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31 January 2003 : Police Arrest Six In Dawn Raid
Six people have been arrested by Exeter police in dawn raids in Yeovil this morning. All were arrested in connection with problems occurring outside a pub in the Heavitree area of Exeter on January 11th. A total of 28 officers were used in the operation that saw the six taken in for questioning at 7.00am this morning.

The incident was reported in the Exeter Express and Echo as being caused by individuals travelling as Yeovil Town 'supporters' and the football club have been involved in the identification of the individuals, along with Yeovil CID by use of Exeter CCTV footage. The six arrested are reported as being aged between early 20s and early 50s.

Chief Inspector Allan Edgcumbe, head of operations for Exeter police, said of the raid: "I am delighted that our operation has been so successful, and am grateful to Yeovil police for their help and support. We have been working on this operation very closely since the incident happened nearly three weeks ago, gathering evidence. Although no arrests were made at the time because we wanted to get the coach out of the city as quickly as possible to diffuse the situation, we have been fully committed to conducting a thorough investigation and arresting the people involved."


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30 January 2003 : More Caps For Glovers
F.A. press release:

"Just a week into his new job as England National Game XI Manager, and Paul Fairclough has named his first squad to face Belgium in an U-23 International Friendly.

England will travel to the Albertparkstadion in Ostend to take on Belgium on Tuesday 11th February in a first international fixture between the two countries at this level, and Paul admitted that he is looking forward to working with some of the youngest talent currently playing below The Football League.

“The game against Belgium and the open-age international against Holland in March give me the perfect opportunity to have a look at a range of players, and see how some players perform at the highest level”, said Paul.
“Winning games is always important but the next two friendlies are more about performance, letting the players know how I like to play and what I expect from them.
“With Wales hoping to stage the second Four Nations Tournament in May, we have a goal to work towards, and in Ostend, the players will come up against some of the most promising young players in Belgium; a great learning experience.”


Steve Avory - Caretaker Manager for the U-23 International against Italy last November – will continue as Assistant Manager, and has played a key role in the selection of the squad to face Belgium.

“The spine of the squad played against Italy for Steve, but I also wanted to take a look at some other promising players who have not yet had a chance to play at this level”, said Paul.

Most notable call-up to the squad is Barnet hot-shot Junior Agogo who has hit the net 16 times for Barnet this season, topping the goalscoring charts alongside Daryl Clare.

Describing the striker who again hit the target in the 5-1 defeat by Dagenham & Redbridge this week, Paul said:
“Junior is young, raw and vibrant but to score 16 times this season shows he is in great form, and I am looking forward to working with him.”

Agogo earns his first call-up alongside one of his tormentors earlier this week Paul Terry, who caps a great couple of weeks with his first international call-up. In recent weeks Terry has been one of the stars of the Daggers’ FA Cup run, often pictured in the national press alongside his brother, Chelsea Centre-Back John.

“Paul seems to have been around for a long time,” said Manager Fairclough, “yet he is still young and could go on to have a great future in the game. He has built up a wealth of experience at Conference level , and thoroughly deserves his call-up.”

For the four Yeovil players in the squad, it may give them a chance to bump into former Glovers striker Abdoulai Demba who recently returned to KV Ostend from Yeovil after failing to settle in the West Country."

The full squad is:

Craig Mawson - Morecambe
Chris Weale - Yeovil Town
Greg Oates - Margate
Adam Lockwood - Yeovil Town
Jonathon Boardman - Woking
Martin Lancaster - Leigh RMI
Michael Rose - Hereford United
Lee Johnson - Yeovil Town
Darren Way - Yeovil Town
Paul Terry - Dagenham & Redbridge
Wayne Purser - Barnet
David Pounder - Scarborough
Ian Fitzpatrick - Halifax Town
Ryan Sugden - Chester City
Robert Gill - Doncaster Rovers
Junior Agogo - Barnet





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30 January 2003 : Glovers Feeling Very Much At Home
Tuesday night's FA Premiership match between Middlesborough and Aston Villa may not seem at first sight worthy of mention within the confines of Huish Park. Yet Villa's 5-2 away win at the Riverside Stadium will have raised a smile from Glovers manager Gary Johnson.

The result was Boro's first home defeat, leaving the Glovers as the only club in the English national league system undefeated on their home turf.

Speaking to the Western Daily Press Gary said: "Myself and Thommo were coming back from a game in London last night and we both said that at the same time when we heard the result. It's something to be very proud of especially as we are 29 games into the season and we have out-lasted 92 league clubs and 21 in the Conference."

The situation is a far cry from that of last season. At this stage after 14 home games, Yeovil's record at Huish Park was W4 D4 L5 and they went on to win just six games on a boggy, sandy mess of a pitch where Gary Johnson's sleek passing game was a near impossibility.

Now with a six-figure sum spent on a new pitch base, and state of the art technology, the Glovers boast a record of W10 D4 L0. Johnson said of the transformation: "It confirms that the club did the right thing spending the money on the pitch."

Johnson's travels took place as he attempts to bolster his squad for the remainder of the season, with a striker and a central midfielder seemingly the most likely targets. Trialists Kevin Gall and Steve Burton are likely to still be in his thoughts, but Johnson revealed that he is casting his net wider afield explaining: "Myself and Steve have been up and down the motorway along with our scouts and we have followed up our top ten people."


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30 January 2003 : Grant Aiming For Crawley Job
Yeovil Town striker Kim Grant is strongly believed to be one of the applicants for the vacant managerial position at Crawley Town.

The Dr Martens Premier League side lie currently 9th in their division and are operating under caretaker management. Grant, who has scored just once in 17 appearances this season - albeit most coming from the bench - seems to be frozen out at Yeovil, and looks to be fancying the move in order to kick-start a career in management.

His connection with Crawley Town goes back to his arrival at Yeovil in October 2001. At the time when he was snapped up by Gary Johnson, Crawley were attempting to obtain his services as a player, but Grant chose a move to the West Country. However, it would be a major surprise if Grant was offered a contract at Huish Park beyond the end of this season. Given that Grant is believed to still have business interests in the Brighton area, the move would seem to make good sense for all concerned.


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30 January 2003 : FA Confirm Cheats Punishment
The Football Association have confirmed the punishment handed out to Boston United's chief cheats Steve Evans and Pat Malkinson. The punishments predicted by BBC Radio Lincolnshire have been proved accurate, with the exception of Malkinson's fine which has been set at £5,250 and not the £7,000 reported yesterday. In addition to the recorded fines, the infamous duo will also have to pay towards the costs of the FA Commission.

Both officials will commence their bans on 3rd March 2003, which has been set to allow the duo time to appeal. The lawyers representing Evans claimed in last Sunday's NLP that they intended to appeal, even though the size of the punishment had not at this stage been identified.

The FA's website explains that "the charges referred specifically to Evans facilitating a payment of £8,000 to a witness to attempt to mislead, impede and frustrate the enquiry, and making efforts for another witness to similarly mislead the enquiry by telling untruths to the investigation, although on that occasion no money was involved. As part of the same hearing, Malkinson was also found guilty of facilitating the £8,000 payment described above, and of a further charge relating to contract irregularities. "

The statement from the FA concludes by indicating that "the Football Association will not make any further comment in relation to these proceedings at this stage."


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30 January 2003 : FA Reject Conference Expansion ... For Now
The Football Association's National League Systems Committee have rejected the Football Conference's membership extension proposals - but have not entirely closed the door.

In a statement issued today by the Football Association, they claim that the FA "has always supported the move to create a regional two Feeder League structure into The Football Conference, hence The FA's own proposal sent to clubs and leagues at the beginning of 2002."

However, the FA has made it clear that the Conference's proposals were too rushed pointing out that it was "essential that clubs have a considerable say in their own destiny" and so have turned down the Conference's request to commence the new structure for the start of the 2003-04 season.

