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31 May 2004 : Terriers Keep Stags At Bay
Who says a 0-0 is boring? In a gripping encounter Huddersfield Town and Mansfield Town battled each other to a virtual standstill and spun the 2003-04 season out to the bitter end, as extra time could not separate the two sides. Mansfield had got the ball into the net in time added on in the second half, but the balled was ruled to have gone out of play a second or two earlier.

So the Division Three Play-off Final came down to penalties, and it was the Terriers that held their nerve. Mansfield failed with their first two, including one of those dink efforts from Liam Lawrence - when will they learn? - that bounced off the top of the crossbar, and it was effectively over. Huddersfield ran out 4-1 winners. Congratulations to Huddersfield Town, off to Division Two.

The final Division Three line up for 2004-05 is now settled :

Boston United
Bristol Rovers
Cambridge United
Cheltenham Town
Chester City
Grimsby Town
Kidderminster Harriers
Leyton Orient
Lincoln City
Macclesfield Town
Mansfield Town
Northampton Town
Notts County
Oxford United
Rushden and Diamonds
Scunthorpe United
Shrewsbury Town
Southend United
Swansea City
Wycombe Wanderers
Yeovil Town

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27 May 2004 : Telford United R.I.P.
Nationwide Conference side Telford United, one of the Glovers longest running opponents until last season, have been forced into liquidation. The Shropshire side were plunged into crisis when owner and sugar-daddy Andy Shaw was made personally bankrupt leaving the club to fend for itself with massive contractual liabilities.

Despite valiant efforts by the Telford United Supporters Trust, the fight to keep the club alive was given up as lost in a statement issued by the supporters body with a six figure sum needed just to trade next season.

The Supporters Trust suggest that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for Telford fans, in the form of a brand new club, created on the same basis as Aldershot Town and Newport County reincarnations.

The trust, which has been formed as a separate Limited Company hopes for "the formation of a new club which should be confirmed within the next 24 hours. This will hopefully provide the vehicle for football in Telford to re-enter into Non League football, the level of which is as yet unknown. Encouraging dialogue has been opened with the FA and other partners in relation to this."

The very best of luck to Telford's supporters in creating a new club out of the embers of the old. Perhaps this is a lesson to all supporters of all clubs who might wish their board members to "get their chequebook out" in the future ...

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27 May 2004 : Glovers Swap Bulgaria For Bristol
Yeovil Town have today lost out on one friendly but gained another. Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia have cancelled the whole of their English tour, and that has meant that their provisional date for a trip to Huish Park has been curtailed. Doubts began to form when the Bulgarians cancelled an adjacent fixture with fellow Third Division side Grimsby Town and now the whole tour is off.

Instead, Saturday 24th July will see Second Division playoff finalists Bristol City visit Huish Park in a match that will kick-off at 3.00pm.

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25 May 2004 : 75, 75, 75, 110 with you sir, do I hear any more.........
Something of an auction seems to be developing for Yeovil's Gavin Williams. After an initial bid of £75,000 from Hull City was rejected, The Tiger's manager Peter Taylor gave notice he was going to place a further bid. Now the Yorkshire Post reports that Doncaster Rovers has put in an offer of £110,000.

Of course none of this matters unless Williams wants a move, and so far both the player and the club have been giving little away.

Any interest Yeovil Town had in wide man James Coppinger (see Ciderspace : May 21st) has come to a juddering halt with news that the out of contract Exeter City player signed for Doncaster today.

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23 May 2004 : Gavin Williams is YTFC Internet Supporters Player of the Season
Gavin Williams has added to the clean sweep of supporters trophies he won at the end of the current season by adding the missing piece to his mantelpiece collection - the Internet Supporters Player of the Season award, managing to stay ahead over his only serious rival to the title over the full term, fellow midfielder Lee Johnson.

Votes are cast by fans for the man-of-the-match award after games throughout the season and are brought forward and added to running totals as the season progresses, thus giving a constantly up-to-date indication of who supporters consider to be performing well for the club. Monthly winners this season were:

April 2004 - Dani Rodrigues
March 2004 - Gavin Williams
Feb 2004 - Gavin Williams
Jan 2004 - Lee Johnson
Dec 2003 - Paul Terry
Nov 2003 - Hugo Rodrigues
Oct 2003 - Hugo Rodrigues
Sept 2003 - Nick Crittenden
August 2003 - Kevin Gall

The final totals in the Player of the Season points were as follows:

484 points - Gavin Williams
446 points - Lee Johnson
389 points - Darren Way
375 points - Kevin Gall
341 points - Hugo Rodrigues
335 points - Adam Lockwood
331 points - Chris Weale
319 points - Stephen Collis
316 points - Paul Terry
312 points - Colin Pluck
296 points - Abdelhalim El Kholti
287 points - Nick Crittenden
280 points - Andy Lindegaard
267 points - Roy O'Brien
262 points - Terry Skiverton
232 points - Jake Edwards
188 points - Adam Stansfield
164 points - Kirk Jackson

As always, many thanks to Paul Chesterman for administering the MOTM voting system throughout the season.

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22 May 2004 : Hull To Return With New Bid
Hull City manager Peter Taylor has confirmed he will make another attempt to prise Yeovil Player of the Season Gavin Williams away from Huish Park.

An initial bid, reported as £75,000, was turned down, but Taylor said :

I'm disappointed that the story has come out but we are interested in him. What will happen now is that I'll speak directly to Gary Johnson and we'll up the offer next week when he gets back from holiday. If Gary says yes or no we'll take it from there and see if we can reach an agreement or not.

