woking have agreed a deal for the defender, and Piper is expected to sign a contract at Kingfield this week.

Yeovil boss Gary Johnson said, "Iím trying to build a system here, unfortunately it is difficult to do that when one of the members of the squad is missing eight training sessions a week. But unless the situation changes, he [Piper] wonít go full time as heís got a good business. He likes the club and he understands what we are trying to do here, but I need players who are able to give 100 per cent for this football club."

Piper said to the Clarion, "The club have been up front with me as I have with them. Gary Johnson wants me to go full time but I am just not in a position to do that. I expect that the situation will be resolved in the next few days."

Meanwhile, it now appears certain that transfer target Tommy Schram won't be appearing at Huish Park next season, the Dane apparently having signed for an Icelandic team. But don't rule out a Viking invasion of Huish Park yet! Gary Johnson told the Clarion, "Tommyís girlfriends parents live in the same town as this club and I think she is having more influence on him than I am at present. Earlier I felt it was 60/40 in favour of him coming here but now Iím leaning the other way. Obviously family ties are having a greater pull on his loyalties. But there are plenty of other Danes available and I have a very good contact over there so I am not that bothered by the situation. I have a feeling you will still see a few Danes over here before the season is out."

In other news, today's edition of the Western Daily Press reports that 20-year-old goalkeeper Steve Collis who has spent the last week training with Bristol Rovers, has returned to Huish Park and could play in tonight's friendly at Chertsey. Former Tottenham trainee Charlie Mapes, a striker/midfielder who was at Cardiff City last season, has also been invited to spend some time at Yeovil training.

It seems that Gary Johnson is unlikely to take his interest in former Exeter full-back Jon Ashton any further after watching Ashton play in Yeovil's 3-1 win over Brockenhurst at the weekend; and Weymouth's Mark Robinson has returned to the Wessex Stadium after Johnson decided not pursue his interest in the player following a week training at Huish Park.

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Sat 14th July 2001
A Friendly Start

Yeovil Town's 2001-02 campaign kicked off today with an away trip to Brockenhurst in Hampshire. In a typical early season friendly the football was er, rather less than flowing and the team unrecognisable between the two halves.

Yeovil started with a 3-5-2 formation in the first period, then tried out 4-4-2 in the second. The only excitement of note in the first forty-five was a stunning dipping twenty-five yard shot from midfielder Lee Johnson which gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.

Brockenhurst equalised about ten minutes into the second half with a well created cross and header at the back post. As the match wore on Yeovil appeared more comfortable with the 4-4-2 formation than they had with the starting 3-5-2, the home side seemed to tire, and Chris Giles added two more goals for a final scoreline of 3-1. Steve Thompson was the creator, with Giles heading home the first and passing in the second.

The only absentees were Glenn Poole and new signing Colin Pluck, both carrying slight injuries, and Dave Piper. The one completely new face was Jon Ashton, a right-back who began his career with Plymouth Argyle and is currently at Exeter City. He is expected to be with the club on trial for the next few games as manager Gary Johnson assesses his potential. If Colin Lippiatt can find some spare cash in his budget Ciderspace expects to see Piper renew acquaintance with his former manager at Kingfield fairly shortly. One player who will not be coming to Huish Park is Mark Robinson. Last season's Player of the Year at the Wessex Stadium had been on trial at Huish Park last week. Johnson says he intends to continue to keep an eye on Robinson, but at present doesn't feel the sort of cost required to compensate him for giving up his day job and becoming a full-time footballer would be value for money.

A full match report will appear on the Official Site later this weekend.

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Fri 13th July 2001
Sweet FA For The Play-Offs

The Football Association has vetoed the Conference's controversial plans to introduce play-offs to determine which team would be promoted to the football league at the end of the season (See Ciderspace news story dated 14th June 2001).

It's not entirely clear why the FA have blocked the proposals (an outbreak of common-sense at Lancaster Gate seeming unlikely at the best of times!), but an article in today's Daily Telegraph speculates that the FA were concerned that the Football League would refuse to accept the play-off winners if they were not in fact the club that finished top of the Conference league at the end of the regular season.

This may not be the end of the matter however - Conference officials are now seeking urgent talks with the FA over the affair and the Conference, FA and Football League are due to meet anyway this weekend in Daventry, and are certain to discuss the issue further at that meeting.