The door is not entirely closed though, and Ciderspace believes that the Conference's main failing was to not allow enough time for consultation and refinement of the rules that govern such plans.

In the FA's own blueprint document, published in full on Ciderspace here, the FA recommended that "every club would know the full requirements at least a season before any implementation occurred". This has clearly not been considered by the Football Conference, and so Ciderspace expects this matter to be reopened, probably in time for the start of the 2004-05 season.

The FA have recommended that further investigations are carried out in relation to the Conference's proposals, saying that: "Given 63 out of the 69 Premier League clubs from the three current Feeder Leagues have indicated their interest to join a regional two Feeder League structure administered by The Football Conference (as indicated by answers to a Football Conference questionnaire), The FA National League System committee will be asking The Football Conference to provide a more detailed proposal that can be further considered by both The FA, and the clubs."

The Football Conference have, as yet, not issued a statement in response to the FA's decision.


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29 January 2003 : Blunt Looks For Scarborough Switch
Yeovil Town have been connected with Scarborough midfielder Jason Blunt. The midfielder, who played a full 90 minutes against Yeovil at Seamer Road in December is believed to want to leave Scarborough, according to reports in the Scarborough Evening News. The paper claims that Gary Johnson has made "enquiries" about his availability but does not go as far as to state that a firm offer has been made.

Blunt is out of contract at the end of this season, and Seadogs manager Russell Slade has admitted: "We don't want to keep a player here who is unhappy and we expect some activity."

The Glovers, however, are not favourites to sign the Penzance born player, with title rivals Doncaster Rovers being earmarked by the paper as the likely winners as the paper claims that Blunt would prefer to stay in the North.

Blunt started his career as a Leeds United trainee, and has done service with Raith Rovers and Blackpool as well as a spell on Italian soil and signed for Scarborough in March 2001.


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29 January 2003 : Cheat Banned From Football - unconfirmed
Today was the day Steve Evans faced the F.A. for sentencing. The first, still unconfirmed, report from Radio Lincolnshire reads as follows:

The FA hearing to decide the punishment of the former Boston United manager Steve Evans has ended. It marks the end of an eight month investigation into contract irregularities at the club. It's yet to be confirmed by the FA, but BBC Radio Lincolnshire believe Evans has been banned from football for 20 months and fined £8,000. The Former Chairman, Pat Malkinson is thought to to have been fined around £7,000 and banned for 13 months from the game. The three man FA panel have so far refused to comment, along with Evans and the former Chairman Pat Malkinson, who've now left the hearing in Birmingham.

This marks the end of an eight month investigation into events at Boston United, which began shortly after they won promotion to the Football League.




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29 January 2003 : Way Out Westley
The most speculated about move in the Conference for minutes finally happened yesterday as Graham Westley, owner, chairman and manager of Farnborough Town stopped being owner, chairman and manager of Farnborough Town and went to Stevenage Borough.
Westley has spent the last few weeks demonstrating to the entire Nation that he is the self-publicising egocentric motor-mouth the Conference has known and disliked for ages. What should have been Farnborough's finest hour in the spotlight was turned into a tawdry wrangle about switching the match to Highbury. Westley seemed to take every opportunity to denigrate what was, at that time, HIS club - publicly criticising his staff, his players, the facilities, the fans and anyone and anything else he could think of. The message: Farnborough Town just isn't good enough for ME!
To pursue his vaulting and oft repeated ambition of leading a club in the Premiership inside ten years (eight remain) Westley has cut a deal to move to Stevenage Borough, major Conference under-achievers in recent years, and currently 21st in the table, on a three year contract. Two disingenuous press releases, one from each club, with Westley's finger prints all over both, lauded this union of the dismal with the dishonourable.
Is Phil Wallace, Stevenage chairman, a man out of his depth desperately scrabbling around for a life raft? We think so. A succession of disasterous managerial appointments since he took over has left Boro staring relegation in the face. After promising a big name man with Conference success at the highest level on his CV Wallace has delivered - Westley, a man with no discernable Conference success on his.
So why Westley? Ciderspace predicts:
For the money. We simply don't believe there is a deal which won't involve Westley buying some sort of stake in Stevenage Borough. The man's entire career in football management is based around Vanity Purchase.
For the players. Westley will asset strip whatever he can get from Farnborough Town.
For an escape route. Wallace now has a ready made purchaser for his interest in Stevenage Borough when he loses it.
Whether Stevenage go down this season or not we confidently assert: the Two W's will not be working together at Broadhall Way at the end of this three year 'contract'. A Dream Team? One of them will have been pushed out of bed long before that.

Mr Graham Westley's long awaited F.A. hearing to face charges over his behaviour at The Avenue, Dorchester, on September 3rd 2002 is now scheduled to take place next month.


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28 January 2003 : Glovers Thrash Gulls
A Yeovil Town XI thrashed a Torquay United XI in a one-sided practice match at Huish Park this afternoon. In a match held behind closed doors, the Glovers took a two goal half time lead before rattling in four more second half goals for the game to finish 6-0. Yeovil's scorers were Steve Burton with two, Youth Teamer Stephen Reed with one and finally Kevin Gall who grabbed three.

Kevin Gall is down for a week's trial from Bristol Rovers and is a 5'9" striker born in Merthyr on 4th February 1982. He has made 11 first team appearances this season, with no goals scored, although has netted five times for Rovers. He has also played for the Wales U21 side, most recently versus Azerbaijan in November, where he scored the only goal of the game. He started his career as a trainee with Newcastle United.


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28 January 2003 : Brian Kynaston and George Smith
Further to our sad news from Sunday, the funeral of Brian Kynaston will take place on Tuesday 4th February, 3.30pm at Yeovil Crematorium. The family has requested either flowers or donations be made to the Alzheimer's Disease Society.

On an equally sad note, Yeovil Town's Official Site have announced the death of director George Smith after a long battle against cancer. George had been ill for some time, but had continued to work at the club as Company Secretary on the current board.

George died peacefully on Friday night, aged 58, and leaves a wife and two daughters. We wish his family, and all who knew him at YTFC, our deepest sympathy in what must be a very difficult time.

George Smith's funeral will be on Friday (Jan 31) at 2.30pm at St Peter and St Paul's Parish Church in South Petherton. Family flowers only please, donations can be made to the Royal Marsden Hospital or St Margaret's Yeovil Hospice Appeal.


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27 January 2003 : Gary Gone For A Burton?
Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson has confirmed that he is taking a look at 19 year old Ipswich Town striker Steve Burton. The 6'1" striker was born on 9th October 1983 in Doncaster and is spending the week at Huish Park on trial. Gary will get his first look at Burton when he will take part in a practice match against Torquay United tomorrow.

Burton, who played in the Ipswich Town Youth side that reached the FA Youth Cup Semi-Finals in 2001, has not played any first team games for the Portman Road side, but did have a two month loan spell at Boston United earlier this season, scoring against Bristol Rovers in the competition.

Manager Gary Johnson said: "I've not seen him play before. He was recommended to me by his agent, and so he has travelled down from Ipswich so that we can have two or three days looking at him. He will turn out for us in a practice match tomorrow against Torquay."


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26 January 2003 : Tragic Accident Of Glovers Supporter
Brian Kynaston, RIP. 1954-2003.
Brian Kynaston, RIP. 1954-2003.
Ciderspace is saddened to learn of the sudden death of one of Yeovil Town's most charismatic and regular supporters. Regular home and away supporter Brian Kynaston, aged 48, who lived in Cann, near Shaftesbury, Dorset, is believed to have fallen into the River Yeo around Tuesday 6.00pm, whilst waiting for a lift home from Yeovil.

Brian, who was originally from Corton Denham, had supported Yeovil since the early 1970s and was a mainstay at both home and away matches throughout his life. Even when he spent many years living and working in Guildford during the 1990's, Brian continued to travel to the majority of the Glovers matches around the country and was an enthusiastic supporter who would usually be found in the 'core' of the Yeovil terrace.