Unofficially word coming from Hull is that they are prepared to go into six figures to try and get their man. At that sort of price Ciderspace's opinion is that Yeovil Town is unlikely to stand in Gavin's way, but of course the final decision would in practice belong to Williams himself. If he decides this is the move he wants to progress his career then he will be a Tiger come the summer. As those who made the trip to Kingston Communications Stadium will attest Hull is a massive club with facilities and support more familiar to Division One teams. And after years in the doldrums Taylor seems to have got them on the move in the right direction.

If Williams does move to Hull Taylor appears to believe he would be competing with City's current wide men Jason Price and Stuart Elliott :

He can play right or left wing and that's one of the reasons why I like the lad. That counts for a lot.

Maybe something in our favour then, as Williams has always said that the wings are not his preferred position.

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21 May 2004 : Glovers Make Move For Exeter Winger
Today's Exeter Echo claims that Exeter City midfielder James Coppinger is being lined up for a potential move to Huish Park this summer. The winger is currently out of contract at St James Park and claims that Glovers manager Gary Johnson has already been in contact with him about a possible move.

Coppinger told the newspaper: "Gary Johnson rang me to say he was interested in taking me. I was very pleased. I have heard a lot of good things about Yeovil. Alex Jeannin was there and he sang their praises. Gary said he had spoken to the manager (Eamonn Dolan) about what I was like and told me if I wanted to do anything about it to give him a ring back. Yeovil came up from the Conference and then nearly went up again this season. They play football the right way and they are going in the right direction. I am going to go away for a fortnight and spend some time with my mum and when I come back I will make a decision."

The winger has had interest shown from Chester City and Doncaster Rovers but both appeared to baulk at the transfer fee requested by Exeter City and the trail has gone quiet there recently. Irish side St Patrick's Athletic also took an interest but even that deal has fallen dead after manager Eamonn Collis departed the club. Now he is out of contract with a transfer tribunal likely to set the fee.

Coppinger added: "I can't do anything until the tribunal because nobody is going to pay a lot of money when they don't need to. It's lovely to have a few options. This time last year I never thought I would be in the position that I'm in now. That's testament to all the players at Exeter, the manager and Steve Perryman. They have helped to develop me as a player and I thank them for that. Although I would have liked this to have gone through quicker and for the club not to ask as much money as they are, but that never happens and that's football. Hopefully I will be able to sort something out soon."

There is, however, a fly in the ointment. Coppinger's agent is none other than the pondlife known as Steven Denos. His 'advice' was believed to be the main reasons for the departures of Anthony Tonkin and Michael McIndoe from Huish Park, and the same agent created similar bad blood when Tonkin moved from Stockport County to Crewe Alexandra. The Grecians have also been involved in a war of words with Denos over some of his dealings with the Devon club over the past 12 months. That could make the negotiating table a very interesting place to be.

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21 May 2004 : Hull Claim Williams Transfer Bid
Today's Hull Daily Mail makes the shock claim that Yeovil midfielder Gavin Williams has handed in a transfer request. The paper doesn't make it clear whether that request has been granted, but does go on to claim that a "'substantial' offer was made to the Glovers yesterday [by Hull City] - but was immediately knocked back." The paper also implies that recently promoted Hull City could return with a second bid.

Where an element of caution should be maintained is that the Hull newspaper does not make clear where it has sourced it's information from, nor does it attempt to quote any of the parties involved.

Update: 16:20hrs: The Western Daily Press also report this story, however stop short of claiming that Williams has requested a transfer. The paper reports that Hull chairman Adam Pearson has confirmed the rejected bid as being £75,000 in value. The WDP add that "a source at Huish Park denied rumours that Williams had handed in a transfer request after learning of Hull's interest."

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21 May 2004 : And Then There Were Two........
The favourites after the first play-off legs, Huddersfield Town and Mansfield Town, did indeed make it through to the Final at the Millennium Stadium, but not without severe scares.

On Wednesday two goals in a minute from Lincoln City at the Alfred McAlpine Stadium looked to be turning the tie around, but a penalty on the hour for Huddersfield levelled things. Then with seven minutes left on the clock captain Rob Edwards made it 2-2 on the night and 4-3 to the Terriers on aggregate. Attendance 19,467.

The following evening at Field Mill Mansfield seemed set to blow a two goal advantage from the first leg as Northampton Town hit three unanswered goals just before and after half-time. Mansfield fought back and took the tie to 3-3 through Tom Curtis. The tension and passion rose to agonising heights with nine players booked as the remainder of the half and extra time couldn't separate the two teams.

And so to the dreaded penalties. Northampton's Eric Sabin was the man to fail, his effort pushed round the post by Kevin Pilkington. Mansfield didn't miss, to take the shoot-out 5-4. Attendance 9,243.

So it'll be trips to Sincil Bank and Sixfields once again for Yeovil Town, with the last of our twenty-three opponents being the loser of Huddersfield Town v Mansfield Town on Monday 31st May.

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20 May 2004 : The Mighty Somerset Premier Cup
The draw has been made for the First Round of the Somerset Premier Cup, and Yeovil Town will travel to Crown Field, home of Keynsham Town. Keynsham were in the Screwfix Direct Western Premier League last season. With the major restructuring of the Non-league pyramid still to be completely settled we're not entirely sure where they'll be playing next. Given they finished 15th out of 18 presumably at the level they are now.

The full draw is :

Bishops Sutton v Wellington
Keynsham Town v YEOVIL TOWN
Minehead v Street
Paulton Rovers v Mangotsfield United
Radstock Town v Clevedon United
Shepton Mallet v Backwell United
Taunton Town v Clevedon Town
Welton Rovers v Brislington
Weston-super-Mare v Frome Town

The cup holders Bristol City are not entering the competition this time around. The First Round ties to be played in the week of October 4th, 2004.

