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Yeovil Town 1950s Programmes
Season 1949-50
1949-50 v Weymouth, Southern League - CLICK TO ENLARGE

After the fame brought by the 1948-49 Cup run it was always doubtful that Yeovil could hold on to Alec Stock, and he duly went to Leyton Orient after four games of the new campaign which had brought results of 8-0, 4-1, 5-0 and 4-4. As was almost inevitable much of the side he had built broke up over the succeeding weeks.

The programme shown here top left is issue No.4 from four days after Alec's departure, the next game played, on 7th September 1949. Trainer Stan Abbot took over as caretaker, but the programme contains no 'Manager's Notes', the space being filled with the Rules of the Game, Section XII - Indirect Free Kicks. In fact there is no mention of Alec Stock by name at all. The only reference to the turmoil at the club is an attempt in the Supporters' Club section to pour cold water on all the rumours circulating as to who the new manager might be. Fans speculating on a managerial appointment - surely not! It was stated that an advertisment for applicants would appear in the press later in the week. It was in this season that reference to the editor appeared for the first time, some articles having the initials "RW" appended. This was R.G.White, who would continue producing the programme through to 1956. The match was a Southern League derby fixture against Weymouth, newly returned to the Southern League, kick-off 6 p.m. The game ended 2-2 in front of 11,000 spectators.

1949-50 Gillingham, F.A. Cup Round 2 - CLICK TO ENLARGE As can be seen with the example to the right a new season had brought a new design for the front of the programme. The size, paper quality and ink stayed the same, but it had been expanded to twelve pages for league games, and sixteen for the two home F.A. Cup games against Romford and Gillingham. A page of the new space available in the standard programme was taken up with fixtures and results for the Southern and Western Leagues. This issue is for the 3-1 victory over Gillingham in Round 2 (No.17). The additional space in the special sixteen pagers was taken up with profiles on the opposition and a football quiz, as well as additional advertising. The price remained at 2d. The biggest change was the move away for the first time since the War in Yeovil's programme history from a static cover. The front now showed the opposition, date and kick-off time, as well as details of the next scheduled home, though for some reason the issue number and year were kept on an inside page.

1949-50 v Colchester, Southern League - CLICK TO ENLARGE Perhaps wary of the act they had to follow there were few applicants for the post. It took over a month, but eventually 35 year-old George Paterson was appointed. The bulk of his playing career had been with Glasgow Celtic, and he had been with Brentford since moving to England. Yeovil could, and probably should, have won the Championship that season. However another journey through to the Third Round in the F.A.Cup, even though Yeovil had been given exemption from qualifying because of their exploits in the previous campaign, and a ridiculous fixture back-log made worse by the board insisting on revenue raising friendlies being slotted in before crucial league matches, saw sixteen games played in the last thirty-six days of the season. It was too much, and Yeovil finished third. Division Three South was being expanded by two clubs for the following season, but it was Gillingham, 1st, 2nd, and 1st in preceding seasons but only 5th that year (and beaten by Yeovil in all three meetings in the league and F.A.Cup), and 2nd placed Colchester United who benefitted.

The programme (No.27) page on the bottom left shows the table the day Yeovil met Colchester in the final league match between the two until The U's were demoted back into Non-league in 1990, and were the opponents in the first ever competitive match at Huish Park. On April Fools Day 1950 Yeovil gained revenge for the away defeat earlier in the season with a 1-0 win, closing the gap at the top of the table to four points.

Season 1950-51
1950-51 v Gloucester City, Southern League - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Little alteration was made to the look of the programme the following season, though adverts disappeared from the front cover. There was a major charge hike of 50%, from 2d to 3d, the price justified by the most significant change, an expansion to 16 pages as standard. Fans were not impressed and there were grumbles about the new cost. The example shown is the first home game of the season, the opponents Gloucester City. The match took place on 26th August 1950, and Yeovil won 1-0. There was an attempt to rationalise the issue numbering system with this one, for the opening home First Team fixture in the Southern League, given 'S.1'. The Western League and Colts issues had their own codes. Presumably it was not deemed a success because it wasn't retained for future seasons.

The Manager's Notes plug a new departure on the pitch for the Glovers, the launch of a Colts team, which applied to join the Somerset Senior League, gaining admission to Division Two South. It was Paterson's baby, and he expresses pleased surprise at the Board's enthusiasm towards the idea. Only elsewhere in the programme does one discover quite why the Directors, usually busy moaning about finances at every opportunity, so readily agreed. The Supporters' Club notes reveal it was that organisation which was to pick up the bills, the venture costing the club itself nothing.