The chief executive of the Conference, John Moules, told the Telegraph: "We'll be seeking a meeting with the FA as early as possible. I'm sure our clubs will be absolutely livid. All but two clubs, who have just been promoted, voted for the proposal and one can understand their reluctance.

"Financially, this is going to crucify the Conference. We had made some general calculations and felt that the play-offs alone would have been worth between £800,000 and £1.5 million. That doesn't take into account the revenue from games leading up to the play-offs. The whole idea of the play-offs was to increase interest in the second half of the season, and that extra interest may have been worth a further £1 million, not to mention other commercial spin-offs."

All the more incredible then, if those figures are anywhere near accurate, that the Conference hadn't gained approval from the FA for the play-offs before announcing them as a done deal and allowed clubs to plan their season's (and fans to buy season tickets) on the assumption that the play-offs were going ahead!

At Ciderspace we won't be shedding any crocodile tears if the play-offs are now dead, indeed we never wanted them to go ahead in the first place. We do recognise however that many clubs saw them as a financial lifeline and that through no fault of their own that lifeline could now have been snatched away - a real failure of management by both the Conference and FA hierarchies for which someone should take responsibility. It's a pity the FA weren't more interventionist when the Football League chairmen rejected 2-up 2-down - the catalyst for the play-off proposals in the first place.

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Thurs 12th July 2001
Piper Leaving? Schram Signing? No Alcohol?!

Local Press Review

It's normally a quiet time of year for news concerning Yeovil Town, but these are not normal times it seems! Along with the news of the new signings already well-documented below, plus David Webb's failed bid to take Barrington Belgrave to Southend and Simon Betts leaving the club; it now seems that David Piper's position at Yeovil may not be very secure.

The problem is that Pipes is the only part-time player left at the club and is unable to make the switch to full-time football. This wasn't such a difficulty when there were other part-timers at Huish Park, but being the only player not training full-time creates problems for both him and the coaching staff. Manager Gary Johnson told the Yeovil Express, "I do really want a full-time squad. We are training twice a day, so I don't really want somebody missing eight sessions a week because they are part-time."

As reported earlier this week Conference rivals Woking would like to take Piper to Kingfield, but are unable or unwilling to pay a fee. Johnson said, "I would only consider selling David if I was confident that I already had a replacement lined up. I will only do a deal if I think that the end result would be 100 per cent beneficial for this football club."

Johnson still hasn't given up hope of signing Danish midfielder Tommy Schram. Speaking to the Western Gazette the manager said, "Tommy has received two big offers from clubs in Denmark and Iceland and if he wants the money he will accept one of them. However if he wants the chance to make a name for himself in England he will come to us. That is what I hope he will do. He is very experienced player and just the type that we need to bring to this football club." Schram is expected to contact the club with his decision later this week.

Meanwhile it seems that the players are having to contend with rather more than the rigours of pre-season training - according to the Clarion they are also being given strict guidelines on their diets and fluid intake, particularly in relation to alcohol. Gary Johnson told the paper, "I donít want them to waste all their hard work by then going off and downing four bags of chips or something! Iíve asked them all to enter into a commitment to achieve our goals. I know I can help them reach their aims and ambitions and if we donít let ourselves down or our team mates down I know we can do it.

"Theyíve all been given a booklet on diet and fluid intake. It explains what it can do to them when they are already dehydrated after a game. Itís not a ban on alcohol it just explains to players that they will be 30% less efficient with alcohol on board! We shall be having a confidence coach coming in as well to help. These are all little methods Iíve picked up over the years.

"Weíve got to catch up with the supporters. They are second division supporters and weíve got to give them second division football. It wonít happen overnight but that must be the aim. But we are focused and we are all aiming towards the same things. There is an air of optimism around and we must give the supporters hope."

The papers report that Yeovil's preparation for the new season was disrupted somewhat this week when a group of travellers set up camp on the club's training pitch at Huish Park on Monday, forcing the club to make other arrangments for training. The travellers finally moved on on Tuesday evening.

Finally it seems that The Glovers will meet a familiar face in the opposition at their first friendly of the new season against Brockenhurst on Saturday - former Glover Leroy Whale is a regular for the Hampshire outfit. And, according to the Gazette, another even more familiar face may mke an appearance for Brockenhurst. Whale has asked Warren Patmore to guest for his team. Wazza has agreed to play, but has to have permission from his new club Ru$hden to turn out - no news on that as yet.

