Yeovil Town Commercial Manager Dave Linney has confirmed that the club will be paying tribute to former first team coach and Reserve Team manager Maurice O'Donnell this week. The Glovers will be holding a minute's applause prior to the League Two match against Carlisle United, to recognise the man who was associated with the club between 1958 and 2006, across three separate spells, totalling in the region of 35 years worth of service.
Maurice passed away, aged 86, last week resulting in multiple generations of Glovers supporters, players and management playing tribute to the Scotsman, who was brought down to Somerset by manager Jimmy Baldwin for a three month period in 1958, but then made the area his home. With Maurice well known within the local community, Dave told BBC Somerset that he had received a number of requests since his death for his contribution to be recognised:
"We are holding a minute's applause for his memory, and for what service he gave to this football club. There's lots of people who I've spoken to who would like him to be remembered, and that's what we're going to be doing."
Dave himself came in as a player from Oxford United in 1983, at which point Maurice was coming towards the end of his second spell with the club. He gave his memories of what it was like to play under him and be coached by him around that time:
"Maurice was a very big character in the club. I joined in 1983 and Maurice was the first team coach. He was larger than life, and he never took any hassle from anybody. He was a disciplinarian, but a nice character as well. His family have always been supportive of Yeovil Town Football Club for many years since he left."
During a chaotic period of the club's history, that saw them use six managers in just over a year, Maurice was frequently asked to bridge the gap between managers - his recollection was that he performed the role of Caretaker Manager up to seven times during his second spell. Earlier in his career, he had been a midfielder, the club's Youth Team manager, their Trainer and their Reserve Team Manager. Dave said that Maurice was prepared to get involved at all levels, but respected the club's decision-making when new managers arrived:
"I don't think that there were many roles that he didn't do at the football club. In my time he was a first team coach, and like I said, a disciplinarian who led by example. In the first six months of my tenure as a player, we had three different managers, and in the interim, he managed or was a caretaker manager on three different occasions. But when the manager did come in, he stepped back into the role of first team coach and loved it."
UPDATE: The minute's applause for Maurice O'Donnell was originally due to be held prior to Tuesday night's home match against Barnet. That has now been moved, at his family's request, to take place on the day of the Carlisle United match, on Saturday 24th February.
Maurice O'Donnell at Preston School after Yeovil Town won the FA Trophy
Photo © 2003-18 Ciderspace
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