Yeovil Town Youth Team will again be competing in the Football League Youth Alliance. The Youths finished an excellent third behind AFC Bournemouth and Cardiff City last term. The new season commences on August 7th, 2004.

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20 May 2004 : Two More Friendlies Announced
Yeovil Town have arranged two more friendlies for the 2004/05 season and both are against Second Division opposition. First up will be AFC Bournemouth on July 17th at Huish Park. Then on July 31st, the Glovers travel to newly promoted Torquay United for a friendly at Plainmoor.

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19 May 2004 : Elam To Hornchurch
Winger Lee Elam has been transferred to Hornchurch, who will be playing in Conference Two South next season. He'll join ex-Yeovil striker Kirk Jackson there.

Speaking on the Official Site Gary Johnson said :

Lee didn't quite have the opportunity to prove himself at Huish Park and after an end of season talk it was decided he could move on if he found another club where he felt more comfortable. We wish him all the best after his short stay here.

Lee came on a month's loan deal from Halifax Town on October 30th 2003, and made his debut on November 1st in the 2-1 loss away at Bury, coming on after ten minutes to replace the injured Gavin Williams. He scored his opening, and only, goal for the First Team a fortnight later in the 4-0 demolition of Southend United at Huish Park.

At the beginning of December Elam was signed permanently for an undisclosed fee - gossip said £10,000. In total he was to make twelve appearances, six of them starts, but it would be fair to say he never made a big impression or looked as if he was going to grab his opportunity to make it at Football League level. Towards the end of March he went on loan to Chester City as they pushed for the Conference Championship, making four appearances and scoring one goal.

Elam also played five games for Yeovil Town Reserves in his time at Huish Park, netting once.

Ciderspace wishes him all the best in his future career.

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16 May 2004 : Division Three Line Up Almost Completed
Congratulations to Shrewsbury Town, who emulated Darlington and Lincoln City by returning to the Football League after relegation to the Conference at the first attempt.

All square at 1-1 after 90 minutes, with goals from Aaron McLean and Duane Darby, there was no scoring in extra time and the Play-Off Final went to penalties. Although Luke Rodgers skied Shrewsbury's first into the stratosphere they didn't miss thereafter, whilst Aldershot Town failed to convert any of theirs, with Tim Sills and ex-Yeovil Chris Giles and Jamie Gosling the culprits. None 'missed' however; all were saves by Shrewsbury keeper Scott Howie.

The only question now remaining is which one out of Huddersfield Town, Lincoln City, Mansfield Town and Northampton Town will depart for Division Two. After the first legs of the semi-finals Huddersfield and Mansfield appear to be in the driving seats for a trip to the Millennium Stadium. Huddersfield beat Lincoln 2-1 at Sincil Bank on Saturday, whilst Mansfield take a 2-0 advantage over The Cobblers (no, it's true) back to Field Mill after their victory today.

So Yeovil Town now know their league firsts next season : Grimsby Town, who we have never met previously in any competition, and Notts County and Shrewsbury Town, only faced in the F.A. Cup. Wycombe Wanderers, Rushden & Diamonds and Chester City are old adversaries from Non-league days. There will be only two new grounds the Glovers have never visited : Grimsby's Blundell Park and Shrewsbury's Gay Meadow.

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13 May 2004 : Dale Williams Signs Up
Youth Team player of the season Dale Williams has today formally joined the professional ranks by signing a full-time contract with the club for the 2004/05 season.

Dale finished top scorer for the Youth Team with 10 goals, whilst playing predominantly on the wings, whilst he also netted four times for the Reserves. The 17 year old was one of four youth players to be invited in for full time training during the final few months of the season, and his work there has justified a deal with the club.

Meanwhile Stephen Reed has formally put pen to paper on the contract he agreed yesterday, whilst Andy Lindegaard was expected to come in and follow suit around 1.00pm today.

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12 May 2004 : Lindegaard and Reed Sign Up
Left-sided defender Stephen Reed and utility player Andy Lindegaard have agreed new deals that will keep them at the club until the end of the 2004/05 season. Their signatures are expected to be completed later this week, meaning that only Portuguese pair Hugo Rodrigues and Dani Rodrigues have yet to respond to their contract offers.

Meanwhile the Western Daily Press today have clarified a slight gap in yesterday's announcements by the club, confirming that Adam Stansfield and Roy O'Brien will join Abdelhalim El Kholti on non-contract terms in July, as they look to prove themselves worthy of a new contract for the 2004/05 season. All other players not mentioned above are believed to be now under contract for next season.

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11 May 2004 : Friendly Picture Builds
The friendly schedule ahead of Yeovil Town's second campaign in the Football League is starting to take shape. Currently the club will begin with a pre-season tour abroad, before returning for a series of matches home and away.

The European tour will last from 9th to 14th July and take in Holland, Germany and Belgium.
The games scheduled are :

Den Haag - 10th July
KFC Uerdingen 05 - 11th July
Royal Antwerp - 14th July

Looking forward to the tour Gary Johnson said :

Once again we have three great games lined up, and it means the lads will have to go away and keep themselves fit during the summer. We shall be staying in a training camp in Holland. Itís a very plush place. All the top European clubs go there for a training camp.

Thereafter the club has arranged the following matches :

Dorchester Town (away) - 21st July
CSKA Sofia (home) - 24th July (to be confirmed)
Cardiff City (home) - 27th July
Tiverton Town (away) - 2nd August

Given Gary's previous practice we would expect additional fixtures to be added to this initial list.