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Thurs 12th July 2001
New Bar In Pipeline For Thirsty Fans

It seems that reports claiming that the supporters bar at Huish Park was to close this season to make way for a restaurant for patrons of the club were premature. According to the club's official website the existing bar will remain open this season, but under a strict membership scheme to ensure that numbers do not exceed the limits laid down by licensing laws - it appears that should such limits be breached next season then there is a real risk that the club could have all its licences to sell alcohol removed. Details on how to apply to become a member should be available from the club shortly.

All of which goes to show that the existing supporters bar is far too small and needs expanding if the club doesn't wish to lose much needed revenue. Accordingly the club has decided to build a new ground floor social club bar behind the new Westland Stand and have asked the former chairman of the Erection 2000 Appeal Fund, Steve Sowden, to co-ordinate a new appeal to raise money for the project.

The target for the proposed bar behind the existing home end has been placed at £100,000, although it is likely - with help from supporters - to be constructed for a lot less. Steve said, "I am delighted that the club directors have had a change of heart and decided to go down this route. I wrote to Mr Fry as soon as the season finished in May asking him to reconsider the situation and suggested that a new social club bar should be built.

"Although the proposed bar behind the terrace might not be the ideal situation, it is better than not having a bar at all and I am sure supporters will welcome this news I am certain fans would rather drink at the club than having to go elsewhere before and after games."

It seems that the club's overall plan is that, in the future, the current away end of the ground will become the home end for supporters and that development would include a brand new stand, a new administration block and a spacious social club and function room.

Speaking of that long-term aim Steve said: "I still hope that one day that dream will become reality because I'm certain that a proper social club with a skittle alley and large bar would be a real success especially with all the new housing developments being built on the nearby Abbey Manor Park Estate.

"I am now looking for people who have got an interest in the bar facilities at Huish Park to volunteer to help fundraise for the projects." There should be no shortage of volunteers then!

If anyone has any ideas on the project or is interested in helping with the fundraising work, please contact Steve Sowden at the Yeovil Express on 01935-479811, fax him on 01935-432251 or E-mail him at stephen.sowden@countygazette.co.uk.

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Wed 11th July 2001
Simon Betts Calls It A Day

Amidst all the positive news lately of new signings and Barrington Belgrave not moving to Southend after all, one piece of less good news was received from the club today. According to the official website utility player Simon Betts has left Huish Park as a free agent after his contract was terminated by mutual consent.

Simon was signed from Scarborough by former manager Colin Addison on December 22nd 2000, costing the club £10,000. In all he played 20 games for Yeovil Town, scoring twice in the process. He began his Huish Park career by replacing Anthony Tonkin at left-back when Tonks was injured and following his recovery supplanted fans favourite David Piper at right-back, something which a small but vociferous minority of "supporters" at Huish Park found hard to forgive. It seems that these "supporters" always have to have a scapegoat to blame when things go wrong and unfortunately and unfairly Simon found himself cast in that role.

It's not known at present whether the stick he received from a section of the Huish Park crowd was a factor in his decision to leave the club, but the suspicion must be that it played its part. For what it's worth, we at Ciderspace are sorry he's gone. Simon is a whole-hearted and versatile player and one who we felt would be an important member of the squad this season with his ability to play either in defence or the midfield. His record of scoring against Yeovil for other clubs is already impressive and it would not be a surprise if he returned at some stage to haunt us. Good luck to Simon wherever he plays next in his career - and if he reads this we're sorry about the morons who booed him when they should have been supporting him. We're not all like that in Yeovil.

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Tues 10th July 2001
Bazza Still A Glover

Southend manager David Webb was on the phone to Huish Park on Monday. It might have been to discuss details of the forthcoming friendly on August 5th. It might have been a social chat. Or it might have been further pursuit of the signature of Yeovil forward Barrinton Belgrave. Whatever. The subject of Bazza came up, and the upshot of the conversation was that Yeovil made it clear that the terms originally discussed with regards to the possible transfer of Barrington to Roots Hall were not in line with the club's current thinking. Whether this means that the price was upped from the last figure commonly quoted of £ 40K, or whether Yeovil is no longer interested in Bazza going full-stop, and so set out new terms that it knew would kill the negotiations, is not clear. What is clear, if one believes the item on the Southend Official Site, is that Webb has ended his interest in signing Belgrave and withdrawn the offer.