1950-51 v Swindon Town, Supporters' Challenge Cup - CLICK TO ENLARGE Neither were the fans impressed by the season that unfolded. 8,400 saw the giant-killers undone at home by the rather despised Cheltenham Town, in the Fourth Qualifying Round. Four points were lost at the end of November when Chingford folded, and their record expunged from the league, a week after Yeovil had beaten them for the second time. To add insult to injury Yeovil Town Football Supporters' Club had paid for Chingford to travel down to Huish so they could fulfil their fixture.

Yeovil went out of the Southern League Cup in the First Round proper, finished 13th in the league, and even lost the Yeovil Challenge Cup to Swindon Town on the toss of a coin after a 0-0 draw. The programme (left, No.S.22) is for this game, which had become an annual event. On page 12 the editor engages in an early example of consumer feedback, requesting suggestions for improvements. He was obviously aware of the grumbles as elsewhere in the issue there is comment that despite requests for ideas previously there had been minimal constructive response. Page 13 continues the season long dedication of a whole page to the Colts XI.

The Reserves were relegated, though the Colts did finish fourth in their first campaign. Only the Somerset Professional Cup provided any silverware, Yeovil beating Bridgwater Town 5-1 in the Final, with over 5,000 in attendance at Huish.

Season 1951-52 Programmes
1951-52 v Chelmsford City, Southern League - CLICK TO ENLARGE 1951-52 v Weymouth, FA Cup QR4 - CLICK TO ENLARGE

The main feedback the editor had received was that fans didn't want to pay 3d for their programmes. So the new design was a single sheet folded in three to give six pages - page dimension 5" x 9" - with the price reduced back to 2d. White semi-gloss paper was now being used for some issues, though others still appeared on non-gloss, and a light green ink. The design on the front (shown right) is a rather vague approximation of the covered section of terrace erected prior to the Sunderland game behind the goal at the Queen's Street End. An advert had returned to the front, and the rest of the space was taken up with league tables. All match details had been moved back inside. A new competition was introduced offering a prize of complimentary tickets to the local cinema in "Spot the Missing Letter", for those identifying the deliberate spelling mistake in the programme. (Fat Harry was unavailable for comment as to whether he is running a similar competition.)

The example top left is the first programme in the new design, No.1 for the opening game of the season against Chelmsford City in the Southern League. The page displays the club's fixtures lists for the Southern League, Western League and Colts. The Supporters' Club Notes contains a section on the programme debate. The tone suggests that not everyone on the Committee, including the author, had confidence in the changes made. It is pointed out that the loss of advertising revenue and price reduction would mean that 2,000 copies of every issue would need to be sold just to break even. The call from the Committee was for fans to ensure 3,000 a time were shifted. The fact this programme only lasted a single season suggests this desire was not realised.

Weymouth again. The rivalry was reaching huge proportions. Another 11,000 came on October 13th to see Yeovil draw 2-2 with the enemy, and then we were drawn against them in the F.A. Cup. By the time this match arrived a month later the "stupid and imbecilical rumours" manager George Paterson had condemned in his programme notes for the previous meeting (issue No. 10) had proved to be far more than gossip, as he was already on his way out to pastures new. Stirling Albion had come in with a deal of a five year contract. He offered to remain until Yeovil were knocked out of the F.A. Cup, but the club decided to release him, and the programme (No.12, top right) contains his last brief set of Manager's Notes. A crowd of 13,600 attended the game and saw a 1-1 draw. It was Weymouth who won the Fourth Qualifying Round replay 2-1 in front of 9,050, eventually going out to Bristol Rovers in Round Two.

1951-52 v Lovell's Athletic, Southern League Cup R2 - CLICK TO ENLARGE Once again the club did not rush to appoint a manager. The attitude seems to have been this was a holding season for Yeovil, and Harry Lowe was not in situ until after Christmas. The inside page (No.22) reproduced lower right is a very early example of photography being included in a Yeovil Town issue, with a press shot of the new manager. He was the first to hold the reins as manager rather than player-manager. It records one of the few bright points in the season - a 5-1 hammering of Lovell's Athletic in the Second Round of the Southern League Cup on February 16th 1952. Unfortunately that was the end of success in that competition as the Glovers went out away to Hereford United in Round Three. The season petered out as a non-event with the worst ever position in the Southern League table to that date, seventeenth, and a farcical exit from the Somerset Professional Cup to Bath City at the Semi-Final stage that took three attempts. After a 1-1 at Twerton the replay had be abandoned in extra time when it got too dark to continue playing. The Yeovil team had managed to turn up late at their own ground, so delaying the kick-off. Rather surprisingly the match wasn't awarded to Bath by default, especially as they were leading 1-0 at the time, but another replay at Huish two weeks later saw the visitors through to the Final.