He established many friends at Huish Park - players, officials and supporters alike - Brian's presence will be deeply missed by many in Somerset in the years to come. We wish his family and his many friends our deepest sympathy in their time of sorrow.


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26 January 2003 : Frustration For Glovers At The Manor
Yeovil Town came within a whisker of completing a run of straight wins throughout January when they drew 1-1 at Nuneaton Borough's Manor Park ground yesterday. Despite taking the lead through an Andy Lindegaard header, the Glovers were pegged back through a Sam Ricketts goal just after the break.

That only two goals were scored on the day was down to two disallowed Nuneaton goals, three strikes of the woodwork and some outstanding goalkeeping by home custodian Chris MacKenzie, whose game was capped by an astonishing reflex save from a Terry Skiverton volley during second half injury time that was tipped onto the crossbar and judged not to have crossed the line by the main stand linesman.

"It's unbelievable how the opposition keepers are always the man of the match against us," said manager Gary Johnson. "But I don't think you could have asked any more from our lads. There was Roy's header. Macca hit the post and I don't know how he kept out Skivo's one right at the end that hit the bar. That was his third unbelievable save. Then right at the end from a corner he tipped round a chance from Jacko."

Yeovil had started brightly and dominated the first half to an extreme, with Johnson remarking: "In the first half we played very very well, and we really needed that second goal - particularly when Jacko got put through and their keeper made a great save. If that had been 2-0 it would have been different, but at 1-0 it was going to be tight. Nuneaton are fighting for their lives and so we knew they were going to make it dangerous and they went for it."

The Glovers went 1-0 up after just 12 minutes and Johnson said of the breakthrough: "It was a super goal. It was a great cross by Michael McIndoe, and Lindy did very well. It was a great striker's header, right across the face of the keeper and right into the corner of the net. It could have been so different - we could have been 3-1 winners or 4-1 winners. We're all disappointed in there, but we're six points clear, top of the league. Being disappointed with drawing away from home tells you just how far we've come."

But Yeovil came out surprisingly sluggish at the start of the second half, and paid the price when the home team equalised through Ricketts' solo goal.

"For 15 minutes we were nowhere," admitted Johnson. "We weren't near Nuneaton and we weren't tracking runners. But they were bound to bash it forward and take a chance. We're always disappointed when one player gets involved in a one-to-one and has a little shimmy and gets in. But he did well, he's a decent player and it was a good goal from their point of view. From our point of view we needed to stand up a bit longer and defend better."

The game was played on possibly the worst pitch the Glovers have had to endure this season - not helped by Nuneaton training on the pitch earlier in the day and by heavy wheel ruts creating tramlines throughout the pitch.

"We wanted to play a footballing game on there, but on that pitch, we weren't going to get that, said Johnson. "But I think we did well to create as many chances as we did on that pitch. It was a heavy pitch, and if you go out there now, you can see how many divots there are on there and how uneven it is. I know we are going to have to play all sorts of teams at all sorts of grounds. But I think it was a big leveller. The ball was always bobbling up and bouncing up, and you have to take longer to hit your cross."

Nick Crittenden, who had only come back from injury yesterday did not last the whole 90 minutes, but Johnson explained: "It was just tactical. He'd only had two days training, and it was a bit heavy out there. We needed to change our shape, but I also needed to get fresh legs on."

In the end, the game could have gone either way. Having had an earlier goal disallowed due to the ball going out of play, Nuneaton had a second goal chalked off when Richard Lavery was caught in an offside position. Nuneaton's players and supporters failed to notice the linesman's flag and bizarrely the public address system even announced the second 'goal' a minute later as play headed up the other end.

"I just wish we'd taken the free kick a little bit quicker whilst seven of them of them were off in the corner celebrating, admitted Johnson. "I thought we could have realised that it wasn't a goal a bit quicker and that if we had, we might have caught them."

Then came MacKenzie's one man goalkeeping show and in the end, Glovers fans had to settle for a single point to take home, whilst rivals Chester City were clawing back two points by winning at Scarborough leaving the Glovers six points clear at the top.

"At this point in time in the league, we are obviously going to be disappointed when we don't get three points," said Johnson. "We're not going to win all of the games between now and the end of the season. We'll strive for it, but we won't do that. Now we've got to go back and put another run of two or three wins together. I'd rather have another league game on Tuesday, but now we focus on the Trophy game. We want to win that, and then we'll have the big home game against Kettering. Kettering will be the same - these two league games may turn out to be the hardest games we'll play this year because they all go into survival mode."


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24 January 2003 : Glovers Wait On El Kholti
Utility player Abdelhalim El Kholti appears to be the only injury concern for Gary Johnson ahead of tomorrow's trip to Nuneaton Borough in the Nationwide Conference. The recent signing will need to prove to Johnson that he has overcome an injury sustained in a shocking tackle last weekend that saw El Kholti need four stitches in his abdomen.

Right winger Nick Crittenden who El Kholti stood in for last weekend, seems the most likely replacement with Critts having recovered from a minor ankle knock that saw him withdraw last weekend. Colin Pluck is also fit, despite being substituted with a shin bruise last Saturday.

The Glovers will come up against FA Trophy Final hero Carl Alford for the first time since his transfer to the Warwickshire club, and Alford said of the match: "I am still very good friends with the lads and I still live in the area. Skivo is just around the corner from my place."

Alford will almost certainly be partnered by Mark Quayle whose high-profile sale to Chester City seems to have collapsed with Nuneaton accusing Chester manager Mark Wright of "moving the goalposts" on the deal.

Meanwhile, it seems that the two 'unknown' trialists who turned out for Yeovil in a friendly against Bristol Rovers on Wednesday have been uncovered, with the Bristol Rovers Official Website not being supplied with accurate names. Jimmy Densham appears to be Jamie Densham - a striker currently playing for Bideford in the Screwfix Direct Premier Division, who was signed from Exmouth Town.

Finally the name of Obidele Okneka seems more likely to be a Nigerian called Obidele Emeka who has recently had a trial for Livingstone and is sat on a deal with Scottish Second Division side Dumbarton. He has also had trials with Ayr United, Airdrie United and Cowdenbeath and is believed to be holding out for an offer of full-time football.

The rumourmill suggests, however, that the majority of the five trialists who turned out in the Bristol Rovers game have already been sent packing by Johnson as he faces the task of improving what is already an impressive squad of players.


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24 January 2003 : Fairclough Lands England Job
Former Stevenage Borough manager Paul Fairclough has landed the job of manager for the England Semi-Pro team - officially dubbed the 'England National Game XI'.

Fairclough replaces John Owens as manager and will start the job in anger on the 11th February at KV Ostend, in the U-23 international in Belgium.

FA representative Greg Fee said of the appointment: "Paul brings a wealth of experience to the role of National Game XI manager from both the professional and national game, and I am immensely looking forward to working with him. Paul has a proven track record of success at this level of the game, winning four Championships in ten years with Stevenage Borough. As well as converting to the UEFA ‘A’ Coaching Award, Paul has also gained a wealth of coaching experience from around the world and from Arsene Wenger, where Paul is currently also working as a Club Scout. We look forward to him bringing all of this experience to the job of England National Game XI Manager."

Fairclough, who will continue his scouting duties for Arsenal whilst managing the England side said of his appointment: "I am very honoured and delighted to be asked by The FA to take this role, and cannot wait to get started. There are some fantastic young players currently in the Conference who I will be looking at ahead of the U-23 international in Belgium, before the open-age international in March against Holland."

Yeovil Town have had a multitude of players selected for England Internationals in recent seasons, and Chris Weale, Lee Johnson, Darren Way and Adam Lockwood all played in the last U23 International in Italy. However, within Yeovil's current squad, Terry Skiverton, Adam Stansfield, Nick Crittenden and Kirk Jackson were all part of last season's 'open age' squad and the performances of Colin Pluck this season can not have gone un-noticed.

