The rumour mill was in overdrive at the weekend at Huish Park. ITKs proudly trying to out-do each other with regards to the consortium who are looking at taking over Yeovil Town. If they were there, wonderful – things must be happening. If not, things are probably still happening. Some of the maths flying round at the weekend was outrageous, but let’s not get into that.

Since the announcement that the club had entered into an “exclusivity agreement” with a “preferred bidder” to become a majority shareholder of the club on New Year’s Eve, I’ve been reflecting on what I’d like to see under new ownership.

Unite the Supporters

The supporter base has been divided for so long. For the club to be truly successful, supporters have to have a vision, a mission to get behind. Years of broken and empty promises have left a once passionate fan base apathetic and for many, club-less.

Be open and honest with your ambitions for the club. Acknowledge where things have gone wrong previously, share the vision, market the hell out of it and bring supporters on the journey. This is not just an issue for recent years, communication has left much to be desired well before Scott Priestnall took over the club in 2019.

Survey the supporters. We run regular surveys on the Gloverscast that cost nothing using Google Forms – get insight from the people who care and are your direct customer base. Hold focus groups so you can really get to know supporters and their views.

Refresh the Supporters’ Alliance Group (SAG), formalise it, open it up to new people and from the group revive a supporter liaison role for someone who is visible, approachable, active with supporters and contactable in the week to create the conduit between supporters and the club. The SAG can play such an important role, but it needs to run effectively and transparently for all supporters.

I genuinely don’t believe that supporters expect you to tell them everything, but commit to regular dialogue that is shared effectively and you’ll get supporters buy-in.

Improve the facilities at Huish Park

To say it needs a lick of paint is an understatement. The last meaningful change at the stadium was the roof that was added to the home terrace in 2001. It would be wonderful to get a roof on the away end and create a more welcoming environment for travelling supporters – while you’re at it let’s add corners to the stadium too.

We were told a benefit of the sale of every piece of bricks and mortar the club owned was removal of the shackles of convenants which have been pointed at for stifling development at Huish Park – so use that freedom. Build a supporters’ bar that has been promised for decades, not just lifting an shifting a bit of the old marquee. Modernise the Alec Stock Lounge so you can serve more people more quickly. Get hot water in the toilets. Make it easy for people to pay on card anywhere. Make Huish Park a destination on a Saturday that provides supporters something to be proud of. The land feels lost, but if you can claw any of it back into club ownership, make it a site that the whole community can use. Replace the pitches with a couple of all weather pitches, build a load of five-a-side pitches.

Huish Park and surrounding land – as seen from a great height – and, no, that’s not the old Huish slope!

Some of these are long-term fixes that require a chunk of capital expenditure and some are short-term wins that will go a mile. Get the little ones right and the big ones will fall into place.

As the only professional football club in Somerset, we should aspire to be the county’s home of football for men, women and children.

Build a Culture at the Club

You’ve got a varied, passionate supporter base (who don’t always agree – see point 1) but that have been clamouring for change for so long. Bring them in, share your ideas with them and get everyone around the table to talk about the future.

If you support Tracy Crouch’s Fan Led Review and the recommendations in there, commit to some before the Government mandates it. Pledge to join the Fair Game group of clubs. Partner with Football For Future, the organisation championing environmental sustainability within football. Let’s build a club and culture that’s built around doing the right thing and setting the bar high.

The Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust does amazing work in the community already and with the right support it could do even more. We have always prided ourselves on being a community club and there is no part which encapsulates that spirit better than the Trust.

We’ve got existing areas we can build on too:

Partnership with HerGameToo

Relaunch of the womens’ club

Building on the legacy of Lee Collins and Young Minds Charity

Supporting Marcus Stewart and the Darby Rimmer Foundation

A wealth of legends who show their love for the club

I know it’s on the badge, but we’re a club that has been so divided for so long that it’s no wonder we’ve not achieved for a decade. Let’s have those difficult conversations, heal the wounds of the last few seasons and actually unite.

Invest in the getting things right on the pitch

In Mark Cooper we have a quality manager with a proven track record, who can get us back to where we belong. In his short time in charge he’s steadied the ship, strengthened as much as he is probably able to with the budget he has and I think, albeit with some blips, we’re seeing progression.

But he needs help. We’ve always been a club that’s had to have staff doing more than one job. At one point Terry Skiverton was Head of Academy and Assistant Manager. It’s evident that it’s held us back. Let’s have a team of physios and sports scientists. Let’s get the recruitment right. If we can become a club that follows the Brentford model and leans into data, hopefully we can move away from the reliance on loans and start building our own talent.

If we can get that back room team right and give the players everything they need to be successful, Mark Cooper will be able to coach a team to return us to the football league.

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David Towner
1 year ago

I have just read the blog,& agree with everything. Yeovil as a club could & should do more to make the stadium a better place to come to.
I work voluntarily in the tea bars on match days something i very much enjoy doing, but,, to be frank they are quite basic,i’m sure there is some way to to upgrade them. Perhaps improve the tills & have a card payment facility in all tea bars not just tea bar 2.
Giving the stadium a lick of paint would brighten it up.
I think it would be a good idea to build a sports hall that the community could use, that wod bring in some much needed revenue.
I appreciate this costs money, but these comments are just my thoughts.

Barry Mills
1 year ago

My partner and I were regulars at Huish Park when Yeovil were in the football league, went to Wembley to see them lose to Blackpool and then beat Brentford on that memorable day. We live in Teignmouth in Devon and going to match days was rather an expensive day out, but we didn’t mind because we were competitive. But, being pensioners it seems a waste of money to watch a disjointed performance week in week out.
We look at Brentford with very envious eyes thinking that with more investment we, while not aspiring to th premiership, at least not languishing in the lower reaches of the National League.
Being out on a limb we don’t get much news re possible takeovers so rely on Glloversblog to keep informed. You are doing a splendid job in the Badger tradition so keep it up.
Barry Mills and Rosemary

1 year ago

I agree with everything you’ve posted

1 year ago

Only one issue SSDC own the land and the ground so what is Priestnall selling ?

David Appleby
1 year ago

Spot on in your general analysis of the club

1 year ago

When do you think we will be told what is really going to happen

1 year ago

There’s a lot of talk about Priestnall making money out of selling the land and the club. I’ve got a question. How much did Fry and Hayward make and where is that money now?

1 year ago

Don’t need to follow the Brentford model. Follow the Sunderland model. 4 long years in the wilderness of league 1 with no structure and promising academy lads moving on. A new 23 yr old owner with vision and investing in youth just look where they are now. Average age under 22 and young players who want to prove something. Add Tony Mowbray into the mix and if Yeovil can replicate that with a new owner and Cooper as manager then the future will be bright.