Off the field the season ended in bitter acrimony. The Board announced the club's bank account stood at 15/- in the black. The Supporters' Club, who had already stumped up various amounts throughout the season to meet sums that should have had nothing to do with them - such as a transfer fee of 250 to Llanelly for Bill Bird that the directors couldn't meet - had had enough. The final straws were an 8-0 humilation at the hands of Barry Town, and the revelation that the Board intended to keep the club's allocation of F.A. Cup Final tickets in their own hands and not release any to the Supporters' Club. A meeting between supporters and directors degenerated into a huge slanging match with W.G. Martin, chairman of the Supporters' Club, walking out and resigning. Further resignations followed later from three more committee members. The Supporters' Club had committed 4,000 to pay for the covering of the whole of North Bank Terrace; building work that had only been delayed because all new building at the time needed a Government permit, which had not been forthcoming. They now withdrew their support for the project, and at an EGM registered a formal vote of no confidence in the Board of Directors for chronic mismanagement. The ultimate humiliation was when the Board felt obliged to approach the hated and despised Weymouth, who happened to have just declared a 4,500 profit, to come to Huish for a close season friendly to raise funds for Yeovil Town.

1948-49 seemed a long long way away.

Season 1952-53
1952-53 v Brighton & Hove Albion, FA Cup Round 1 - CLICK TO ENLARGE

This season was little better. The rows from the end of the last campaign raged on with more than forty shareholders storming out of the AGM over the voting procedures adopted for elections to the vacancies on the Board of Directors.

The only high point was a F.A. Cup tie against Brighton and Hove Albion (No.11). The club had returned to the 'booklet' style in its programmes but in a slightly reduced page size, down to a tenth under 5" x 7". The price had gone back up 50% to 3d from the previous season, but there were sixteen pages for your money. The issue number appeared on the front for the first time. The programmes also picked up on the idea of portrait photographs first seen with the shot of manager Harry Lowe the previous season. There was a "Portrait Gallery" series on the players, and additionally in this particular example also an action shot from an unspecified match. The match shot may have a special one-off for this high profile F.A. Cup tie, as none appear in other programmes from this season. For whatever reason use of photographs was not subseqently developed further, and they appear infrequently in Yeovil programmes over the rest of the decade. The sixteen pager in this size would remain the standard format for normal Yeovil's First Team league and cup matches for the next twenty-five seasons, with only a couple of exceptions. On the previous occasion Yeovil had met Brighton in the First Round of the F.A. Cup in 1938-39 the Somerset side had emerged victorious 2-1. It was not to be this time, as Yeovil went down comprehensively 4-1, although a good crowd of 10,200 made it a profitable day.

1952-53 v Worcester City, Southern League - CLICK TO ENLARGE With Yeovil heading for what would ultimately prove to be an even worse eighteenth place finish in the league, after the seventeenth of the previous campaign, Harry Lowe announced he wasn't going to seek a renewal of his contract before the club had time to sack him. His final Manager's Notes in the programme for the Worcester City Southern League game (right, No. 21) informing readers of his departure trot out those standard managerial complaints of injuries and bad luck. However they ended with his thanks to the Supporters' Club and the press for their help and co-operation. The Supporters' Club was rather less generous, choosing to make no reference to the departing manager at all. There's little doubt the majority of those connected to Yeovil Town F.C. were, fairly or unfairly, glad to see the back of Harry Lowe.

In the programme for the next home game (No. 22 v Exeter City) the club Vice-Chairman H.A.Smith took over the manager's column to announce that the Board would be returning to a player-manager for their next appointment, and that they were already sifting through applications. The Supporters' Club Notes included a lengthy discourse on just why Yeovil's latest application for election to the Football League should be successful - more in the realms of fantasy than ever given the disasterous last few seasons. But there was one snippet of minor historical interest: the announcement that the kick-off time for the last game of the season against Tonbridge AFC would be altered from 3.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. so that those fans with access to television sets could watch the F.A. Cup Final prior to heading for Huish. The first time a Yeovil fixture was moved for TV? The plans of mice and men however, as programme No.25 v Weymouth on April 25th records that the kick-off for that fixture on Cup Final day would now be at 5.00 p.m., as Tonbridge had pointed out they wouldn't make their last train home otherwise. Oh well, perhaps some home fans were able to enjoy the first half of what was merely one of the greatest matches - 'The Matthews Final' - ever played, before rushing off to Huish.

That programme also records that the Board was having great difficulty filling the managerial vacancy, with none of the initial tranche of candidates proving suitable. An advert was therefore placed offering £1,000 a year plus house and bonuses to attract a new man. Ike Clarke was to be the one who got the job, appointed on May 10th.

Off the pitch planning permission was finally received to roof the North Bank Terrace.