However, Fairclough admitted he would consult managers before selecting his squad, explaining: "Being selected for your country is the biggest honour you can receive in the game, and I know the players enjoy the kudos of being selected, but as a former Conference Manager I will be sensitive to the needs of Managers when there will inevitably be promotion and relegation issues to address."


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22 January 2003 : GWSC EGM Date Correction
The forthcoming Extraordinary General Meeting of the Green and White Supporters Club will take place on Thursday 30th January at Huish Park, 7.30pm and not the 28th as stated in other publications.

The GWSC Supporters Club page in last Saturday's match day programme stated that the EGM would be held on Tuesday 28th, but Ciderspace understands that not to be the case.

The EGM has been called to discuss the group's possible incorporation and therefore a major change in the organisation's constitution.

Several options are open to the organisation as to how this could be achieved, however Chairman George Coggen has been quoted by the Western Gazette as saying: "It will be recommended by the committee that we go down the limited company route."


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22 January 2003 : Rovers Keep Yeovil XI in stalemate
A Yeovil Town XI drew 0-0 this afternoon in a practice match against a mixed Bristol Rovers side. However, Rovers keeper Ryan Clarke was the busiest man on the field as he was forced to make a string of excellent saves to deny a Yeovil side featuring numerous trialists.

The Official Bristol Rovers Website reveals that three of the Yeovil trialists were playing under the names of Richard Ball, Obidele Okneka and Jimmy Densham. However, a good trawl around the Internet reveals no known players under the latter two names, so it is more than likely that they were playing under pseudonyms to allow Johnson to keep a low profile on the trialists.

More, however, is known about Richard Ball - he is a 22 year old striker currently playing for Dr Martens League Western Division side Stourport Swifts. He started the season with Racing Club Warwick and last season captained Oldbury United. He has netted ten league goals across the Warwick and Stourport sides this season.

Some more familiar Yeovil names were in the side, with Stephen Collis, Terry Skiverton, Kim Grant and Paul Henbest amongst the Glovers. Former Yeovil striker Guiliano Grazioli was in the Third Division side's line-up.


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21 January 2003 : Cary Glovers Travel To Nuneaton
Cary Glovers are running coach to Nuneaton Borough this coming Saturday, departing Yeovil at 9.00am and Castle Cary at 9.30am. They will also be picking up supporters at Marston, Mudford, Sparkford etc on route. Cost is £12.00. For booking telephone Keith on 01963 351560.


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21 January 2003 : Giles Scores For Gravesend
Chris Giles scored for Gravesend and Northfleet tonight as he continued his second loan spell with the struggling Kent side. Although his loan side lost 1-2 at home to Margate, Giles, who has been playing as a central defender at Stonebridge Road, netted his second goal for the club in the 29th minute. Like the first, it was a header direct from a Gravesend corner.


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21 January 2003 : No Admission For Bristol Rovers Match
Yeovil Town have pointed out that tomorrow's match at Huish Park against Bristol Rovers is merely a training ground exercise and not a friendly. As such, it will be played behind closed doors, and supporters are advised NOT to turn up.


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19 January 2003 : Glovers Stretch The Lead At The Top
Yeovil Town stretched their lead at the top of the Nationwide Conference yesterday with an excellent 2-0 win over play-off hopefuls Morecambe. With the exception of a 20 minute spell in the middle of the second half, the Glovers dominated the game, leaving Chris Weale largely unoccupied, whilst visiting keeper Craig Mawson was forced to pull off several excellent first half saves from Andy Lindegaard and Kirk Jackson.

"It was a great result and I thought we could have had four or five goals in the first half," said Yeovil manager Gary Johnson. "We got at them and we had four one on ones with the goalkeeper and I thought it was never going to come to be honest. I thought we had very good chances and I am so pleased that Lindy and Jacko got their goals in the second half I would have given them a roasting otherwise. The team stuck in there, we played a very good team in Morecambe. They had lots of forwards on the pitch and we knew that on the break they were going to be dangerous but we knew that we would have chances, and it was just a matter of taking the chances. That was frustrating as I knew we would have good opportunities but we weren't taking them. Thankfully we took them in the second half."

"While its 1-0 or 0-0 Morecambe are a dangerous team, they have some quality players. That's why I think they will be in the play-offs. I always enjoy beating them because they have a good club, good manager and a good setup. They are good with kids, they have a good academy setup and every time you beat them its a 'well done' because they go along the same lines as us and very professional."

The Glovers' patience was rewarded in the second half with two well worked goals. Lee Johnson took advantage of a lack of concentration by the Morecambe defence, when his quickly taken free-kick threaded through to Terry Skiverton, whose one-touch pass found Andy Lindegaard who netted off a goalpost.

But Johnson admitted that the free-kick surprised him as much as it surprised Morecambe: "We have that free kick and we have versions of it - we call it the weasal. We have four different versions of it - three that we practice, and the one that we did out there today! But the boys were switched on and it was a great touch by Terry Skiverton - all week he's been claiming that he's a midfield player and he had the touch of a midfield player that led to Lindy putting the ball in the net."

As the Shrimps pushed up for an equaliser, it was Lee Johnson again who provided the last minute move that gave Kirk Jackson an easy tap-in to seal the points for Yeovil and dent Morecambe's play-off ambitions.

Gary Johnson paid tribute to his two strikers saying: "They are a bit like a Toshack-Keegan partnership. They both have got good pace, good athleticism and it is working at the moment. We are scoring an average of two a game, but that is credit to everyone that we are creating that number of opportunities. It was a great little team move that led to Jackson's goal right at the end. I want my strikers scoring goals - they've got to be there and they have been today."

The joy of sealing all three points against one of the more dangerous league opponents was heightened by news from Belle Vue where Doncaster Rovers were succumbing to their first home defeat of the season - a shock 3-1 defeat against an injury-ravaged Telford United side that could only name two out-field substitutes yesterday.

"It's been a great day at the office," admitted Johnson. "The crowd kept us informed of the Telford result which was lovely of them and that's always nice. It does perk people up and I think that we got the goal pretty much straight after the crowd sung that that it was Telford 2 Doncaster 0. When it went to 3-0, we were ecstatic."

The result was Yeovil's fourth consecutive win and their fifth without defeat, and Johnson added: "We always said if you are going to win leagues, but you draw one or lose one, you have to put another run together. We have a group of players that have got the character and ability to do that. That's what happens when you're top of the league - you are a team that can achieve that and we want to keep going. We know that every win we get now is one that we dont have to get later because the end of our season looks a bit precarious. But we will take every game very professionally because they are all the teams in our league are dangerous teams in our league."

The only downside to Yeovil's day were the enforced substitutions of Colin Pluck and Abdelhalim El Kholti. Johnson explained: "Both Abdel and Plucky's substitutions were injuries. Abdel has gone to casualty because he has got two quite large holes in his abdomen where a couple of studs when in. Plucky nearly didn't come out in the second half because he took a big crack down his shin. Both I hope are just bruising that might take four or five days to recover. But I thought that we might need the cavalry, and Terry Skiverton and Jimmy Aggrey were ready to come on and do the job."

El Kholti's injury was softened by the announcement that he had won the sponsor's Man of the Match, and Johnson said of him: "He's going to be a superstar - I've got no doubt. He just needs to learn the game. His passing was a bit more crisp today, and not so casual, and he was unlucky that he got injured because I think the crowd would have liked to have seen a bit more of him today. He looked like he was going past players for fun."

Yeovil Town's day just got better by the time the night had drawn in. Chester City found Barnet too tough a nut to crack and came away with only a 1-1 draw at the Deva Stadium - leaving Mark Wright's big spenders with only one win from their last five home games. That left Chester and Doncaster tied on 51 points, with the Glovers now with breathing space on 59 points, albeit with an extra game played.