Doubtless the anti-Bazza brigade amongst Yeovil fans will be gnashing their teeth. Here at Ciderspace we think that Bazza is a young player who still has much to offer Yeovil Town, and we'll be pleased if he is around to pull on a green shirt next season.

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Tues 10th July 2001
New Signings Frenzy!

Yeovil boss Gary Johnson has made four new signings over the last 24 hours. As expected, former Stevenage and Doncaster striker Carl Alford returned from holiday yesterday (Monday 9th July) to complete the formalities and sign a 2 year contract at Huish Park. Ciderspace wishes the slimline striker the best of luck for his stay at Yeovil and would like to point out that any references on this website to a certain 'Fatboy Fat' from a year or two ago are purely coincidental. Go and prove the doubters wrong Carl....

Hot on the heels of Alford's signing comes the news today of three more additions to Gary Johnson's squad: Midfielder Lee Johnson, 20, should be familiar to the manager seeing as he's his son. Lee was planning to play in Scandinavia next season but the former Arsenal, Brentford and Brighton player has been persuaded to team up with his father at Huish Park next term instead.

Colin Pluck is a 22-year-old defender and a graduate of Watford's youth policy - presumably where Gary Johnson first came across the player. Colin has had short spells at Hayes, Stevenage and most recently Dover, where he signed on a short-term contract last December, playing 15 first team games before being released last week by new Athletic boss Gary Bellamy.

The last player to sign for the club today is experienced goalkeeper Jon Sheffield, 32. Jon has played 319 football league games over the course of his career, the bulk of them for Cambridge United, Peterborough and Plymouth Argyle, with loan appearances for the likes of Aldershot, Swindon, Colchester and Hereford interspersed amongst them. Peterborough paid Cambridge £150,000 for him in 1995 and Plymouth in turn gave Posh £100,000 for his services two years later. He was first-choice keeper at Plymouth up until May 2000 before being released in April this year.

No details of length of contracts for today's signings have been made available by the club yet. Ciderspace wishes all 4 players good luck in their new careers at Huish Park.

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Mon 9th July 2001
Go Betting Crazy!

Bookmakers Surrey Sports latest Conference odds sees The Glovers still installed as 2nd favourites at 6/1 behind co-favourites Stevenage and Doncaster, both a 5/1 chance.

5/1 - Stevenage Borough, Doncaster Rovers
6/1 - Yeovil Town
7/1 - Boston United
8/1 - Scarborough, Barnet
10/1 - Hereford United, Dagenham & Redbridge
12/1 - Farnborough
20/1 - Leigh RMI, Chester City, Woking, Morecambe
25/1 - Margate, Southport
33/1 - Telford United, Dover Athletic
40/1 - Forest Green Rovers, Nuneaton Borough
66/1 - Hayes, Northwich Victoria, Stalybridge Celtic

On a different tack, Surrey Sports are also offering odds on the first Conference manager to be sacked this season. Given Yeovil's recent record for losing managers it comes as something of a surprise to see that Gary Johnson is regarded at relatively safe at 10/1. Telford's Jake King is favourite for the boot at 4/1, followed by Barnet's John Still at 5/1 and Chester's Gordon Hill (Ciderspace's front runner) at a tempting 6/1. Safest from the sack according to the bookies are Dagenham's Garry Hill and Terry Brown of Hayes at 66/1.

4/1 - Jake King (Telford)
5/1 - John Still (Barnet)
6/1 - Gordon Hill
7/1 - Steve Waywell (Leigh)
8/1 - Phil Wilson (Southport), Gary Bellamy (Dover)
10/1 - Steve Burr (Nuneaton), Gary Johnson (Yeovil)
12/1 - Keith Alexander (Northwich), Paul Futcher (Stalybridge)
20/1 - Colin Lippiatt (Woking), Chris Kinnear (Margate), Steve Wignall (Donny), Paul Fairclough (Stevenage)
33/1 - Graham Turner (Hereford), Graham Westley (Farnborough)
40/1 - Joe Harvey (Morecambe), Nigel Spink (FGR)
66/1 - Terry Brown (Hayes), Garry Hill (Dagenham)