Season 1953-54
1953-54 v Lovell's Athletic, Southern League - CLICK TO ENLARGE

The programme for the following season was almost identical in design, lay-out and content. A slightly thinner but higher grade of paper was in use. The only change to the cover was the inclusion of the year for the first time, as well as the day, date and month. Inside the Southern and Western League fixtures and results occupied page 2; pages 3 and 4 were adverts; page 5 was split between the Manager's Notes and ads; 6 was ads; page 7 contained the pen portraits of the visiting team and its players (carried over to page 12 as necessary, which was otherwise filled with advertisements) and a Portrait Gallery of Yeovil's players for the first part of the season (until they ran out presumably); the centre spread (pages 8 and 9) showed the teams and officials; more ads on 10, and the Supporters' Club Notes on page 11; 13 had the Colts fixtures and results, with ads filling up the rest of the page; 14, ads; page 15 split half and half between tables and ads; and the same split on the back cover, but with appearance and goal statistics.

Top left is issue No.1, the fourth game of the season, Yeovil having begun with three away fixtures of which more shortly, where Ike Clarke was introduced to the home fans through the first Portrait Gallery of the campaign. The rest of the page has pen portraits of the visitors, Lovell's Athletic, and an ad for the Princes Theatre. Elsewhere in the programme Ike's notes were mostly what might be expected, though reading them more closely between the lines one can get the first inklings into the sort of man Yeovil had selected, and his expectations. The main issue in the Supporters' Club Notes is complaints about the fixture list. Up to this point clubs in the Southern League had been responsible for arranging their own fixtures. The mind boggles at how on earth the mechanics of this were worked out in practice. However for the first time the Southern League had taken this on centrally, and rather understandably Yeovil was not very happy with being handed its initial three matches of the campaign away from home, an irritation no doubt compounded by the fact all three had been lost. The Supporters' Club also reported that membership looked set to match that of the previous year at 3,500, though harked back to the high of over 5,000 in the season following the famous cup run. Another stated goal for the season was to make the programme self-supporting, presumably indicating that it hadn't been covering its costs. To boost sales the 'Spot The Deliberate Mistake Competition' (hello again Fat.........nope, let's not go there) was to be reintroduced, with pairs of theatre tickets to the first three winners each issue.

1953-54 v Norwich City, FA Cup Round 1 - CLICK TO ENLARGE Surprisingly the club had made a profit the previous season, despite the failings on the pitch. Although it is easy to be seduced by the repeated moans of all and sundry at the time about the decline in the post-War football boom the first Reserves match of this new season against the somewhat unglamorous opposition of Stonehouse could still attract a pay-on-the-day crowd of 1,580, that number excluding the Season Ticket Holders who attended. A statistic like that puts a bit of perspective on the gloomy complaints about gates. One and a half thousand for a Reserve fixture today? We might wish. With the roof now on the North Bank the Supporters' Club wanted floodlighting to be the next improvement at Huish, but the Board of Directors was less convinced.

One of Clarke's first moves was to scrap the fixed wage system and introduce a sliding scale weighted towards First Team and Reserve appearances. Although only the Somerset Professional Cup was won, in a 2-0 defeat of Bath City, it was a much better season than the previous several. Although it was still somewhat inconsistent Clarke was creating the basis of a quality team, skilful but with a toughness and determination when required.

An indication of these qualities was to be seen at the match of the season, the visit from Norwich City in the F.A. Cup (No.10, right) not withstanding, against the rather more humble Gravesend & Northfleet. 4-1 down, aided by some dodgy refereeing decisions that saw an angry crowd later trap the official in the dressing rooms for an hour after the game, Yeovil came back to 5-5, and even had time to see a 'winner' disallowed in the dying seconds.

A final position of third in the league indicated that the team could be a force to be reckoned with once again, and the Yeovil faithful were not to be disappointed in the campaign that followed.

Season 1954-55
1954-55 v Tottenham Hotspur, opening of the Huish floodlights - CLICK TO ENLARGE 1954-55 v Portsmouth, the opponents that should have launched the lights - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Clarke retained thirteen players from the previous campaign, and although the season had not produced much silverware Yeovil Town had turned a significant profit, giving Ike the opportunity to build on that strong core to the squad. The club began to reap the rewards of this new found stability on and off the pitch, going top if the table in October with victory over Worcester City.

The battle over floodlights had been going on for several years, with supporters discontented at what they saw as the board's stick-in-the-mud attitude. The fact that rivals Weymouth had installed them at The Recreation Ground towards the end of the 1952-53 season had only added to the irritation of the fans. A trip to Exeter to play a Southern League Cup tie under lights increased the pressure from fans who had been to the match. It was also clear that the Football League was likely to move towards making floodlights a requirement for election. Eventually the board bit the bullet and at the turn of the year sanctioned the installation of floodlights at a cost of £ 1,500. The lights should have been inaugurated with a game against Portsmouth on 21st February, but weather saw the match cancelled. They were officially switched on in a friendly against Tottenham Hotspur on March 8th (No.19, top left). Floodlights made a huge difference to a club. The possibility of night time mid-week matches was to transform fixture lists, and more fan friendly kick-off times increased crowds and revenue. However initially there was no radical difference as the Southern League hierarchy resisted allowing league games under lights. The Portsmouth match thus became the second floodlit fixture at Huish, when it was eventually played on March 14th (No.17, top right). The club saved money by not reprinting, but stuck a label on the front cover. They still retained the original issue number however, thus the reason it is out of sequence.