Despite that, Gary Johnson admitted that he was still interested in strengthening his squad: "Of course we are. We need a striker probably a little more than we need a defender at the moment. It's the same in midfield in that we didn't really have a midfielder on the bench, although Critts was injured today. We are looking, but I've got to look to the next 18 months because that's how long people will want to sign for. They are not going to sign for us just until the end of the season. So if we do go up - and obviously there is still a long way to go - the players that I sign now have got to be good enough for the Third Division. If I start blocking positions up with too many players on contracts, it might take away my options in the summer. In any case, the boys who were out there today deserve their place in the team anyway."


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17 January 2003 : New Twist In Reorganisation Saga
Confusion reigns over the Football Conference's proposals to expand their league to three divisions for the start of the 2003/04 season. On December 22nd, Ciderspace reported on a proposed Non-League Revolution by the Football Conference, but all this seemed to be in doubt when the Ryman League claimed that the Conference plans had been thwarted by the FA.

Now it seems the Football Conference are hitting back and today's Daily Telegraph reports that league representatives held a meeting with the Football Foundation, the Football League, the FA and the Football Licensing Authority.

Conference Chief Executive John Moules flied in the face of the Ryman League's claims saying: "We are absolutely on schedule for next season. Sixty one of the 69 clubs we invited to join have said they are keen."

The Nationwide Conference Website quotes Moules as saying: "This is an overwhelming declaration by the clubs themselves that they regard change as necessary and they want it now. Our preference is to have two semi-national divisions, feeding into the current Nationwide Conference of 22 member clubs. We propose to continue to operate promotion of three clubs from the feeder leagues Premier Divisions and introduce play-offs between the three Conference Divisions while increasing promotion with play-offs with the three feeder leagues and the two semi-national divisions. We have already commenced discussions on new sponsorship and we are progressing the task of selecting the 44 clubs who would form the two new semi-national divisions."

Who is painting the real picture here? A meeting of the FA's national league systems committee on January 29th should hopefully clarify the situation. As yet, no-one from the FA has commented on the increasingly confusing situation.


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16 January 2003 : No Cheltenham Switch For Gary
Yeovil Town manager Gary Johnson has played down rumours apparently linking him with the current managerial vacancy at Cheltenham Town. Johnson has been linked with the struggling Second Division side in both today's Yeovil Express and Western Daily Press but denies he has applied for the position.

"I still have 18 months on my contract at Yeovil and I am sure the club would let me know if there was an official approach," explained Johnson. "I am very much enjoying my time at Yeovil and now wouldn't be the time to leave. It's flattering to be linked with clubs and this sort of thing was always going to happen and has happened before. But when you look at it, I have got a good board and a good group of players and a great set of supporters here. At this time there's a big job to do at Yeovil."

Cheltenham report that they have received more than 40 applications for the vacancy to succeed former Kidderminster manager Graham Allner but have remained tight-lipped on who might be in the frame. However, it would be unusual for a club to try and poach another club's manager when so many have applied for the position. With the Robins deep in the relegation zone of Division Two, Gary Johnson may find his ambitions better fulfilled by setting his sights on playing against the former Conference champions next season, as league opponents.


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16 January 2003 : Aggrey Set For Longer Stay
Today's Yeovil Express reports that central defender Jimmy Aggrey has been given a position at the club until at least the end of this season. The former Torquay United defender was at the club on a 'rolling month' basis, but recent fill-ins for injured or suspended players have impressed manager Gary Johnson enough to keep Aggrey at Huish Park for the rest of this season.

Speaking to the Western Daily Press Johnson said of Aggrey: "He just gives us another option in his size and he will be a very important part of the squad."

Aggrey did not feature in Tuesday's 2-1 win over Hereford United as he had already played for another club in an earlier round of the FA Trophy.

Meanwhile although club captain Terry Skiverton is expected to return for this Saturday's visit of Morecambe, the Express reports that the Glovers are likely to lose the services of right-winger Nick Crittenden for that game. Crittenden was substituted at half time on Tuesday night, and it has been revealed that he was suffering from an ankle injury. Abdelhalim El Kholti is the most likely beneficiary of Crittenden's absence.


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15 January 2003 : Revised FA Trophy Fourth Round Draw
Chester City's shock exit from this season's FA Trophy competition at the hands of Unibond League side Worksop Town tonight more or less finalises the draw for the Fourth Round, after all of the mid-week rearrangements were able to take place tonight and last night leaving just three ties requiring replays.

Several Conference sides crashed out during the Third Round stage, including Burton Albion, Nuneaton Borough, Chester City, Doncaster Rovers, Barnet, Leigh RMI, Gravesend & Northfleet and Hereford United giving those remaining a strong chance of progressing to the latter stages. The revised draw is as follows:

Colwyn Bay v Havant & Waterlooville
Scarborough v Dover Athletic
Halifax Town v Grays Athletic
Windsor & Eton v Vauxhall Motors
Northwich Victoria v Canvey Island
Kettering Town/Altrincham v Aylesbury Utd
Worksop T v Hayes
YEOVIL TOWN v Morecambe
Alfreton Town v Burscough
Farsley Celtic/Gainsborough Trinity v Forest Green Rovers
Worcester City v Margate
Dagenham & Redbridge v Southport
Gloucester City v Woking
Wakefield & Emley v Heybridge Swifts/Hendon
Tamworth v Stevenage Borough
Telford Utd v Farnborough Town

All ties are scheduled to be played on Saturday 1st February.


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15 January 2003 : Mustoe Heads For Stevenage
Gloucester City midfielder Neil Mustoe who has been training full time with Yeovil Town recently, has now departed the West Country in favour of struggling Conference side Stevenage Borough. The once Manchester United player was continuing to play for Gloucester whilst training at Yeovil, but was not offered a contract at Huish Park.


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15 January 2003 : Demba Returns To KV Oostende
Abdoulai Demba has today signed a contract until the end of the season with Belgian League side KV Oostende, according to a KV Oostende Web Site. His move back to his former club - predicted on Ciderspace on January 9th - will reunited him with a Belgian League Second Division club in which he was top scorer last season.


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15 January 2003 : Quick Fire Glovers Hit The Bulls Eye
Yeovil Town have a reputation for being strong finishers in games these days, but last night at Edgar Street, they needed just 3.5 minutes to finish off Conference rivals Hereford United and move into the FA Trophy Fourth Round. There they will face a home tie against Morecambe, who progressed thanks to a solitary Lee Elam goal against Lancaster City.

Colin Pluck sent the Glovers on their way when he headed home a Michael McIndoe corner after just 67 seconds, and Adam Lockwood doubled the lead with not even four minutes gone when he was the first to react to a rebound when a Kirk Jackson shot hit the crossbar. Hopefully none of Yeovil's 250ish travelling support arrived late for the game!

Manager Gary Johnson said to the Western Daily Press of the start: "I did say before they left the dressing room to get straight into them, but that's taking it to the limit! But we were in this morning practising our set-plays so that shows the importance of that. Plucky said to me 'if they put the ball in this area I'll get there'. "It was a great start, a fantastic start."

Thereafter, things calmed down somewhat, and former Glover Ben Smith reduced the arrears when he headed home after 20 minutes, but with the Glovers dominating the second half Hereford had little in the way of chances, although Chris Weale deserves mention for two excellent saves at the end of both halves that sent the majority of the disappointing 2,425 supporters home, feeling rather sorry for themselves. Johnson added: "We knew with our closing down in the second half that it was going to be very difficult for them to create chances."

Yeovil will know rather a lot about their next round opponents by the time the Fourth Round takes place - Morecambe are Yeovil's next Nationwide Conference league opponents this coming Saturday 18th January. The Shrimps will have to do the long journey all over again two weeks later on Saturday 1st February for the FA Trophy Fourth Round Tie.


