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31 January 2004 : One point's better than nothing, but the wind was the real winner
Yeovil Town came from behind twice to grab a point against struggling Macclesfield at a windswept Huish Park this afternoon, to earn only their second draw of the season. Goals from Jake Edwards and Darren Way were not enough for Gary Johnson’s side to take the three points.

The Glovers were without wingers Lee Elam and Nick Crittenden while Jake Edwards was recalled to the starting XI.

Macclesfield could have broken the stalemate early on, but Chris Priest was unable to direct his long shot on target. The Glovers were quick to respond, Kevin Gall’s through ball met by striker partner Jake Edwards who beat keeper, Steve Wilson, but saw his shot cleared off the line. In the 20th minute, Matthew Tipton was brought down by Colin Pluck, and quickly got up to slot the penalty past Chris Weale. Yeovil equalised through Jake Edwards’ second attempt shot which beat Steve Wilson from close range on the half-hour mark. Macclesfield’s lead was restored six minutes before the half following Martin Carruthers 25-yard deflected shot.

After the break, Martin Carruthers had a great chance to add to the visitors lead but his shot fell just wide of the post. On the hour mark, Darren Way controversially gave Yeovil some hope with his right-footed goal from close range to draw the scores level again, at two apiece, but the Macc players and fans were convinced Way's shot had not crossed the line. Yeovil continued to press forward for a late winner but Gavin Williams’ header fell comfortably for Steve Wilson.

Thw windy conditions made life difficult for both teams, but after a terrific first half of the season the Glovers are finding life in division three rather more problematic than they were in the autumn. One point is an improvement on none at all however, and the team have an early opportunity to try and rediscover their form with a trip to mid-table Northampton on Tuesday evening (3rd February).

Final score: Yeovil Town 2 - 2 Macclesfield Town.

The Glovers remain in 6th place in the league table on 47 points. The bad weather took its toll on the division three fixtures this weekend, only Doncaster and Oxford of the team's above the Glovers playing - and both recorded narrow home wins over Northampton and Kidderminster respectively to remain in the automatic promotion places behind 1st-placed Hull City. None of the Glovers play-off rivals managed to play today.

Match precis: George Murray

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29 January 2004 : Johnson: Fans should get real
Glovers boss Gary Johnson has been commenting in the local press on the increasing calls from supporters for him to bring in a big money striker to solve the Glovers recent goalscoring problems.

"I would love to bring the likes of [David] Graham and [Lee] Trundle to Yeovil," he told the Yeovil Express. "In fact if I could bring Alan Shearer to Yeovil then I would. But those sorts of players would demand huge wages and it would unsettle the rest of the players here. When it came to renegotiating contracts they would want the same sort of money. The wage demands of these players being talked about are so high that they are out of reach for us. Perhaps fans should be reminded that we've got some players here at Yeovil whose wages are too high for other clubs in the Second and Third Divisions. I'm always looking for new players. Just because we don't sign anyone doesn't mean to say I'm not looking."

One player who the gaffer did have an interest in was Rochdale striker Paul Connor (see below). In his first comment on the situation, Johnson let his annoyance that his enquiry had come to light be known. Speaking to Yeovil's official website he said: "My only reaction is that we did make an enquiry regarding Paul Connor. I am not willing to break the confidentiality of what we and their manager spoke about and if Steve Parkin [Rochdale manager] wishes to then that's up to him. At the end of the day I had other enquiries on the go and he was just one of many and nothing has come of it."

With just 2 days of the Premiership transfer window left open there still remains a possibility that Glovers keeper Chris Weale could yet slip through West Ham's fingers and end up plying his trade at the very top level. Speaking to the Western Gazette the Glovers manager confirmed that he had received enquiries from Premiership clubs, though he declined to go into specifics.

"There is other interest in Chris and I do get phone calls quite regularly on what his current situation is, but that is all I can tell you," Johnson confirmed. "The clubs involved in that would not want me to tell yet who is interested and who is not interested so I have to keep that to myself for the moment - but there is a few Premiership names included in that. Once the melting pot starts bubbling then that is where the interest all starts and that is when someone will take the opportunity to sign him."

The Gazette goes on to name Portsmouthand Wolves as possible competitors for Weale's signature - though the news that Wolves have signed Welsh international Paul Jones surely makes them an unlikely destination for the Yeovil keeper - and speculates that the price the Glovers are looking for is around the £250,000 mark upfront, with a big sell-on clause and other bonus payments added on.

West Ham are still in pole position to sign Weale however, with the player joining up with the Hammers twice a week to train with the div 1 side. The Yeovil Express today points out that the Londoners currently have Arsenal reserve keeper Rami Shaaban on loan as cover for current first-choice Stephen Bywater, but that Shaaban's loan spell comes to an end in the middle of February and it might be then that Hammers boss Alan Pardew comes back for Weale to sign on a permanent basis.

"West Ham have not gone cold on the situation. They are still very keen," Gary Johnson admitted. "But they are going through a big transitional period at the moment. I think Chris going to train with them for a couple of days a week will be good for him and it won't effect him while playing for us. There is nothing to suggest that West Ham don't want him. They know he is a good keeper and they don't need to look at him. The idea of him training with them is just to let Chris and us know that they haven't lost their interest. West Ham have had a couple of good results recently, if they hadn't then perhaps Chris might have already signed for them."

Meanwhile the Glovers are looking to put their recent poor run behind them at home to Macclesfield at Huish Park this Saturday, 3pm kick off. Long-term absentee Roy O'Brien is out, with Lee Elam (ankle) and Nick Crittenden (hamstring) both doubtful for the game.

Where are they now? Former Glovers striker Abdoulai Demba, who made a big impression with the fans at Huish Park in his short spell at the club last season before he returned to Belgium after his wife failed to settle in England, is featuring in the Mali squad in the African Cup of Nations. Demba, now playing for Belgian outfit Eendracht Als is understudy to Tottenham striker Freddie Kanoute and is yet to feature on the pitch, though he was on the bench for Mali's opening 3-1 win over Kenya, when Kanoute scored twice. Mali next play Burkino Faso tomorrow (Friday) and finish the group stage of the tournament against Senegal next Monday.

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29 January 2004 : Reserves share points in 8-goal thriller
Yeovil Town's first team may be struggling to find the net lately but the club's reserves are having no such problems, the side drawing 4-4 with their Oxford United counterparts in freezing conditions at Oxford City's Court Place Farm ground yesterday afternoon.

Oxford had taken a 2-0 lead before the Glovers second-string came back at their hosts to lead 3-2 with goals from Shaun Smith, Andy Lindegaard and Jamie Gosling. In a highly entertaining, see-saw encounter United equalised and then led 4-3 until with 4 minutes left on the clock a Dale Williams header left the scores level.

"It was a really great game on a poor pitch," Glovers boss Gary Johnson said afterwards. "We had to turn it into a good game because we were 2-0 down. We changed the game just by being more direct, because the pitch was not for playing pretty football."

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27 January 2004 : Connor enquiry confirmed - and rejected by 'Dale
Rochdale manager Steve Parkin has confirmed that the Glovers have made an enquiry about striker Paul Conner, but that he has no intention of letting the player leave Spotland for the time being, despite Connor's contract expiring at the end of the season.

"Yeovil made a phone call about Paul but it didn’t interest me in the slightest,” Parkin told the Rochdale official website. “His contract is up at the end of the season, but they weren’t talking any kind of money the club would be interested in."

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27 January 2004 : Glovers bid for 'Dale's Connor?
Today's edition of the Bristol Evening Post is claiming that Glovers boss Gary Johnson has targetted Rochdale striker Paul Connor as the man to solve Yeovil's recent goalscoring problems. The paper says that the Glovers have made a "substantial offer" for the 25-year-old, who cost 'Dale £150,000 when they bought him from Stoke City in March 2001.