Finally, Surrey Sports are offering early odds on this season's FA Trophy winners. Conference teams dominate the betting with Stevenage favourites at 6/1, Doncaster 2nd favourites at 7/1 and Yeovil and Boston 3rd favourites at a rather ungenerous (in Ciderspace's humble opinon) 8/1. Last season's winners Canvey Island are out at 16/1 while finalists Forest Green are a tempting 33/1. No-hopers Weymouth are a laughable 100/1 whilst Bath City aren't even given odds, so low are their chances of winning. The odds in full:

6/1 - Stevenage
7/1 - Doncaster
8/1 - Yeovil, Boston
10/1 - Scarborough, Dagenham, Barnet
12/1 - Hereford, Farnboro'
14/1 - Southport
16/1 - Canvey Island
20/1 - Woking, Leigh RMI, Telford, Chester, Morecambe, Margate
25/1 - Dover
33/1 - Burton Albion, Forest Green, Nuneaton
40/1 - Stalybridge, Northwich, Basingstoke
50/1 - Chesham, Hayes
66/1 - Kings Lynn, Welling, Barrow
100/1 - Stafford, Gravesend, Emley, Gainsborough, Boreham Wood, Crawley, Bishop Auckland, Newport County, Weymouth, Hinckley, Accrington Stanley, Tiverton
150/1 - Worksop, Altrincham, Worcester, Heybridge, Havant, Billericay, Lancaster, Hampton, Bedford, Braintree, Newport IOW

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Sun 8th July 2001
He Who Pays The Piper....

According to an extremely well connected source close to Woking manager Colin Lippiatt, the Surrey club have recently attempted to sign popular Yeovil right-back David Piper. The Woking source, posting on the Cardsweb Fans Forum, claimed that Yeovil have turned down Woking's attempt to sign Piper on a free transfer, insisting that the defender was going nowhere without an appropriate fee being paid - something that the Kingfield club are unwilling/unable to do.

What with Woking paying £20,000 for Paul Steele earlier this summer and now being told a fee will be necessary for Piper's services, it seems that the days of giving players away to our Conference rivals for nothing (as with Matt Hayfield and Jamie Pitman) are at last over.

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Sun 8th July 2001
Signings On Monday?

Gary Johnson is hoping to sign two new players next week. The first is Carl Alford. What? Haven't we signed him already? Well no. Despite a lot of back-tracking from the club, and claims that they never said the Doncaster striker had put pen to paper, they clearly said he had - but he hadn't. Bit of a cock-up on the communications front it seems. So, what's new? Anyway providing Alford does make the move to Huish Park next week the outcome will be the same, so no point worrying about it.

The second player is more of a mystery. Johnson says : I'm not prepared to reveal his name in case it alerts other clubs. But I can tell the fans he is a very experienced player and will be a useful acquisition." According to The Non-League Paper this mystery player is a midfielder currently with a League club - so expect a right-back from the Hellenic League!

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Sat 7th July 2001
Three More Triallists Shown The Door

Manager Gary Johnson has released three more of the triallists who have featured in pre-season training at Huish Park this week, according to a report in today's Western Daily Press. Goalkeeper Paul Pettinger and defenders Will Varty and Matt Joynson have joined keeper/striker Jimmy Glass in being been told that their services are not required at Huish Park next season.

However the paper claims that defender Colin Pluck, midfielders Lee Johnson and Tommy Schram, plus goalkeeper Steve Collis are all being retained for a further week, though no mention is made of former Swindon striker Steve Cowe's status.

"Iím beginning to get an idea of who I want to keep, but Iíll have to talk to the board before I do anything," Johnson said. "Four of the players have been invited back and Iím also still speaking to another goalkeeper, but Iíve told the others that they wonít be required."

There's positive news regarding four of Yeovil's out-of-contract players though - according to the article Tom White, Chris Giles, Chris Weale and Andy Lindegaard are all expected to be offered new contracts in the coming week.

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Fri 6th July 2001
Watch Fat Harry Bowl A Maiden Over

The following missive has been received on the Ciderspace Mailing List from the esteemed Fat Harry, editor of the Clarion newspaper, which may well be of interest to YTFC fans. FH writes:

Just a short note to remind you lot that Yeovil Town F.C. will be playing North Perrott at cricket on Sunday afternoon. I have been assured that there wil be a strong representation of first teamers present and Adrian Foster and Terry Cotton will be turning out for Perrott.