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14 January 2003 : Westley Hearing Still On Hold
Four months on, and Farnborough Town manager Graham Westley has still not had his misconduct charge heard by the Football Association. The charge was brought after Westley was sent-off in the Nationwide Conference league fixture against Yeovil Town in September 2002, at the Avenue Stadium, Dorchester.

Not only was Westley accused of using foul and abusive language against an assistant referee - he was also ejected from the ground by Dorset Police after getting involved in a scuffle in the main stand after refusing to adhere to ground safety regulations.

Yet despite the FA having charged Westley with misconduct following the incident, the case has still yet to be heard, and late last week FA spokesman Andrin Cooper admitted that the proceedings had been delayed further, saying: "He was charged at the end of last year with improper conduct and we are now working to set a date for a hearing which will now be after the Arsenal match."


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13 January 2003 : Club Slam Violence In Exeter
Yeovil Town Football Club have distanced themselves from problems that occurred in Heavitree, a suburb of Exeter, on Saturday afternoon. Local radio reports and Devon newspaper articles connected the club's name with an estimated 50 people caught up in disturbances outside a pub.

However, in an official press release, a club spokesman said of the matter: "Our match on Saturday was postponed and there were NO official or unofficial supporters coaches running. These hooligans are NOT Yeovil Town Supporters. They are just mindless thugs that the club has no first hand knowledge of."


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13 January 2003 : FA Trophy Fourth Round Draw
Yeovil Town will play an FA Trophy Fourth Round tie at home, if they see off Hereford United at Edgar Street tomorrow evening (kick-off 7.45pm). But they seem likely to face another tough tie, with the visitors being one of Unibond League Lancaster City or more likely high flying Morecambe, who Yeovil entertain this coming Saturday.

If Yeovil get through to the next round, their match will be played on Saturday, February 1st 2003. Any necessary replay for their Third Round tie has been pencilled in for Tuesday 21st January, 7.45pm at Huish Park.

The full draw, with Conference teams in bold, is as follows:

Colwyn Bay v Havant & Waterlooville
Stalybridge Celtic/Scarborough v Dover Ath/Gravesend
Halifax Town/Doncaster Rovers v Purfleet/Grays Ath
Windsor & Eton v Leigh RMI/Vauxhall Motors
Northwich Victoria/Barrow v Canvey Island
Kettering Town/Altrincham v Aylesbury Utd/Kingstonian
Chester City/Worksop T v Hayes/Crawley T
Hereford Utd/YEOVIL TOWN v Lancaster City/Morecambe
Alfreton T v Ilkeston T/Burscough
Farsley Celtic/Gainsborough Trinity v Forest Green Rovers/Barnet
Worcester C/Newport Co v Margate
Dagenham & Redbridge v Leek T/Southport
Gloucester C/Lewes v Woking/Chesham Utd
Wakefield & Emley v Heybridge Swifts/Hendon
Tamworth v Stevenage Borough/Oxford City
Rugby Utd/Telford Utd v Farnborough Town


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12 January 2003 : GWSC Travel To Tuesday Hereford Game
The Green and White Supporters Club are running away travel to the rearranged trip to Edgar Street, home of Hereford United, on Tuesday night, for the FA Trophy match.

The coach leaves the bus station at 4.30pm, Huish Park at 4.45pm. Cost is £12 adults and £10 concessions for everyone.

PLEASE NOTE - if you booked a seat on Saturday's coach and wish to travel on Tuesday you must still phone George Coggen on 01935 423662 extension 229 to reserve a seat.


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11 January 2003 : THE MATCH IS OFF
After a second tour of the pitch the referee has called today's Hereford United v Yeovil Town F.A. Trophy match off. About a third of the ground is still frozen, and he decided that there was no chance of it thawing sufficiently by 3.00 pm.

The fixture has been rearranged for the evening of Tuesday 14th January. We presume a 7.45 pm kick-off, but that hasn't been confirmed.


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10 January 2003 : Hereford Pitch Inspection
Following this week's wintry weather, Hereford United's Edgar Street ground will undergo a pitch inspection at 9.00am tomorrow (Saturday) morning. The pitch inspection is one of a large number taking place in tomorrow's FA Trophy ties.


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10 January 2003 : Road To Villa Park Re-Opens
Yeovil Town's defence of their FA Trophy begins tomorrow with a tough trip to Hereford United tomorrow, in arguably the Third Round's most interesting tie.

With the exception of Adam Stansfield, Yeovil have just one injury worry in the form of Club Captain Terry Skiverton, who is rated 50-50 for the match after having stitches in his knee removed today. Fellow defender Colin Pluck is believed to be ready for selection after also having stitches removed from a cut on his forehead.

If Skiverton does not recover, Saturday's skipper will be former Hereford winger Michael McIndoe, who will represent a trio of former Bulls making a return to Edgar Street. Gavin Williams and Tom White are the other two looking to knock out their former club.

McIndoe's presence will be watched by both sets of supporters. The Scotsman sat out the 0-0 draw in the League at Edgar Street earlier this season due to suspension and managed to get a red card in last season's game at Huish Park. With McIndoe getting more-or-less hacked off the pitch by his former team-mates last season, he is hoping for a less eventful game on the disciplinary front and says: "I want to make an impact for the right reasons with my play. I think I have become a much steadier player this season."

The trio of former Bulls will come up against a duo of former Glovers, with Ben Smith making his first appearance against a Yeovil side since he left the club 18 months ago for Third Division side Southend United. Meanwhile Jamie Pitman - in his second spell at Edgar Street will partner Smith in midfield, with the 'Milky Bar Kid' having already come up against the Glovers earlier in the season. Hereford are expected to be without talented full-back Matt Clarke due to a knee injury.

If the match is drawn, the replay will be at Huish Park, on Tuesday 14th, January, kick-off 7.45pm.


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10 January 2003 : Conference Thwarted On Reorganisation Plans
The Nationwide Conference have had their plans for expansion put on hold by the FA, according to circulars distributed by the Ryman League to their member clubs. The Ryman League claim that the FA have considered the proposals to "not to be in the best interests of football" - this despite the Conference's plans being based on one of the options within a proposal drafted by the FA themselves!

The Ryman League claim that: "At a meeting of the Football Association Sanction and Registrations Committee held in London on 7th January the proposed amendments to Article 3 and Rule 2 of the Football Conference were considered. I am delighted to tell you that it was decided that the proposed amendments for season 2003/2004 could not be accepted as the proposal was considered not to be in the best interests of football for this season."

"However it was decided the proposals would be referred to the National League System Committee with a recommendation that the Football Conference and the National League System Committee work together in order that the best interests of the game can be upheld. It would be normal practice for the various Leagues to be invited to give their views to the Committee. Any decisions would then be referred to Council for confirmation or otherwise."

The Ryman League - who have consistently opposed the restructuring of non-league football, advise their members not to complete the forms required to resign from their league and add to their claims that "Both the Southern Football League and ourselves are in unison on this matter and are working together for the future."

The letter goes on to make a hefty side-swipe at the Conference league ending the letter by remarking: "The actions of the Conference are considered to be disruptive for reasons best known to themselves."

No official comment from the Football Conference or the Football Association has been made at the time of writing.


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10 January 2003 : Demba Departs
As revealed on Ciderspace yesterday, Abdoulai Demba has left Yeovil Town Football Club today to return to Belgian League football.

Despite achieving an excellent goals-per-game scoring record, Demba's personal life was the cause of his wish to return home, with KV Oostende still looking to be the most likely beneficiaries of his departure from Somerset.

