Yeovil Town Story Part 34
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THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 34

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SEASON 1976-77

During the summer the club announced a loss of £12,375 for the previous season and for the first time ever, Yeovil did not make any summer signings in 1976. During the season, however, local boy Kevin Leigh came to the club together with Kevin Albury and Brian Annals from the Portsmouth area. Former Irish International Eric Welsh signed for a month and Don Rogers came on a two-month loan from Swindon Town.

Two long-service players were to leave the club during the season. The first to go was striker Ken Brown, who was sold to Bath City in February for £1,500 after making 148 appearances and scoring 75 goals for Yeovil. In the same month, Ken Thompson was released from his contract to become Player/Manager of Chard Town. He had been at Huish over nine years, making 517 first team appearances and scoring 66 goals.

The 1976/77 season did not get off to a very happy start. After two Southern League Cup matches against Trowbridge Town and two games in the Southern League, Stan Harland was leading his team to Penzance for a meeting in the Preliminary Round of the F,A, Cup, Yeovil had to obtain permission from the Football Association to stay overnight on the Friday, the rules of the competition making no allowance for this eventuality. A 7-2 victory saw Yeovil away to Tiverton Town in the 1st Qualifying Round. This was won 2-0 to set up a home meeting with Ilminster Town in the next round. Before a 'gate' of 1,726, Yeovil won 10-1 and then it was off to Cornwall again to meet Falmouth Town.

A 2-0 defeat gave Yeovil their earliest exit from the F.A. Cup for 30 years... and on the way out of Falmouth the team coach was stoned by local youngsters. Later that year seven youths appeared in court after one of them had been captured by the Yeovil team and taken in the coach to the local police station where he confessed all. Ken Brown scored ten goals in the competition to equal the record set by Davin in 1931.

Just outside the relegation zone in the Autumn, slow progress meant the team had climbed to sixth position by the New Year with 20 points from 19 games. But they never really threatened the leaders for the rest of the season and the campaign ended with Wimbledon the Champions again with newly promoted Minehead second and Kettering Town third.

In the F.A. Trophy, Yeovil Town were drawn at home to Merthyr Tydfil in the First Round, the match ending 0-0. Yeovil won the replay in Wales 3-1 to earn an away tie against Dagenham in the next round. That match ended in a draw and the Supporter's Club coach was stoned - the passengers then coming home on the team coach. Four days later, Dagenham won the replay at Huish 2-1.

Yeovil reached the final of the Southern League Cup for the second season in succession after victories over Trowbridge Town (8-0 on aggregate), Bath City (2-0), Merthyr Tydfil (1-0), Barnet (1-0) and Nuneaton Boro. (3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals). In the final Yeovil failed to make ground advantage tell in the first leg and were held to a 1-1 draw by Dartford. A week later Dartford won the second leg 2-0 to take the cup. Another losing appearance in a final came in the Somerset Premier Cup, Minehead winning 2-1 on aggregate.

In March I.F.K. Malmo, the Swedish Second Division club, played a friendly at Huish. They had reached the last eight of the European Cup in 1961. Goals from Albury and Hickton gave Yeovil a 2-1 win. This was Yeovil's first taste of European football.

However, in view of their League position the previous season, Yeovil were invited into the Anglo-Italian semi-professional tournament. Yeovil defeated Turris 5-1 in the first game at Huish then played Bari who had been in the Italian First Division the previous season. In the first half-hour of the match, Bari looked to be one of the best teams ever seen at Huish and went 2-0 up, but Yeovil came back into the game and rattled the visitors and their temperament cracked. They had two players sent off and one carried off. With two minutes to go, Yeovil trailed 3-2 but two goals in a minute won the match for the home side who set off for Italy in June.

The players had kept in training for these matches, but were defeated 3-1 in their first game at Teramo. The second match entailed a 1,200 mile round trip to play Parma. It was the last game in the tournament and a Yeovil win would put them into the final. Yeovil played superbly in the heat and dominated the game, but the Italian goalkeeper somehow saved everything hit at him and the game ended in a 0-0 draw. Gallant Yeovil had just failed.

At the end of the season Tony Clarke and Rod Adams were not retained. Terry Cotton, who in the spring had been appointed the club's new Commercial Manager, was offered new playing terms, he accepted, but then changed his mind and signed for Salisbury after playing 342 games and scoring 57 goals. Mike Harrison made 57 out of a possible 67 appearances, followed by Bryn Jones with 56, Brian Thompson 54, Stan Harland 52, Dick Plumb 51 and Mike Franklin 50. Ken Brown was leading goalscorer with 20, followed by Dick Plumb 19.

At the A.G.M. of the Southern League in 1977 further details emerged regarding the formation of the Alliance Premier League. At the same meeting, Yeovil Town director Mr G.E. Templeman was elected President of the League.