Connor, a 6'2" striker, began his career as a trainee at Middlesbrough before joining Stoke on a free transfer following loan spells at Gateshead and Hartlepool. He impressed during another loan spell at Cambridge United before joining his present club. Taken as a whole during his career he's started 109 league games with another 37 substitute appearances, scoring 43 league goals in the process - a very decent return at this level. Both Glovers manager Gary Johnson and Rochdale manager Steve Parkin have declined to comment at present - more on this story as news becomes available.

The Post also names the Brazilian striker that the Glovers have been trialling for the last 10 days as 29-year-old Olivio. "He was recommended to me by an agent in Europe," Johnson told the paper, adding: "He's 29, has been playing in the French Second Division and isn't bad. But he's not match fit and I've asked him to stay until Wednesday so I can have another look at him."

In other news it seems that winger Lee Elam, who limped off during last Saturday's home defeat to Leyton Orient, will probably miss this Saturday's division 3 match against Macclesfield at Huish Park. "He's struggling," Johnson admitted to the Western Daily Press today. "He probably won't be available on Saturday because his ankle has swollen up quite badly. It's a blow, because I always want my players fit."

Finally the Glovers reserves travel to their Oxford United counterparts for a Combination League game tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday), 2pm kick-off. The Daily Press claims that Barnet manager Martin Allen will be amongst the spectators, specifically to check on the performances of Abdel El Kholti and Chris Giles.

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27 January 2004 : Weale to get Hammered twice a week
Following on from the interest first division West Ham United have been showing in Glovers keeper Chris Weale, it's been announced that Weale is to travel up to London to train with the Hammers twice a week, while continuing to play for Yeovil in division three. West Ham boss Alan Pardew has told his Glovers counterpart Gary Johnson that although he's still very interested in signing the 21-year-old Yeovil keeper on a permanent basis, he's in no rush to complete any transfer as being a first division club West Ham are not bound by the same January transfer window restrictions Premiership clubs operate under.

"Chris is likely to be there [West Ham] on Mondays and Tuesdays when we can fit it in," Gary Johnson confirmed to the Western Daily Press. "It's not something they are planning to do forever, but at the same time it is good for Chris to get that experience which will help him in the future. Chris needs to be a number one and so it suits both of us if he continues to play in our first team."

Speaking to the Western Daily Press, Weale was upbeat about how his 3 day trial at the Hammers had gone last week. "I think Alan Pardew was impressed with me," he said, adding: "It was a good experience for me. If nothing comes from it anyway, it was still a good experience and I can use it at Yeovil. I learned a lot. Ludo Miklosko, the goalie coach, taught me a few things, just little pointers. It's good working with different coaches because they've all got their own different styles and they just point out different things technique-wise.

"But I'm focusing on playing for Yeovil at the moment," he stressed. "We've lost four out of five games and that's not good enough, so we'll have to work hard all week and hopefully get back to winning ways."

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26 January 2004 : Johnson - we'll work morning, noon and night to turn bad run around
Glovers boss Gary Johnson answered the following questions from the press, after the 1-2 home defeat against Leyton Orient on Saturday

[First 10-15 seconds of tape inaudible]

"……… we talked about their set plays in particular, we knew that they would be dangerous from set plays if we weren’t accurate in our defending. Unfortunately the second goal especially was a strength of theirs - a long throw and one of our players didn’t quite do his job and you find yourself 2-0 down. We perked up in the last 25 minutes, not only because of our goal but all of a sudden people started getting on the ball and taking responsibility which not many of them did in the first half. We've talked about that - the boys have got to learn to take on a bit of responsibility themselves because we're in a poor run of form at the minute, and we have to turn it round quickly otherwise we will find ourselves not competing for much. But the boys can do that and we will work morning, noon and night next week to do that. We have to break the mould a bit and work very hard, and a few of them will get some home truths about this level."

Were you tempted to make your substitutions a little bit earlier in the second half?

"I'd have made 11 substitutions if I'd been allowed! The fact is you can only make 3, so I gave the team that started the chance to turn the game around. Sometimes you have to do that and when they didn’t quite turn it around then obviously we made the substitutions we did, but you're always going to get a more passionate team in the last 20 minutes when there’s nothing to lose. We nearly did enough to get a draw out of the game, but it wasn’t to be and Kev (Gall) cant score for love nor money at the moment, can he?"

It was a cruel blow wasn’t it, it looked every way a goal until it hit the foot of the post?

"Yes, that’s right, but too many are hitting the foot of the post or just outside the post at the moment. But we know what we’ve got to do, we’ve got to turn it round quickly. The boys want to do it and they are upset as we all are in here but I’ve got faith in them to turn it round, and if I have to look outside the football club then I will do, but everybody gets their opportunity to turn it round."

Was it a case of Orient being well prepared and doing their homework?

"Well, they won the game so they did something right! They didn’t play much football but at the end of the day they have come and got a result so whatever their tactics were, whether they played to them or not doesn’t matter - they won the game. But it was the set plays that cost us in the end."

And your new striker debutant Simon Weatherstone - perhaps not the best days to be in a side with so many off form?

"That’s right, it’s a difficult game for him when 5 or 6 were off form. But he’s okay, he’s a good footballer and we will be pleased that we got his signature."

And you have the benefit of another home game next week?

"Yes, the crowd were great. Their still not losing faith in us, a few little boos at the end and half-time but that’s expected. I think they trust me and they trust the boys are good enough to turn it round and and they trust us to work hard enough to turn it round."

It was very obvious from our waiting time that you were a long time in the dressing room tonight?

"Yes, you know sometimes you have to break the mould and break the mould very quickly. So you have to say a few things and then let them have their say in return. Monday we will all watch the video so we will all know whether what we were saying was either right or wrong, but then I’ve got to work all week to try and get the team that’s good enough to beat Macclesfield."

Transcription by Richard Gibson.

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25 January 2004 : O dear, Glovers lose again
Leyton Orient became the first club to complete the double over Yeovil Town since their promotion to the Football League with a smash'n'grab 2-1 win at Huish Park yesterday, condemming the Glovers to their 4th defeat in 5 league games.

Two first half strikes by the visitors Mark Peters and Gary Alexander were enough to give the travelling side all three points despite a consolation goal from Nick Crittenden in the second half.

Adam Lockwood and Gavin Williams return to the squad following suspension while Simon Weatherstone was handed a debut up front. Gary Johnson ‘recalled’ Chris Weale in goal flowing his three day trial with West Ham.

After a very open first twenty-five minutes, Billy Jones’ free kick found Mark Peters who’s header broke the deadlock. Three minutes later the Orients lead was doubled from a fine volley from striker Gary Alexander. The Glovers best chance of the half came in the 35th minute but Lee Johnson was unable to direct his close range free kick on target.

After the break, Simon Weatherstone’s through ball was met by substitute Jake Edwards. One-on-one with the visitors keeper, Edwards’ shot lacked power and was comfortable saved by Glenn Morris. Midway through the second half, Weatherstone’s low cross through the Orient defence found unmarked Nick Crittenden who tapped in Yeovil’s first of the afternoon. In the 89th minute Kevin Gall had a great opportunity to grab the home team a point but he was denied by the outside of the post.

Final score: Yeovil Town 1 - 2 Leyton Orient.

Despite yesterday's loss the Glovers remain in 5th position in the league table, but the points avantage that was theirs before Christmas has now disappeared after the recent poor run. Hull City won 2-0 at Cheltenham to stay top on 59 points, but 2nd-placed Doncaster came unstuck at home to 6th-placed Lincoln, losing 2-0 to remain on 55 points. Oxford stay 3rd on 53 points not having played this weekend, and Mansfield beat struggling Southend by a single goal to nil to stay in 4th spot on 52 points. Superior goal diference means that Yeovil stay 5th on 46 points at least temporarily; but 3 other teams, Lincoln, Torquay and Huddersfield all join the Glovers on the same number of points with the Terriers having the chance to make 5th place their own today as they play York City away.

Match precis - George Murray

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23 January 2004 : Weatherstone Signs On The Dotted Line
Midfielder/striker Simon Weatherstone has this morning signed an 18 month deal with the Glovers, according to the Teamtalk website. The 23 year old will be part of the squad for tomorrow's game against Leyton Orient after being snapped up from Division Three strugglers Boston United.