The departure has now been confirmed on the Yeovil Town Official Site and manager Gary Johnson said of the departure:

"When we brought Demba over to Yeovil he was a bright, enthusiastic, intelligent person who was looking forward to a new life in England with his pregnant wife and family. He didn't quite reach the form the he should have done in the lead up to the birth of his son Abdoulai Jnr. because of the worries of childbirth and was a player that was only able to show his best form when he was only thinking about football."

"We were a little bit worried about this but we got over the problem and his wife gave birth to a lovely bouncing baby boy - Abdouali Jnr. Every was delighted for him and his wife Ruth and over the next couple of weeks Abdoulai was able to show the sort of form we all knew he was capable of culminating in his hat-trick against Southport. Unfortunately his wife got very homesick, as young mothers do with young babies, and she wanted to be near her family who were still in Belgium."

"She decided with Demba that she would return to Belgium but unfortunately that affected Demba in that he now could not see his young family. So I gave him a couple of weeks grace to sort himself out, as it was the transfer window, and he has now signed for a second division Belgium club that is situated only twenty minutes from his Belgium home and he can now settle down to be a father to his son and daughter."

"I wish him, his wife and family all the best for the future as he was a lovely person and they are a lovely family and I am sure I will be visiting him if I go to Belgium and he will be popping in to see me if he is ever back in England."

Demba scored 10 goals for Yeovil Town in just 15 starts and 22 appearances. His last goals for Yeovil Town were on November 19th 2002 in a County Cup game against Mangotsfield. His last appearance for the club was four days later at Southport in a Nationwide Conference league match. Hopefully on home turf, he can show KV Oostende and the Belgian League the kind of form that made him so popular, so quickly on English soil.


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9 January 2003 : Demba On His Way?
Yeovil Town striker Abdoulai Demba looks to be on his way out of Huish Park at last. The player has not been seen at a Yeovil Town match since December 21st, and manager Gary Johnson admitted last week that Demba was over in Belgium staying with his family.

Now rumours are abound that Demba is likely to return to KV Oostende, the Belgian League side that he played for, prior to his arrival in Somerset. The long-running speculation is that his family have had difficulty in settling in Somerset and this, coupled with the birth of his second child in Autumn last year, has contributed to his off-the-field problems.


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7 January 2003 : Hereford Could Lose Clarke For Trophy Clash
Influential Hereford United full-back Matt Clarke seems likely to miss Saturday's FA Trophy match with Yeovil Town this coming Saturday. The former West Brom youth player limped out of the Bulls 2-0 win over Telford United on New Years Day and seems likely to require an operation to cure his ills.

Hereford United boss Graham Turner seemed to be delaying his decision to put Clarke under the knife for an on-going knee problem, claiming prior to the turn of the year that it "we will lose him in the next few weeks for surgery"

But following the New Years Day game, Turner seems to have brought forward Clarke's operation admitting, "Matt Clarke will need knee surgery and probably be out for two or three weeks. Richard Teesdale who replaced Matt Clarke is a good young player. He's got plenty of composure. Probably not his best position but he will do for the moment."

Bulls skipper and central defender Ian Wright missed the New Years Day game due to flu, but is expected to be part of Saturday's home team squad.


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7 January 2003 : Plucky Back In Training
For most players, landing half a dozen stitches in your forehead would be enough to land them out of the game for a week or two. Not so, central defender Colin Pluck. The big man shrugged off his head injury at Gravesend and went straight into training on Monday and looks to be laying claim for a place in the side that will travel to Hereford United on Saturday.

"He'll be fine," said manager Gary Johnson yesterday. "He trained with a bandage and a bobble hat on his head."

Striker turned central-defender Chris Giles could also be in the squad that travels to Edgar Street. With the Glovers refusing to allow him to become cup-tied for Gravesend and Northfleet, the player has been temporarily recalled, although a further loan deal has not yet been ruled out.


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6 January 2003 : YTISA Throw In The Towels
YTISA Treasurer Stewart Bratherton writes:

"Yeovil Town Independent Supporters Association (YTISA) have been approached in the last couple of days with a request to supply towels to replace the ones that we kindly donated to the playing staff last year.

"It has always been our aim to make suitable donations to Yeovil Town Football Club that the Committee on behalf of its members felt worthy, the association has therefore today purchased 20 towels and handed them to the club for the use of the playing staff at YTFC.

"We would like to thank all our members as well as those supporters that purchase our merchandise or support our fund raising who have enabled us to make this kind donation.

"We will endeavour to keep you all informed of any donations handed over to the club either here on Ciderspace, In the Association Fanzine or in the Local Press."


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6 January 2003 : YTISA Travel To Hereford
Anyone wishing to travel with the YTISA to Hereford United this forthcoming Saturday 11th January for the FA Trophy Third Round tie can phone Mark Kelly on 01935-412236 for further details.


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6 January 2003 : Play-Off Final Heads For The Potteries
The first ever Nationwide Conference play-off final will be held at the Britannia Stadium - home of Stoke City. The 28,000 capacity modern stadium, on the junction of the A50 and A500 on the outskirts of the north Midlands town will decide the second club to be promoted to the Nationwide League on Saturday 10th May. The top Nationwide Conference club will of course receive automatic promotion.

Conference Chief Executive John Moules says of the final: "We are expecting a crowd of 20,000 plus for the final, even more if two of the big three teams like Yeovil, Doncaster or Chester are involved. The game is bigger than the FA Trophy final because there is a place in the Football League at stake. We are holding it on a day when people can comfortably travel and will be sticking to our pledge of fair ticket pricing. All 22 Conference clubs will share in the income from the play-offs."

The latter comment from Moules will surely raise a few eyebrows. Unless Mr Moules is referring to television rights, Ciderspace can think of no other scenario where football clubs have to share out their gate receipts with their rivals.


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5 January 2003 : Lindy Hat-Trick Sinks The Fleet
The Glovers clocked up their first four goal haul since mid-October on Saturday, when they defeated Gravesend and Northfleet 4-2 at Stonebridge Road. In an action packed game that saw three more disallowed goals, Andy Lindegaard stole the show, scoring his first ever competitive professional hat-trick.

Gravesend woke the Glovers up early with a goal after 55 seconds from Jimmy Jackson but that only lasted 12 minutes when Kirk Jackson netted his fourth goal in six games with a looping header. Then Lindy stole the show with a series of three excellent team goals, and despite Kevin Natch making things nervy when he pulled the scores back to 3-2, Lindegaard's last minute strike gave him the match ball and a happy trip back from Kent. At times Gravesend looked like they might snatch an equaliser, but Yeovil were pulsating on the break making for an excellent, but nailbiting, end-to-end game.

"If you want an easy game, you'll have to join another league, joked manager Gary Johnson after the game. "This is a difficult league. It could have been 8-4 today, but if you score four goals away from home you're going to win football matches and you are going to win leagues. I thought we created a lot of chances. To be fair to Gravesend, I thought they were dead at the end of the first half, but for the whole of the second half they refused to lay down and die and even at 3-1 they kept coming at us. But teams that are 3-1 down can be quite dangerous because they can throw caution to the wind because they've got nothing to lose, and Gravesend put the ball in the box several times and got onto it once to make it 3-2. Then until Lindy got his hat-trick and the last goal, it was tight. But games can be rollercoasters and in the end when it's 4-2, you wonder what you were worried about."

"If you are going to go 1-0 down, do it in the first minute because it gives you 89 minutes to get the goals back! But credit to the boys for getting back to 2-1 before half time. When you go a goal down, you have got to pick your heads up. At 2-1 down, I felt Gravesend's heads went down a little bit, but at half time their manager has obviously given them a bit of a roasting, they've made a change and stuck more people up front and looked quite dangerous, but in the end we coped with it."

"I'm pleased for both Lindy and Kirk when they are scoring goals. I thought they worked hard and it's nice to get four goals. It's great for Lindy - he's always going to be a threat in behind with his pace. Jacko has hit some form in these last few games and they have looked dangerous. But the whole team has got to feed them and there were some great balls put through for both of them and some good quality from the set plays - our first goal was from a set play, we work hard on them, and so I'm pleased for everybody."