Back on the pitch Clarke was leading Yeovil Town to one of its greatest seasons. In the space of five days the Somerset Professional Cup, Southern League Cup and, in the final game of the campaign, the Southern League Championship, were all clinched. The Reserves also secured the Western League Division 2 title.

1954-55 v Hastings, the Yeovil team that clinched the Championship - CLICK TO ENLARGE The programme here is that last game of the season against third placed Hastings (No.28, right). It was a special souvenir issue, with an insert of individual portrait photos of the First Eleven and Second Eleven printed in black and white on full gloss paper. Weymouth were the challengers for the title and played their last match on the Friday night, leaving Yeovil needing a point the following day. On Saturday 7th May 8,676, including Weymouth fans supporting Hastings, packed into Huish to see if the club could make a clean sweep of every trophy available to them, in those pre- F.A. Trophy days, bar the rather unobtainable F.A. Cup. Yeovil took the lead through Mickey Reid after fifteen minutes, but Hastings equalized just before half-time and then went ahead early in the second period. With the title seemingly slipping away that spirit Ike had talked about the previous year took hold and Jimmy Fraser equalized. Huish went mad as Yeovil Town were presented with the Championship Shield at the final whistle, the goal average system then in use meaning that 3/10's of a goal was the difference between the winners and the runners-up, Weymouth.

The cover design for this season was one that the Glovers were to use on a number of occasions through the rest of the decade. The background colour is a light grey/green, with lettering and graphics in a brighter mid-green. Printing throughout the 16 pages is in the same mid-green. Contents at this time were: page 2 - First Team and Reserves' fixtures; page 5 - left hand column, Manager's Notes; page 7 - Visiting Team details; pages 8 and 9 - centre page spread of the team line-up; page 11- Supporters' Club Notes;page 11 - continuation of Supporters' Club Notes and Colts' Fixtures; page 15 - half page for Southern League and western League Tables; page 16 - Appearances and Goals statistics. The balance of the programme, a little over 50%, was made up of advertisements.

Season 1955-56
1955-56 v Kidderminster Harriers, Southern League - CLICK TO ENLARGE

To recognise the successes of the previous campaign Yeovil Town decided upon a competition amongst supporters to design and submit a new celebratory front cover to the programme for the 1955-56 season (see top left. No. 13, a 10-0 win over Kidderminster Harriers on 27th December). The closing date for the competition wasn't until September 20th, so the first issues were of the old design. More usually printed on a creamy gloss paper the ink was probably the same shade of green as in the previous year's programmes, but the increased contrast emphasises the depth of the colour. The football on the cover shows the four honours won in 1954-55.

The centre spread line up of the teams shown in the programme on the lower left is from issue No. 10, the first of three matches in a heroic FAC First Round tussle with Aldershot, then in Division 3 South, along with the likes of Coventry City, Ipswich Town, Norwich City, and Southampton. According to Ike Clarke's notes he had had Aldershot carefully watched, and knew they had adopted a then new style of football named the "Revie Plan" after Don Revie, who championed a game of short passsing and movement. This match, played on Saturday 19th November, ended 1-1, with Yeovil's Jimmy Elder equalising from the penalty spot four minutes from time after Aldershot had pretty much dominated the match. The crowd was recorded at 10,600. The replay at The Recreation Ground was the following Wednesday, with an afternoon kick off, but still attracted 6,532. This time Yeovil had the edge but even with extra time the sides could not be separated and they went to a second replay at the neutral venue of The Dell after finishing 1-1 again. Played only five days later, with a league game away against Bedford Town in between on the Saturday, the Yeovil semi-pro squad was exhausted and decimated by injuries and succumbed 3-0.

Yeovil fought hard to retain their cups, and reached the finals of both the Southern League Cup and the Somerset Professional Cup again. The bid to retain the Championship also looked like it would go to the wire. With four league games to go Yeovil were three points adrift of Guildford City, with the leaders having to come to Huish on the last day of the season. The Glovers were also confident that League football was almost within reach at last, as a proposal to expand the Football League by eight clubs and set up a Division 3 North/Midland/South structure for the season after next looked like a shoe in. So sure were the Board that they issued a statement decribing the club as "absolute certs to go in". Oh the folly of tempting fate!