Johnson told Teamtalk that he sees Weatherstone primarily as a striker, though he spent much of his early time at Boston as a playmaking midfielder: "Simon signed this morning (Friday) and comes straight into my squad for the Leyton Orient game. He's been one of those that I have been after for a year and a half and now I've signed him up for 18 months. He's a good footballer and I just want good footballers at this club. I see him as a striker primarily but, as I say, the lad is a good footballer and that's the main thing."

Speaking to the Western Daily Press, Boston Manager Neil Thompson claimed that he had let Weatherstone go because the player wanted to leave Boston for personal reasons and only had six months left on his contract, whilst the Lincolnshire Echo claim the former Oxford United trainee had specifically handed in a transfer request.

Thompson told the WDP : "Simon has not left for football reasons but because he wanted to get away from Boston. He did very well for this club and helped us get into the Football League so I wish him all the best."

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22 January 2004 : Weatherstone Set To Sign
Boston United midfielder/striker Simon Weatherstone is set to sign for Yeovil Town tomorrow. The former Oxford United trainee is on the verge of completing a whirlwind 24 hours and is expected to sign an 18 month contract tomorrow (Friday) morning that would make him eligible to be part of Saturday's squad to face Leyton Orient, with the transfer fee being set at £15,000.

Having played for Boston Reserves on Wednesday night against Sheffield Wednesday Reserves, Weatherstone got the go-ahead to come down to Huish Park for talks and barely 12 hours later showed his enthusiasm by turning up for training in Somerset, having driven all the way down from Lincolnshire that morning. One training session later, Weatherstone immediately agreed terms on a deal that has only been stalled whilst his former club complete paperwork on the deal.

Weatherstone is a former member of the England National Game XI team who was playing in a playmaker role in midfield for the Third Division side. This season has seen him migrate into a more orthodox striking role to a lesser effect. With only six months left on his contract and the player sometimes being relegated to their bench, Glovers manager Gary Johnson has moved quickly to give Weatherstone a new lease of life and bolster the Glovers squad.

Speaking to the Glovers Official Site, Johnson said: "Simon will be a good addition to our squad and is a very good finisher with both feet. He can play in midfield or attack and we are just waiting to get the paper work back from Boston before we sign his contract."

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22 January 2004 : Weatherstone next on Johnson's hitlist
Boston United midfielder/forward Simon Weatherstone is the latest player in Glovers boss Gary Johnson's sights. It's been reported that Yeovil have made an enquiry over the 23-year-old's availability, but have yet to hear back from their division 3 rivals. Speaking to the Western Daily Press Johnson said: "I have made an inquiry about him and I am waiting for the club to come back to me. I think he's a good player and I think he would suit our mentality, but until he turns up at Huish Park I won't get too excited. He's a good footballer - he's a strong lad with good ability who can play up front, wide or in midfield."

Weatherstone isn't the only player Yeovil have been looking at lately - this week has seen 4 triallists at the club, 3 from Scottish clubs and an unnamed Brazilian striker - though the Scottish 3 have already returned home. "We had two boys from Raith Rovers and a Scottish goalkeeper come down, but they were not quite up to our standard," Johnson told the Western Gazette, adding: "We also had a Brazilian striker who we are keeping an eye on. Since the Carlisle United game I have sown a few seeds and thrown a few hand-grenades and I am now waiting for the dust to settle to see how all the jigsaw bits come together."

Meanwhile the Glovers have announced that rare thing - a full strength squad for Saturday's home game v Leyton Orient, with the exception of long-term absentee Roy O'Brien, that is. Both Gavin Williams and Adam Lockwood return from one match suspensions, while Andy Lindegaard and Nick Crittenden's respective injury problems have cleared up. "It is a big game for us as we try to bounce back from the Carlisle defeat," Gary Johnson admitted to the Yeovil Express. "These next few games are extremely important for us and could mean the difference between automatic promotion or the play-offs. We need to pick up points from these sorts of games - but every game is a big one."

Update 27/01/04: The Raith Rovers pair have been subsequently named as Ryan Blackadder and Ian Brown. Suggestions are that the goalkeeper was either from Aberdeen football club or travelled down from there.

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22 January 2004 : Wealey Keeps Arsenal Under Wraps
Glovers keeper Chris Weale, currently on trial for First Division side West Ham United, kept a clean sheet in Wednesday night's match against Arsenal Reserves at Victoria Road, Dagenham. Local reports suggest that Wealey had a fairly uneventful night, with the Hammers well on top in a 2-0 win over their London rivals.

West Ham coach Tony Carr, who was in charge of affairs at Victoria Road, said of Weale's performance: ""He had an opportunity to show what he could do; there was one occasion when Ryan Smith, who had played for the first team the day before, broke through - and Chris made a very good save. Other than that, it was back passes and crosses he had to deal with - which he did very well."

Ciderspace Fans Forum regular Surbiton Glover witnessed Wealey's performance and writes: "At the final whistle Chris Weale signed a few autographs behind the goal and at the same time Gary Johnson made his way down from the stand to pitch side and waited for his young goalkeeper to reach the entrance to the tunnel. The two of them had a lengthy discussion and with Assistant Manager Steve Thompson talking animatedly into his phone, it was possible that Weale had shown enough to persuade West Ham to take the gamble of which Alan Pardew had mentioned regarding the signing of Weale.

"In a 2-0 West Ham victory over Arsenal, Weale's best moment came on 18 minutes when he denied Ryan Smith after the winger had advanced through the inside right channel and was clean through on goal. In a busier first half, apart from the aforementioned stop he was not seriously extended as a safely caught corner and the tidying up of several through balls and back passes were all dealt with the minimum of fuss and was certainly the more composed of the two goalkeepers.
In the second half the physically bigger West Ham side imposed themselves on the game leaving Weale with hardly anything to do. Only once with the slight misjudgement of a ball that bounced higher than expected, did we really notice him.

"The West Ham supporters around me had been quietly impressed, and possibly by the nature of Gary's and Chris's conversation at the end of the game, Alan Pardew was also. After tonight I get the impression we will know sooner rather than later."

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22 January 2004 : Liverpool Commemorative Signed Shirts
Further to yesterday's news item, there is now a web-form that can be used to submit entries for the silent auction being organised by Yeovil Town. The web-form routes all submissions direct to Commercial Manager Dave Linney. Head here to place your bid, or for further information.

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21 January 2004 : Jacko on his way to the Daggers
Glovers striker Kirk Jackson has joined Dagenham and Redbridge on a month's loan with a view to securing a permanent deal at Victoria Road, according to the Conference side's official website.

Jacko arrived at Huish Park from Stevenage on the 30th of November last season and scored 20 goals for the Glovers between then and the end of the season, a huge factor in us winning the Conference championship and promotion to the football league - for that achievement he will always be held in great regard by Yeovil supporters. It is fair to say that he has found things more difficult this season however, as a total of 5 goals scored from 29 games played indicates. He's far too good a player to be left sitting on the bench and playing for the reserves and hopefully the move to the Daggers will rekindle his confidence and scoring touch. The best of luck to him from us all at Ciderspace.

Kirk won't be the only Glover at Victoria Road tonight - Gary Johnson has travelled up to the Daggers ground to watch Yeovil keeper Chris Weale play for West Ham United reserves against Arsenal reserves as part of his trial for the Hammers. A decision on the 21-year-old's future is expected this week.

In other news the club have announced that the home league match v Bristol Rovers on Saturday 13th March has been made all-ticket, with none on sale on the day. Gas fans have been allocated 1600 places altogether - 1500 for the Copse Road terrace and a block of 100 in the Bartlett Stand.

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21 January 2004 : Signed Liverpool Shirts Up For Auction
Special edition "Yeovil Town vs Liverpool" replica players shirts have been put up for auction by Commercial Manager Dave Linney. There are sixteen different shirts that can receive bids - one for each of the sixteen that were selected for the FA Cup Third Round match against the Premiership side.

The shirts feature the limited edition shirt front that commemorated the fixture and each shirt has the relevant player's name and shirt number on the back. Each shirt will be signed by the player on both the front and the back of the shirt.