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11 May 2004 : Six Say Goodbye To Huish Park
Yeovil Town have now formally announced the names of six players that will definitely not have any role to play during the 2004/05 season for the Glovers. The club's Release List names strikers Jake Edwards and Kirk Jackson, midfielders Jamie Gosling and Nick Crittenden, defender Nathan Talbott and on-loan goalkeeper Ryan Northmore.

Of the six, it is perhaps Crittenden that represents the biggest surprise. The winger had scored 27 times for the Glovers in 184 appearances after having joined the club four years ago when he was spotted by assistant manager Steve Thompson after Crittenden wrote to the club. He scored some memorable goals for the club, most notably the winning goal in an FA Cup Second Road match at Blackpool that was captured live on Sky TV. However, this season, he made just 20 league starts following a succession of injuries and despite making a recovery in time for the run-in, he was rarely used as little more than a substitute. Despite that, he was hugely influential in the matches that he played in, and manager Gary Johnson will need to look hard to find a successor of his equal.

Ciderspace naturally wishes Nick and the other players released the very best of luck in finding a new club. Kirk Jackson looks to have already got himself sorted - our story earlier today sees him expecting to head to Conference Level 2 side Hornchurch.

The club's statement also reveals that defenders Hugo Rodrigues and Stephen Reed, striker Dani Rodrigues and utility player Andy Lindegaard have all been offered deals for next season and that the club are awaiting their response. Abdelhalim El Kholti has been invited to return to the club on July 1st on a non-contract basis to prove his fitness, or consider himself free to find an alternative club.

Ciderspace understands that Stephen Collis, Kevin Gall, Lee Johnson, Adam Lockwood, Colin Pluck, Terry Skiverton, Darren Way, Chris Weale and Gavin Williams had already signed new deals with the club late last year. Lee Elam, Simon Weatherstone and Paul Terry were already on original contracts that took them into next season.

Finally two trialists that had been invited up for training at Huish Park during this week have been invited back for pre-season training. The club have not named the players at this stage.

Gary Johnson told the YTFC Official Site: "This is one of the down sides of my job. Itís not a nice part of the job and sometimes decisions are very hard to make. These players have been some great servants to this club. They have tried their hardest but we need to make room for new players. All of them are fantastic people and we wish them well in the future. The club will be doing all they can to recommend the players to other clubs. A list will be going out today to clubs and we very much hope that they will get fixed up at a place where they will be comfortable."

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11 May 2004 : Glovers Line Up European Tour
Yeovil Town's pre-season friendly list has started to take shape with the club embarking on it's third consecutive pre-season European tour. This year sees three different countries and three different side on show.

Dutch Eredivisie side ADO Den Haag, German Regionalliga Nord club KFC Uerdingen 05 (formerly Bayer Uerdingen) and Belgian top-flight club Royal Antwerp will be the three opponents as part of the tour. Dates have yet to be confirmed, but are expected to take place either between July 11th and 17th, or possibly the week before. The Glovers will base themselves in the Netherlands for the duration of the tour.

Assistant boss Steve Thompson also told Teletext of two other UK clubs that are being lined up adding: "We have also got a friendly lined up against Cardiff City and will also play Tiverton Town again."

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11 May 2004 : Johnson Rubbishes Super Gav Rumours
Glovers manager Gary Johnson has moved quickly to dismiss bar room rumours linking midfielder Gavin Williams with a move out of Huish Park. Rumblings have persisted throughout this season regarding the multi-award winner's future at the club, but Johnson has in today's Western Daily Press made it clear that there are no bids on the table for him and that he is contracted with the club until the end of next season.

Johnson explained: "Everyone can't keep believing what they read on the Internet. Nameless people keep coming up with these rumours and it shouldn't be allowed to happen. Gav is our player and he is under contract here until June 2005. I have got no problem with any of my players trying to better themselves and if another manager was to call me about any of them I would talk to the player about it. There has been no contact from any manager regarding Gav."

It should be made clear that Ciderspace has not at any time chosen to comment on or actively publicise these rumours.

The same paper also reports today that Terry Skiverton will not require a summer operation on his ankle, whilst fellow defender Adam Lockwood's condition after the tackle that saw him stretchered off at Lincoln is not thought to be serious.

Johnson explained: "Locky's pelvis was slightly out, but it's been sorted out now and he's comfortable. I don't think it will be a problem."

The paper also confirms Kirk Jackson's imminent departure with Johnson saying of Kirk: "We all wish Jacko all the best. Hornchurch are an ambitious club and have more financial backing than most clubs at their level. When Jacko came to us he had been in Stevenage's reserves and I'd like to think we resurrected his career. He did very well for us in the Conference and is a proven goalscorer at that level. He didn't quite get enough goals this season, but he's been a great lad to have at the club."

In yet more news the York City defender Richard Hope is being linked with the Glovers, whilst non-WDP sources also claim Yeovil interest in ex-Hayes striker Ian Hodges, who scored 35 goals for Slough Town this season, and once netted a hat-trick against the Glovers in an FA Cup tie for Hayes. Other names currently doing the rounds on the rumourmill include Plymouth Argyle midfielder Martin Phillips and QPR's Ben Walshe, both of whom are possible candidates for a left-wing slot that the Glovers have frequently struggled to fill this season.

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11 May 2004 : BBC Make Supporters Claims Over Squad
The BBC Sport website today makes bizarre claims that Yeovil Town supporters feel that "all Yeovil's players should be kept on for next season". The article, which can be read in full here gives no clue as to how such a poll was conducted, nor does it suggest how unanimous such a viewpoint is.