1955-56 v Aldershot, F.A.Cup R1, first of three games needed to settle the tie - CLICK TO ENLARGE 1955-56 v Guildford, Southern League, last game of the season - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Almost all Yeovil's expectations turned to ashes in a few short weeks. The Southern League Cup looked to be retained when the Glovers rattled up a 4-1 lead at Huish in the first leg, and the league title was still on as they beat Llanelly 3-0. But in the second leg at Gloucester City the score was reversed, and the Tigers went on to win in extra time. Yeovil followed this collapse with two straight losses in the league, and though winning the County Cup with a 4-3 victory over Bristol City, the 2-0 win against Guildford City in that season's final match (No.25 right) was an anti-climax as City arrived already crowned Champions. Insult was added to injury as the Football League expansion proposals were voted down.

The Board reacted badly to disappointment, as is not unusual at Yeovil Town, and the squad was brutally cut as soon as the campaign finished.

Season 1956-57
1956-57 v Llanelly, Southern League, Ike's notes - CLICK TO ENLARGE 1956-57 v Llanelly, Southern League, Ike's notes - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Fresh blood was added to the squad for 1956-57, with Weymouth's top scorer for the previous two seasons, the Belgian Marcel Gaillard, lured to Huish, and five players from Reading alone brought in. The team made a good solid start to the season, until defeat at home to Headington United began a blip. This was the first league defeat at Huish for over 18 months, but the board and fans were already getting restless. Yeovil got through to the First Round Proper of the F.A. Cup as usual, but went out to Peterborough United, then a Non-league club. The 10,575 crowd were not impressed. The petrol rationing that came with the Suez crisis added to the subsequent decline in attendances, and the directors began to panic. With the local press leaping on the anti-Clarke bandwagon the Board showed the spine of a jellyfish and announced at the start of February, whilst the team was still going well in the Southern League Cup, that Ike's contract would not be renewed at the end of the season. However they seemed to expect him to carry on in such circumstances as if nothing had happened. Results did indeed pick up, until an exit to Tonbridge in the semi-final of the Southern League Cup. The following match showed Clarke had had enough, as he published a bitter set of Manager's Notes in the programme for the league match against Llanelly on 16th March (No.23), reproduced here (top right). The final paragraph read:

All this brings me back to the fact that my contract will not be renewed, but just in case I take up a similar appointment could any supporter, after careful study of my record here at Yeovil and what I've said about my present team, tell me what I've done wrong? Or where I've gone wrong. All letters will be answered.

So ended the tenure of one of the finest managers Yeovil Town has ever had.

1956-57 v Weymouth, last home league game of the season - CLICK TO ENLARGE

The responsibility for the programme had passed to Len Dennett, who had taken over as Supporters' Club secretary the previous season. He would continue in this role until the end of the 1962-63 season. The programme returned to the design of 1954-55. There was some reorganisation of the content, with amongst other things the playing statistics moving inside so the entire back cover could be sold as advertising space. The example left is the last home league fixture of the season, a 1-1 draw with Weymouth on April 19th.

There were few applications for the advertised post of manager, but eventually Norman Dodgin, of Exeter City, obtained the job. Over half the squad was released, with top scorers Marcel Gaillard and Frank Fidler going to Weymouth. Dodgin signed up a series of Scottish players, and with 13 new faces coming in his team was virtually complete when at the end of July he suddenly up and left for the manager's job at League club Barrow, without ever seeing them kick a ball in anger. With the new season only three weeks away Yeovil Town was in total disarray. Desperate for someone to lead the club the Board turned to Jimmy Baldwin. His playing career had been with Blackburn Rovers and Leicester City, but his only managerial experience was a short spell with Great Yarmouth of the Eastern Counties League.

There was further bad news. The Football League decided it would restructure into a Third and Fourth Division from the 1958-59 season. There would therefore be no expansion of clubs, and Yeovil's chances of League football were as remote as ever.

Season 1957-58
1957-58 v Barrow, friendly - CLICK TO ENLARGE

The same programme was retained again, one of the few bits of continuity at the club, though the ink was on the greyer side of grey/green than previously. The example here (right) is from a friendly played against Barrow (No.24), the club now managed by Dodgin, Yeovil's manager who never quite was, on March 11th. The home side lost 4-1.

It was a season full of other oddities. At the 7th match of the season the gatemen went on strike, and for a while it was unclear whether the game would be played with no spectators or everyone would get in for free. In November the 1956-57 Somerset Professional Cup Final replay was held six months late. It was again a draw and the clubs gave up, Yeovil sharing the trophy with Bristol City. The Reserves were in chaos, with scarcely any players available. Defeats of 5-0, 8-0 and 8-0 in the New Year and a keeper pressed into service as a centre forward reflected the dire situation. In the end the club drafted in some First Team players to avoid relegation from Western League Division 1. In the Southern League there was a lower mid-table finish.

