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
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
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