Like the BBC, Ciderspace can not pretend to speak for all supporters, but the general mood on both the mailing list and the message board is that the club does need to make some adjustments to it's playing squad in order to take forward it's ambitions of Second Division football. Exactly how many players should be released, and which ones should go is an entirely different matter for debate!

On the message board, a poll has been set up here. It's primitive, it's unscientific, but it is hopefully going to prove to be more accurate than that 'reported' by good old Auntie Beeb.

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11 May 2004 : Jacko On His Way Out
Striker Kirk Jackson looks to be the first of this season's squad to head through the Out door, with Conference second tier side Hornchurch the favourites to sign him.

Jacko is believed to have admitted the interest from the club himself and a formal announcement is expected shortly. Hornchurch's new manager is Garry Hill, who managed Jackson during his loan spell at Dagenham and Redbridge and so the move comes as little surprise with Hill having sung his praises during his spell in east London.

Jackson spent two seasons with the Glovers, and was the club's top scorer during the 2002/03 season, scoring 20 goals as the club achieved promotion. However, he struggled to hit the back of the net this season, and managed just 5 goals and his appearances for the club gradually dwindled, making his release become inevitable.

Ciderspace wishes Jacko all the success he deserves at Hornchurch - without his goals last season, we would probably not be where we are today.

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9 May 2004 : Gary: We've Built A Great Foundation
Glovers manager Gary Johnson had mixed emotions at the final whistle yesterday after he had seen his side grab a 3-2 win over play-off participants Lincoln City at Sincil Bank. That win was not enough to see his own side get into the playoffs and Gary said after the game:

"We have to look back over this season, we can't cry over little things that happened earlier on. The players did the job today that they had to do. We won the game and that was the first thing and the very important thing. Unfortunately, Mansfield did not help us out. But credit to the lads for coming back with that free kick at the end.

"This club is progressing every year. We've had our fair share of success and I said to the boys that we will have more success - although they must make sure they are part of it. Some will be part of it, some won't be part of it.

"I've got a big Monday and Tuesday which some managers don't like when you have to release people and tell them they are no longer in their plans. I will talk to my boys before I talk to anyone publically. That's an in-house thing until we've sorted that.

"We're all disappointed and it's a case of so near and yet so far. But we've built a great foundation and a solid young group of what is now league players. They've all got their league wings now. Those ones with their league wings that have coped with it will have more opportunities.

"You don't have to be old to be experienced. When we went to Rochdale we only had a handful of League appearances between us, now we have players who have made fifty.

"Although we've very upset now, we've all got to look to the future very very quickly. I've given everybody a chance to come from the Conference to play League football. Some took it, and some haven't quite, but I at least owed it to them to give them that opportunity.

"They are all very disappointed because they are all very ambitious young players, but we'll pick them up and we'll give it a very good go next year. There's a great club spirit and team spirit and we will take that into next season

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8 May 2004 : Mission Imp-ossible! So near - and yet so far ...
Yeovil Town did all they could realistically be expected to do today to give themselves a chance to reach the division three play-offs; but despite a fine 3-2 win over Lincoln City in a thrilling match at Sincil Bank this afternoon it was Northampton's fans left celebrating as Colin Calderwood's side won 2-1 at Mansfield to book their play-off place and leave Gary Johnson and his players in 8th position, missing out on the chance to extend their season because of an inferior goal difference.

As for the game itself, after a first half of missed chances substitute Adam Stansfield put the Glovers 1-0 up on 46 minutes, fellow sub Jake Edwards making it 2-0 to the visitors with 20 minutes left. Lincoln reduced the deficit with an 82nd minute Aron Wilford strike, and the spectacularly ill-named Simon Yeo equalised for the Imps with 3 minutes left on the clock. Super Gavin Williams put Yeovil back into the lead with a 25-yard free-kick on the stroke of full-time; but with Northampton winning at Field Mill it was a case of too little too late for the Glovers this season. Cobblers? No, it's true!

Final score: Lincoln City 2 - 3 Yeovil Town.

Final congratulations then to champions Doncaster, top of the final league table with 92 points. Congratulations too to the automatically promoted Hull City, 2nd on 88 points; and to 3rd-placed Torquay United on 81 points, beating 4th-placed Huddersfield to the automatic places on goal difference. The play-off semi-finals will be between Huddersfield v Lincoln City and Mansfield v Northampton.

Coming down to division three next season will be relegated clubs Wycombe, Notts County, Grimsby and a very special welcome back to Huish Park to old, er, friends Rushden & Diamonds (or the club formerly known as Ru$hden, as the Griggs-less wonders must now be known). Chester City are promoted from the Conference, with the play-off place between Aldershot Town and Shrewsbury Town.

As for the Glovers, there will inevitably be feelings of disappointment in the camp tonight, especially when one considers that we've missed out on the play-offs on mere goal difference. Doubtless there are lessons to be learned for next season and doubtless players will come and go during the close season, a process already begun with the signing of Michael Rose from our feeder club yesterday. As a first term in the football league however, this season must go down as a big success. The club has finished in it's highest league position ever, has only missed out on the play-offs on goal difference, has reached the 3rd round of the FA Cup and averaged over 6,000 in league gates. The icing on the cake would have been qualifying for the play-offs, but even without that particular tit-bit it's still been an amazing 12 months. We are privileged to be supporters of the club at this, the best of times. Roll on next season!

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7 May 2004 : The Mathematics Of It All
Only one other result will be on the lips of Yeovil Town supporters making the long trip to Lincoln City tomorrow for the Glovers vital final league match of the season. That match is Mansfield Town's home match against Northampton Town with Gary Johnson's men having to hope that Mansfield can thwart the Cobblers and help Yeovil into the play-offs.