There will be a bar open all afternoon and also a barbecue. So you can all buy FH some much needed potato juice and abuse my literary talents!!

Mark Kelly and his independents will be going round with a bucket to extract much needed coin of the realm from you all and weather permitting we can all have a fine afternoon of cricket and potato juice.

So do come along to what is without doubt the prettiest cricket ground in the south west.

You will find the idyllic village of North Perrott along the A30 towards Crewkerne. Turn off left to Bridport, travel through Haselbury plucknett and down towards North Perrott (about 1 mile) As you enter the village you will see garden centre on the left. Right opposite that you will see a turning to the right with a sign that says Perrott hill School. Turn right here and follow down until you reach the cricket club.

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Thurs 5th July 2001
A Friendly Gesture From Yeovil Town

The club is offering a deal to supporters for the clubís four home pre-season friendlies. A special discount package will be available which will allow fans to watch the fixtures against League sides Peterborough United (July 25th), Portsmouth (July 28th), Bristol City (August 2nd), and Southend United (August 5th) for a total of £16. As prices have been set at £6 per match this will add up to an £8 saving on buying four separate match tickets.

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Thurs 5th July 2001
Two More Millers Trial As Glass Goes

Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson has drafted in two more trialists according to reports in yesterday's Western Daily Press. And like first signing Andy Turner, Johnson has headed for newly promoted First Division side Rotherham United for both of the new arrivals.

Goalkeeper Paul Pettinger becomes the third keeper to join the trials at Huish Park, as Johnson looks to replace long-serving keeper Tony Pennock. Pettinger is a 25 year old Sheffield born player who started his career with Leeds United in 1992, although never broke into their first team. After loan spells with Torquay United and significantly Rotherham, he had a short spell at Gillingham in 1996 before spending the whole of the 1996/97 season at Carlisle. He joined Rotherham at the start of the 1997/98 season, where he made 16 league appearances before his release at the end of last season.

Defender Will Varty has run into Pettinger on a couple of occasions, having started his career at Carlisle in 1995 where he made 62 league appearances. The Workington born 24 year old played alongside Pettinger for 12 months at Brunton Park and also managed a loan spell at Northampton. Right at the tail end of his career at Carlisle, in March 1999, he was loaned out to Rotherham and this move was made permanent over that summer, allowing him to team up with Pettinger on a second occasion. Varty has made 111 Football League appearances across his three clubs and has yet to score a goal.

It could be assumed that the duo have arrived on the recommendation of Johnson's first signing Andy Turner - either that or Johnson himself spends a lot of time in Yorkshire! Either way, both seem to have promising track records; particularly Varty, who was still apparently good enough to be selected for Rotherham's first team, albeit sporadically, earlier this year.

Meanwhile, former Kingstonian, Swindon and Carlisle keeper Jimmy Glass is reported to have left the trials, much to the relief of Ciderspace. It's good to see that Mr Johnson has the same eye for a goalkeeper as those who witnessed his second half performance against Yeovil whilst playing for Kingstonian.

That still leaves eight players on trial at Huish Park but manager Gary Johnson, talking to the Yeovil Express said, "It's important to stress that we aren't looking to sign all of them as we possibly only need one or two. I'm looking at getting a squad of between 18 to 20 players and they will all be first-team players. Sometimes you have to make-up a bench, but I want all the substitutes to be capable first-team players."

Meanwhile Johnson has told the paper that former Stevenage striker Carl Alford is not definitely a Yeovil player, although he expects the deal to go through this weekend and says, "I've never said that Carl has definitely signed, but everything has been agreed between the two clubs and the player and I'm sure he will become a Yeovil Town player. I know what he needs to get him fit and I know what makes him tick. It will be a new life for him down here and he is a striker of proven ability. I didn't want to sell him when I had him at Kettering, but we couldn't turn down the money."

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Tues 3rd July 2001
Yeovil Town Live On T.V. Again

The Conference T.V. deal with Sky Sports kicks in early for Yeovil Town. After an opening broadcast featuring Hereford United v Barnet the second match to go out live will be from Manor Park on Saturday September 1st. Glovers fans are reminded that Conference games live on Sky kick off at 12 noon, so an early departure for Nuneaton will be the order of the day.