Interested bidders must submit their silent auction bid to Dave Linney by 5.00pm on Friday 13th February. All winners will be notified shortly after. To aid those on the Internet, Ciderspace will have a web form on-line in the next 24-48 hours that will allow submissions to be made directly to the Commercial Department's email address, however other bids may be made in person via sealed envelopes to the Commercial Department at Huish Park.

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20 January 2004 : Pardew sings Weale's praises
West Ham United boss Alan Pardew has been explaining his decision to take a closer look at Glovers goalkeeper Chris Weale, currently spending his time training with the division one club. Speaking to the Hammers official site, Pardew said: "This kid has got a fantastic chance of being a top goalkeeper; it may be that it is too early for us to take him but it might be that we take that gamble. That is why I am having a look at him; we have had our eyes on him for a while and we wanted to bring him in to see what his character and temperament were like - but it looks sound."

The website goes on to claim that Weale has been scouted by many clubs already this season naming West Ham themselves, Southampton, Newcastle, Fulham, Preston, Ipswich and Nottingham Forest as showing an interest in the player.

Meanwhile Yeovil boss Gary Johnson already seems to have a price in mind for the 21-year-old should West Ham want to make a permanent move. "I wouldn't stand in Wealey's way if West Ham wanted him," Johnson told the Western Daily Press. "That's not to say we'd let him go cheap, because he's a good player and we have a figure we believe he's worth. West Ham are looking to replace England's top keeper [David James] and if they want Wealey they won't be able to dictate to us over the fee. Alan Pardew has had him watched for most of the season and knows all about his ability. I think he just wanted to see him for a couple of days to assess other things, like his character and work ethic."

Johnson has agreed to a request from West Ham that Weale remain with them for an additional day's trial, to play in a reserve match against Arsenal Reserves at Victoria Road (Dagenham) on Wednesday. Kick off is 7.00 p.m., and if there are any Yeovil fans in the area thinking of going along we are informed that prices for West Ham reserve fixtures are usually £2.00, with concessions £1.00.

If Weale does leave then Johnson has in 22-year-old Steve Collis a ready-made replacement for the goalkeeper's jersey. "Steve Collis is another great keeper and I know he would do a good job," Johnson said. "He would come straight in if Chris Weale left and we've also got Jon Sheffield here, so we've got cover."

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19 January 2004 : Hammers take Weale on trial
Glovers goalkeeper Chris Weale has been invited to spend two days training with division one side West Ham United, according to YTFC's official website.

The East London outfit have been watching the 21-year-old Yeovil keeper for some time now, and with the recent sale of former Hammers keeper David James to Manchester City, the time was clearly right for West Ham boss and former Glover Alan Pardew to request Weale's attendance.

Glovers boss Gary Johnson commented to the official site: "Obviously with West Ham in the hunt for a new goalkeeper this is a great opportunity for Chris and I would not dream of standing in his way. We'll see what comes of it."

In other news another division three manager has bitten the dust - and this time it's Bristol Rovers turn to wield the axe with Ray Graydon paying the price for his team's mediocre season so far. Coach Phil Bater has taken charge on a temporary basis, with former Cheltenham boss Steve Cotterill tipped as favourite to become the permanent man in charge.

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18 January 2004 : Gary Holds Fire - The Flak Comes On Monday
Glovers manager Gary Johnson answered the following questions from the press, after the 2-0 defeat at Carlisle United over the weekend:

It’s a long way to come for nothing!

You’ve got to come here whether it’s a long way or not. They had to travel down to us as well. But I’m not looking at it in that way of course. We got beaten today and we didn’t quite show our quality. We worked hard, and certain players played very well on the day and certain players didn’t. Unfortunately they got their goals just at the wrong time for us and we had five or six chances that we didn’t take. Credit to Carlisle though, as they worked hard and we knew they would be dangerous.

You’ve already mentioned the chances missed. Is that the disappointing aspect of today?

Yes, I think so as I think we had some decent chances. But that’s how some games go sometimes. Teams near the bottom of the league can always be dangerous and I think that Carlisle are in the top six or seven of the form table. So we knew that they wouldn’t be easy. I thought their lad up front [Andy] Preece did very well, showed his experience and held the ball up fantastically for them. They penned us in a little bit because of his good play and clever play and I’ve got to look at things like that.

Kevin Gall has had lots of good moments since joining the club but today was one of those bad moments. There was one moment where he was one-on-one where he’d done so well to get into that position, and everything was right until the finish.

So, what can you say? He’s our top goalscorer, so we know he does get into those positions and he does put them away. But today he hasn’t put them away and that’s one of the reasons why we have lost 2-0.

Carlisle are a physical side as well. How did you think your side were affected by that?

No, I didn’t think it was an over-physical game. I felt it was a very competitive game on a very heavy pitch. But I thought both teams played a bit of football and I thought both teams were very passionate, but where it matters in the goal, they got two and we didn’t get any.

You brought on Abdel at half time and then took him off. Is that always quite tough to bring off a substitute like that?

It is but you give people chances to get straight into the game and to affect the game and unfortunately I didn’t see an end product. I needed to see that end product when we were 1-0 down. I can’t have any sentiment and I have to play people who I think can win the game back. Unfortunately within 10 seconds we’d lost the second goal.

You went with Jake up front today. How did you think he did on his return?

I’ve got to talk to all of the players individually as to how I thought they did, so I’d rather talk to them first before I tell you.

You’ve got a couple of home games coming up now.

Yes we have. We’ve got a bit of work to do. We’ve got to start scoring goals, but then again we always say things like that when we haven’t scored. Sometimes you’ve got to say things like well done to Carlisle. Yes we’ve got two home games to come but that doesn’t make it any easier. We have to keep ourselves in at least a playoff place and if we are going to compete for the top three then we have to get all of our points at home.

It must be very frustrating to see your side create so many clear-cut chances but fail to kill the other team off?

Yes of course it is, but we’ve all been involved in other football matches and we all support other teams and that happens all the time. The important thing is to not believe that you are a bad side overnight just because of that. Again as I’ve said sometimes you just have to give credit to the winning side as they got their victory.

How much did you miss some of your creative players like Gavin Williams today?

I think it would be disrespectful to the ones that came in if I said anything negative about that. We’ve got a squad of players, we will get injuries and suspensions sometimes, and it’s up to the players out there to do a job. The ones that do their job are there for a little bit longer and the ones that don’t do their jobs don’t last very long! That said, we give them every opportunity to impress at our club.

Were you disappointed with the service from out wide?

I thought our quality in and around the final third was poor anyway, whether it was crosses, shots, holding up play, or the final ball. That showed as we had a lot of pressure, particularly in second half and yet I can’t really remember too many clear cut opportunities. It was our quality that let us down on the day. We mustn’t let it affect us too much but I’ll be steaming into a few of them on Monday.

What’s the situation with Nick Crittenden?

He’s injured. He’s got a slight hamstring strain. I would have thought that he would be available for selection next week. Probably Lindy as well as he’s had a bad ankle.

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18 January 2004 : Glovers singing the Blues after Carlisle loss
Bottom club Carlisle United inflicted a 3rd loss in 4 league games for Yeovil Town yesterday at Brunton Park, goals from Paul Simpson and Craig Farrell giving the Cumbrians their 4th win from 6 games to continue their revival as well as all 3 points.

A coachload of Celtic fans swelled the travelling support of 300 from Somerset, but despite a generally good display in the middle third of the pitch mistakes in front of goal both in attack and defense let the Glovers down. Again it was a case of poor finishing which was the killer, with players guilty of wasting good chances. It was from one such opportunity that the home side opened the scoring on 21 minutes - Kevin Gall smashed his shot high, wide and not-so-handsome from a good position in the Carlisle box, and from the subsequent goal-kick a sweeping move found Blues player-manager Paul Simpson who put his side 1-0 up. The Glovers enjoyed much of the possession and pressure from then on but without finding that crucial finishing touch and with the home side always looking dangerous on the break it was no real surprise when Craig Farrell made the game safe on 75 minutes when he provided an object lesson in taking your chances by beating Chris Weale from a tight angle when one-on-one with the Yeovil keeper.

