Manager Cec Irwin spent a busy summer in 1973. With the backing of a profit of £1,654 from
the 1972/73 season, which turned out to be the last for more than a decade, and the transfer of
Cliff Myers to Torquay United for £6,600, he set out to strengthen the team.
Myers would be missed, the scored 84 goals in 328 appearances for the Club, but it was hoped
the new signings would spearhead a successful campaign for a place in the Football League at the
end of the season. Coming to Huish in the summer were Dave Verity (from Halifax Town),
Steve Briggs (Doncaster Rovers), Mike Harrison (Southend Utd), Clive Slattery (Swansea) and
Brian Usher (Doncaster). Usher broke down in his first friendly game and left the Club.
In addition, Cyril Davies made a comeback, but he also broke down and did not sign a contract.
Players signed during the season were Tommy Walker from Burnley who was released after nine
games and four goals, Ray Pickett (Oxford - costing a £3,000 fee in December),
Mike Franklin (after a month's loan from Charlton Ath) and, in January, 1974 Dick Plumb, who
returned to the Club via Exeter City for a £4,000 fee. Striker John Brown was sold to
Weymouth for £2,000 after the arrival of Plumb.
Dick Plumb, who returned to the club from Exeter City in January 1974.
The season opened with a 1-1 draw at Dartford, but Yeovil were in the bottom half of the
table and out of the Southern League Cup defeated 4-1 on aggregate by Poole Town, by the end of
the month. At the end of October the Club had climbed into the top half of the table averaging
a point a game.
November brought three exciting F.A. Cup ties with Weymouth. The first match at
Huish attracted 5,709 people who saw a 1-1 draw. They also witnessed crowd trouble with nine
arrests. Four days later Yeovil came from behind twice with goals from Bertram and Slattery
to force a further replay. No neutral ground was available for this, so the F.A. spun a coin
and Weymouth won the choice of venue. They also scored the only goal of this game, Alan Beer
netting just after Yeovil 'keeper Tony Clark had been injured in a clash with Alan Skirton
and been replaced by Paul Smith. Yeovil had dominated the game, which marked the end of Clark's
run of 232 consecutive games.
A disappointing season continued with a 2-1 defeat at Guildford City in the F.A. Trophy
and the abandonment of the Western Counties Cup due to the three-day week and the consequent
ban on the use of floodlights after Yeovil had reached the Semi-Finals. February saw Yeovil
playing their first ever Sunday Southern League match at Huish, with Atherstone providing the
opposition. The crowd of 2,002 was only slightly higher than for the two previous Saturday games.
By the end of March, Yeovil were seventh, five points behind leaders Dartford who had three games
in hand. Gates had dropped and the Club was once again in a loss-making situation. In an effort
to increase revenue, the Club appointed its first full-time Commercial Manager, Richard Washbrook,
who arrived on 5th April after being an assistant at Birmingham City.
Two days before the last League game of the season, a 1-1 draw at home to Dartford, Yeovil
entertained F.A. Cup holders Sunderland to honour an agreement Cec Irwin had with his old club.
The 3,241 people saw Yeovil win 2-0 against a team fielding eight of the players who had beaten
Leeds United at Wembley the previous May. The final match of the season saw Yeovil demolish
Third Division Hereford United 9-0, two of the goals coming from trialist Ken Brown from the
Yeovil finished in sixth place, eleven points behind Champions Dartford and the average
'gate' had dropped by 924 to 2,262. Ken Thompson, who had been placed on the transfer list at
his own request, was voted "Player of the Year" and Terry Bertram, Alan Impey, Steve Briggs
and Clive Slattery were all released.
The Club made a staggering loss of £18,456 on the season, with wages having increased by
£9,609 and 'gate' receipts dropping by £7,170. The overdraft stood at £11,250.
John Clancy was leading goalscorer with 11, Terry Cotton making the maximum 53 appearances.
The Club continued the policy of enlisting professional help in its aim to gaining a place
in the Football League, but the results of the election were again disappointing - even though
one national firm of bookmakers had made Yeovil 6/4 on to gain a League place and had stopped
taking bets on the outcome. Kettering topped the Non-League clubs with 16 votes, followed by
Yeovil (14), Wigan Ath (10), Chelmsford City (8), Nuneaton Boro (1) and Telford Utd (1).
Season 1973-74 : Southern League Table