The situation for Yeovil Town is as follows:

If Northampton Town are winning at Mansfield:

Yeovil Town need to beat Lincoln City by an unlikely five-goal margin to get into the play-offs. Lincoln currently lie three points ahead of Yeovil in the league table but with a superior goal difference that can only be over-turned if the Glovers rattle up a five goal advantage against their hosts. Northampton's win would mean that they would be guaranteed a playoff position, leaving Lincoln as the only team that could be caught by the Glovers.

If Northampton Town are drawing at Mansfield:

Yeovil Town need to beat Lincoln City by any margin to leapfrog Northampton Town.

If Northampton Town are losing at Mansfield:

Yeovil Town need to draw against Lincoln City. A win for Yeovil would naturally make matters more conclusive, but a draw would put them level on points with Northampton. In this scenario, the Glovers superior goal difference over the Cobblers would give Yeovil the advantage.

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7 May 2004 : Urgent Traffic Alert For Lincoln Travellers
Heavy traffic congestion is expected tomorrow in the Newark area as part of the Newark and Nottinghamshire County Show which is taking place over the 8th and 9th of May this weekend. Supporters travelling up to Lincoln tonight have reported eight mile delays around the junction of the A1 and the A46 as traffic for the show arrives this evening.

The show takes place in Winthorpe, just off the A46 on the east side of Newark, and a map showing the location of the show can be found here. The website for the show itself is here.

Supporters coming in from the Nottingham and Leicester directions would be strongly advised to avoid the area tomorrow, and instead conclude their journeys via Grantham. Grantham can be reached from Nottingham by following the A52 eastbound from the Nottingham ring-road. From Grantham either take the windier A607 route direct to Lincoln or travel to Sleaford and get the A15 trunk road up to the city.

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7 May 2004 : Johnson Picks A Rose
Glovers manager Gary Johnson has wasted no time at all in making his first signing for the 2004/05 season. The identity of the player should be a surprise to few, with left-sided defender Michael Rose departing Conference bridesmaids Hereford United after falling out of contract at Edgar Street.

The former Manchester United trainee has spent one season with Chester City and two seasons with the Bull******s where he has established a reputation as a free-kick specialist. He has now signed a two year deal with the Glovers, with compensation still to be agreed between the two clubs for the 22 year old.

His five caps for the England Semi-Pro XI side means that he already knows Chris Weale, Paul Terry, Kirk Jackson, Lee Johnson, Darren Way and Terry Skiverton and is of course a former team-mate of Gavin Williams.

Gary Johnson told the YTFC Official Site: "It's a great signing for us in my opinion. People have know for a while that I have been chasing him for 12 months. Graham Turner turned all offers down originally, and quite rightly so, because he is a good player. Michael is perfect in his football attitude and his personality for us. He has great pedigree, like a lot of our boys here having come from Manchester United as a youngster. It's an exciting signing for me and I'm very pleased with it. I have signed him for 2 years but we will have to pay compensation but we don't know how much yet. I think he has already said he knows most of the boys here at Yeovil and he has spent a couple of days looking around the area. I think the atmosphere of the dressing room always helps. I should say we beat of a couple of other clubs to signing him so that is always a credit to the club and also credit to the player for choosing us."

Michael will of course not be elligible for tomorrow's trip to Lincoln City, nor any theoretical play-off matches that might follow. However, like Gavin Williams two seasons ago, he will be able to get to know his new team-mates before the players break up for the summer.

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5 May 2004 : Fixtures Release Date
The fixture lists for the Football League 2004-05 Season will be released on Thursday June 24th.

Clubs receive the details earlier, but are under an embargo until 10.00 a.m. that morning.

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5 May 2004 : Bradfords Renew Club Sponsorship
Yeovil Town main sponsors Bradfords Building Supplies have renewed their sponsorship for the 2004-05 season. The Yeovil-based group had just reached the end of their three year deal with the club but have reached an agreement with the football club that will roll them into a fourth term, signing the deal last week.

Bradfords describe themselves as "one of the largest independent Builders Merchants in the UK ... supplying materials to the trade for over 200 years".

The firm has a turnover of £90 million and has 25 branches across South-West England. They specialise in building materials for roofing, drainage, timber, doors and windows, bricks, ironmongery, kitchens and bathrooms.

Their website is at

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5 May 2004 : Super Gav Cleans Up In End of Season Awards
Glovers midfielder Gavin Williams had a difficult journey home on Saturday as he struggled in through the door clutching a mass of silverware. The 2003-04 end of season awards saw the Welshman complete almost a full clean sweep, with only Adam Lockwood's award from club sponsors Bradfords Building Supplies stopping him completing a full set.

A photo gallery of Gavin and Adam's awards can be found here.

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5 May 2004 : Reserves Bow Out With Draw
Yeovil Town Reserves completed their first ever Pontins Football Combination season yesterday with a 1-1 draw against Cheltenham Town Reserves.

After a goalless first half, two goals in seven minutes livened up the game with Luke Corbett giving the home side the lead. But on 64 minutes, Jake Edwards netted a Lee Elam cross in the winger's first match since the completion of his loan spell with Nationwide Conference Champions Chester City.

Under-17s player Jake Reid had an afternoon to forget; he got his marching orders 10 minutes from time for a professional foul but Yeovil held firm to come home with a point.

Yeovil Town Reserves: Ryan Northmore, Shaun Smith, Jake Reid, Stephen Reed, Neil Sharp, Dale Williams, Nick Crittenden, Nathan Talbot, Lee Elam, Jake Edwards, Adam Stansfield. Subs: Charlie Welch, Steve Thompson.