Three losses in the last four league games for the Glovers then, and boss Gary Johnson has food for thought before next Saturday's home match v Leyton Orient. Speaking after the match yesterday Johnson said that he would be talking to the players individually regarding their perfomances lately. "We worked hard but didn't show our quality," he added. "Their goals came at just the right time, and we didn't take our chances."

Carlisle player-manager Paul Simpson was delighted with his side's display, saying: "It was brilliant, just what we needed. Yeovil are a good side but our workrate and attitude were excellent."

Final score: Carlisle United 2 - 0 Yeovil Town.

The result means that Carlisle are now within striking distance of 23rd-placed Darlington at the bottom of the league table with 18 points to the Quakers 22, with 22nd-placed Southend starting to look over their shoulders uneasily on 25 points. At the top Hull City remain in 1st place on 56 points after a 4-2 win over 3rd placed Oxford, with Doncaster in 2nd following their 2-0 win at struggling Southend. 3rd-placed Oxford have 53 points with a gap now appearing between them and 4th-placed Mansfield on 49 points, who lost 3-1 at Leyton Orient yesterday. Yeovil remain 5th on 46 points, on goal difference from 6th-placed Huddersfield who beat Boston 2-0 at the McAlpine Stadium. Lincoln take the remaining play-off spot on 43 points, but only on goal difference from 8th-placed Torquay, and with Swansea lurking with intent on 41 points in 9th, the battle for the play-off places is now well and truly on.

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15 January 2004 : Reserves held by Cherries
Yeovil Town reserves were held to a 2-2 draw by AFC Bournemouth reserves at Huish Park last night. The Glovers second-string fielded their customary mix and match of first team squad members and youth team players, though usual reserve-team captain Andy Lindegaard was missing with ankle ligament damage, Chris Giles - rumoured to be the subject of another loan bid from non-league Weymouth - taking the skipper's armband for the night.

The Glovers opened the scoring on 29 minutes through a Jamie Gosling re-taken penalty. The visitors equalised immediately after halftime, Matt Robinson taking advantage of a defensive error. Jake Edwards made amends within a minute of the re-start, his shot from the edge of the box beating Cherries keeper Kevin Scrivens to make it 2-1. After the usual flurry of substitutions Yeovil were left with 6 u-17 team players on the pitch against an experienced Bournemouth outfit and it was no surprise when the visitors began to dominate possession, finally equalising through a Derek Holmes header on 65 minutes. The Glovers were hanging on somewhat toward the end but the young team did extremely well to keep the visitors out, keeper Steve Collis in particular impressing with some fine saves.

Final score: Yeovil Town reserves 2 - 2 AFC Bournemouth reserves.

The result leaves the Glovers in 2nd place in the Pontins Holiday Combination Wales & West Division Table on 16 points from 9 games played. Cardiff City are top with 19 points from 9 games, with Plymouth Argyle 3rd on 15 points. The reserves next game is away at Oxford United on the 28th January, 2pm kick-off.

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13 January 2004 : Johnson plays down Saints speculation
Glovers boss Gary Johnson has played down speculation linking him with the soon to be vacant manager's post at Premiership side Southampton, following current manager Gordon Strachan's decision to step down when his contract runs out at the end of the season. Johnson has a link with the South Coast club through his association with Latvian striker Marian Pahars and speaking to the Bristol Evening Post, said: "I can understand where the link has come from because Marian and I both did well together with Latvia and we keep in touch. But it's all just speculation at the moment. Until something is made official, there's nothing to talk about. I'm flattered to be linked with a Premiership club, but I have a job to do here at Yeovil and Southampton already have a manager."

The Bristol Evening Post quote an 'insider' at Southampton as saying that both Johnson and Plymouth boss Paul Sturrock are in the running for the job, but betting odds would suggest that only Sturrock has a semi-realistic chance of being considered with Blue Square offering 14/1 on the Scot. Joint favourites for the job at 3/1 are current Wigan boss Paul Jewell and Wales manager Mark Hughes, a former Saints striker. Leicester's Mickey Adams is a 5/1 shot, while Norwich manager Nigel Worthington is quoted at 14/1 with Sturrock. Yeovil fans will be pleased to see that Gary Johnson's name doesn't appear in the betting as yet!

In other news the Glovers search for new players to consolidate the promotion challenge is continuing, with Raith Rovers striker John Sutton, the latest to be enquired about, though no formal offer has been made. Sutton, the brother of Celtic striker Chris Sutton, is a former Tottenham trainee and has scored 14 times so far this season. Millwall and the junior club of Spanish giants Valencia are also said to be monitoring the 21-year-old.

Finally, Jake Edwards will play for the reserves in their Combination league game against AFC Bournemouth reserves tomorrow night (Wednesday) at Huish Park, kick off 7pm. "I am hoping to put a strong side out that will include Jake," Gary Johnson confirmed today. "He will be pleased to get a run-out after missing out for the last few weeks. I have got Gavin Williams and Adam Lockwood both suspended at the weekend so it will be good getting two back from suspension - Jake and Colin Pluck."

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11 January 2004 : Johnson: 'The boys are growing up'
Gavin Williams scores the only goal of the game
Gavin Williams scores the only goal of the game
Photo © 2003 Ciderspace

Glovers boss Gary Johnson answered questions from the press following yesterday's 1-0 home win over Rochdale.

Gary that really epitomises a league Division 3 game doesn’t it, dig in and get a result?

"Yes that’s right, we really needed a second goal didn’t we? We got our first goal early enough which was good because they were playing 4-5-1, a rigid ten men behind the ball formation, and it could have been even more frustrating and we’d have had to have been more patient if we didn’t get the early goal. We got the early goal, they then change to their 4-4-2 system quickly which was good and it opened the game out but you’ve got to score the chances when they come your way especially at 1-0 down, otherwise you run the risk of a 35 yard volley going in - unfortunately for them it hit the crossbar. The one headline I didn’t want to hear is “After The Lord Mayors Show” syndrome, that was really important to me and it was important to the boys and I thought we worked very hard. There was some great bits of play on occasions and if we had have been 2-0 up or 3-0 up we’d have said what a magnificent performance, because it was very solid. We played some good football, we created chances and were a foot away from having a win of 3 or 4 nil, but if its got to be 1-0 its got to be 1-0 and I’m really pleased that the boys coped with the game today after the Liverpool game. It’s a big effort to come down from that high of Liverpool."

I guess from a neutrals point of view when Rochdale went to 4-4-2 it was more of an interesting game to watch?

"It could have been more open but to be honest other than a few long free-kicks and one that hit that bar which was a bit speculative, I’m not sure they had too many other chances. But at 1-0 you have a little panic in your mind sometimes and you think they're having more play than they actually are."

Your guys got forward on many an occasion, you must have been pleased with the football you played?

"I was very pleased with some of our football, it was top class again and the boys got their tails up as far as wanting to move the ball about. As I said, the next home game after Liverpool was always going to be a tester as to our character and I thought the boys worked very hard today."

A nice way to start the new year as you’ve got an away game coming up [vs Carlisle] that's one of the longest ones?

"Yes, we’ll have to start tomorrow for that one because it’s a long old trip! This was a big game today, it's one everyone expects you to win but because of the circumstances of our club this week it was important that we did win, I know that there will be a lot of neutrals out there having a look to see if Yeovil could carry their form from the Liverpool game in to the league and we haven’t disappointed them."

Were you a little bit frustrated that there wasn’t a little bit more end product?

"Sometimes, but that happens sometimes you know, sometimes there's not a lot of end product when you’ve had the ball a lot because your pinning them back, which means they’ve got a lot of men behind the ball which they did even when they went 4-4-2, the 8 played very deep, so all games are different. Some games are open, some games are not and you have to cope with all of them. The boys are growing up and the 1-0 result is a very good result considering where we’ve been this week."