Season 1976-77 : Southern League Table
Overall
Team P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Wimbledon 42 28 7 7 64 22 63 +42
2 Minehead 42 23 12 7 73 39 58 +34
3 Kettering Town 42 20 16 6 66 46 56 +20
4 Bath City 42 20 15 7 51 30 55 +21
5 Nuneaton Borough 42 20 11 11 52 35 51 +17
6 Bedford Town 42 17 14 11 54 47 48 +7
7 Yeovil Town 42 15 16 11 54 42 46 +12
8 Dover Athletic 42 13 16 13 46 43 42 +3
9 Grantham 42 14 12 16 55 50 40 +5
10 Maidstone United 42 13 14 15 46 50 40 -4
11 Gravesend and Northfleet 42 13 13 16 38 43 39 -5
12 AP Leamington 42 12 15 15 44 53 39 -9
13 Redditch United 42 12 14 16 45 54 38 -9
14 Wealdstone 42 13 12 17 54 66 38 -12
15 Hillingdon Borough 42 14 10 18 45 59 38 -14
16 Atherstone Town 42 14 9 19 41 49 37 -8
17 Weymouth 42 16 5 21 53 73 37 -20
18 Dartford 42 13 10 19 52 57 36 -5
19 Telford United 42 11 12 19 36 50 34 -14
20 Chelmsford City 42 9 13 20 56 68 31 -12
21 Burton Albion 42 10 10 22 41 52 30 -11
22 Margate 42 9 10 23 47 85 28 -38

SEASON 1977-78

During the summer, four new players signed for the club, the prize signing being Brian Parker from Arsenal. Two years previously, he had moved to Highbury from Crewe Alexandra for a £40,000 fee. Midfielder Terry Hubbard played only six games before the many injuries he had sustained during his career forced him tho retire from the game. The two other signings were centre-half Barry Dominey (from Colchester United), whose father had previously played for the Club, and winger Steve Morrell from Torquay Utd.

Clive Green, who joined the club during the season
Clive Green, who joined the club during the season.
Signings during the season were Kevin Griffin and in March, Clive Green and Leigh Barnard on loan from Portsmouth. In January a bid of £1,000 for striker Doug Hickton by Nuneaton Borough was accepted, but the player could not agree terms. Two months later Frank McMahon was transferred to Bath City for £1,500. In the same month Dick Plumb, who had become a non-contract player six weeks earlier, walked out of the Club after being left out of the team to play Telford United and joined Chard Town.

Due to extensive work on the pitch, no pre-season games were played at Huish, except a trial match between the first and second teams. In this game, new 'keeper Brian Parker received a depressed cheekbone fracture, so he did not make his first team debut until the end of September.

The season opened with a fine 2-0 win at Bath City in the Southern League Cup. September saw the team setting out on the road to Wembley with a home tie against Alton Town. The match ended 2-2, but Yeovil won the replay in Hampshire 4-0. This result brought a First Qualifying Round match at Frome Town and several hundred Yeovil supporters were stunned by a 2-1 defeat. Frome's winning goal came from veteran Ray Mabbutt, whose son, Kevin was playing for Bristol City in the First Division on the same day. This was Yeovil's earliest exit from the F.A. Cup since 1930/31. A further cup failure came later on in the month when Yeovil lost 2-1 at home to Weymouth in the Southern League Cup.

In October Swindon Town made an approach regarding local-born striker Kevin Leigh, but nothing came of this. By the time the Christmas 'derby' game against Weymouth came around, Yeovil were in third place in the Southern League. 2,543 people saw Yeovil lose 2-1 and Weymouth again proved the better team shortly afterwards by knocking Yeovil Town out of the F.A. Trophy with a 2-1 win at the Rec.

The second half of the season held little excitement for Yeovil fans, though the arrival of Green and Barnard maintained interest until the end of the season, Clive Green scoring four of Yeovil's goals at Bedford Town at the end of April.

Yeovil Town finished in twelfth position, which was a big disappointment in view of the fact it was now agreed that the Alliance Premier League would start in season 1979/80 and that thirteen clubs would be drawn from the Southern League based on their average position in seasons 1977/78 and 1978/79. Terry Cotton had a testimonial season. A crowd of 2,188 saw West Ham United beat Yeovil 3-1 on 3rd May.

Season 1977-78 : Southern League Table
Overall
Team P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Bath City 42 22 18 2 83 32 62 +51
2 Weymouth 42 21 16 5 64 36 58 +28
3 Maidstone United 42 20 11 11 59 41 51 +18
4 Worcester City 42 20 11 11 67 50 51 +17
5 Gravesend and Northfleet 42 19 11 12 57 42 49 +15
6 Kettering Town 42 18 11 13 58 48 47 +10
7 Barnet 42 18 11 13 63 58 47 +5
8 Wealdstone 42 16 14 12 54 48 46 +6
9 Telford United 42 17 11 14 52 45 45 +7
10 Nuneaton Borough 42 15 14 13 38 36 44 +2
11 Dartford 42 14 15 13 57 65 43 -8
12 Yeovil Town 42 14 14 14 57 49 42 +8
13 Hastings United 42 15 9 18 49 60 39 -11
14 Cheltenham Town 42 12 14 16 43 52 38 -9
15 Hillingdon Borough 42 13 9 20 45 54 35 -9
16 Atherstone Town 42 10 15 17 41 56 35 -15
17 Redditch United 42 15 5 22 40 55 35 -15
18 AP Leamington 42 11 13 18 34 57 35 -23
19 Minehead 42 11 12 19 43 48 34 -5
20 Dover Athletic 42 9 13 20 41 63 31 -22
21 Bedford Town 42 8 13 21 51 75 29 -24
22 Grantham 42 11 6 25 40 66 28 -26

The Yeovil Town Story : Other Pages

THE YEOVIL TOWN STORY : PART 34

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