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Tues 3rd July 2001
Trialists At Huish Park

A number of trialists have been invited to Huish Park to see if they can catch the manager's eye.

One is Lee Johnson, Gary's son. Lee is a twenty-year-old midfielder who was a trainee at Watford, and has been with Arsenal, Brentford? and Brighton. He is set to go to a Danish club next season, but Johnson Senior speculated on Somerset Sound this morning that he might be able to change his mind. And talking of Denmark - Tommy Schram is also down on trial. Those that fancy testing out their Danish can find a biography here. Ciderspace has worked out he was born in er, Ingen, is twenty-nine, and HerfÝlge seems to be the club he has spent most of his career at. As to position - we're guessing somewhere in the opposition's half (attacking midfielder?) - any help from readers of Danish much appreciated!

[Update 6-7-01
According to 'Danish Connection', posting on the Ciderspace Fans Forum, the article on Tommy Schram mentioned above translates as follows (buyer beware - we have no means of knowing if this is in any way accurate, but here goes anyway!) :

Roughly translated by my Brother who lives in Denmark: He kicks like a horse, thats the way you can describe his unique kicking technique. A very good technical player who has improved on his weak spot which is heading. He is a good runner and good at holding onto the ball.Schram is good at passing the ball around and at making the vital final pass. His long throws often lead to dangerous situations and he is an important brick in the orrensive play.Schram has also been the only Herflog player to be number 1 on the top scoring list. I hope this will be of some use to you. A sort of Neil Coates, Ben Smith, Marcus Jones and Barrington Belgrave all rolled into one. May be quite usefull.

Orrensive or not, if he's as good as described above then Ciderspace says sign him up!]

Jimmy Glass has had so many clubs a League could be formed out of them. Rather than list them we'll just stick with the opinion that Ciderspace rather hopes it won't be typing them all up for a player profile. Another keeper on trial is Stephen Collis. Steve is twenty, and has a Johnson connection through the Watford Academy. He then went to Barnet, and last season was on the books at Nottingham Forest. Colin Pluck, 22, is yet another ex-Watford trainee, and a defender. Colin seems to have wandered around the Conference, spending short spells at the likes of Stevenage, Hayes and Dover without making a breakthrough as a First Team regular.

Steven Cowe is a name that has been connected to Yeovil on several occasions in the past, but always previously come to nothing. A loan deal in January 2000 fell through when Swindon changed their mind; and the attempt to sign Cowe the following month foundered as the player himself was not prepared to drop to part-time football. He has spent five years at Swindon Town, having been bought from Aston Villa for £100,000 in 1996. The final player on the list is Matt Joynson, a right-back apparently. We haven't traced him past Norwich City in 1999. Perhaps he's been abroad since then?

[Update 6-7-01
Ed Dicks writes about Matthew Joynson (on the Ciderspace Mailing List) :

JOYNSON, Matthew Although born in Liverpool (DOB 21.3.81), Matthew was brought up in the Norfolk town of Wroxham. Described by Keith Webb as a "tenacious full back", Matthew has represented England at under16 level. Despite making 19 appearances for the Reserves in 1999/2000, Matthew was released by Norwich in Thursday 27th April 2000 as Bryan Hamilton rebuilds the club in his own image. In the summer of 2000, he signed for hometown team, Wroxham of the Jewson Eastern League

....and from a Norwich City FC preview on soccernet.com for the 2000/1 season - but he'd been released by then anyway...

YOUNG GUN - Matthew Joynson
Joynson would be a popular young man if he managed a run in the first team. He's a specialist right back, and his presence would mean no place for Daryl Sutch, who has manfully but unsuccessfully fought to win over the Carrow Road faithful. Yet to appear in the first team, he has every chance of making a name for himself and - just look at the competition - he could even be playing for England before too long.

Somebody rated him then - but then the last press mention (10/00) he was playing for Wellington in the Banks's League (same person??) against Ettingshall Holy Trinity - so something went a bit odd.

Thanks to Ed for that info - what's the betting Joynson is released now after we've published all that....]

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Tues 3rd July 2001
Fixtures For 2001-02

The Conference fixtures for 2001-02 were released today, and a full fixture list is available here.

Ciderspace can also confirm some additional pre-season friendlies via the same link.