Transcription by Richard Gibson

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10 January 2004 : Dale make Glovers sweat for points
Gavin Williams’ first half strike was enough to separate Yeovil Town from Rochdale at the final whistle as the Glovers went back to winning ways following three consecutive defeats.

Yeovil were without suspended duo Jake Edwards and Colin Pluck while Gary Johnson was able to recall winger Lee Elam after he was cup tied for the 0-2 home defeat against Premiership giants Liverpool.

Gavin Williams gave the home side the lead in thirteenth minute with his fourth goal of the season following Terry Skiverton’s long ball which allowed Williams to slot the ball cleanly pass keeper Neil Edwards and into the bottom corner. Williams was in the action again when his cross found unmarked Kevin Gall who’s shot was blocked by the visitors keeper. Seconds later Lee Johnson tried to double Yeovil’s lead but his long shot fell just wide of the post.

Yeovil could have added to their lead shortly after the break but Paul Terry was unable to grab a touch onto Lee Johnson’s though ball. Rochdale had a great opportunity to draw the scores level towards the end, but Kevin Townson’s long range lob was denied by the woodwork with Chris Weale beaten. Yeovil responded quickly but Gavin Williams saw his effort fly over the bar.

The Glovers keep up their challenge for promotion but they certainly had to work hard for their three points. "In the circumstances we did quite well and the lads gave everything," Rochdale boss Steve Parkin said after the game, "I thought Yeovil were the better side and there are obviously areas we have to improve," he added.

"The one thing I didn't want to see were headlines about 'after the Lord Mayor's Show'." Gary Johnson commented. "It was difficult for my lads but they picked themselves up well after the Liverpool game and came within a foot or two of winning by three or four."

Final score: Yeovil Town 1 - 0 Rochdale.

There's new leaders at the top of the division 3 table tonight, Hull City returning to the top on 53 points from 27 games played after their 1-0 win at struggling Darlington. Oxford drop to 2nd, also on 53 points but with a game in hand over Hull, after they were held to a goalless draw at home by 7th placed Lincoln. Doncaster Rovers stay in 3rd position on 52 points from 26 games played after thrashing Leyton Orient 5-0 at Belle Vue, and Mansfield are 4th on 49 points from 25 games played following their 1-0 home win over improving Kidderminster. The Glovers stay 5th on 46 points from 25 games, with Huddersfield 6th on 43 points from 26 games played. Lincoln fill the final play-off place with 42 points from 25 games.

Match precis: George Murray

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9 January 2004 : Liverpool commemorative goodies on sale
The club shop has various items on sale commemorating last Sundays 3rd round FA Cup game v Liverpool, including 15 inscribed glass pint tankards, £25 each; and 30 t-shirts commemorating the game, at £10 each. It's also worth noting that all replica shirts being sold currently have a slightly different design on the badge to shirts sold earlier in the season, again to reflect the Liverpool FA Cup tie.

Call in at the shop itself (found under the Main Stand at Huish Park) or phone Dave Linney on 01935 423662 to make an order.

In other news, tomorrow's Youth Team game v Cardiff City u-17's has been postponed - the top pitch at Huish Park is waterlogged.

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8 January 2004 : Magpies Want Giles
Dr Martens League Premier Division Dorchester Town has confirmed the rumour around for the last week or so that they are interested in a loan deal for Chris Giles.

The 21-year-old, who began as a forward but has been expanding his abilities by operating as a defender for much of the last year, has been unable to get into the Yeovil Town first team this season. Injury, and the sheer quality of those ahead of him in the pecking order, has meant that Gary Johnson was looking before Christmas to get him some match practice on another loan spell. However the F.A. Cup draw saw that put on hold, as the manager stated he wanted the whole squad together for the experience of Liverpool.

Dorchester manager Mark Morris believes Giles could boost a side which has failed to score in four of their last five league games. Given their 8-0 thrashing by local rivals Weymouth on Boxing Day he might also have a think about Gilesy's defensive qualities!

Speaking to the Dorset Echo, Morris said : I contacted Yeovil last week to ask about Chris Giles. The lad said he wanted to stay there in case he got the chance to play in their big FA Cup game against Liverpool, but in the event he didn't make the squad. I'm hoping things may have changed now and I'll be speaking to their manager Gary Johnson again to see what the situation is with regard to a loan.

Because the registration deadline for the F.A. Trophy has passed there is no rush to get a loan in place for this weekend, when Dorchester are due to face Margate in the Third Round. But the club will be keen to get any new faces in place before they return to league action against Grantham Town on the 17th, so if Giles is to go to Dorchester expect some movement by early next week.

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7 January 2004 : Half Season Ticket Applications Update
Half-season ticket applications that were made prior to the Liverpool game are currently being processed and posted out from the Huish Park Ticket Office. Currently some supporters will have received tickets whilst others will still be in the middle of being processed. They are currently leaving Huish Park at the rate of about 100 per day.

They are still hoping to clear the decks by Saturday, however just in case, any supporters who have not received their half-season tickets by Saturday should visit the Huish Park Ticket Office (allow a bit of extra time) and they will have your application on file, including the photo you supplied. If the application has not been fully processed, then they will issue a day ticket as a temporary measure.

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6 January 2004 : Glovers Get On Cloud Nine
There was no need for overnight ticket queuing for tonight’s friendly encounter with Shaftesbury, which celebrated the official opening of their new ground at Coppice Street. The travelling Yeovil XI consisted of a mixture of youth team players and first team squad members including Chris Giles, Stephen Reed, Andy Lindegaard, Steve Thompson, Jake Edwards, Abdou El Kholti, Steve Collis, and Adam Stansfield.

The Glovers ran out easy winners: 9-0 the final score with goals from Adam Stansfield (3), Shaun Smith, Jake Edwards (2), Charlie Welch, Chris Giles and a converted penalty from player-manager Gary Johnson, who played the while of the second half!

Gary Johnson modestly described his own performance as "Perfect! The boy Johnson done well, but he looks a lot younger on TV!" and added that Coppice Street has "fantastic facilities and it was nice to come fairly local and give the lads a chance to share their admiration and we really enjoyed it."

Line-Up: (4-4-2) Steve Collis; Stephen Reed, Sam Croft, Chris Giles, Andy Lindegaard; Abdelhalim El Kholti, Steve Thompson, Shaun Smith, Dale Williams; Adam Stansfield, Jake Edwards. Subs: Charlie Welch (55 mins for Thompson), Danny Barker (82 mins for Collis), Gregg Squibb (65 mins for Williams), Jamie Barber (65 mins for Smith), Gary Johnson (46 mins for Reed). Dale Williams also returned to the field, replacing Abdelhalim El Kholti on 82 mins.

1-0 Adam Stansfield 12 mins
2-0 Shaun Smith 32 mins
3-0 Adam Stansfield 39 mins
4-0 Jake Edwards 43 mins
5-0 Charlie Welch 59 mins
6-0 Jake Edwards 63 mins
7-0 Gary Johnson 80 mins
8-0 Adam Stansfield 81 mins
9-0 Chris Giles 84 mins

[Report by George Murray]

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6 January 2004 : Gall Contract Extension Confirmed
Glovers manager Gary Johnson has confirmed that striker Kevin Gall has committed to the Glovers for an additional year on top of his current deal, thus keeping him at the club until the summer of 2005.

Gary had admitted in the News Of The World that a number of his players had signed year extensions on their contracts, though initially made the decision not to name those who had signed, to protect any players that may be still in negotiations. In yesterday's Western Daily Press he stated: "You don't like to publicly state who has signed and who hasn't signed for the ones who haven't signed. I will keep that very much in-house."

However, with rumours flying that Gall was on his way to Ipswich Town for 250K, Johnson made his move to admit that the former Bristol Rovers player was one of the players that had settled their future with the club.

Gary told today's WDP: "Kevin actually signed quite early in the season, it hasn't just happened because of the speculation. Over the course of the season I will sign up players when the time is right. I won't make it public because that isn't fair to the players."

The News of The World had quoted Johnson as saying that as many as ten players had already agreed deals but Gary explained: "There are others that have agreed new contracts but the number stated in that report was wrong. I know the supporters trust me to sign people at the right time and keep our best players at the club."