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3 May 2004 : Jamie and Gilesy Fire Shots Into Conference Final
Yeovil Town midfielder Jamie Gosling and former Glover Chris Giles were two of the heroes at Edgar Street this afternoon as they converted penalties that put Aldershot into the Nationwide Conference playoff final this afternoon at the expense of league bridesmaids Hereford United.

After the second leg finished 0-0 after extra time, penalties from Yeovil's two local boys put Aldershot into a commanding 2-0 shootout position after the Bull******s had fluffed their first two attempts. The Shots finished 4-2 victors and will now meet Shrewsbury Town in the final, after they also had to knock out Barnet on penalties.

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2 May 2004 : Hearts And Minds
Care-in-the-community in action
Some YTISA types at Southend.
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace/Stewart Bratherton

It was a glorious day in Southend as temperatures soared. Only seconds before the beach was packed as sun-worshippers basked in the unseasonal heatwave. The arrival of this care-in-the-community visit organised by Y.T.I.S.A. had shocked daytrippers scurrying for safety as the seafront emptied.

Yours for a fiver.........
YTISA chairman Mark Kelly passes over a scarf.
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace/Stewart Bratherton

Later chairman Mark Kelly sold donated (ouch, that hurt) a YTISA Yeovil scarf to Terry, Secretary of the Shrimpers Trust, which has taken over the running the Shrimpers Bar at Roots Hall to add to their collection, as they theme the bar into a football fans style outlet rather than simply a club bar.

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2 May 2004 : Room Now Only For The Mentally Tough
Glovers manager Gary Johnson did not mince his words following yesterday's 1-2 home defeat at the hands of Hull City, who gained promotion to the Second Division as part of their win at Huish Park. Speaking to the press after the game, Gary gave the strongest indication yet that he is willing to break up his vastly successful squad over the summer, leaving behind only those that can cope with the big matches at this level. Gary answered the following questions:

Well Gary obviously a terribly disappointing result for you and the team do you feel you got what you deserved there?

Whether we deserved it or not is another thing. I don't think there was a lot of difference between the two sides. I was just a bit dissapointed with us that we didn't create enough chances from open play. We needed to do that and I just felt we had maybe 4 or 5 players that didn't do enough in todays game and it was left to 4 or 5 players who had to do it all really. So I felt we were a 5-a-side team today and not an 11-a-side team.

You had the majority of the possesion. Maybe in the final third that was where the moves broke down?

Well moves broke down all over the field, so I'm not going to pick any particular part of the field. But I've let a few know that they probably won't even be training with the team that's going up to Lincoln. I've got to pick a very strong mental side. Obviously we're still in it, but we're not in the driving seat anymore which is what is dissapointing. I've got to take 11 or 12 people away on their own and make them believe that they can put in a performance over 90 minutes. We did alright in the second half, people got on the ball a little bit more. But it's too late then, you need to play for 90 minutes when you are in these situations. So some of the boys haven't done themselves any favours today.

It's the mental side of the game you think let them down the most is it?

I do yes, I think we had enough possession and I just felt there was something in it. It might be people that you don't realise, but I know in my mind which boys were the big game players today and which ones weren't.

There were a few incidents in the game, your side had a couple of penalty appeals turned down in the first half did you see them and what did you make of them?

Everytime I asked the linesman he said it was 50/50. We never seem to get a decision, it was about 3 or 4 times that it happened. But if your team plays well and that happens you moan. But we didn't do enough. Obviously you know that I'm disappointed now and the boys will be disappointed and they can have the weekend to get over it. By Monday we've got to prepare for the next biggest game of our lives, because we can still do it. It ain't doom and gloom and I'm not going to be slashing my wrists tonight, I've said that before. I'm just going to make sure that they know that they've got to do more and we can't go to Lincoln and only play for 45 minutes with 5 or 6 players. We've got to do more than that.

Easy in hindsight of course, but do you feel it may have been best to start with Terry Skiverton and Paul Terry today?

No, I'm not going to pick out individuals publically, of course I'm not. I know what I've got to do in my head. As I say some have done well and enhanced their Yeovil careers and some haven't done enough and have ruined their Yeovil careers. But as I said the big game players will have bigger games in the future because they can compete with those big games. Those that can't wont have many big games.

Do you think the psychology games now with Northampton having got it to throw away?

Your own team's psychology is what matters. It's about being stronger, and being strong mentally. I think I've got a trained eye in that I can see those people that are mentally strong and those that are mentally weak.

And you think you've got too many of the latter?

Well today we had. We had half-and-half. We can't go playing Hull with a five-a-side team. We've got to have 11 people doing it, and I can tell the ones that are mentally strong. You'll be surprised. I'm not going to mention names but you'll be surprised with a couple that are in my head.

When the summer comes, regardless of the outcome of the playoffs, will it be a case of sitting down and assessing the squad?

Yes, I should think there will be departures on Monday, if you know what I mean. I'm not going to enter into a war up there with soldiers that are not brave and strong. I've got to go on with brave and strong solders and get something out of it.

How is Colin Pluck?

I haven't seen him after the game because he has been in with the doctor. He's gone to hospital so they might think he's got a bit of a dislocation there. It was his shoulder, and he's had a little bit of a hip problem for a while as well. Unfortunately we lost him out there and we had to make the change which you don't like doing but we seem to be doing that regularly with Plucky at the moment. He's very brave, but he keeps on getting injured and we needed to change him.

With regards to what you've just said Gary are you suggesting that some players have played their last game for this football club?

I'm saying some of the players - yes I would say that.

The goal was a positive thing, Hugo Rodrigues first for Yeovil Town and a thumping header wasnt it?

