During the summer of 1982, due to the Club's serious financial situation, the wage structure
was severely cut back and manager Jimmy Giles was able to sign only three new players -
locals Tim Benjafield, Wayne Wollard and Mark Williams, a P.T.I, at Yeovilton. The Club had
received an offer
of £8,000 from Weymouth for Dave Platt, but nothing became of this. Meanwhile,
goalkeeper Kim Brook was appointed Assistant Manager and the club had a new chairman, Gerry Lock.
Norman Burfield was elected as President of the club at the AGM in December 1982.
What turned out to be a very disappointing season in all respects
opened with a 3-1 defeat at Nuneaton Borough. Then, for the fourth
successive season, Yeovil were beaten in the first round of the Bob
Lord Trophy: The damage was done in the first leg at Maidstone, who
won 4-1, only 563 spectators bothering to turn up for the second leg at
Huish, which Yeovil lost 3-1.
When Yeovil entered the F.A. Cup at the end of October, they had
been defeated only once at Huish in an A.P.L. game - by Enfield, the
eventual Champions - and stood in a respectable seventh place with
22 points from fourteen games. Bognor Regis provided the opposition
at Huish for the Fourth Qualifying Round encounter, goals from Bell (2),
Beck and James giving Yeovil a 4-2 win and a First Round match at
Chesham United. Visitors to the Buckingham ground saw a freak Bell
goal give Yeovil a 1-0 win.
Unfortunately, Yeovil's luck was out when
the draw was made for the Second Round, and they were drawn away
to Southend United - repeat of the 1958 tie when Yeovil forced a replay
with a 0-0 draw. This time there was to be no giantkilling act, United
winning 3-0 in front of 4,554 spectators. Between the Chesham and
Southend cup ties, Yeovil entertained Stafford Rangers and were
winning 2-0 with ten minutes left only for the game to be abandoned
due to fog. This was a great disappointment to Malcolm Gold, who
scored his first ever goal for the club in the second minute of the match
only to have it subsequently discounted.
At the A.G.M. in December,
Norman Burfield, an ex-chairman of the club, was elected as President. At the turn of the year,
Yeovil were sinking towards the relegation
zone, the away form being the problem with only one win achieved. Defeat at home to Sutton
United (2-4) in the First Round of the F.A. Trophy did nothing to lift the gloom and for the second
season in succession all that was left was a battle against relegation.
February saw the Club's exit
from the Somerset Premier Cup at Taunton (0-1), the acquisition of the strip of land at the Queen
Street end of the ground, and the name of former England international Charlie George being
linked with the club. A month later the club received an offer of
£250,000 to buy Huish, but this was turned down by the Board. Yeovil won only one
game during March (against Altrincham) and
the ten point gap between the side's league position and a relegation
place was fast disappearing.
Assistant manager Kim Book left the club in March 1983
The team stayed overnight in Yorkshire
one weekend for matches against Scarborough and Frickley Athletic:
However, this resulted in several players being disciplined for a breach
of discipline during the weekend. At the end of the month, Player
Manager Jimmy Giles was released from his contract and a week later
Mike Hughes returned to the club as caretaker manager until the end
of the season. Kim Book, assistant Manager, and Phil Roberts also left
A 1-0 defeat at home to fellow stragglers Trowbridge Town sent a shiver through the home
fans ... relegation was now a distinct possibility. There was one ray of hope, however, because
news spread that no club from the Isthmian League was interested in promotion to the A.P.L.
If true, only two clubs would be relegated, with Barnet and Stafford Rangers rooted to the
bottom of the table twelve points adrift.
At the end of the campaign Yeovil finished four points ahead of Barnet and eleven ahead of
Stafford Rangers. The Club's hopes were realised, only two clubs being relegated and Yeovil
were safe for another season.
Forty nine games were played with Phil James the leading appearance maker with 46. He was
followed by: 44 Jeremy Brown and Andy Bell, 42 Malcolm Gold and Jess Payne, 40 Steve Ritchie,
37 Bobby Andrews and Steve Langley, 36 Dave Platt, 32 Malcolm Beck, 25 Tim Benjafield,
24 Jimmy Giles, 22 Dave Smith, 21 Phil Roberts, 13 Paul Rogers and Mark Williams,
12 Terry Francis, 10 Peter Hawkins, 8 Steve Pitman, 5 Terry Woodward, 4 Brian O'Donnell.
Andy Bell was leading scorer with 27 goals followed by: 10 Phil James, 7 Jeremy Brown,
6 Jess Payne, 5 Mark Williams, 4 Malcolm Beck and Steve Ritchie, 3 Dave Platt,
2 Tim Benjafield, 1 Dave Smith.