The Glovers' attempts to win the game were not helped by the loss of Colin Pluck with half an hour remaining, due to a head injury. Abdelhalim El Kholti replaced him and proved his worth when he created the final goal.

"We seem to have a lot of stitches at the moment" said Johnson. "Plucky got a few stitches in a head wound today. We've got seven days before our next game so we'll have to see. Knowing Plucky his chances are very good, but we'll have to wait and see. Seven days might be too early for an injury like the one he got. He's got stitches right on the front. Skivo has got a chance for next week, although it's only just possible. He's also got a badly bruised knee, so the bruising may be more of a problem than the actual stitches."

"I didn't want to upset the apple-cart, so I brought El Kholti into a left-back position. I wanted to keep it was a good solid 4-4-2, like we tend to do when we are seeing out a game. I also wanted a bit of pace and El Kholti gives you that. He also gets forward, because I don't want to be sitting back. I knew he could play left-back a bit like the way Tonkin did when he was here, where he made forward runs at the right time. Plucky was having stitches at the time and I couldn't wait for him to come back because there was only 20 minutes to go and I didn't want to play 10 minutes with 10 men when the game was this important and I had good players on the touchline. Roy is not a left-back - he's a centre-back, and that's why when we stuck Roy on, he won four or five headers at exactly the right time. We knew they would bomb it in there and he won his headers and did his job."

The win saw Yeovil continue their five point gap at the top of the table, with rivals Chester City and Doncaster Rovers both winning their games against Kettering Town and Barnet respectively.

"We've had five games in a short space of time over Christmas," said Johnson. "The boys have done great and we're still top of the league. I don't know how the other teams got on today, but they are running out of games. The more games we keep winning, the more they are going to have to chase us."

Hereford United mark the next opponents for Yeovil Town as they begin their defence of the FA Trophy next weekend at Edgar Street and they have to wait until January 18th until their next league fixture against Morecambe.

"We've got two weeks now where we don't have to worry about the league," added Johnson. "But you know how we feel about the FA Trophy. We'd like to retain it as we liked the big dizzy heights we went to last year. There's no doubt that we want to win the Trophy again. We want to win the league, obviously, but we'd like to win the Trophy as well. The boys are desperate to retain it, but it's a difficult game up there, Hereford are an in-form side at the moment and it's one to look forward to."

"This was a great advert today for Conference football. I thought it was a terrific game. Gravesend made it a great game; they couldn't sit behind the ball as they needed the three points. We are going to get games like that now. Whereas last year, there were a lot of teams who were not playing for anything, teams sold players because they couldn't go up and couldn't go down and so they got rid of their players in preparation for the following year. This year, nearly everyone is involved, trying to get a play-off position or in a relegation fight. So every game is going to be big - not just for us, but for the Chesters and the Doncasters."

The Ciderspace Match Report can be found here.


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3 January 2003 : Gravesend Game Is On
Subject to all the usual caveats concerning further overnight rain, tomorrow's game between Gravesend and Northfleet and Yeovil Town will take place. The pitch inspection was passed as of 5.00pm Friday 3rd January.


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3 January 2003 : A Rather Happy New Year
It may have been the same Yeovil team performance and the same opposition tactics as Yeovil's previous home match, but there were happy smiling faces leaving Huish Park on New Years Day after a 1-0 win over Forest Green Rovers. The difference between that and the previous Saturday's Barnet game was a solitary Kirk Jackson strike in the 69th minute.

The smiles were broadened when news of Chester City's home 2-3 defeat at the hands of Northwich Victoria filtered through. Added to the postponement of Doncaster Rovers game with Scarborough due to a waterlogged pitch, and Yeovil had restored a five point advantage at the top of the league table.

The margin of Yeovil's win, which could have been more had Gavin Williams and Michael McIndoe been a little luckier with the woodwork, did not matter to manager Gary Johnson.

"It was a great win, first and fourmost," he said. "I was going to be happy with 1-0 as much as I would have been with 6-0. The reason we needed that goal was because I thought we played some great football and I think people mustn't miss out on what they are seeing just because we haven't scored. I was so pleased for the boys because that 1-0 made it a great performance where as if it was 0-0 you would be moaning at me right now. Rest assured it was a good performance, we created some good opportunities, in the first 5 minutes we hit the bar and the post and the boys came through it in the end."

"You have to have faith in the boys,", he added. "You can't change your team or your strikers every week. Jacko has had a great game today. That game has set his own standard now and he has finished off with a great goal from a good cross - the things we work on all week. It was a great striker's goal worthy of a great performance. It was a fantastic cross from Critts. We needed him getting in to those areas and you cant moan about the number of balls we got in to the box today. We got them in, we had shots blocked and the keeper again has done his job and the post and the woodwork has done its job for them today."

The one downside to Yeovil's win was the sight of seeing Terry Skiverton stretchered off an hour into the game, but Johnson revealed that the injury was not as bad as was first feared: "Skiverton has had six stitches on a knee injury. He got that making a tackle on the edge of the area but he will be back and it wont take him long to recover. Jimmy Aggrey came in and he looked like he had been there for a million years. Obviously we will miss Skivo and he will be out for a couple of weeks."

Terry Skiverton, speaking to the Western Daily Press added: "It was a genuine 50-50 challenge and there was no malice at all from their player. Unfortunately his studs slid into an old scar I had from a couple of seasons ago and opened it up. It's not a serious injury and I hope I'll be back within two weeks, but I'll be a frustrated spectator at Gravesend on Saturday. I'll definitely be there to cheer on the boys and it's credit to the gaffer that there are quality players ready to come in to replace me. Jimmy Aggrey has done brilliantly on the two occasions he's come in and Roy O'Brien is having a great season."


"They have all worked their socks off and we deserved the result," added Johnson. "All you can do is play to deserve a result and then hope you get a result. With Chester losing that was even more exciting for us. We were better than we were last week, it's nice that Chester lost, but there is a long way to go. We are up there and we are up there to be shot at but no-one has overtaken us yet and all we have got to do is to mirror everybody elses results. You can see the boys are up for it and we just needed that one goal because of our last three games and and that one goal turned it into a great performance."

"The crowd are always superb. They a great crowd and while they are coming in their four and five thousands, I think they see the boys are doing everything they can to stay top of the league. They enjoy that song 'top of the league' and we want them to keep singing it all the way to the end of the season!"

"I've given the boys a day off as they haven't had a day off for a little while, and we have to come back on Friday to prepare for the Gravesend game."

Abdoulai Demba was again absent from the Yeovil squad and with speculation growing about his future, Gary admitted: "He's out in Belgium at the moment. He's spending a few days with his family and we are both thinking over what the next step is."

With the European transfer window having reopened, it would not be a great surprise if Demba were to opt for a permanent return to the continent, with his wife and two children believed to have already headed there several weeks ago.

But central defender Jimmy Aggrey seems likely to have an extended stay at Huish Park, with Johnson explaining: "His is not just a month-to-month contract - it's a roll-on contract and he keeps proving that he can do the job. We need the squad I've got here now - at least."

Gary also plans to have talks with Gravesend manager Andy Ford and on-loan defender/striker Chris Giles with the player coming to the close of the first month. Giles will not be able to play for either side in tomorrow's game in Kent and Gary Johnson is unlikely to release Giles for Gravesend's FA Trophy match on January 11th.


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3 January 2003 : Gravesend Pitch Inspection
Gravesend and Northfleet's official site webmaster is reporting that there will be a pitch inspection at their Kent ground at 3.00pm today. With two days worth of heavy rain having fallen in the South-East and Gravesend's Boxing Day home game having been called off, supporters are advised to check the status of the game both after 3.00pm today and before they set off tomorrow morning.


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