1957-58 v Bath City, F.A.Cup Round Two - CLICK TO ENLARGE
The one bright point was in the F.A. Cup. After victories over Bideford and Guildford, the latter needing a replay, nearly 12,000 had turned up to give the club a major pay day in the Second Round tie versus Bath City. The team line-ups from the programme of Saturday 7th December is shown (left), with a certain No.7, Skirton, for the opposition worthy of note. Victory at Huish 2-0 then took Yeovil off to Second Division Fulham, where 39,568, around 3,000 of them Glovers, ensured another big pay out from Round 3.

Hungarian Miklos Nagy, who had joined the club in 1953, left at the end of his benefit season after refusing a new contract and went to Bedford Town. Popular with the fans, he had brought a touch of foreign glamour to Huish in the days when players from the Continent were less than common in the English game, certainly at Non-league level.

Season 1958-59
1958-59 v Yiewsley, Southern League South East Division - CLICK TO ENLARGE

The next campaign saw a most peculiar fixture list. The Southern League was divided into South East and North West Divisions, with the leading clubs from each zone at season's end to take a place in the new Southern League Premier Divison the following year. Yeovil played in the South East Division. However football politics meant no teams from Kent entered the South East Division, leaving it with only 17 clubs. The worries over declining revenue from a truncated number of fixtures saw the formation of seven Southern League Inter-zone mini leagues. The other clubs with Yeovil Town all played in the South East Division, leading to four matches against each other - even before the possibility of cup ties were taken into consideration. As Weymouth was also in both, and it took three ties before Yeovil eventually knocked them out of the Southern League Cup, the old rivals met seven times that season. Yeovil came first in its Inter-zone section, and fourth in the one that mattered, the South East, comfortably claiming a place in the Southern League Premier Division the next season. The clubs with the best records in the Inter-zone sections were supposed to go forward into a knock-out competition, but this never took place, and Yeovil simply received a plaque for topping the group.

This dual league structure led to a change in programme design. To save the trouble and cost of having to print different covers for different leagues the club simply removed all reference to the match and competition being played from the front of the programme, replacing this information with an advert for the Yeovil and District Co-operative Society. It was the first completely static cover since 1948-49. The example featured (top right) happens to be the South East Divison Boxing Day fixture against Yiewsley (No. 24), which Yeovil won 4-1, but all the covers from other competitions were identical. A more fundamental change was also about cost saving: the programme was reduced to eight pages. With an extra league to fit in as well content was severely reduced. Manager's Notes became very brief, Supporters' Club Notes were confined to the the names of winners in the Jackpot and events listings, and the remainder was taken up with fixtures and results, the tables, and the teams for the match. Player stats and details on opposition clubs and players vanished. In short, as well as suffering a repetitive cover it was one of the poorest programmes in terms of content Yeovil Town has ever produced post-war. The issue numbers reached fifty-one.

1958-59 v Weymouth Reserves, Western League - CLICK TO ENLARGE
In the cups the Glovers progressed to the Fifth Round in the Southern League Cup where they were knocked out away at Twerton Park. In the F.A. Cup another League scalp was claimed when Southend United were beaten in a First Round replay, and then Colchester United were held away only to crush Yeovil in the replay at Huish. The Somerset Professional Cup Final was lost in yet another replay to Bridgwater Town.

The Reserves had completely turned thing around from their traumas the previous season and did the double, winning the Western League Division One Championship by four points, and the Western League Cup in a two legged Final against Chippenham Town. Shown (left) is the fixtures lists from programme No.44, a Western League league match against Weymouth Reserves played on 27th March and won 2-0 as Yeovil closed in on the title. Yeovil Town Colts won the Yeovil and District League title.

One most significant signing for the 1958-59 campaign was that of Len Harris from Crystal Palace. He would go on to play 691 games for Yeovil Town. At the close of the season the Queen Street End was redeveloped. The cover was removed and the terracing replaced and extended. The roof was supposed to be restored, but it didn't get done, and the terrace would remain an open one until Huish's end.

Away Programmes and other items
1949-50, Chesterfield, F.A. Cup Round 3 - CLICK TO ENLARGE 1955-56, Aldershot, F.A.Cup, Round 1 replay - CLICK TO ENLARGE To provide a comparison each decade on Yeovil will end with a few examples of programmes from away matches. There is no particular rationale to those chosen, other than they are issues the author happens to like, finds interesting, or commemorate significant matches in the history of Yeovil Town. On occasion this section will also be used to diplay items other than programmes produced by the club.