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Sun 1st July 2001
Shrewd, Brave or Desperate?

Exit one favourite terrace butt of Who ate all the pies? renditions and ......... enter another. With the departure of Warren Patmore to Rushden & Diamonds it was no secret that Yeovil Town would be looking for another big forward to lead the line. The man to attempt to step into Wazza's boots will be Carl Alford.

Carl hasn't been one of those players who quietly does his job almost without anyone noticing. His Non-League career has been high profile all the way - and he's either looking like a world-beater or a dead-beat........ with not much in between those extremes.

Born in Denton, Manchester, on February 11th 1972 Alford's first club was nearby Rochdale, for whom he made four appearances as a substitute in 1988. These are Carl's only League games to date. He then swiftly passed through Stockport County and Burnley without leaving a real mark, before arriving at Witton Albion. There he began to attract some notice, and Macclesfield Town were the first club to come up with a fee for Carl - £ 1,700. That investment speedily turned a handsome profit as he was sold to Kettering Town for £ 25,000 on August 1st 1996. Here he met up with Gary Johnson for the first time, and was soon about the hottest property in Non-League football. Hottest property? Obviously Rushden couldn't let anyone else be having that, so £ 85,000 (then the Non-League record transfer fee) was despatched, and Alford went to Nene Park, a year to the day after he arrived at Rockingham Road. His time under Brian Talbot was a disaster, though who was to blame for this depends on who is giving their version of the story. By February Alford was out on loan to Dover Athletic. He opened with a hat-trick against Telford United, and totalled seven goals in his fourteen games.

It was clear that Talbot had no more time for his expensive acquisition and Alford was moved on.

Carl Alford at Stevenage

1. Carl Alford at Broadhall Way
Stevenage Borough got the striker for nothing, and under Paul Fairclough Alford was to flourish once again. The goals were going in everywhere: twenty-six in the league and seven in major knock-out competitions. 1998-99 was the high point in Alford's career so far as he clinched the Conference Golden Boot. Fairclough was gone by then, inexplicably sacked by chairman Victor Green at a time the club was seriously challenging for the title. The following season Alford continued as he'd left off. By January he'd reached the twenty league goal mark and another Golden Boot looked there for the taking. However Stevenage was in turmoil. Fairclough's successor Richard Hill was sacked, and after weeks of dithering the club brought in Steve Wignall. He stayed six weeks. Alford managed a mere two goals from February to May; it was still enough to make him second highest scorer in the Conference.

For Alford's entire time at Stevenage rumours were always rife that he was moving on up into the League. At one time Orient, Northampton and Cheltenham were alleged to be after his signature, and the Orient deal came very close to completion [as covered here on Ciderspace]. However whatever else Wignall did in his six weeks at Broadhall Way, he clearly left with a positive memory of Carl Alford, because in the close season he moved to bring the striker to his new club Doncaster Rovers for £ 50,000. On paper the transfer looked good, with Alford moving to full-time football (his fitness had often been queried), and back to his roots in the North. It was the exact opposite. Once again, as at Nene Park, Alford's career came to a juddering halt: the goals wouldn't go in, his fitness was increasingly suspect, and domestic problems added to his troubles. Once again he was despatched on loan, this time back to a former club Kettering, who were falling through the trap-door of relegation.

Carl Alford

2. A rather happy Carl
And so the roller-coaster brings him to Huish Park. The two year contract is public, the £ 10,000 price unofficial. Will Alford be on the up-swing, or continue the plummet downwards? Gary Johnson has the advantage that he is one of the managers who has seen the best of Carl, and all Glovers fans will hope he can get the big man's career back on track. It appears there was no signing on fee, in line with declared club policy, and Carl must know he is probably on his final chance to deliver. Failure at Yeovil on the back of the last eighteen months would just about end his remaining credibility.
Is it a shrewd move that brings a player who has delivered twenty plus league goals a season in the past to Huish Park for next to nothing? A brave move to take a risk on a player who might have lost the touch for good, but could also find it again? Or a desperate move because we couldn't find anyone else to replace Patmore? Time will tell.









Photograph 1 copyright: The Unendorsed Stevenge Borough Website and photograph 2 copyright Andy Couldridge.

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This Page Written By Martin Baker/Jon Morgan/Hugh Gleave
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Last Updated 31st July 2001


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