Yeah it was a great header and even maybe if he'd scored a few more headers earlier on then we wouldnt be in a point behind. So yes I congratulated him and I'm pleased that he's got his first one. It was a very aggressive header which is what we've been trying to get him to do. So that particular point was very good but at 2-1 it takes a lot away. I will probably pat him on the back on Monday - actually I've already said 'well done' already because he was so happy but so disappointed with the result, despite having scored his goal.

It was even more of a shame at that point, when you'd levelled things up your tails were up, spirits where high and it looked as if Yeovil were going to go on and win it.

Yeah it was terrific. The crowd were great again, they played their part in it but the boy Ashbee comes up with these long strikes every now and again. He was a little bit lucky where it bobbled about a bit and it fell to him but he hit a great shot and it just went into the corner and Collis had no chance. But when we are at Huish Park I just need to see with our possession more chances, more shots, more headers. That's what I need to see and if I don't see that, if weve won, drawn lost, top of the league or bottom of the league, I will be kicking somebody's backside.

That's your 6th home defeat of the season, do you think that's where the points total hasn't been enough? Have you dropped too many points at home?

Well maybe, I can't think about that now. I can only go with each individual game. We've lost the little run we were on and now we will see how strong we are as a group. I've got to pick the strongest players for Saturday - strongest mentally and physically, and they've got to go and do a job and we will see whether they do.

Just finally there's the air of doom and gloom around the place but it's not over yet - there's plenty to play for.

No it's not over. You're asking me the questions and I can't be happy when I'm not happy. At the moment I'm not happy and there's a lot of other peripheral things I wasn't happy with either that I've got to sort out, which I won't say publically, but I don't like other teams getting promotion on our patch.

[Transcription by Richard Gibson and Martin Baker]

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2 May 2004 : Fans Team Does Rather Better
Yeovil v Hull, 2004
The Supporters' Teams of Yeovil and Hull line up before the first ever meeting at Huish Park.
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace/Stewart Bratherton

Yeovil Supporters and Hull Supporters met in a clash of the Titans - in girth if not skill - on Saturday morning ahead of the main event. Terry Cotton, subbed at half time because he allegedly had other things to do but more likely for being too good, Bev Hawley and captain Rob Burt with a brace scored Yeovil's four. Hull replied with two of their own, in a pulsating match (we were told to say). A good time was had by all and many new friends made. Final score : Yeovil 4 Hull 2.

Captains before kick-off
Yeovil captain Rob Burt hands over a commemorative pennant to the visiting captain.
Photo © 2004 Ciderspace/Stewart Bratherton

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1 May 2004 : A Hull of a good season....
Hull City required only a point to secure promotion but went home with all three, leaving Yeovil Town with a battle to capture a playoff spot with just one game remaining (writes George Murray).

Yeovil briefly cancelled out Hullís eleventh minute goal through a Hugo Rodrigues header but ten minutes later the Tigers restored the lead via a spectacular Ian Ashbee strike from outside the box and which ultimately gave the visitors the three points.

The Glovers began the better and had most of the possession with Gavin Williams coming closest. Then, against the run of play, Hull were awarded a penalty after Adam Lockwood was adjudged to have brought down Danny Allsopp. Up stepped Stuart Green who sent Steve Collis the wrong way to put The Tigers ahead. Soon afterwards Allsopp could have doubled Hullís lead but the striker blasted wide in a one-on-one situation. Despite going behind, Yeovil continued to mount the pressure and just before the break, Colin Pluckís free kick rattled the underside of the bar.

On the hour mark, Yeovil had keeper Steve Collis to thank after Stuart Elliottís driving shot was tipped around the post for a corner. Then in the 65th minute, Hugo Rodrigues levelled the score-line with a towering header from Lee Johnsonís cross for his first goal for the club. The equaliser was short lived. Ian Ashbeeís curling effort from 25-yards amazingly found the roof of the net, leaving Collis and the Yeovil faithful in a stunned silence.

Yeovil felt they deserved at least a point, having dominated much of the game, but despite the defeat they are still in the hunt for a play-off place. The Glovers must now better Northamptonís result at Mansfield when they take on Lincoln at Sincil Bank next Saturday.

Final score: Yeovil Town 1 - 2 Hull City.

Commiserations to both Carlisle United and York City supporters tonight, confirmed as relegated to the Conference following today's results. Congratulations are due to Doncaster Rovers, confirmed as division three champions, and Hull City who are promoted. The final automatic promotion place is between Huddersfield on 80 points, shock 3-1 losers at home to Mansfield today; and 4th-placed Torquay on 78 points, who could only draw 1-1 at home to Kidderminster. 5th-placed Mansfield confirmed their play-off place with a surprise 3-1 win at the MacAlpine Stadium, and Lincoln City are down to 6th after going down 3-1 at Bristol Rovers. Northampton came from behind to beat Bury 3-2 at Sixfields Stadium to leapfrog the Glovers into the last play-off place - the Cobblers are on 72 points with Yeovil on 71.

With one game left to play in the regular season the Glovers are still in with a chance of making the play-offs - if they beat next weekend's opponents Lincoln City 6-0 at Sincil Bank they can qualify without worrying about what anyone else does - but more realistically they are reliant on 7th-placed Northampton slipping up in their match away to Mansfield, who are already sure of their play-off slot. If Northampton lose at Field Mill then a draw will be good enough for Yeovil as their goal difference is superior to the Cobblers. If Northampton draw then the Glovers will have to win at Sincil Bank, and if Northampton take all 3 points then there is nothing that Gary Johnson's men can do. Come on you Stags!

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