Last season most of the 'first choice' players agreed deals around Christmas, but an announcement of who they were was delayed until the middle of February in order to avoid speculation relating to one or two that had yet to complete negotiations. Johnson then announced all eight signatures as part of a single press statement, and it would be no surprise if this year followed a similar pattern.

In other news, Paul Terry and Colin Pluck have shown a good reaction to injuries sustained during the Liverpool match. Pluck is suspended this weekend anyway, but was scheduled to resume training today. Terry may need a little longer but his injury has been diagnosed as bruising, with no ligament damage, and so is still optimistic of playing against Rochdale on Saturday.

Finally Johnson has admitted that Stoke City striker Chris Iwelumo has been watched by him (see yesterday's story) but has indicated that he is unlikely to make a move for him, with the striker's First Division-sized wages believed to be the stumbling block.

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5 January 2004 : Post match analysis: Gerard Houllier & Gary Johnson
GH : Well first of all I think they must be proud of their performance. I said that on TV, I said that on radio, so I’m not just saying that because he [Gary Johnson] is here - because they gave us a very hard game. We were expecting that. Things fortunately unfolded the way we thought they would be; there was a lot of energy at the start of the game and we had to withstand a little bit of luck sometimes but at the same time I thought we were extremely professional for that game. We had the right attitude and approach, which means we knew that for teams like that the level between the teams is nearer for moments of the game. But we knew that. We also knew we had to be extremely committed and I thought that the work rate of the players showed that we could defend hard and strong together when needed.

The other thing is I thought we were extremely professional because we kept strong and things like that. Sometimes some decisions don’t go your way, you have to wait, get on with it. But we were focused. There was one or two things I was not happy with. But we were also disciplined. I knew that they would come out. Also a tough midfield, so we had to have a bit of different play.

Second half was different because we had 10-15 minutes when we probably tired them out and we could pass the ball and score a good goal after hitting the post. But at the end I think we are pleased with our performance and result but they must also take pride in what they achieved today. I understand why they are called the Giant Killers.

They have a good combination of aerial threat which is useful in the lower leagues and even in the Premiership. And they can pass the ball and play. They are a good side; they all work very hard.

Emile [Heskey] was fresh and when the attitude is right and when you’ve got the power......... and he took his goal extremely well.

(On Michael Owen)
We thought that if you are not 100% in those cup games there is no point travelling.

GJ : I’m not really unprofessional enough to think there was a shock on the cards, but we were obviously very happy at half-time that we’d stayed well in the game. We'd created a few chances ourselves and our shape was looking quite strong. We got through a few times, Gerard’s team got through a few times, and at half-time I think we knew that if we went out and produced the same then the game would be close. But we came out and for 20 minutes they showed their Premiership quality in not giving the ball away. We had a couple of enforced changes, substitutions that didn’t quite help us, but that 20 minutes you can't give Liverpool that amount of time on the ball coming up to your final third because they’ve got clever enough players to slide people in and a little trick and a penalty, all those sorts of things, and unfortunately we gave them too much time on the edge of our penalty box and when we recovered it was too late - then they were 2-0 up.

Two things obviously. I’m obviously very proud that our football club has staged this event and I hope Gerrard and his team are happy with the way they have been received. But I’m also proud of the boys because they showed for part of the game they can compete at this level, and I think that some of them proved they might be able to compete up a level or two. But one of disappointment because every football match you try and win and we got beaten today, and all I say is credit to Liverpool. They came down and had a great attitude - you can see that - and ended up winning the game. And I can only say good luck in the next round and I was hoping to say you can concentrate on the league but it's got to be us.

(On the penalty)

To be fair the amount of times they were coming in to that area anything could have happened; and ok if it was 10-20 yards up the pitch but they were getting to the edge of that penalty area quite often during that 20 minute spell and at that point I stopped enjoying it. We just had to try and get the game. At 2-0 we moved it up the field a little bit more but Liverpool won the game, and I’m just glad we were part of a great football match and we didn’t just turn up to watch Liverpool play for 90 minutes. We made Liverpool earn their victory.

[Reporter: Richard Gibson.]

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5 January 2004 : Iwelumo Linked With Glovers
Stoke City striker Chris Iwelumo has been linked with a move to Yeovil Town according to the website.

The 25 year old is currently transfer-listed at the Britannia Stadium, but Stoke director of football John Rudge claims he is being chased by up to six clubs, including Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen.

Rudge said of the striker's situation: "They've (Aberdeen) contacted us about him but there are five clubs in England that are interested in Chris as well. Barnsley, Peterborough, Yeovil, Swindon and Huddersfield have all contacted us so far. Chris has been frustrated not getting a game here, so we've decided to allow him the chance to find somewhere else to play."

The 6'4" striker was born in Coatbridge in Scotland and started his career at St Mirren. He has since played for Aarhus and Stoke City as well as loan spells at York City and Cheltenham Town. He has made 11 appearances for the Potteries side this season.

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5 January 2004 : From Liverpool To Shaftesbury
Yeovil Town take on Shaftesbury Town in a midweek friendly tomorrow on Tuesday 6th January, kick off 7.30pm. Admission is £3.00 and a programme will be on sale. The game is taking place to formally open Shaftesbury's new ground, which is situated in Coppice Street, Shaftesbury, Dorset. The North Dorset side moved a short distance from their original ground at the start of this season.

The exact nature of the side that will face Shaftesbury on Tuesday is unknown at present. It could prove useful for the Glovers to get the FA Cup out of their system, but many recent friendlies of this nature have often featured predominantly players from Yeovil's Under 17 side. Any indications of the sort of side that will travel to Shaftesbury will be posted here.

UPDATE 15.30: We've been reliably informed that the Yeovil side will comprise the same kind of line-up as seen at Pontins Holidays Combination League games - in other words those squad players on the bench for the Liverpool game or otherwise not involved on Sunday, plus some youth players on short-term professional contracts. No guarantees then, but one could probably expect to see the likes of Chris Giles, Abdou El Kholti, Steve Collis, and Adam Stansfield to play amongst other familiar names. There's even a possibility that a promising veteran player, a certain Gary Johnson may make an appearance on the subs bench. At Ciderspace we've always thought having a player/manager is a good idea....

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4 January 2004 : More divers than the Australian Olympic swimming team ...
A fine strike from Liverpool susbstitute Emile Heskey and a Danny Murphy penalty ended Yeovil Town’s giant killing dreams when they were knocked out of the 3rd round of the FA Cup by two goals to nil in front of a record Huish Park crowd of 9,348 and a live viewing BBC audience.

Yeovil were without suspended striker Jake Edwards as he served the second game of a three-match ban, but the home side were boosted by the return of influential midfielder Darren Way in his first start following a stress fracture.

Although sixty-six places separated the two sides it was Gary Johnson’s team who took the game to underachieving Liverpool in the first half. Jerzy Dudek was quickly forced to parry a testing Lee Johnson free kick just outside the box. Moments later Darren Way attempted to finish a great Yeovil move with a build up of one-touch passes but failed to find the target. The visitor’s best chance came in the 24th minute from an El-Hadji Diouf cross finding team mate Vladimir Smicer whose header was well held by Chris Weale. Dudek was called into action again from Lee Johnson’s corner that found Gavin Williams but his powerful strike was tipped round the post for his and Yeovil’s best chance of the half. Diouf blotted his copybook by being booked for diving in the Yeovil box near the end of the half.

For the first twenty-five minutes of the second half, Liverpool were denied a number of good opportunities by the home defence. Vladimir Smicer was extremely unlucky to see his shot bounce off the post with Chris Weale firmly beaten. But Liverpool finally found a breakthrough in the 70 minute when substitute Emile Heskey found himself one-on-one with Chris Weale following Danny Murphy’s through ball and slotted Liverpool ahead. Seven minutes later and Liverpool were awarded an extremely dubious penalty by referee Neale Barry, Harry Kewell doing a convincing impression of a u-boat captain when challenged in the box. Mr Barry was fooled however, though doubtless he will be feeling as embarrassed as Kewell ought to be feeling when he sees the incident replayed. Danny Murphy made sure of Liverpool’s safe passage to the fourth round with a composed penalty strike. Yeovil kept going to the final whistle and could have grabbed a consolation goal late on if it wasn't for a stunning save from Dudek to keep out Kirk Jackson’s acrobatic volley.