The programme top left is from the Third Round F.A. Cup tie on Saturday 7th January, 1950 versus Chesterfield, then in Division Two. The game attracted a crowd of 24,288. Twelve pages of semi-gloss paper at 5" x 9", with colour on the cover only, it is noticable how much less advertising it contained compared to Yeovil Town programmes at the same time. However although a lot of space was reserved for content it was laid out very spaciously, so the amount of reading material is actually far less than appears at first sight. Price 2d.

The second (No. 11, top right) is of different character though from the same competition. The immediate impression is how big the pages are, at 7" x 9" virtually twice the size of the standard Yeovil issue. Red and blue ink was used throughout the eight pages on a paper so low in quality it almost resembles blotting-paper......for those who can recall that. As it was produced with the time constraints (four days in this case) a replay imposes it may well not be representative of Aldershot's normal issue that season. Whilst the first tie at Huish had seen Aldershot dominate, and Yeovil survive 1-1 through a penalty with only four minutes left on the watch, the programme notes record the relief of the League club in bringing Yeovil back to their home patch, mentioning that the Glovers had not been beaten at Huish for fifteen months. The replay the following Wednesday was contrastingly mostly dominated by Yeovil. Aldershot did take the lead, another penalty, but then had to switch an outfield player into goal to replace their injured keeper who spent the rest of the game out on the wing as a virtual passenger. On 80 minutes Micky Read equalised to take the game into extra time. Another thirty minutes couldn't separate the two teams and the tie went to a second replay played at The Dell five days later where Aldershot finally prevailed 3-0.

1955-56, Aldershot, F.A.Cup, Round 1 second replay, at The Dell - CLICK TO ENLARGE 1957-58, Fulham, F.A.Cup, Round 3 - CLICK TO ENLARGE Southampton produced a single sheet one-sided issue for the second replay (left). There is an apology that time constraints meant it was not possible to produce a full first team programme for the tie that was played on Monday 28th November, with a 2.00 p.m. kick-off. Printed in light red ink on non-gloss yellowy-cream paper the team line-ups and officials are shown, along with the Football League Division 3 (South) and Combination League tables. Saints next home fixture against Colchester United is promoted in the bottom right hand corner. The issue was printed by A.R. Simmons & Co. Ltd. of Southampton and priced at 2d. Dimensions are 8" x 10".

The F.A. Cup again, and the third largest crowd Yeovil has played in front of in our history at 39,568. Fulham issued a twelve page programme for the Third Round tie (see right) priced at 4d. The page size was 5" x 8". Fulham were top of Division Two and had a line-up with a number of names who were or would become famous including Johnny Haynes, Jimmy Hill and George Cohen. 0-0 at half-time, Jimmy Hill scored two of Fulham's four in the second period, with Key (presumably a late replacement as he's not listed in the programme) and John Doherty getting the other two. They reached the Semi-Finals of the F.A. Cup that season, only beaten in a replay by Manchester United. In the league they slipped away to fifth and had to wait until the following season for promotion to Division One.

Rather less prestigious is the programme at the bottom left. With eight pages, it was issued by Bridgwater Town for the Somerset Professional Cup Final of 1959. Bridgwater were going well in the Western League Division One that season and would finish fourth, though it was Yeovil Town Reserves who would take the title. Bridgwater had also disposed of a Bristol City side 4-0 at the Semi-Final stage of the SPC. In the Final at Castle Field a crowd of 1,700 saw the home side take the lead in the first half through a header by Gerrish. There were only seven minutes left when Yeovil's centre-forward on the night Derrick Blackburn shot past Bridgwater's keeper Cox. In the replay at Huish the following Saturday, also an evening kick-off, Blackburn scored again but Bridgwater ran out 2-1 winners.

1958-59, Bridgwater Town, Somerset Professional Cup Final - CLICK TO ENLARGE 1959, Yeovil Town Football Supporters Club Official Handbook - CLICK TO ENLARGE

At the beginning of the 1958-59 season the Supporters' Club Committee took the decision to produce the first seasonal Yeovil Town Handbook, the only previous venture into this field being the Silver Jubilee publication ten years before. With card covers and 32 high gloss pages it was priced at 1/-, and was eventually published at the end of that season. Once again it was the club's F.A. Cup exploits that caught the attention of the contributors.

It was the first season of the restructured Football League, with a national Division Three and Four. The front cover was illustrated with a photograph of action from Yeovil's First Round replay against Third Division Southend United at Huish, won 1-0 with a goal from John Dennis who had joined the club from Crystal Palace that season. The photograph to the right is the middle page spread in the handbook showing the team that beat the Shrimpers. In Round Two the Glovers held Colchester United, also of the Third Division, at Layer Road 1-1 and fully expected to repeat the result against Southend when they brought the U's west. However the result was a 7-1 hiding, Yeovil's second biggest defeat in the competition ever, only worsted at the second meeting with Manchester United.

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