Final score: Yeovil Town 0-2 Liverpool.

Two Glovers players were injured during the match, Paul Terry with a twisted knee and Colin Pluck with an ankle injury - it's not yet known how long either player will be out for, though of course Plucky misses next week's home game v Rochdale because of a 1 match suspension.

Thanks to George Murray

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3 January 2004 : Yeovil Town vs Liverpool Match Preview
The day is almost there! The match of the season for the Glovers will take place tomorrow (Sunday) at 1.00pm as they take on Premiership giants Liverpool in an FA Cup Third Round match that is being televised on BBC1 in the UK and on Fox Sports World in the USA and Canada. Set those videos now!

The past week has revolved around a deluge of press reports, covering interviews with both sides with predictably the newspapers wanting to centre on the obvious cup cliches; Paul Terry stars as the lesser-known brother of England and Chelsea's John, Hugo Rodrigues stars as the country's tallest player and as the son of a wine corking company owner, Kirk Jackson pops in with a cameo as the player facing his boyhood heroes whilst the rest of the squad are repeatedly asked just exactly how they are going to plot Liverpool's downfall.

Then comes the press spin, particularly from the Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Official Site, determined to make a mountain out of a molehill and to try and inject some kind of spice or hostility into the tie, just in case Liverpool's players and supporters head down without a hint of emotion about a tie that should surely be a walkover ... unless you happened to spot Telford United turning over Crewe Alexandra today, or Kidderminster Harriers coming within a whisker of dumping out Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The two Liverpool press sources have tried to paint Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier as having been wounded by comments apparently made by Glovers manager Gary Johnson or by his players. Either the Liverpool sources or Houllier himself seem to have suffered a severe sense of humour failure at Johnson's tongue in cheek comments, centring on his mock disappointment of Stephen Gerrard's unavailability and Michael Owen's 50:50 chance of making the tie, as if the Reds have not got plenty to call on in reserve if both England internationals happen to be missing. Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland is also ruled out of the tie.

Gary Johnson's team selection seems to be shrouded in secrecy, and with the Glovers having performed better in the second halves of their matches against Scunthorpe United , Kidderminster Harriers and Swansea City it could be that Johnson surprises a few by selecting some of the players who impressed by coming off the bench, and perhaps even with the formation he chooses.

The only thing that is certain is that Roy O'Brien (knee/ankle) and Jake Edwards (suspended) are the two absentees from the first team squad, though it would be a major surprise if Chris Weale, Terry Skiverton, Colin Pluck, Lee Johnson, Gavin Williams and Kevin Gall were not on the teamsheet. The remainder of the positions will probably depend on Darren Way's match fitness and the question of who should partner Gall up front.

The match is of course ALL-TICKET and a total sell-out. Supporters are reminded that all official club merchandise will be sold only from the Huish Park Club Shop. Alternative merchandise is sold by the YTISA from the Marquee Bar. Please do not line the pockets of any bootleg sellers who may try and illegally sell merchandise or tickets on the Huish Park complex. They are trading illegally and your money will not benefit the club. Head round to the Main Stand area and you will find legal merchandise on sale in this area.

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3 January 2004 : Fifteen Minutes Of Fame?
Well more like fifteen seconds, with the rest on the cutting room floor. The BBC are looking for Yeovil Town fans to interview for a forthcoming documentary about John Terry. We're not 100% sure what they want, but the phone call implied questions relating to Paul Terry (as sponsored by Ciderspace), and that far less famous brother - life at Division 3 Yeovil compared to Premiership Chelski? - might be on the agenda.

So if you fancy getting your mug and opinion on the box the TV crew will be looking for photogenic sorts (cuts us out) around the marquee from 11.30 a.m. on Sunday. Head for where Y.T.I.S.A. chairman Mark Kelly will already be hogging the camera.

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2 January 2004 : Countdown - 48 hours to go!
The BBC Outside Broadcasting Unit
The BBC Outside Broadcasting Unit arrives to set up shop.
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace/Jeremy Gear

With 48 hours to go before the big match, Huish Park was bristling with activity today. Regular Ciderspace match reporter Jeremy Gear went to have a look around:

"The players, who had trained earlier, had returned to the warmth of the hospitality suites to no doubt discuss tactics and to mentally prepare themselves for one of the biggest games in the clubs history. Only the keepers, Collis and Weale stayed out marshalled by coach Jon Sheffield.

"A decade ago when the Arsenal came to town, that was a “big day out”, with little chance of success. The occasion was bigger than the game itself, against a well disciplined and stubborn star-studded line-up managed by George Graham.

"This time around, and with no disrespect to those Yeovil players of that era, not only is this Sundays clash going to be a big day out, it’s a game that has a sniff of a giantkill about it. Not wishing to tempt fate, but the club have leapt forward miles since the Gunners beat their host’s, none more so than on the pitch and this current squad, up against a Liverpool side, who are on the ropes according to some, have an almighty chance of creating a major shock.

"Around the ground, every grandstand seat was being cleaned, the nations broadcaster, the BBC were erecting camera gantry’s and Mr Lineker’s own private box was already up, wedged between the Westland Terrace and the Bartlett Stand. Local TV pundits were milling around, David Passmore of Points West, and from HTV’s Soccer Sunday, Jed Pitman. Around the local housing estates, the Christmas “decs” were coming down and were being replaced by Green and White bunting.

And the legend was born........
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace/Jeremy Gear

"The club shop was doing a roaring trade with all kinds of souvenirs available, the car park in front of the main stand was as frantic as it would be on any given match day. But this match is different, much different. Promotion to the football league was a wonderful moment, tinged only with the sadness of losing that famous non-league giantkillers mantle.

"Fear not fellow Glovers, who is to say come Sunday tea time we might still be the most famous of giantkillers, only minus the non-league tab…now I for one will gladly settle for that!

"Oh, and one other thing......where can we watch the draw!!"

The BBC Match of the Day Studio
Gary Lineker will try to beat David Blain's record for sitting in a box this Sunday.
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace/Jeremy Gear

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2 January 2004 : Liverpool: The build-up begins!
Leading up to one of the biggest games of Yeovil's season this Sunday, Ciderspace reporter Richard Gibson went along to one of Yeovil's three press days to take some photos and interview some of the players and manager Gary Johnson prior to the visit of the mighty Reds. Click here to access Richard's report on the day's proceedings.

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2 January 2004 : Yeovil v Liverpool Programme - World Exclusive!!
Yeovil Town v Liverpool FAC Round 3, 04/01/04, programme cover
Yeovil Town v Liverpool FAC Round 3, 04/01/04, programme cover
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace

Well it might or might not be a 'World Exclusive', but Ciderspace brings you the first details we've seen of the forthcoming programme for the Yeovil Town v Liverpool F.A. Cup Third Round tie.

The issue is ninety pages and retails at £5.00. We hear 7,000 have been printed.

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2 January 2004 : December's Internet Player of the Month: Paul Terry
Paul Terry is December's Internet Player of the Month, the first time the former Daggers utility player has amassed enough votes to be a monthly winner. Paul - proudly sponsored by Ciderspace - has been an ever present in the first team since the beginning of November, firstly as a right back, then in the central midfield role. Paul started and finished in all 5 qualifying games during December, taking 2nd place in the MOTM votes 3 times, and winning the vote once. December's result's are as follows:

406 points - Paul Terry

331 points - Kevin Gall

302 points - Gavin Williams

240 points - Nick Crittenden

148 points - Terry Skiverton

099 points - Hugo Rodrigues

097 points - Lee Johnson

075 points - Colin Pluck

055 points - Adam Lockwood

038 points - Kirk Jackson

036 points - Chris Weale

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